By Caroline Wilcox
“Who do you want to get revenge on?” is a question you’d expect to hear on a show like Punk’d, not a weight loss show. Though surprisingly, it is the most prominent question Khloe Kardashian asks her participants on her new show Revenge Body. The premise of the show is to use someone’s humiliation and haters as inspiration to change themselves, rather than moving on and cutting those people out of their life.
You only have to watch one episode of the show to see that the focus is on the reasons behind the transformation, not the future or well-being of the participant. This inevitably gives power to the bullies and everyone who’s ever put these people down; and makes the transformation for them instead of the participant themself. For instance, instead of working out to live a longer and healthier life, they work out to get their ex back.
While watching the show, it’s easy to forget that the trainers are not therapists and the sessions are not meant to be therapy. Physical fitness does not equal happiness.
Not only does Revenge Body advertise twisted reasons for losing weight, but it also might have negative consequences on one’s mental health. The show promotes a certain image of what society thinks a body should look like, which can be very unhealthy. Not achieving the perfect image can cause depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. To use body image as a form of revenge can lead to an obsession with exercise, which is called Overtraining Syndrome; defined by Dr. Phil Maffetone as “hormonal, nutritional, emotional, muscular, and neurological imbalances.”
Revenge Body deals with present issues. It’s solutions don’t work in the long term and once the episodes are over, the participants are forced back to reality to deal with the emotions by themselves.