Ok, first thing I should say is that I buy the SW magazine every month and very much enjoy it - I like the recipes and I'm blown away by what some of the people featured in the success stories have achieved. It is cheering and inspiring to see the 'after' photos of them looking healthy and happy and they have my utmost respect for achieving their goals. What I am about to say is in no way aimed at them - it is more about the way in which their stories are 'packaged' by the magazine. I should also say that this applies to other 'diet' magazines as well, not just SW.
It is just that I have started to feel a little bit uncomfortable with the very predictable 'narrative' of the success stories - in particular with the emphasis on how totally miserable the people featured were when they were 'fat'. How they never wore nice clothes, or did things, or achieved their dreams, because of their weight. Now obviously if you are severely overweight there are all sorts of tangible health, emotional, and practical implications that might have a negative impact on how you feel - I'm not questioning that. But the narrative in these stories seems to be the same, whether the person started out at 20stone or 12stone, or anywhere in between. It always seems to be 'I was miserable/underachieving/lacking confidence, because I was fat, then I found SW (or WW, or RC) and lost weight and now I am happy, and confident, and successful etc etc.
I have a couple of problems with this:
1. It implies that if you are overweight (whatever overweight is for you) you can't be/have no right to be happy, confident or doing well. Now, I admit, I am overweight and I do feel crappy about it, and beat myself because of it, but I sometimes wonder if this is partly because I am constantly being told that I should feel this way (at least until I manage to lose some weight).
2. It implies that everything in your life will be fine if you just lose weight - that weight-loss is a panacea to everything that might be wrong in your life. Which of course it isn't, because life is not like that.
There are some really uplifting and empowering articles in other parts of the magazine, and I sometimes think that just once it might be nice is a success story said something along the lines of 'You know what, I was alright. Lots of things in my life were going really well and I was happy in myself, but I realised that losing some weight would improve my health and fitness, so I joined SW to do something positive for me. Not because I was miserable, but because losing weight would be a positive thing in an of itself.'
Am I the only person who thinks like this? I'd be really interested to hear others' thoughts.