The television show Revenge Body is contributing to the toxic message that smaller bodies are superior to larger bodies, and that in order to get over a break up, you need to get back at your ex by losing weight. This is not a healthy way to move on, or to adopt new eating and exercise habits.
Season 2 of Revenge Body is underway; a reality television show starring Khloe Kardashian with the premise that after a breakup, the ultimate revenge to your ex, is weight loss.
I have some serious reservations about this kind of messaging.
Revenge is defined as a way to avenge (oneself or another) usually by retaliating in kind or degree, or to inflict injury in return for something (i.e. an insult).
This show implies we should get back at those who wronged us by becoming better versions of ourselves. A very romantic idea (whether or not that actually works or is true I don’t get into in this article). Unfortunately, this television show suggests participants utilize anger, bitterness, and revenge in order to achieve a better more confidence version of themselves (*sigh* weight loss).
Revenge Body is a great example of diet culture disguised as “wellness”, a sneaky method too many people fall for.
Diet culture implies that if you conform to cultural beauty norms, by eating restrictively and overexercising to lose weight that this somehow translates to you being a better, smarter, more self-control, and healthier person.
This show, as well as diet culture more generally, implies that skinny people are worth more than fat people.
Of course we want to grow and learn from failed relationships, but revenge weight loss is only a temporary way to make ourselves feel better. In reality, it simply distracts us from the internal work needed to heal and forgive.
Hello! Relationships are way more complex than just physical attraction! I’m sure your breakup was more complex than that, and I’ll bet your body wasn’t the straw that broke the camels back (if it was, you don’t want to be with that person anyways).
You want to have a more nutritious diet? Want to move your body more? Excellent! However, the motivation source we draw upon for starting these movements is important. Your motivation for change
is a strong predictor for how long you will adhere to these changes.
Eating and exercising for optimal health should be done for internal rewards, out of a sense of self care and love, rather than external rewards, such as the approval of another. This will contribute to more sustainable health practices.