Your Body is Not an Object: Read This Before You Watch 'Revenge Body'

There’s a new reality show on E! -- aka The Kardashian Network. It’s called Revenge Body with Khloe. Because my television is somehow always tuned to this channel, I found myself watching a few episodes. The premise is simple. Basically, everyday people come on the show hoping to achieve the kind of glow-up Khloe experienced (once the “fat sister,” now looking banging) to exact revenge on that one person in their lives that did them wrong. Khloe hooks them up with the top trainers and nutritionists in the game, and the contestants have six weeks to transform from everyday to Kardashian. At the end of the episode, and the six weeks, the contestants each have a “big reveal,” where they pop out from behind a curtain to face their friends and family as well as that one person who was so undoubtedly cruel to them.

 

At this point in the episode, it’s hard not to smile and feel happy for the contestants who prance around their family members and friends, seemingly confident and carefree for the first time. But the rest of the episode is painful to watch.

On each contestant’s “journey” from Point A to Point B (miserable to glowing,) he or she is shown in scenes of extreme pain, discomfort, and embarrassment. Being barked at by LA’s so called toughest trainer. Throwing up in the gym bathroom. Having all the food in your fridge violently thrown in to the trash by a stringent nutritionist. Being called “obese.” This is television, so viewers should expect some dramatization.  However, these are scenes that I think everyone who has ever worked out or attempted a healthier lifestyle can relate to.

How many times have you heard, in a work out class, phrases like “Earn that dessert!” or “No pain no game!” Working out, for most people, is a punishment, and obligation, or a painful attempt at recreating that #fitspo or #bodygoals photo.

It’s great to have fitness goals. But when we base our goals on some image of what we want our bodies to look like, we engage in what is known as self-objectification. In short, this means that we view ourselves as an object first and a person second. This may sound like a stretch, but think about it: what are these “before and after” photos besides a visual display of one entity? How about that number on the scale? That photo and that number do not represent the intangible, human elements of fitness like strength (mental and physical,) stamina, endurance, and flexibility. Moreover, they fail to account for the variety of different body types and individual fitness journeys we are all on.

Studies show that those who create fitness goals laden with self-objectification – like wanting to drop 10 pounds, to fit in that bikini, (or to get revenge on someone?) are more likely to become discouraged and abandon their goals all together. Comparatively, when we create goals based on our intrinsic motivation, we are more likely to achieve long-term success as well as willingness to engage in variety of exercises.

So how should we rewrite our fitness goals to stay motivated for the long haul? In recognition of Eating Disorder Awareness week last month, TrillFit hopes to inspire women and men alike to focus on what makes them feel good – mentally and physically. Through a variety of classes – Hip Hop Cardio, Sculpt, and Hip Hop Yoga, we invite people to explore what kind of work out makes them feel the most human. Is it bending beyond your capacity in yoga? Or dropping it low in Hip Hop? When you find it, and pursue it, results will come naturally. And these results will last longer than that one moment in front of the curtain.