“Revenge Body”: The Show Viewers Love to Hate

At the beginning of its second season, entertainment reporter Maria Fischer chastised “Revenge Body,” listing a number of cogent complaints which are summarized and paraphrased here. People should not try to lose weight for any reason other than health. Nothing can be gained by spreading the idea that thinness is the highest state of bliss to which a human may aspire.

Philosophical considerations aside, there is the deception angle. The star promotes the show by way of social media with too many of her own “before-and-after” pictures, a habit that strikes some people as extra objectionable. According to detractors, Khloe Kardashian’s “after” body was not attained with simple diet and exercise, but through the arcane arts of plastic surgeons and liposuctionists that the average person cannot possibly afford.

The show promotes name-calling and fat-shaming, and makes viewers feel bad about themselves. Viewers buy home gym equipment to use as catch-alls for dirty clothes. Viewers can’t afford personal trainers. And many people who don’t appear on TV, just like the ones who do, mostly need actual therapy from a professional trained to work with disordered minds and shattered emotions. But they can’t afford that, either.

The mentor and the trainers

One of the show’s personal trainers, Latreal Mitchell, sees it as positive, confidence-building, and conducive to the goal of helping people love themselves. The participants come away with a different frame of mind (and isn’t that what we all want?).

And fat-shaming is not her department. She is quoted as saying,

I know tons of big girls who are my best friends in the world, who have zero desire to go to the gym, and who eat what they want. When I see them walk in the room, they own the room because they love themselves, and their body, and who they are.

Trainer Simone De La Rue would have preferred a show whose title included the word “restart” rather than the negatively-tinged “revenge.”

Kardashian attributes much of her success in recreating herself to Gunnar Peterson, who does not seem to stress out over theories of motivation. Whatever nudges a person to make healthful changes is fine with him. He is quoted as saying,

Ultimately, [clients] will see the bigger picture and realize that the rewards they reap go far beyond anyone or anything that wronged them. Health and fitness make every aspect of your life better. Time heals all and the initial motivation for taking the leap will be a distant memory.

In some ways the show appears to be at odds with itself, possibly as a result of wanting to be all things to all women.

In one of the earlier posts on this topic, Childhood Obesity News quoted Khloe Kardashian’s recommendation to perfect one’s own “revenge body” as a means of getting even with (for example) any Hollywood stylist or designer who has refused to treat you like royalty. No kidding, those were the actual examples she gave. This is not a shining example of mental health, nor does it say much for a “reality” show that is so out of touch with reality.

Contrast this with the completely different spin given to the concept by “Revenge Body” trainer Lacey Stone, who told Cosmopolitan,

I was an overweight kid, I’ve been divorced, I’m gay, I’ve gotten fired, I moved from one city to another, I have a friend that died… That’s why I got on the show — I’m relatable.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “7 problematic things about ‘Revenge Body’ that Khloe needs to fix ASAP,” Revelist.com, 01/09/18
Source: “This Revenge Body Trainer Wants You To Rethink The Show’s Message,” Refinery29.com, 01/08/18
Source: “How Healthy Is ‘Revenge Body’ Anyway?,” HollywoodReporter.com, 01/30/17
Source: “17 Fascinating Behind-the-Scenes Secrets from Trainers on Revenge Body With Khloe Kardashian,” Cosmopolitan.com, 01/24/18
Photo credit: Runway Pilates on Visualhunt/CC BY

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
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Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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