Cyndi Springford is the founder of Love Your Body Project: Peace, Love and Food and an ACE/AFAA Certified Personal Trainer, RRCA Certified Running Coach, Certified Eating Psychology Coach with training from the following organizations:  www.acefitness.org, www.afaa.com,www.psychologyofeating.com, www.rrca.org. Having worked in the fitness industry since 1993, her unique background in eating psychology and her own unique journey with food, I felt Cyndi was someone whose words would really resonate with all of you. This is a fantastic post from her blog, Cyndi Lou Running. 

A friend of mine posted a link on my fb timeline today, asking if I had seen it and called it amazing.  Below is the link, so you know what I’m talking about:

Go ahead and watch it.  I’ll wait. If you chose not to watch it, SPOILER ALERT… It shows women coming near a scale and an unseen narrator telling them that she wants them to approach the scale, asking them if they would like to weigh themselves. Then, the narrator says that she is not going to weigh them and asks instead, “What is your greatest accomplishment?”  This is followed by a 50 something woman who went back to school, another person who is celebrating 24 years of marriage, another woman celebrating her divorce, and a tearful woman who is a single mom that made the dean’s list.  There are a few more heartwarming stories that are designed to tug at your heartstrings.  The video then shows these same women putting their “accomplishments” on the scale.  When asked what it weighed, one woman replied, “It’s just not measurable” while another one said, “I’m more proud of what I’m doing than what my weight is”. The description on the youtube clip reads:  If you’re going to weigh something, weigh what matters. Share how you want to be weighed with the hashtag #WeighThis. Aw.  It’s touching, right?  Did it make you tear up?  Give you goosebumps?  Get you all emotional?

Welcome to the amazingly powerful world of advertising which, defined, is a form of marketing communication used to promote or sell something, usually a business’s product or service.  I have to give it up to Lean Cuisine for using the scale tactic to hit you right in the feels.  After all, they certainly do know their target market (women) and manipulated their emotional nature to elicit a response.  I can imagine women everywhere watching this and applauding, exclaiming loudly, “oh!  They get me!” Not so fast.  I may sound like a cynical, jaded killjoy, but this has to be said.

Did you know that the dietary guidelines set forth from health.gov estimates total calorie needs for adult women to be between 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day?  Sedentary women aged 19-30 need between 1,800-2000.  SEDENTARY WOMEN.  Quite a far cry from what Lean Cuisine offers.  Their Creamy Basil Chicken with Tortellini offers 230 calories.  How about the Cheese & Tomato Snack Pizza?  This one comes in at a paltry 160 calories.  The Lasagna with Meat Sauce looks hearty in comparison weighing in at 320 calories. 

So, if we were to average these three meals, we are talking about 235-240 calories per serving.  Multiply that by three and you get a grand total of 720 calories.  Hell, I’ll be generous.  Multiply that by six (if we adhere to the three small meals/three daily snacks “diet” staple) and you get a whopping 1,440.  For.The.Entire.Day.  May I remind you what Lean Cuisine does?  They sell low calorie, prepackaged diet food which is specifically marketed to women.  They are the Diet Industry.  They ARE.  They want to you get by on as little nourishment as possible so you can shrink yourself down.  They claim to be an ally for Women’s Wellness, but how can that be when they are clearly representing diet culture?  They also say that they are here to make food that helps women thrive, but do you realize HOW MUCH of their food you would have to eat in order to “THRIVE” and be satisfied, particularly if you are active?  

Ladies, please don’t be fooled by the touchy feely, warm and fuzzy approach used in this youtube clip.  They may be deemphasizing the scale, but they are certainly aligning themselves with every other facet of diet culture, particularly low calorie, portion controlled “meals”. 

How can you take their message seriously in light of who they are and what they promote?   You don’t need “lean” cuisine.  You don’t need pre-portioned, pre-packaged meals that leave you hungry ten minutes later.  You need to take your power back.  You need to trust yourself.  You need to think critically about these sneaky, subliminal messages that the diet industry is feeding us.  So, that’s my opinion.  Feel free to #WeighThis.