Television’s fashion police on TLC are a well known duo who help people not only look better, but in many instances “feel better” about themselves. Given that fashion is not just about trends and popular styles, but rather a science in defining the highlights of your body and hiding the unsightly, Stacey and Clinton have shown that understanding basic fashion concepts can help redefine an individual. Let me be the first to say that I am a fan of much of their work when it comes to people who have never learned how to dress their bodies in a flattering way, and especially those who have made healthy physical changes by dropping excess weight yet still wear “overweight clothes”. For helping people be more confident, more self respecting, and overall carry themselves with a greater self esteem, I applaud Stacey and Clinton. HOWEVER, there is also a classic case of fashion faupaux that is addressed on the show of which I am NOT in favor. The typical scenario is that of an individual who over the years has gained weight, is not happy with the way they look, and is most likely suffering from an underlying medical condition(s) associated with their weight gain. These individuals are confronted by Stacey and Clinton, given $5000 in spending money and told to “be comfortable in the size you’re in”. This is potentially a $5000 death sentence to which I am greatly opposed. Here’s why Stacey and Clinton are sabotaging the health of these individuals and sending them to an early grave.
Our brains are adapted to send off “warning signals” when our bodies go outside the norm of our typical health. That feeling of pain and discomfort you get in your shoulder when you eat too much (your stomach and diaphragm muscle pressing on the phrenic nerve), nausea when you look at more food, and that feeling of disgust and guilt you feel when you’ve had one too many helpings are all signals that are telling us we’ve crossed the line. If however, these signals are ignored, or are interfered with so that the brain doesn’t recognize the severity of it, the body responds by readjusting what “normal” is. For example, if you have a pair of properly fitting dress pants and you overeat, those pants are going to feel tight and uncomfortable. Discomfort is the signal your body understands so that you stop eating (no matter how good that chocolate cake tastes). If however, instead of those pants you’re wearing a pair of loose fitting sweatpants with an extra stretchy elastic waist, your brain has a bit more difficulty finding the discomfort zone. This same concept can be applied to Stacey and Clinton’s approach to clothing and fashion.
When an individual openly admits that they don’t like the way they look and feel about themselves because of their weight, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Their brain is openly telling them that “this is harmful to your health”. However, when Stacey and Clinton tell this person that “they need to be comfortable with themselves at this weight” and “happy in your own skin”, they are purposely negating that warning signal. Therefore, when you get more comfortable in the next size up of pants or dress size, your body interprets this as the new normal and your metabolism responds accordingly by allowing your body to maintain that higher weight. The higher that weight goes, the more dangerous it is to your health.
So my advice to those of you following the show’s advice – Although looking your best is important, being your healthiest is always top priority. If someone was having self esteem and health issues because they weren’t happy with their weight, I would rather give them $5000 to for a personal trainer and nutritionist to help them take control of their health and well being.
Let’s be honest, a $5 t-shirt on a flat stomach and $20 jeans on a pair of toned legs will always look better than any designer brand on belly rolls. Stacey and Clinton, your unhealthy enabling is worse than a brown belt with black shoes with white pants on Labour Day. For that reason, the doctor gives you two a big designer FAIL.