Don’t Allow Obesity To Turn You Into A Victim


 

In my writing and speaking I focus on the positive aspects of life,  not only to be motivational, but to inspire those that are battling obesity to take charge of their own lack of self-control and in turn take command of their lives.

Often times I have been accused of being unfair, unfeeling or uncaring.  Of the three, the most often accusation leveled at me is that I am unfair.

Look at some of my before pictures.  I was an unhealthy, unfit and an undesirable three hundred and forty pounds.  What my detractors don’t understand, or perhaps just don’t like, is the fact that I shed my victim status and took responsibility for my deplorable physical condition.

As far as improving quality of life — the best way to improve quality of life is to shed body fat and embrace a fit lifestyle. I do not require, nor do I desire, an organization to justify my lack of inner-strength nor to propose legislation to force others to make accommodations for my lack of self-discipline.

There are others outside the world of weight loss and fitness who just as wholeheartedly promote people to embrace victim status.   WILK’s Steve Corbett jumps to mind as the leading local voice attempting to convince his listeners that others are responsible for both their lot in life and their salvation.

In any setting the victimizers are all the same.   They promote themselves as being the defenders of certain individuals, when in fact, they exploit those individuals to further their agenda.

The victimizers not only want, but need us to accept the role as victim.  Their own self worth, advancement of their ideals and excuses for their own weakness requires that their target audience scapegoat others for their predicaments.  The victimizers entire sense of self is dependent upon the victimization of the masses. Without people accepting victims status, they have no audience and in turn possess no tangible self worth.

In the battle over obesity how can you no longer be a victim? In the absence of an underlying medical condition, accept the fact that you are responsible for your current condition.  Once you accept that it is your choices, your responses to situations that led you to where you are; resolve to no longer be a victim of those particular choices.

What is most fascinating about these two incredible individuals is that they made their decisions not to be victims at young ages.  Stephanie was nine years old when she embarked on her dream of being a champion paralympic skier and Bethany was thirteen when she made the choice not allow the loss of an arm to derail her dreams to be a champion surfer.

Can we as adults learn from the examples of those so young?

Is there a situation so bleak that it requires unhealthy eating?

Are we able to overcome simple laziness to reach our fitness goals?

The answers are yes, no and yes. We are capable of learning, we are intelligent enough to realize that food will not solve any problem and we can be resolute to overcome laziness.

However, those who promote victimization would tell you just the opposite. They do not want you to believe in yourself.  They do not want you to accept individual responsibility and perhaps most importantly, they do not want you to believe that you as an individual can conquer your own inner demons. There are no more malevolent persons than those that want you to be convinced that your fate, your position or your condition is the fault of someone other than yourself.  The evil resides in their desire for you to stay fat and down and out simply to justify their existence.

Say no to being victimized.

Say no to the vicitmizers.

Say no to being a victim.

———————————————————————————————————————

Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book; Fat Then Fit Now;  A life beyond wight loss.

Dr. Joe Leonardi is available to appear on any talk radio, internet podcasting or television outlet. He has appeared on Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Entercom’s Outlook on Northeast PA with Shadoe Steele, Citadel Broadcasting’s Sunday Magazine with Brian Hughes, Lisa Davis’ Your Health Radio; Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast; Hank Garner’s Podcast.

Dr. Joe Leonardi also will come and speak to your group; to learn more about his motivational speaking fees and availability contact him at fatthenfitnow@me.com 

———————————————————————————————————————

 

Being An Overweight Child and Being Bullied


I recently came across an article on Medscape concerning childhood obesity and bullying.

The opening line states; “Obese children are more likely to be bullied than their nonobese peers regardless of sex, race, socioeconomic status (SES), social skills, or academic achievement, according to a University of Michigan study published online May 3 in Pediatrics.”

My initial reaction was; I wonder if I could get some fool to hand me a bunch of  research money to study the possibility of  the ground getting wet when it rains?

In my mind, obesity and bullying  is just one of those topics that does not require any research. Ask any adult, me included, who was overweight as a child, if they experienced bullying.

I was picked on.

I was tormented.

I was mercilessly attacked, mostly verbally but sometimes physically,  for being overweight.

I am not a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, but I understand what it is like to have been picked on as an overweight child. Hell, I wasn’t even that overweight.

I was always a “big-boned” youth. Growing up, I would get a hard time about it from my friends. Mostly it was harmless, but when I entered junior high school things changed.

It was in the seventh grade that good-natured ribbing changed over to malevolent, menacing, mean-spirited bullying.  Kids from different grade schools came together in one place. I was no longer solely with the children I spent the last seven years getting to know. There were new kids I had never met, kids from the tougher parts of Greater Pittston. I was with twelve year olds that cursed, smoked and would think nothing of punching you in the face for looking at them funny.

To quote a movie, “I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.”

My torment started on the very first day, walking to school.  In an alley were a gang of kids hanging out, smoking before we had to be in the building. It was from them I heard;

“Hey Fatso! Are you going to make it up the hill?!”

It was a mild taunt.

I just kept walking.

Each day it got worse.

I tried ignoring them, but that only fueled their need to hurl even more insults.

I tried walking faster, but I couldn’t escape their shouts.

I opted to walk a different way. That worked — until they found my new route.

After that, the insults became more vicious, punctuated by threatening profanities. Added to the comments about my weight, were affronts to my courage, or as they perceived, lack thereof.

I once tried to fight, but that was fruitless. I just got my ass kicked and gave the bullies more ammunition. These daily confrontations went on for all of seventh and eighth grade — for two long years, silently, I endured.

In ninth grade, things changed. I had been lifting weights with my best friend Francis for two years on and off, but that summer I became serious about it. I started to get more physically active. I even went out for football. The summer program of running and drills combined with weightlifting and better eating presented an unrecognizable person the following year.

I weighed more, but that weight was distributed differently. Though I still couldn’t fight my way out of a paper bag, those that bullied me no longer took me for an easy mark. While I am not sure if they would have understood the meaning of the word respect, they treated me differently and no longer taunted me.

One of the conclusions of the article is that parents should not use bullying to coerce a child into losing weight. Even considering my childhood, it is a conclusion with which I whole-heartedly agree. Besides, often times parents, guardians and even teachers may not even be aware there is a situation. My parents never knew I was being bullied.  I never uttered a word. Even when it became physical, I would just shrug it off as a fight.   (When I was a kid getting into an occasional scuffle did not raise any alarms)

However, parents need to be aware that if their child is overweight or worse, obese, that child is more than likely, to some degree being picked on.

It is happening.

the picture consist of articles on bullying, I...

Image via Wikipedia

It may be as mild as being called names or it could be much worse. Though I 100% agree with the conclusion that any degree of bullying should not be used as motivation for the child, it could be used as motivation for the parent. As I have written before — obesity is not a complex problem, however when it comes to children, they must be properly guided. They must be handled with care. Their emotions and body image can be negatively influenced if they perceive that their own parents regard them as different.

They need direction.

They require affection and love.

They must have parental involvement.

In my youth my parents helped in both little and big ways. They purchased a weight set as a gift. My mom would prepare foods that would not adversely effect my weight. They allowed me to pursue my new passions. They supported and encouraged me.

I wasn’t any good at the sports I participated in, but my parents were in the stands for each and every game.

They came in the rain.

They came in the cold.

They came in the heat.

They sat for hours, just to watch me sit on the bench. It didn’t matter to them whether I played or not. They were proud and they showed it by being there. Most importantly —  knew they were there.

It is time for all of us to not only start to do battle with the epidemic of childhood obesity, but to emerge victorious. The victims are too young, they are too precious and they are too important for us not to.

———————————————————————————————————————

Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book; Fat Then Fit Now;  A life beyond wight loss.

He is available to speak at no charge to any school or any youth group. He will make himself available to any talk radio, internet podcasting or television outlet. He has appeared on Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Entercom’s Outlook on Northeast PA with Shadoe Steele, Citadel Broadcasting’s Sunday Magazine with Brian Hughes, Lisa Davis’ Your Health Radio; Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast; Hank Garner’s Podcast.

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When Discussing Childhood Obesity; Discuss Health, NOT Appearance


Talk show host and TV cook Rachel Ray in the 2...

I was emailed a link to a story concerning the Rachael Ray Show by one of my clients. Since I had been overweight as a child, he was interested in my opinion about the young person, in a very public forum, trying to lose seventy pounds for an upcoming prom. I am not home during the airing of the Rachael Ray talk show, thus I’m not very familiar with the goings on of her foray into syndicated t.v. talk, so I had to do some research.

First and most importantly, I am not going to mention the name of the young person. I am aware that the name is public;  however, I choose not to mention it.

Secondly, anything I am about to write is not directed at this young person and if you wish to comment here, I will delete any comments directed at this individual.

Thirdly, for full disclosure, I am a huge fan of Rachael Ray. I have watched her various programming on cable t.v. and enjoyed each and every one of them.

Finally, what I am writing is how I feel about this. I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist or a mental health worker. I am a Chiropractor and educator by profession, a person who underwent bullying as a child because I was overweight and I was, until two years ago, a morbidly obese adult. I am very concerned with the obesity epidemic in the United States and even more concerned about what is happening to our children. It is my hope to one day begin a foundation to increase awareness about childhood obesity and the resultant type II diabetes. You may agree with what I am about to write and say in my podcast or you may disagree, either way I invite your comments, criticisms and concerns. I just ask that you leave out the young person’s name.

With all that said, from the information I was able to gather, I am upset with this continuing “story” on Rachael Ray’s very popular television talk program. I am not sure such a public forum is the place for a child’s battle with obesity. Yet, even with my concerns over the microscope this person will now be scrutinized under, that really isn’t my issue.

No, I have several issues with how this weight loss “story” is being portrayed and played out. Childhood obesity is a real problem in our country. I have written about the topic on this blog and in guest columns for my local newspaper. I have made myself available to be part of a program on my local PBS affiliate, WVIA, about the topic and I have spoken to educators and administrators in local public schools. It may very well be today’s most serious health threat to our children.

My first issue is the way that this is being portrayed on the program’s website. To quote, “Join us for the start of an inspirational journey as we follow one overweight teen’s struggle to take control of her life and finally reach a place where she can love and accept herself.” When I discuss childhood obesity, I never, ever mention appearance. This quote can lead to no other conclusion that the pathway to happiness is improving one’s appearance.  I always discuss the issue in terms of overall health and fitness. By emphasizing appearance, one can open a horrible, self-loathing portal into the attitude that looks are the most important aspect of childhood. Much in the same vein, this line stating that once this-person loses weight, the ability of self-acceptance and self-love will be automatically given.  What a disgusting implication!

Is a person, due to obesity, not worthy of accepting one’s self?

What kind of message does this solitary sentiment send out to other young people who may read it?

If we are unable to accept and love ourselves, does this, to the reader, now intimate we are unable to receive acceptance or love from others?

When we are tackling childhood obesity, it must never be done from these points of view:

-appearance

-acceptance

-worthiness

or

-love

We should impart to our children so they clearly understand that their weight does not sway our view of them, not one iota. We must convey that we are concerned for their overall health and fitness. We are not concerned about how they appear and we never make their weight a condition of our love for them, nor should they make it a condition of their love for themselves.

In my column entitled: Childhood Obesity and Bullying, I relate about how my parents supported me. They never made my appearance or even my ability to perform in sports I participated in a condition of their support. They were there to congratulate my success and to console my failures. Either way, I never doubted their love for and acceptance of me and I never had self-doubt for either myself.

It is my strong opinion that to encourage fitness upon our children, we should only focus on the health aspect. The premise on the Rachael Ray show that the weight loss will equate to self-love and self-acceptance is fundamentally flawed.

Rachael Ray with John McCain in the kitchen on...

My next issue with the Rachel Ray Show’s “story” about overcoming obesity is the whole “time frame” aspect of losing weight.

This is driven by a goal setting mentality gone amok and it is exacerbated by certain television programing. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with setting goals, but goals should help not hinder your progress. The time setting goal falls into the hinder side of the equation.

When I was dropping my weight, I was often told by many people: “I was losing weight too fast.” I asked them according to who? The answer was always the same; “They say you shouldn’t lose weight too fast.”

Well here is the kicker: I wasn’t trying to lose weight at any given pace. By utilizing a new eating plan and an exercise program that consisted of both progressive resistance training and endurance workouts, I was optimizing my weight loss. The goal was a desired final weight, a desired clothing size, a reduction in body fat and improved overall health measures such as blood pressure, pulse rate and lab work. I had interval goals, but the date I was to reach my goals was never an issue.

I tell my clients repeatedly, weight comes off as it comes off. Other than what I instruct, there are other methods to influence the rate of loss, but many of those gimmicks to hasten the speed really do nothing for the long-term goal. Besides, some may have injurious consequences.

I emphasize the need to get the “a certain weight by a certain date”mentality out of their heads. We don’t focus solely on the readings of a scale. Our goal is more that weight loss, it is an improvement in overall health and fitness.

English: Rachael Ray in Enterprise, AL. She, a...

Now on the Rachael Ray Show, they are pigeonholing this young person into a time frame to lose weight. The goal, as stated on the website, is to drop a fixed amount of weight by a fixed future date — the date of the prom.

Which leads me into my next issue with the Rachael Ray Show’s “story;” utilizing the EVENT motivation technique.

Anyone who knows me is well aware I have tried this method myself. I was going to get in shape for my first wedding, though I had gotten in a little bit of shape, I didn’t reach my goal. So what was I to do? Not get married? Well maybe I shouldn’t have, but I digress.  Of course, soon after the wedding, I just got out of shape again. So, the next event comes up and I am going to get in shape for that one. I do. Then after? Yep, back out of shape… and so on and so forth.

An adult should never focus on losing weight for any other reason than getting healthier and fit — end of story. All the other extraneous reasons are nothing more than obstacles to the long-term realization of a fit life. So then, why would we apply a different standard to a child?

It again comes to this self-worth theme that appears on the Rachael Ray website.

Are they sending the message that if you weigh too much, you should not attend your prom?

Are they sending the message that you have to be thinner to attend the prom?

Are they taking the risk of exploiting a serious problem for the sake of ratings or are their intentions genuine?

I can’t answer the last question. Rachael Ray is a celebrity. I don’t know the person behind the persona. However, the first two questions are the ones of greater importance, not only to the young person whose “story” is being followed, but to all of our youth.

We should NEVER emphasize whether a child will be loved, accepted or able to attend an important event based upon their weight or appearance. We should endeavor to educate our young people that the importance of preventing or reversing obesity is to live a healthy, fit and active life

Aloha, Ciao and Stay Healthy,

Joe

************The information contained herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting and videos do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions No guarantees are made or to be implied.************

 

Victims, Victimizers and Victimization


In my writing and speaking I focus on the positive aspects of life,  not only to be motivational, but to inspire those that are battling obesity to take charge of their own lack of self-control and in turn take command of their lives.

Often times I have been accused of being unfair, unfeeling or uncaring.  Of the three, the most often accusation leveled at me is that I am unfair.

Services must accommodate obese people with sp...

Services must accommodate obese people with specialist equipment such as much wider chairs. Bakewell J (2007). “Bariatric furniture: Considerations for use.”. Int J Ther Rehabil (7) : 329–33 . . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am criticized for not understanding the plight of those who are obese.  I am attacked for not supporting groups like the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance or worse for not be welcoming of their mission statement which reads; NAAFA is a non-profit human rights organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for fat people. 

Look at some of my before pictures.  I was an unhealthy, unfit and an undesirable three hundred and forty pounds.  What my detractors don’t understand, or perhaps just don’t like, is the fact that I shed my victim status and took responsibility for my deplorable physical condition.

As far as improving quality of life — the best way to improve quality of life is to shed body fat and embrace a fit lifestyle. I do not require, nor do I desire, an organization to justify my lack of inner strength nor to propose legislation to force others to make accommodations for my lack of discipline.

There are others outside the world of weight loss and fitness who just as wholeheartedly promote people to embrace victim status.   WILK’s Steve Corbett jumps to mind as the leading local voice attempting to convince his listeners that other people are responsible for both their lot in life and their salvation.

In any setting the victimizers are all the same.   They promote themselves as being the defenders of certain individuals, when in fact, they exploit those individuals to further their agenda.

The victimizers not only want, but need us to accept the role as victim.  Their own self worth, advancement of their ideals and excuses for their own weakness requires that their target audience scapegoat others for their predicaments.  The victimizers entire sense of self is dependent upon the victimization of the masses. Without people accepting victim status, they have no audience — and in turn, possess no tangible self worth.

In the battle over obesity, how can you no longer be a victim? In the absence of an underlying medical condition, accept the fact that you and your choices are responsible for your current condition.  Once you accept that it is your choices and your responses to situations that led you to where you are — resolve to no longer be a victim of those particular choices.

Photo by Noah Hamilton

Photo by Noah Hamilton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have written about two amazing young people; Stephanie Jallen and Bethany Hamilton.  Both of these young people could very well have been the victims of circumstance.  Yet, these women made a choice that they would NOT be victims.  They would not simply overcome their situations, but they would succeed because of what others would perceive as limitations.  They did not blame others for what happened to them. They accepted what fate had delivered into their lives and have gone on to great achievements.

What is most fascinating about these two incredible individuals is that they made their decisions not to be victims at young ages.  Stephanie was nine years old when she embarked on her dream of being a champion paralympic skier and Bethany was thirteen when she decided to not allow the loss of an arm to derail her dreams to be a champion surfer.  Read that again; one person was nine the other thirteen years old.  They chose how they would respond to adversity before they were even old enough to drive a car.

Can we as adults learn from the examples of those so young?

Is there a situation so bleak that it requires unhealthy eating?

Are we able to overcome simple laziness to reach our fitness goals?

The answers are yes, no and yes. We are capable of learning, we are intelligent enough to realize that food will not solve the problems and we can be resolute to overcome laziness.

However, those who promote victimization would tell you just the opposite.

They do not want you to believe in yourself.

They do not want you to accept individual responsibility and perhaps most importantly, they do not want you to believe that you as an individual can conquer your own inner demons.

There are no more malevolent persons than those that want you to be convinced that your fate, your position or your condition is the fault of someone other than yourself.  The evil resides in their desire for you to stay overweight, out of shape and down and out simply to justify their existence.

Say no to being victimized.

Say no to the vicitmizers.

Say no to being a victim.

——————————————————————————————————

Physical Culturist and Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book, “Obesity Undone” and a contributor to NaturallySavvy.com. He is available to appear on any talk radio, internet podcast or television outlet. His web site www.ObesityUndone.com is available to help you reach your goals.

He has appeared on 94.3FM’s The David Maderia Show, Bounce Back to Your Brilliance w/Angel Tyree, What’s Weighing You Downw/Dr. Marilyn Gansel on FTNS radio, Nurture and Nutrition on Blog Talk Radio, Low Carb Conversations with Jimmy Moore and Friends, BlogTalk Radio’s Toni Harris Speaks, Internet Radio: Cathie’s Talking, TV -35′s Storm Politics with Tiffany Cloud, WILK’s The Sue Henry Show, Magic 93′s Frankie In The Morning, WBRE’s PA Live, SSPTV’s News 13, Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Entercom’s Outlook on Northeast PA with Shadoe Steele, Citadel Broadcasting’s Sunday Magazine with Brian Hughes, Lisa Davis’ Your Health Radio; Hank Garner’s Podcast, Dr. Robert Su’s Carbohydrates Can Kill Podcast; and the one and only Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast.
Dr. Joe Leonardi also will come and speak to your group; to learn more about his motivational speaking fees and availability contact him at docjoeleonardi@betterlifeseminars.com and check out his website www.betterlifeseminars.com.
———————————————————————————————————————
************The information  is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting that I write do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions.************

 

Why the Rachael Ray Show has me a tad upset — Part I


This column is Part I of a two-part series.

{What I am about to write does not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions.} ***Also, you may read some of my other columns concerning adult obesity. I take an entirely different track when it comes to children***

I was emailed a link to a story concerning the Rachael Ray Show by one of my clients. Since I had been overweight as a child, he was interested in my opinion about the young person, in a very public forum, trying to lose seventy pounds for an upcoming prom. I am not home during the airing of the Rachael Ray talk show, thus I’m not very familiar with the goings on of her foray into syndicated t.v. talk, so I had to do some research.

First and most importantly, I am not going to mention the name of the young person. I am aware that the name is public;  however, I choose not to mention it.

Secondly, anything I am about to write is not directed at this young person and if you wish to comment here, I will delete any comments directed at this individual.

Thirdly, for full disclosure, I am a huge fan of Rachael Ray. I have watched her various programming on cable t.v. and enjoyed each and every one of them.

Finally, what I am writing is how I feel about this. I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist or a mental health worker. I am a Chiropractor and educator by profession, a person who underwent bullying as a child because I was overweight and I was, until two years ago, a morbidly obese adult. I am very concerned with the obesity epidemic in the United States and even more concerned about what is happening to our children. It is my hope to one day begin a foundation to increase awareness about childhood obesity and the resultant type II diabetes. You may agree with what I am about to write and say in my podcast or you may disagree, either way I invite your comments, criticisms and concerns. I just ask that you leave out the young person’s name.

With all that said, from the information I was able to gather, I am upset with this continuing “story” on Rachael Ray’s very popular television talk program. I am not sure such a public forum is the place for a child’s battle with obesity. Yet, even with my concerns over the microscope this person will now be scrutinized under, that really isn’t my big issue.

No, I have several BIG issues with how this weight loss “story” is being portrayed and played out. Childhood obesity is a real problem in our country. I have written about the topic on this blog and in guest columns for my local newspaper. I have made myself available to be part of a program on my local PBS affiliate, WVIA, about the topic and next year I will be starting to speak in high schools, to not only students, but teachers and administrators. It may very well be today’s most serious health threat to our children.

My first BIG issue is the way that this is being portrayed on the program’s website. To quote, “Join us for the start of an inspirational journey as we follow one overweight teen’s struggle to take control of her life and finally reach a place where she can love and accept herself.” When I discuss childhood obesity, I never, ever mention appearance. This quote can lead to no other conclusion that the pathway to happiness is improving one’s appearance.  I always discuss the issue in terms of overall health and fitness. By emphasizing appearance, one can open a horrible, self-loathing portal into the attitude that looks are the most important aspect of childhood. Much in the same vein, this line stating that once this-person loses weight, the ability of self-acceptance and self-love will be automatically given.  What a disgusting implication!

Is a person, due to obesity, not worthy of accepting one’s self?

What kind of message does this solitary sentiment send out to other young people who may read it?

If we are unable to accept and love ourselves, does this, to the reader, now intimate we are unable to receive acceptance or love from others?

When we are tackling childhood obesity, it must never me done from these points of view: appearance, acceptance, worthiness or love. We must make our children understand that their weight does not sway our view of them, not one iota. We must convey that we are concerned for their overall health and fitness. We are not concerned about how they appear and we never make their weight a condition of our love for them, nor should they make it a condition of their love for themselves.

In my column entitled: Childhood Obesity and Bullying, I relate about how my parents supported me. They never made my appearance or even my ability to perform in sports I participated in a condition of their support. They were there to congratulate my success and to console my failures. Either way, I never doubted their love for and acceptance of me and I never had self-doubt for either myself.

To conclude part I, it is my opinion that to encourage fitness upon our children, we should only focus on the health aspect. The premise on the Rachael Ray show that the weight loss will equate to self-love and self-acceptance is fundamentally flawed.