There is a special place in hell for those who profit off of, and market weight loss programs to children.
People, I am fired up.
And yes, I am referring to the recent news that Weight Watchers — or now, WW (so chic *eyeroll*) — has launched a weight loss app FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS.
Yes, you read that correctly. A WEIGHT LOSS APP FOR CHILDREN.
I am literally shaking in anger as I’m typing this, because it is so grossly negligent.
Body confidence aside — the app itself is SO PROBLEMATIC. It literally has a stoplight feature — putting foods into categories. Veggies and fruits are green; foods to “limit” — like dairy, lean protein, and whole grains — are yellow; and the “red foods” are things like sugary drinks and candy.
Which — that in itself — even if that was geared towards adults — just infuriates me. Because the number one thing that can lead people down the slippery slope of eating disorders is categorizing foods into “safe” and “off limits.”
Heck, that’s how it started with me! During Lent my sophomore year! First it was desserts. Then it was white flour. Then it was X, then Y, then Z — and then the next thing you know the only thing I’m eating is diet probiotic yogurt and canned nonfat tuna.
I mean – this is SEVERELY dangerous.
But the fact that it is FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS AS YOUNG AS 7!?!?
They even added “Snapchat-like” qualities to the app to make it like a game with “streaks.” Read between the lines, people — they’re trying to make it addictive. Hook ’em early so they can be enslaved to the multibillion dollar diet industry for the rest of their lives.
It’s just disgusting.
They proudly paraded this “Before and After” image on their Instagram account of a seven year old girl, congratulating her for dropping 8 BMI points with the help of their app.
7 YEARS OLD!
I just wanted to hug that little girl and tell her that she is beautiful inside and out, just the way she is! That her worth is not from the number on the scale, or where she falls on the BMI chart!
I mean, THIS RIGHT HERE is the biggest factor that can lead to eating disorders.
I know it might not seem like a big deal — but ESPECIALLY in the mind of an impressionable young child — comments about weight and body image and “good or bad” foods are SO INFLUENTIAL. Both positively and negatively.
And sure, you may think — she’s just a kid, she’ll shake it off!
No. These little, throw away remarks leave HUGE impressions on kids.
Allow me to share a little bit about my own story. Because as the survivor of severe anorexia — that strangled my mind and body for years, and left me barely hanging on at 78 pounds — I feel I have a bit of authority.
The first time I thought about weight or my body was — when I was 7 years old.
Up until that time, I just believed that I was the most adorable thing to grace the earth. Which — *ahem* — I was. 😉 JUUUUUST KIDDING
But I did. I never once thought about my weight. I played all the sports, did all the shows. I was in great shape. Never thought twice about it.
Well, that summer, we went to our lake home in Wisconsin and, every summer — popsicles — were such a treat. My family never kept “junk food” in the house, so on vacation, when the freezer was packed with a Sam’s Club-quantity of popsicles for a family reunion — your girl went to town!
Which is great! I was running around. It was vacation. Whatever.
Well…one night, I was, of course, expressing my love for the popsicles, and a family member said, “Take it easy on those popsicles, Care. Don’t want to get chubby.”
And there it was.
That one small remark, that was probably just a throwaway comment from someone who had had one too many Bud Light’s on the boat — planted in me a thought that — Wow, I could get chubby?….And if I get chubby, I won’t be lovable.”
Now, I’m not saying that I *BAM* developed an eating disorder at age 7. But that seed of WEIGHT/BODY IMAGE = WORTH was planted at a young age, and it was something that the perfectionist and people pleaser in me never ever forgot.
What we say to children matters. How they see their elders speaking about themselves, or to others about weight or food or diet — it matters.
Children are listening.
They are impressionable. And they only start caring what other people think when we teach them to.
I mean, the message that this app is sending is just so destructive.
LOOK AT THIS INSTAGRAM POST they put out.
Bating CHILDREN that “Hey, if your body has rolls on it, don’t even think about putting on a bathing suit!” Sure, it’s just an “Internet Meme” — but if you think KIDS don’t take that stuff as Gospel, then you are severely mistaken, my friend. Just look at ALL THE VIRAL TRENDS — “Dabbing,” “Gangnam Style,” “Planking,” all the Ice Bucket Challenges, Hot Cheetoes and Takis, Area 51, Marie Condo-ing, “and I OOP,” KiKi Do You Love Me” — KIDS LIVE AND DIE FOR INTERNET CULTURE. So if you think that this “little meme” isn’t going to make an impact — you are wrong, wrong, wrong.
We should be building our children up. We should be telling our young girls and young boys that they should focus on chasing their dreams. Focus on doing their best in school and on the sports field. Focus on discovering passions or topics that set their spirit on fire. Focus on having fun with their friends. Exploring the world outside of their cell phones. Reading books. Dancing. Building relationships. Giving back to the community.
You know what we SHOULDN’T be encouraging them to focus on? THEIR WEIGHT.
How they look in a bathing suit.
What their BMI is.
How to build their day around “safe food choices.”
I mean — GET A GRIP, WEIGHT WATCHERS.
A child should be celebrated and taught to believe in his or herself. NOT taught to scrutinize their body shape and the number on the scale. That is a one way ticket to a lifetime of disordered thoughts and behaviors. Take it from someone who’s been there.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia. Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.
Sign up below for my free newsletter!
Get my daily videos, recipes and posts delivered straight to your inbox!
Here was yesterday’s video! https://youtu.be/8pmp4ZI968A
MAGIC TOOTHPASTE? Yes! I am in love with this superior whitening toothpaste. It keeps my smile sparkling, without sensitivity or bleach! I made a website where you can directly order this miracle product! So if you want to give it a try, you can go ahead and grab a tube for yourself. I promise, your smile will thank you!
THE FABFITFUN SUMMER BOX IS HERE! And I made an UNBOXING video! I was — flipping out — over the contents of this box. It is far and away the best, FabFitFun box I’ve received yet. (Hello, Brazilian Bum Bum Cream!?!?!) I had an absolute blast filming it, so I would love it if you gave it a watch! And to order a box for yourself, you can get $10 off by using my code BEACHBABE.
Be sure to check out my affiliate, Audible. Listening to audiobooks while I cook is literally my new favorite thing. And just for you, they’re offering a Free 30-Day Trial Membership. And with this free membership, you’re going to get 2 free audiobooks! Literally. Free. It is the best deal ever. And if for some reason, you decide it’s not for you, you can cancel within those 30 days and it’s zero money out of your pocket, plus, you get to keep the 2 audiobooks. Soooo…it’s pretty much a no brainer. Plus, it’s a free and easy way to support this blog! So thank you!!
@beauty.beyond.bones – Instagram
For Podcast versions of my posts, please check out Patreon! It’s only $2 a month!! You make this blog possible 🙂
And really quickly, I’ve had several questions concerning my Amazon link (amazon.com/shop/beautybeyondbones) — You do not need to buy one of my specific highlighted products on my page, in order for it to “credit” my account. Any purchases that you search or make from anywhere on Amazon, after first visiting my Amazon page, will credit this blog and help support this blog ministry. I am truly so grateful and appreciative to those of you wanting to do so! So thank you! Again, it is an absolutely free, and easy way for you to help keep this blog going!