Wednesday, September 19, 2007

You Better Shape Up

September's issue of Shape magazine beckons us with the following headline: "The #1 Weight-Loss Secret--Do This & You Will Drop Pounds."

A quick visit to page 232 of the monthly reveals the treasured secret, which likely enticed thousands of readers.

But, I'm not going to share, because you really should by the magazine.

Just kidding. I'm not going to share, because to do so would be to support and promote our societal obsession with weight loss, which clearly doesn't fall under my mission statement.

Alright, fine, I'll tell you, but only because I laughed out loud when I opened to 232. Here, a two-page spread reveals--"The secret to Weight Loss? Calories" followed by the statement, "The truth is, all diets boil down to a simple formula--eating fewer calories than you burn."

This is it, ladies, groundbreaking journalism at its finest. Make sure you pick up your copy today.


-Jen- said...

Fewer calories than I burn? I've never tried that one. I'll give it a shot and let you know how it works! =)

Rachel said...

Ripa announced on Live with Regis and Kelly that Shape magazine airbrushed her outie belly button off her body for her recent cover. Looks like her belly button wasn't the only thing airbrushed.

I love how Shape puts a woman who has admitted to struggling (and I believe still struggles, from the looks of her) with an eating disorder as the cover girl for millions of other women to aspire to.

Sarah said...

I think she really is this thin. In other pictures she looks the same.

PalmTreeChick said...

WHAT??? No way!? What a concept. Who'd a thunk it?!

orodemniades said...

That can't be her - she looks too healthy. If you ever watch Regis and Kelly, it's clear that she is not merely thing, she's downright skinny, and to my eyes, verging on unhealthy. She clearly works out a great deal, but 5lbs more would not be amiss on her frame.

ottermatic said...

Bah. I flipped through this article while in line and the grocery store and it's basically a catalog of every obsessive, disordered food-related behavior that I have ever employed, in talismanic fashion, in an attempt to starve myself. If I had read that six months ago it would have been a big old validation for me to stick to those old habits. Because Shape is about HEALTH! So the way I'm eating must be HEALTHY!

Again - BAH.

Kellie said...

Wow... if that wasn't another adventure of "captain obvious" pointing out the obvious.... lol!

Seriously, the secret to weight loss is airbushing. hehehehe

Great post! :o)

Kitty said...

i have fallen prey to those idiotic headlines. they are very tempting.

kelly ripa is a disgraceful example of 'healthy woman'. she makes me hungry just looking at her.

Beth said...

Seeing her body (which I think is beautiful) on the cover of Shape just makes me hate mine even more!

Sarah said...

me too Beth. I know it's not PC to say that, but it's true.

Persephone said...

However, there is much "journalism" out there acting like something more than calories in, calories out is at the root of the obesity epidemic. As though somehow an act of God made everyone fatter. This is clearly ridiculous... but there's so much of it out there that I suppose it is rather revolutionary to state that eating fewer calories might lead to weight loss.

Some people are actually thin and don't have an eating disorder. Some people pay attention to what they eat and work at being healthy. I have no earthly idea what this Kelly person does, or if she is a good role model or not. It's too bad that there's so little press coverage of people who eat healthy diets and maintain actual healthy weights. I suppose anorexics and obese people are more sensational than normal folks who eat right and exercise. The simple answers really are less glamorous: eat fewer calories, and you'll weigh less. Not nearly as much fun as the latest fad diet. I'm shocked that it made a national magazine.

Anonymous said...

I heartily agree with Persephone. There is so much in the media now about how it's "not your fault" you're overweight. Yes, there are SOME people with genetic conditions that might cause them to tend toward a heavier weight than others, but I have seen lots of seriously overweight people whose parents and/or grandparents are slim. For most people, I believe one DOES have at least some control over their weight through how much they eat and exercise. No, we can't all be skinny, nor does everyone want to, but all this "don't worry, be happy, eat any damned thing you like and sit on your ass" is getting a bit old.

drstaceyny said...


rachel--I didn't realize she had admitted to struggling w/e.d. I've heard her describe her figure as boyish, "seeming" to be upset about that. BTW, this was an old cover I posted.

sarah--she does look very thin on "Live."

ptc--we're all pretty surprised. ; )

oro--I agree.

otter--what's happened in the last six months? Do share!

kellie--lol! Thanks. . .

kitty--tempting, indeed.

beth--I'm sorry this is true for you.

sarah--say away--it's how you feel.

persephone--true, and that was the point of the article; however, I disagree with you on one point--not everyone's body is meant to be skinny. There's that old genetics card that many people attempt to fight and then end up heavier than their natural weight.

anon--"No, we can't all be skinny, nor does everyone want to, but all this "don't worry, be happy, eat any damned thing you like and sit on your ass" is getting a bit old."

I agree, and am a big supporter of having a balanced diet and exercising much. However, genetics can make some people fat, and the act of dieting can make them fatter. For many people, counting calories leads (over time) to significant weight gain. That's just the way it is.

Alexandra said...

I used to be such a religious reader of Shape...and at least 2-3 other "health/fitness" magazines. That in addition to Vogue and 2-3 other fashion magazines.

Ever since I stopped that, I've been considerably happier with my body image and at peace with myself and my body and other peoples bodies.Now i look at them as a torture device I'm simply choosing not to put myself through. Pay $4.99 to feel horrible about who I am? Thanks, but no, thanks.

lauren said...

Just started reading I love this post......Do they honestly think this is earth shattering news?

Scale Junkie said...

WOW!! Thanks so much for that information Shape Magazine, now I'll be skinny by Friday!

Sarah said...

Anonymous, it's none of your damn business what people choose to eat and put in their bodies.

I've done the simple "eat less calories and exercise" thing. Still fat. I've been on this diet since I was, I don't know, five. Still fat.

As a little kid, I went to bed in tears because I was so damn hungry. Still fat.

For years, I went swimming and biking every single day. Still fat.

So, you know what? I'm staying fat. I'm not going to suffer because somebody *may* disapprove of my fat ass. I really don't give a care.

Anonymous said...

ive been struggling with bulimia, anorexia, exercise obsetion, ect..for six years pretty sure ive read every "secret" to weight loss there is..but still when i see a magazine with this type of cover i always must pick it up..

friendlyguy said...

Here, a two-page spread reveals--"The secret to Weight Loss? Calories" followed by the statement, "The truth is, all diets boil down to a simple formula--eating fewer calories than you burn."

That'd get you in a negative gross for calory munching. Truth is your metabolism goes a bit beyond burning calories. Thus a balanced diet plus a balanced daily routine would show, most prolley, a good result.

Dara said...

I'm a little scared to jump into the fray here, but...I'm Shape magazine's Weight-Loss Diary columnist this year and I just this morning discovered this blog. I'm enjoying reading everyone's comments and many of the points made here ring true for me.

I'm a full-time magazine journalist and the decision to take on writing the column was not easy for me. If you've read the column, you know that I was motivated by what I saw as a unique opportunity to get back to a healthy weight (for me).

I also write a weight-loss diary blog for Shape and one of the comments I've heard repeatedly from my readers is how thrilled they are to see someone who looks like them in a magazine (I'm five feet tall, not exactly a height you'd usually see in a magazine). Like many of them, I'm a working woman and a mom with a busy schedule.

What do I hope readers get out of my column and blog? The number one message I hope they get is that taking care of their health, through good nutrition choices and exercise, is the most important thing they can do for themselves and their families. That's what I've learned during this year and it's truly what I hope they take away from reading about my experience.

drstaceyny said...

alexandra--good for you!


dara--thanks for writing! I'm glad you're enjoying reading my blog. I support your message ("The number one message I hope they get is that taking care of their health, through good nutrition choices and exercise, is the most important thing they can do for themselves and their families") in its entirety, but would add that psychological health is a really important message for me. I hope that your readers are able to pursue their healthy weights without turning to (physically and psychologically) unhealthy measures. I'm glad that you are able to represent more women that the typical magazine model. That helps a lot.

Despite the fact that I lambasted Shape's calories in-calories out method (which, in all honesty, I recognize as a return to the basics approach, given the myriad diets out there), let me know if Shape would ever like to publish one of my posts. ; )

Wholesome Blogger said...

That is NOT Kelly Ripa's body.

Spectra said...

I read Shape a lot, as well as Fitness and some other health/fitness magazines. My problem is not that I don't exercise; it's that I exercise TOO MUCH. I think Kelly Ripa may be the same way? I know that I look very skinny to others (not to myself though) and I should try and gain weight. But it seems like all magazines think EVERYONE needs to lose weight, so I figure I do too. It's very much a mind game. I'm not saying that everyone should be fat and eat whatever they want, but I think sometimes when I read those fitness mags, I feel inadequate even though I work out for almost 4 hours a day most days a week.

I also think that they added some curves to Kelly Ripa's body on the cover. If you ever watch her on TV, she looks a lot bonier than that.

Anonymous said...

What I *love* most about these kind of magazines is the fact that the usual cover models are supposedly the epitome of femanine fitness... Yet if they feature anyone larger than a size 2, it's a big deal... as though they're hard-pressed to justify such an atrocity.

Just my random, semi-relevant thought.

Anonymous said...

The lighting on the body doesn't match the lighting on the face. The face is front lighting, the arm is from the side, and I don't know how they sneaked in the lighting on her crotch to make it look like her right thigh had a shadow.

When are they going to make a magazine called REAL, where no photos are ever airbrushed?