When I was a grad student at NYU, Joy Bauer came to give a talk about nutrition counseling. One thing she discussed stuck with me. She said, “read everything from scientific journals to the tabloids.” Her point was to familiarize yourself with everything your future clients may be seeing, so that you can have an answer or opinion. This was many years ago but, since opening Foodtrainers, I have had a notebook on my desk. If clients mention anything I’m unfamiliar with, I’ll research it. Yesterday, I was asked about donkey milk (seriously) for psoriasis, I’ll let you know what I uncover. More than once, in the past couple of months, Foodtrainers’ clients have asked me about Revenge Body.
If you, like I was, are unfamiliar with Revenge Body, it’s a show from Khloe, one of the Kardashian sisters. And if you, like me, have limited Kardashian knowledge, Khloe is the sister who has undergone a serious, physical transformation. I located the show on demand and watched the first episode. In the intro, Khloe explains how she was always the “fat sister” and then fell in love with fitness and here she is in form-fitting, little outfits to help others do the same. I’ll admit, I was shocked at how likable and relatable Khloe seemed.
The show tracks 2 participants, per episode, on a 12-week journey. Most of the time you see the initial “what it this doesn’t work for me” skepticism morph into “this physical transformation affects all areas of life, in a mostly-positive manner.” The participants are matched with top, LA trainers and subjected to intense, daily sessions. It’s like a more glamorous Biggest Loser but you see 12 weeks per episode and it’s not a competition. Admittedly, I was captivated.
And yet, as I binge-watched both seasons (sitting on the couch watching people work their asses off felt wrong so I moved to the Peloton bike) certain things didn’t feel right. The stories told are of people who have endured trauma, bullying, discrimination, even abuse. While I think the trainers selected seemed to nail the fitness piece, it didn’t seem right when they played psychologist or nutritionist. As a nutritionist, I know from experience that doctors or trainers giving their patients or clients lists of “what to eat” isn’t getting to the heart of the problem. Except for one episode with Cynthia Pasquella, I didn’t see one trained expert answer the “why we eat” piece. After all, when someone doesn’t have the support of daily training sessions or TV cameras, they are left with many of the issues they started with, although they may be packed in a fitter package.
One could say, it’s TV and they’re focused on the superficial but it doesn’t seem that shallow. While the term “Revenge Body” was off-putting to me, at first, each participant selects a relationship or experience that’s dysfunctional. So, there’s this attempt to unearth how those on the show gained weight or loss themselves. And while Khloe gives great, girlfriend-esque encouragement and advice, I’m just not sure she, or my trainer, should solve my mommy (or daddy) issues. However, if she ever films in NYC and needs Foodtrainers assistance, we’re here.
Have you watched the show? What do you think?