Laurie Toby Edison

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A Letter I Needed To Read

Lynne Murray says:

Sometimes you run across a statement that makes you take a deep breath and feel like you found something you needed to hear, even though you didn’t know you needed to hear it. That’s the way I feel about Iris Higgins’ “An Open Apology to All of My Weight Loss Clients” posted in her blog on 07/27/2013

Higgins comes from a different perspective than I do. She’s “New-Agey” enough to invite readers to call her “your fairy angel.” She now works helping clients build self-esteem and empowerment without dieting, but for 3 years she worked at Jenny Craig.

I loved my job there. I LOVED my clients. I loved making a connection and sharing my knowledge. And I learned a lot about nutrition, about dieting and weight loss and what works and what doesn’t. My job was to be a weight loss consultant, and I learned that job very well. …

[This is] a letter to each and every woman that I unknowingly wronged. My heart is beating a little bit faster as I write this, and so I know this needs to be said. The words have been playing in my head for months. Sometimes it just takes time for me to get up the courage to say the right thing.

Higgins came to realize how the program damaged her clients. Having been a part of the system she knows it from the inside and with a rare and admirable honesty she explains and takes responsibility

Dear Former Weight Loss Clients (you know who you are):

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry because I put you on a 1200 calorie diet and told you that was healthy. I’m sorry because when you were running 5x a week, I encouraged you to switch from a 1200 calorie diet to a 1500 calorie diet, instead of telling you that you should be eating a hell of a lot more than that. I’m sorry because you were breastfeeding and there’s no way eating those 1700 calories a day could have been enough for both you and your baby. I’m sorry because you were gluten intolerant and so desperate to lose weight that you didn’t put that on your intake form. But you mentioned it to me later, and I had no idea the damage you were doing to your body. I’m sorry because I think I should have known. I think I should have been educated better before I began to tell all of you what was right or wrong for your body.

I’m sorry because I made you feel like a failure and so you deliberately left a message after the center had closed, telling me you were quitting. I thought you were awesome and gorgeous, and I’m sorry because I never told you that. I’m sorry because you came in telling me you liked to eat organic and weren’t sure about all the chemicals in the food, and I made up some BS about how it was a “stepping stone.” I’m sorry because many of you had thyroid issues and the LAST thing you should have been doing was eating a gluten-filled, chemically-laden starvation diet. I’m sorry because by the time I stopped working there, I wouldn’t touch that food, yet I still sold it to you.

… I am sorry because many of you walked in healthy and walked out with disordered eating, disordered body image, and the feeling that you were a “failure.” None of you ever failed. Ever. I failed you. The weight loss company failed you. Our society is failing you.

Just eat food. Eat real food, be active, and live your life. Forget all the diet and weight loss nonsense. It’s really just that. Nonsense.

And I can’t stop it. But I can stop my part in it. I won’t play the weight loss game anymore. I won’t do it to my body, and I won’t help you do it to yours.

Seeing Higgins working to undo the knots twisted in people’s heads and hearts inspires me tremendously as a demonstration of the power of honesty and goodwill.

One Response to “A Letter I Needed To Read”

  1. Tina Says:

    Oh, that made me cry.

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