Satisfaction Factor

#57 - What's the Deal with Beachbody's "Body Positive" Rebrand?

November 30, 2022 Naomi Katz & Sadie Simpson
Satisfaction Factor
#57 - What's the Deal with Beachbody's "Body Positive" Rebrand?
Show Notes Transcript

Get ready for our spiciest episode yet! In this week's episode we're breaking down all the problematic details of Beachbody's recent announcement that it will be rebranding as BODi and taking a more "body positive" approach. Spoiler alert: It's definitely still a diet company & an MLM! In this episode we're diving into what's really behind this rebrand, why Health Esteem is just a fancy term for healthism, the disappointing reality of gourmet superfood desserts, and the WTF silly rabbits have to do with selling eating disorders.

Wanta to learn more about Intuitive Eating? Be sure to check out Sadie's 6-week Intro to Intuitive Eating course starting in January 2023!

Want to connect with us to deepen the conversation? Join us in our online community, The Satisfaction Space!

Want to show the world that you love the pod? Get t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, stickers, totebags & more at Teepublic!

You can stay up to date on all things Satisfaction Factor by following us on Instagram @satisfactionfactorpod!

Here's where to find us:
Sadie Simpson: www.sadiesimpson.com or IG @sadiemsimpson
Naomi Katz: www.happyshapes.co or IG @happyshapesnaomi

Referenced in this episode:
Vinny Welsby - @fierce.fatty

Want to connect with us to deepen the conversation? Join us in our online community, The Satisfaction Space!

Want to show the world that you love the pod? Get t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, stickers, totebags & more at Teepublic!

You can stay up to date on all things Satisfaction Factor by following us on IG @satisfactionfactorpod!

Here's where to find us:
Sadie Simpson: www.sadiesimpson.com or IG @sadiemsimpson
Naomi Katz: www.happyshapes.co or IG @happyshapesnaomi

Naomi Katz:

Welcome to Satisfaction Factor, the podcast where we explore how ditching diet culture makes our whole lives more satisfying. Welcome back to Satisfaction Factor. I'm Naomi Katz, an intuitive eating, body image, and self trust coach.

Sadie Simpson:

I'm Sadie Simpson, a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and intuitive eating counselor.

Naomi Katz:

So before we dive into today's episode- which, by the way, is going to be extra spicy, and we're both very excited about- we just wanted to give you a quick reminder that The Satisfaction Space, our private online podcast community, is open for you to join. We know that it can be hard to find anti-diet community that's aligned with your values, especially if you're the first in your family or friend group to make moves towards ditching diet culture, and that is the main reason why we created The Satisfaction Space. If you have ever found yourself listening to the podcast and wanting to add something to the conversation, ask a question- if you're one of those people who like sits in your car and nods furiously and talks back to the podcast- this space is totally for you.

Sadie Simpson:

The Satisfaction Space is our online membership community, and it includes lots of things. A private virtual community of folks who share similar values and interests that you can talk to and connect with- and it's not on Facebook, which is awesome. Bonus content during the podcast off weeks- and just a little teaser, next week on our bonus episode, we're gonna be talking about Noom and Weight Watchers, so get ready. Monthly live virtual hangouts with us and with the other folks in the group- and during those sessions, we do things like q&a, mini group coaching, and more. And a community feed where you can post comments or questions and get feedback from us, as well as from your fellow community members.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, so membership to The Satisfaction Space is just $10 a month, and you can cancel at anytime. You can join The Satisfaction Space at thesatisfactionspace.mn.co. And we are also of course going to have that link in our show notes.

Sadie Simpson:

We also have some very fun merch now. So if you are interested in supporting the podcast by purchasing stickers, or T shirts, or tote bags, or hats, or koozies, or whatever, we have some very fun designs over on Teepublic. You can check those out at Teepublic.com/user/satisfactionfactorpod.

Naomi Katz:

T shirts, sweatshirts, etc. are available in sizes up to a 5x, and we will of course put that link in the show notes as well. Okay, are you ready for our spiciest podcast yet?

Sadie Simpson:

I'm so excited for this episode. This is probably the most excited I've been going into recording thus far.

Naomi Katz:

Awesome. I think maybe me too. I'm really really psyched about this.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

So today's episode is all about Beachbody's new, quote unquote, body positive rebrand.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my gosh, when you first told me about this, my initial reaction was like, okay, great, like it's about time Beachbody does something good. But that changed really fast. I was also surprised that, like, you knew about this before me because I'm very into knowing what is going on in like all of the fitness world, especially as it is related to things like Beachbody. I'm very interested in this kind of stuff.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, I am usually pretty disconnected from this stuff, honestly. But I saw a couple of social media posts, and then somebody near and dear to me, a family member, forwarded me the email that we're going to break down on today's episode. And so yeah. But I am so excited because, I mean, spoiler alert, it is not a body positive rebrand.

Sadie Simpson:

No.

Naomi Katz:

But okay, so- so just to kind of dig in, if by some miracle you are not familiar with Beachbody, let's just kind of summarize that Beachbody is two of our favorite things- it is a diet company and an MLM.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my gosh, I think that's why I'm so excited about this episode. Because there's so much to unpack and to talk about. And we could probably do like an entire series about diet companies and MLMs and the crossover there, but maybe, you know, maybe another time- not today. Do you follow Vinny Welsby, aka @fierce.fatty on Instagram?

Naomi Katz:

I do. I love them.

Sadie Simpson:

Well, recently, they made this post about a Venn diagram, and it had three bubbles, and it was the intersection of MLMs, cults, and diet culture, and then at the center of it was fat phobia. And I'm pretty sure there's a whole podcast that goes along with that. I have not listened to it. But when I saw that post, I was like, I'm interested in this. This is for me.

Naomi Katz:

Yes, Vinny has a podcast- I think it's called the Fierce Fatty podcast- and I'm pretty certain they did a whole episode on this. I'm amazed it's not just a circle, but yeah. So Beachbody sells meal replacement shakes called Shakeology, and they also have, quote unquote, coaches. This episode is gonna have a lot of quote unquote, and like air finger quotes and stuff, but you can't see the finger quotes, so.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, you just wait.

Naomi Katz:

Oh my god, I'm so excited.

Sadie Simpson:

I've got something coming for you that is directly related to finger quotes that I am dying to tell you about. And it's- it's related to Beachbody. I've- that was the perfect like precursor to what is to come.

Naomi Katz:

Oh my god, I'm so excited, y'all. This is our first episode where Sadie is- like she did some research and she has some information that she is hiding from me, so that I can be surprised by it on the pod, and I'm so excited. So yeah- so Beachbody sells meal replacement shakes called Shakeology. I like to- this, to me, is basically like modern day SlimFast, essentially, like that's basically what Shakeology is. They also have, quote unquote, coaches- Beachbody coaches that essentially tell people to drink shakes instead of eating meals. Like that's- and that's the MLM part. They also have a ton of online workouts. I don't know if the coaches promote those too, but I'm assuming they probably do. It is very important to note that these coaches are not required to have any training in fitness or nutrition whatsoever, and Beachbody does not provide any, though they may have their own certifications or whatever. Like the coaches might come into it with certifications, like this might be like pitched as an added revenue stream for people who are are already coaches. But Beachbody does not provide any training in fitness or nutrition, and they don't require the coaches to have any either. Like the coaches- their primary purpose, like any MLM, is to sell product and to recruit other coaches. That's why it's an MLM. As for the workouts, Beachbody is where we get things like P90X, Insanity, 21 Day Fix- which, that name, right. Having said that, like a lot of people really like their workout stuff, because it is not super expensive, and it can be done at home. And you know, that's important for people to have options for that. It's important for people to have options for that. And while a lot of this stuff- the workout stuff does focus on weight loss and body composition changes and stuff like that, on some level, I can still totally understand why people are drawn to the workout part of Beachbody, just simply for the convenience of it.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. Have you ever had a Beachbody subscription, or used the workouts, or seen the workouts, or anything like that?

Naomi Katz:

I haven't. I think I just I know what the company is, and I don't want to support that, so I've never done it. But yeah.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, I've never had a subscription. But probably like seven or eight years ago, somebody had the workout subscription, and they shared the password with me, and I was like, check it out and see what the workouts look like. And I can totally see why people would be interested in that because it's- you know, especially like pre COVID, before all- everything- all the workouts were online, there were lots of options- it was one of the few platforms out there that people had like a variety of different workouts to do at home.

Naomi Katz:

Totally. You know, that's a really good point- is how COVID has changed some of that- is that, like these days, everything has online options for home workouts that have a lot of variety, and are easily accessible, and stuff like that. That was not nearly as true pre COVID. So, you know, that definitely speaks even more to like why people might have gotten on board with the online workout part of Beachbody.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, so I've never been a Beachbody coach. I've never like purchased a subscription. But I did however, at one point in my career, teach not one, but three Beachbody branded programs.

Naomi Katz:

What- like at gyms where you worked?

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. So at the time actually, this was like the older iteration. So back in the day- like have you ever done Turbo Kick. or Piyo, or any of those programs?

Naomi Katz:

I've heard of Piyo at least.

Sadie Simpson:

Like I honestly love that program. It used to be a company called Powder Blue Productions, and that was the whole Chalene Johnson company. So she's the one that- like she basically invented Turbo Kick, and Piyo, and Hip Hop Hustle. Like she was the fitness pioneer of those workout programs. And they like would certify instructors. They had some home programs too, but. But yeah, I taught Turbo Kick, Piyo, and Hip Hop Hustle like right when I first started teaching group exercise. And over time- I think, I'm not 100% sure, so if somebody out there is listening, and if you need to correct me, that's fine. I'm pretty sure at some point, Powder Blue Productions, who produce like these three workout programs, eventually merged with Beachbody, because they eventually became housed underneath the Beachbody umbrella. But yeah, so technically, I kind of taught some Beachbody programs ish back in the day.

Naomi Katz:

That's so interesting.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, so I wasn't a Beachbody coach, per se, but I taught these classes. And what was interesting was, during that time, all the certification programs were in person- like they weren't virtual certification programs, like we have a lot of today. But this was right at the beginning of the whole Beachbody coach thing, and there was a lot of crossover between the folks getting trained in these specific fitness modalities and being Beachbody coaches. So it was almost kind of marketed as a way for a potential additional income stream, as a group fitness instructor teaching something like Turbo Kick, or even some of the other more Beachbody ish branded programs, like P90X, and Insanity, and things like that. It was always pushed and marketed as a separate income stream to be a Beachbody coach, so you could sell the nutritional supplements and all that sort of stuff. But what I always thought was really interesting was, in like most commercial gyms- so the Y in particular, it was in our code of conduct as staff that personal trainers, group fitness instructors, are not allowed to promote any sort of nutritional supplement. But there were always instructors and trainers who are Beachbody coaches, and would like kind of slide under the radar. Like they'd go teach their P90X class, and they'd wear their like Insanity shirt, and then after class, they would like pitch their supplements to the people. And oh my gosh, it drove me nuts.

Naomi Katz:

Oh my god. It's like unethical on multiple levels

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. So unethical, and it happens

Naomi Katz:

So, just to clarify- so there are certifications that everywhere. go along with if you're going to teach these specific fitness classes. But Beachbody coaches do not actually teach the classes, necessarily. Like you can be a Beachbody coach, but all that really means is you're selling the shakes, and you might be recommending certain fitness classes to people. But it doesn't necessarily mean that you are teaching the class. So what- so being certified and teaching the class, and being a Beachbody coach, are two entirely separate things.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

Gotcha.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Entirely. Okay. Cool.

Sadie Simpson:

Two separate things. But there tends to be a lot of overlap there.

Naomi Katz:

Sure. Of course.

Sadie Simpson:

There used to be. I think a lot of that's changed. But still.

Naomi Katz:

I imagine a lot of that has changed because I don't think a lot of those classes get taught like in the world anymore.

Sadie Simpson:

No.

Naomi Katz:

I think, more and more, the only place that you can get them is through the Beachbody online platform.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

And so why would you need somebody just like out in the world to be a certified Piyo coach or something like that, right.

Sadie Simpson:

There's still a little bit of that out there, but it's not like what it used to be. Like I still occasionally will see, even like- not really P90X as much, but I still see Insanity on the schedules somewhere. Which is kind of interesting. Like that was like the big program there for a while. So there's still a few folks out in the world who teach these Beachbody branded programs. But I'm going to be curious to see how all of that even evolves as Beachbody rebrands.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, for sure. So okay, so having said all of that, you might remember Weight Watchers rebranded a few years as WW, and started using terms like wellness, right. And Beachbody has basically recently announced that they're doing something similar. They're rebranding as- I'm pretty sure this is supposed to be pronounced body, but it is spelled capital B, capital O, capital D, lowercase i.

Sadie Simpson:

Really glad you said that. Because the second I saw this written or typed, I was like, how in the world are we supposed to say this? Is it body? Is it bowdy? I still don't know, I probably should watch a YouTube video.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, I still don't know. I'm assuming it's body, and that they're just spelling it real cute for branding purposes. But basically, they're- they're changing the name, and they are theoretically refocusing on health and body positivity. Unsurprisingly, just like with Weight Watchers, it is bullshit. It is the same diet company that it always was. And we really wanted to talk about why this is so problematic.

Sadie Simpson:

So in my research, leading up to this conversation, I have been doing a little bit of light reading, aka my favorite kind of light reading about MLMs and exposes, and that kind of a thing.

Naomi Katz:

Light reading.

Sadie Simpson:

Apparently, Beachbody as a company has not been doing really well financially for the last few years. And probably a lot of that- what we already talked about, like the fact that there's other online workout platforms, probably caused a big hit on Beachbody as a company financially. But it seems kind of like they're sort of downplaying some of the financial trouble that the company is in. And as companies do, you know, if they're- they're losing money, they're going to try to revive, and rebrand, and that sort of thing. But it also kind of seems like they're masking it in this body positive way to be more attractive to younger folks who kind of see through all this bullshit. But it's real interesting that this is the route that they chose, due to some of this financial strain.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. And like, of course. Weight- that was the same reason Weight Watchers did it, right? Like, that's the only reason any of these companies do anything- to make money. The reality is that, these days, straightforward weight loss and like diet marketing doesn't really do what it used to do for people. And so they have to shift. But like, it's all about losing money and making money, and like, these shifts are not about, like, oh, we've realized that we need to be better people. Like, no. It's, we've realized this isn't making money for us. I heard a stat recently- I can't remember where I heard it- but I heard that- you know, we always talk about the diet industry as a $72 billion industry, and I heard something that the other day about that number is shrinking. It's actually coming down instead of up for the first time in a long time. Sounds cool, right? But as- like the- there was a recent Maintenance Phase episode that noted that the wellness industry is now valued at like 4 trillion. Trillion with a T. So I- I can't help but feel like it's not that diet culture is going away. It's that it is shape shifting into wellness culture, and growing even more. Like the profits have shifted, so the marketing language has shifted, but it's all still the same diet bullshit by another name.

Sadie Simpson:

Yep, it is all the same BS, just another name, with a cutesy little i instead of a y.

Naomi Katz:

Put a little like heart over the eye.

Sadie Simpson:

All right, so let's talk about some of the changes that Beachbody is making. And to do that, we're going to read the letter from the CEO of Beachbody. It is a very rich text.

Naomi Katz:

I have a source who forwarded me a copy of the email -to talk about all the problems. Apologies in advance because it's kinda long, but it's worth reading the whole thing. And then we're gonna go through and kind of break down exactly what issues jumped out at us in this. Okay, so this letter is entitled, "Could we start again, please? An open letter from Carl Daikeler"- I don't know if I'm pronouncing that right- "CEO of Beachbody." And it reads, "Since we launched the category of the “In-Home Boot Camp” with Power 90 in 2000 under the flagship name, Beachbody, things have changed. It’s now become clear that something is missing. Our industry has done a lot of good things, and we’re proud of everyone who took the initiative to get more active and be conscious of their food choices in the pursuit of completing any of our programs. We’re proud of every transformation story and that Beachbody sent out to all its subscribers announcing the before and after photo. But we have come to realize that for many who achieved those success stories—including me—those short—term successes were often overshadowed by going right back to the “same old habits.” Now, there’s nothing wrong with the same old habits if that’s the way you want to live and feel, unless you constantly beat yourself up for those habits and live in a state of permanent dissatisfaction with yourself—until you’re pursuing the next transformation. And there’s the problem. The flaw is not in the program or the approach. It’s just missing the step of detaching our self-esteem from the outcome. But this is a playbook the industry has run since the 70s, relying on our own perception of our “imperfections” for our motivation. That message, amplified through social media, has become, “If you look good; you will be happy.” Deep down we all know that message is not true. You’re not happy because you look good; you’re happy when you FEEL good. And we don’t like being manipulated by the premise that all that matters is how we look. So many of us avoid fitness and nutrition altogether to avoid the mindset of Permanent Dissatisfaction." Oh, side note, I just want to give a content warning for the use of the O word in this paragraph, or the O words, even. Anyway, coming back. "That’s one of the reasons why, despite the growth shift. And so we wanted to- just- we literally are going to of the industry, over 100 million people in the US alone are overweight or obese, and vulnerable to lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes, depression, and anxiety. As an industry and as a company focused on helping people lead healthy and fulfilling lives, if we perpetuate that mindset, we will fail. We have seen that our happiest subscribers and Coaches are the people who embrace who they are and the lifestyle they want to live before they begin a program. This is the combination of having inner reflexes to maintain a positive self-esteem at the same time as engaging in lifestyle transformation directed at what makes people FEEL the best. Achieving a before and after photo or “goal weight” is a component of success for some people—everyone wants to FEEL good. And that kind of success is called Health Esteem. Embracing who you are now—appreciating all the things that are strong and capable which you can be proud of—creates a sense of “Instant Satisfaction.” And that’s why over the next several months, we are making a significant pivot to serve people with a platform designed

to do exactly that:

Support the whole person and help them achieve that kind of instant satisfaction, a positive Health Esteem. And to do that, one of the changes we need to make read that email to you. Because it just- there's so much there. is our name. We never intended for the name Beachbody to represent an ideal. Our mission has always been to help people achieve healthy, fulfilling lives. But society now uses the term differently. Truth is, there’s no such thing as a “Beachbody,” except that EVERYONE had a body and everyone is welcome at the beach. So rather than fight to overcome the perception that Beachbody equates to an ideal, we need to start again. Over the course of the next 12 months, we will transition our name from Beachbody to BODi. With our name change will come the evolution of our platform. We will integrate an entire layer of personal development and mindset content into the experience. Our approach will ensure fitness and nutrition don’t become the enemy of who we are as individuals but are key components driving our appreciation of who we are and who we want to be. Fitness, nutrition, and mindset each play a critical role in what we will call a “Health Esteem Routine”—choices made by the individual according to how they want to feel and live. BODi will celebrate and enable Health Esteem, and the experience will be radically different, simple, and rewarding for our subscribers. It’s been a productive 23 years under the name Beachbody, and that means it will take some time to complete this transition. The Beachbody name will continue to appear on our website as we begin our transformation journey, but we are embracing the category of Health Esteem and the BODi approach starting now. Many exciting changes It's a rich text- will come as we invite people to explore their fitness and nutrition through the lens of Health Esteem. The simplest first step can be as fun as learning how you can eat more dessert and be proud of it, without guilt or regret (truly). In fact, we’ll show you how dessert can actually enhance your well—being with our Gourmet Superfood Dessert recipes!"

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my god.

Naomi Katz:

Oh, okay. This is getting harder and harder to read because it's- it's more and more absurd. Hearing it out loud really like drives home the absurdity of this.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

"But part of this shift is also acknowledging the possibility that for some, we played a role in projecting the notion that fitness and nutrition is about chasing an ideal, and for that I apologize. We’ve never felt that, but how could you have known, based on the “Beachbody” connotation? I hope we can fix that. The content and approach we’ve created to get healthy results is proven. With the addition of mindset and being clearer with the intent of our programs—achieving a positive Health Esteem—our hope is that tens of millions more people will feel welcome and will feel

like we do:

You are successful the moment you realize you can appreciate exactly who you are today...And that satisfaction can coexist with the desire to make changes that will help you feel even better. So...Could we start again, please? This is Health Esteem. And we are becoming BODi—where it always feels good to be you. And we are grateful for the opportunity to serve you in a way that is fun, healthy, and incredibly satisfying." Okay, so listeners, I feel like you all should know that it was incredibly hard to read all the way through that because I had to keep stopping to laugh at the absurdity of this whole thing. Like until- like hearing it out loud- listen, I- right off- like as soon as I saw this email, I was like, oh, this is bullshit, and we have to do a podcast episode. But this is the first time I've actually read it out loud. And hearing it out loud- Oh my god, it makes the absurdity stand out so much more.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. I have read it multiple times since you sent it to me. But that's the first time I've heard it out loud too. And it just packs a completely different punch that way.

Naomi Katz:

Oh my gosh, it's bonkers. And I- like I just can't wait. Like the way that- what you can't tell, having it read out loud, is how there are so many things in this letter that are like weirdly capitalized or in quotes.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

Like phrases like- well, Health Esteem, I think you can probably all tell that that is like a thing that they're capitalizing and trying to like make a word. But like, what were the other ones? Instant satisfaction.

Sadie Simpson:

I noticed this as you were reading it, I made myself a separate note- so they intentionally capitalized permanent dissatisfaction and instant satisfaction. So that tells me that in all of these upcoming programs, whether it's their workout programs, or their mindset programs, or their nutrition programs, or whatever, we're going to be seeing those buzzwords, permanent dissatisfaction and instant satisfaction, over and over and over again. Trademark. Registered. TM.

Naomi Katz:

Totally. I also- like I felt like I was in a Black Mirror episode reading just like this corporate jargon. Like they- like when I got to the part where they're like,"This is Health Esteem. And we are becoming BODi." I was like, these are- this is word salad. Like these are just like- this is not how words

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. work. It was- yeah. Can we talk about the whole "we never intended for the name Beachbody to represent an ideal" thing? Like can we start there? Yes. Because yes, they freaking did. Like why would you name a company Beachbody if you're not trying to represent what you are wanting or trying to portray everyone should look like according to this very specific standard.

Naomi Katz:

Yes. Okay. So it sounds like they are trying to make the argument that when they started using the term Beachbody, that's not what it meant. Right? Because like there's that one line, "Our mission has always been to help people achieve healthy, fulfilling lives. But society now uses the term differently." My friends, this company was founded in 1998. The phrase beach body 100% existed before that.

Sadie Simpson:

Like, when did the show Baywatch come out? Because it at least existed since then. But we know it existed way before then, too.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, I absolutely, positively- like some of my formative memories around bodies, and food, and stuff like that was being a teenager, reading magazines talking about beach bodies. So like-

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, for sure.

Naomi Katz:

It's being used exactly the same way it was being used when you named your company Beachbody. I also love the apology that's not an apology around that. We've never felt that like fitness is about chasing an ideal, "but how could you have known, based on the “Beachbody” connotation?" I mean, yes. But also, there's a lot of other things that indicated the contrary.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. And still do to this very day.

Naomi Katz:

Right. That was one of the top things that just- just- it's utter absurdity to pretend that, oh, we just didn't know that's what Beachbody meant. We had no idea.

Sadie Simpson:

I would love to talk to somebody who like sat in a focus group when they were getting ready to launch this program- like the company Beachbody- because you know they probably tossed around different ideas, but the term Beachbody was directly linked to like a specific body type.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. PS, the fact that the thing is still called BODi does not- does not shift the focus off of your body.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, my God. Well, one of the things that I initially thought when I read this- and even hearing you read it again- was they sure do talk about satisfaction a lot. So like, maybe they're listening to the podcast?

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, yes. Well, I mean, like, this is very much related- it's kind of like how Noom is co-opting the language of intuitive eating and stuff like that. Like, that's actually totally what this is. Like, you know, their marketing people have told them like, oh, people, you know, now believe that foods should be satisfying, satisfaction is like a big thing. And so they're throwing that in as like more jargon, like more marketing terms, but without really any understanding of what that means or why it's important.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. Reading through this, and even picking out some specific things that seemed extra problematic makes me feel like my old English major self. Like I really feel like I'm like reading through, and highlighting, and looking for the symbolism and the deeper meaning, and all of that stuff. And like, I kinda love it.

Naomi Katz:

I, too, was an English major, and I fully agree.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, my gosh, okay. Let's talk about health esteem. I'm dying to talk about this.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, like there's- there's a few other like miscellaneous things I want to talk about, but the big thing- we have got to talk about Health Esteem- capital H, capital E, Health Esteem.

Sadie Simpson:

Get ready to see that on all of your sponsored ads on social media that is related to BODi, also known as Beachbody. So one of the things that stood out to me when they were talking about Health Esteem is they said that the flaw is not the program or approach. It's the missing step of detaching our self esteem from the outcome.

Naomi Katz:

Yep.

Sadie Simpson:

And I'm all for detaching self esteem and self worth from an outcome. Like, that's great. That's fine. And the flaw still is the program and still is the approach.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, like 100% the flaw is the program and the approach.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes, and they still exist, and they always will.

Naomi Katz:

Not for nothing, but the program and the approach is that your value and your self esteem is attached to the outcome, and it still is. They haven't changed that.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. Oh my gosh. Well, I got curious about the mindset and nutrition components of BODi- and I know this- you know, there may be some other programs and components that come out as this continues to roll out- but what's out there currently, as of this recording, looks exactly the same as the old Beachbody program, but it's just got kind of a slightly different name.

Naomi Katz:

I am shocked to hear that. Obviously.

Sadie Simpson:

When I looked up BODi, and I looked up like mindset, and you know all the different elements of the program, there is a piece of it called 2B- so like the number two and the letter B- 2B mindset. And here's the tagline for it. "The way to eat a lot of food and still lose weight! Learn Ilana’s flexible approach to weight loss where you can reach your goals without counting calories or giving up wine, carbs or treats!"

Naomi Katz:

I mean, obviously not a diet, right?

Sadie Simpson:

Not a diet.

Naomi Katz:

Not a diet. We are not wrapped up in the outcome, except that the outcome is definitely weight loss.

Sadie Simpson:

And this is marketed as the mindset piece of the program.

Naomi Katz:

Obviously.

Sadie Simpson:

I'm dying to ask you this. So have you heard of 2B prior to this?

Naomi Katz:

I haven't. And I just I feel like you all should know that in our notes for this episode, Sadie has notes about 2B, and then in all caps she has written please don't look it up, I want to surprise you, I'm so excited. I have not looked it up.

Sadie Simpson:

Okay. I had not known what it was either until today. But I started looking it up and I just started like laughing out loud to myself at home. Okay, are you ready for this?

Naomi Katz:

I'm so ready. I was born ready for this.

Sadie Simpson:

Okay. 2B stands for two bunnies.

Naomi Katz:

What?

Sadie Simpson:

Get ready for what the bunnies are.

Naomi Katz:

Oh my gosh. Okay.

Sadie Simpson:

Okay, this goes back to the beginning of episode when we were talking about air quotes. So the two bunnies are putting up like two peace signs with both of your hands. You got you got your two bunnies, which are your two peace signs, and

that stands for:

water first, veggies most, daily scale tracker, you silly rabbit.

Naomi Katz:

What the actual fuck?

Sadie Simpson:

I didn't understand what it meant. Like I typed it in Google, I said what is 2B Beachbody? Like what does it mean? And the first thing that came up was a tweet from Beachbody. And that's what it said. And I was like, this doesn't make any sense. Like I still don't know what this means. So I had to go look up a bunch of different blogs. And that's when I started seeing people like standing like this, holding up their two peace signs. So you use your fingers as a reminder-

Naomi Katz:

It's basically just-

Sadie Simpson:

Water first-

Naomi Katz:

So it's literally- oh my god, this is the most overcomplicated like messy nightmare of like word salad I have ever heard. Okay, so- just so we're clear- like the marketing meeting here went something like, so we've got these three principles that we really want to sell. And the marketing people were like, hmm, well, what if we had people hold up four fingers? And they were like, and it would look like bunnies for some reason, and we could call it 2B because we don't like the word bunnies, but we definitely want it to be bunny ears. Yeah, but there's only three principles. We'll just throw in a funny little rabbit saying at the end. Well, but I thought it was bunnies. No, no, bunnies and rabbits are the same. Like this is all like- what?

Sadie Simpson:

This is like one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard in my entire life. If you want to go down a no pun intended rabbit hole-

Naomi Katz:

Wait, is it- is it a rabbit hole, or a bunny hole?

Sadie Simpson:

You silly rabbit, I don't know.

Naomi Katz:

Okay, but- but- and then of course, if we talk about like the specifics of this. So basically, the- the only advice we're getting from- from BODi about this is drink water, eat more veggies than anything else- make sure veggies are like the most important-

Sadie Simpson:

Veggies first.

Naomi Katz:

Right. And weigh yourself every day.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, and there's more to it. Like you can't see it. It's all locked behind the paywall. But like those were the principal components of it. And then you can see on the main Beachbody or BODi website that has different videos that are like tips for the holidays, and stuff like that. So.

Naomi Katz:

The marketing of this is utterly bananas and hilarious, but the content of it is an eating disorder.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

Eat a lot of food and still lose weight, as long as all of that food is veggies, and you track and weigh yourself or the food, one or the other, obsessively.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Then I guess you can eat food and still lose weight.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, and it looks like, as I've read a little bit of the premise of it, of course they're touting not counting calories, but the premise of it is like you- there's a- it's a portioned plate, basically, of like, how many servings of what thing you should have. The whole Health Esteem thing like, just gave me major toxic positivity vibes. Really a lot of this letter was very, you can just, you know, health your way out of oppression, and all this stuff. Like that's kind of what it- what it gave me.

Naomi Katz:

100%

Sadie Simpson:

Another thing in the letter, it mentioned that BODi was going to integrate a level of personal development and, again, mindset. But whenever I hear stuff like personal development, I started getting some red flags like this is gonna be a lot of like rich white dude, motivational speaker, Tony Robbins type people, they're telling us how to live our best lives and that sort of thing. But I researched a little bit about this and it looks like the main mindset person- I think she's like the VP of mindset of BODi now, or something like that- the title was pretty similar to that- is Petra Kolber. So Petra has been around the fitness presenter circuit for like years- for decades, really. And probably one of the first ever fitness conferences I went to, I went to some of her sessions, which is kind of fun to think about now. For people who are listening, they have fitness conventions and conferences that you can go to and like, get all of your continuing education credits, and like learn new modalities, and things like that. But yeah, the former fitness professional now mindset professional, used to give a lot of sessions about different, you know, fitness programs and things like that. But I can remember, one of the last ones I went to, which is probably like eight years ago, I noticed that she had shifted into more of like a motivational speaker type of presenter and not as much of a, hey, let's learn how to use this piece of fitness equipment type of presenter. And the lecture that I went to was something about like, the perfection myth, or something along those lines. And it was like, interesting shift there.

Naomi Katz:

Do you have any recollection of like, what her content was like?

Sadie Simpson:

The only thing I could really remember about it was, this was when I was like, kind of really into like reading all the personal development books and stuff like that. And I was like, oh, this sounds like something I really want to go to. And the only thing I can really remember was kind of gave off some, like Brene Brown vibes.

Naomi Katz:

But she- so she's very much like a thin, privileged white lady.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Okay.

Sadie Simpson:

100%.

Naomi Katz:

Well, that'll be interesting to see how helpful that might be.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

So you know, my big issue with the health esteem stuff, is that I'm pretty sure health esteem is just marketing speak for healthism. Like, instead of getting your self worth from weight loss, you should probably be getting all your self worth from health. But PS, also definitely still from weight loss. Because when we say health, we totally still mean weight. There's that line, "you're not happy because you look good, you're happy when you feel good." Which like, again, we're just trading one standard for another standard. And then there's that whole unbelievably toxic and problematic paragraph with the O words in it, right? That like one of the reasons that they're doing this is, you know, to help people overcome body size, right? And then attributing all of these things- like type two diabetes, and heart disease, strokes, depression, anxiety- putting those all under the tagline of lifestyle diseases and attributing them all to body size. Which just- I mean, that's not science. That is not evidence based. We know that that's not an accurate way of talking about these things. Trying to claim that health esteem is going to address all of these things- I mean, it's just- it's healthism, it's all just healthism. And then the health esteem routine. Right? And they're defining that as "choices made by the individual according to how they want to feel and live."

Sadie Simpson:

Ugh.

Naomi Katz:

Right?

Sadie Simpson:

Ugh. Hearing that like makes me wanna throw up in my mouth. I hate that so much. Everything about that.

Naomi Katz:

Totally. Well, it ticks the other healthism box of framing health as purely personal responsibility and personal choices, right? Health, or health esteem, is just choices made made by the individual. It like fully bypasses any systemic or structural factors that come into play when we talk about health. So within the social determinants of health, you know, we've got these different categories of things that impact our health. One of those categories is called personal behaviors, and it is only 36% of what makes up our health. There's 64% of things that are

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. not personal behaviors. So things like genetics, and, you know, education, and where we live, and experiences of marginalization, and access to health care, and just like

Naomi Katz:

And the thing is that even in- within those- that income level, and just so much stuff. Things that are not within our personal control. personal behaviors category, that 36%, only 10% of that is diet and exercise. The rest is do you wear seatbelts, do you smoke, what are your sleep habits, like what are your gun habits- like, you know, like things that are not diet and exercise. So anything that's going to frame our self worth around our health, and frame our health around nothing but our personal choices, is going to be incredibly toxic.

Sadie Simpson:

Another thing that they said in this letter was that short term success is overshadowed by the same old habits. And that kind of goes into some of the stuff we talk about all this podcast a lot anyway, like this binge restrict cycle, and yo yo dieting, and things like that. And, you know, sure, on some level, we probably all have areas of opportunity in regards to our health, and our lifestyle, or whatever, that's realistic for us to consider making some kind of habit change shift. But big picture thinking here, like societal level thinking, a lot of these, quote unquote, same old bad habits aren't our fault. Like they are the result of systemic barriers, and a lack of access. And it just brings it back to this whole idea of individualism that is so prominent in the health and fitness and wellness industry. And it just makes me cringe.

Naomi Katz:

Absolutely. And the other thing that really stood out to me in that little quote there about short term success overshadowed by same old habits is just- I love that they just fully admit that they only get short term success- like just saying the quiet part out loud there.

Sadie Simpson:

Aka 21 Day Fix.

Naomi Katz:

Right? Yeah. Which- I feel like I- as I was looking at some of the- the programs, I noticed that a lot of the programs had numbers in them. Like, I don't think all of them necessarily reflect a number of days. But I got the impression that a lot of them did. Which, of course you're getting short term success. You're offering short term programs with unsustainable rules. And, yeah, the 2Bs.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my gosh. Well, and then they also talk about, even at the very beginning of this letter, that they're proud of every transformation photo and before and after photo. And like, okay, if you're saying in one sentence that you're proud of all of these things, that feels really contradictory to what they say they're trying to change- which this whole letter feels like one big contradiction.

Naomi Katz:

I mean, it is. Because they're- they're totally talking out of both sides of their mouths, basically. Like, on the one hand, they're going body positivity, and we're not- we're turning over a new leaf. And on the other hand, they're like, we still want you to diet, weight loss is definitely something that's really important still. And you can't have both of those things. So it's just gonna be nothing but contradiction.

Sadie Simpson:

And like, I'm sorry, this is maybe me being like, pessimistic Sadie, or whatever, but, y'all know there are still gonna be Beachbody coaches, and probably even BODi corporate, sharing before and after photos.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. There's totally- there's that one line

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my god. that, you know, they're talking about how they're moving forward, and they say, "Achieving a before and after photo or goal weight is a component of success for some people. Everyone wants to feel good. And that kind of success

Naomi Katz:

You know, the other kind of high level thing that I is called Health Esteem." And it's like, so basically, before saw like a couple of times within this was this, like, and after photos and goal weights are still a sign of success, because those are indications that you feel good. vindication of the diet industry, basically. Like right Like that's basically what that says right? And that that is a at the very beginning when they're like, "our industry has cornerstone of health esteem. done a lot of good things," and it's like, has it? But then even later when they're talking about some of the the issues with, I don't know, attaching outcome to self esteem, or whatever it was, the quote is, you know, "but this is a playbook the industry has run since the 70s, relying on our own perception of our imperfections for our motivation." Like the industry didn't create these perceptions, or, like, define what the- what is considered an imperfection? Like the industry didn't decide that those were your motivations? Like, you're saying that these perceptions like sprung up in our minds out of nowhere, like we didn't learn these from the industry, like the industry is totally off the hook. People would just stop perceiving these things and would stop defining imperfections. It's like, no, man, that's what the industry does.

Sadie Simpson:

Yep.

Naomi Katz:

The industry is who taught us what imperfections are. The industry is who set up what these perceptions would be. So like we're- how are we letting the industry off the- off the hook here?

Sadie Simpson:

All right, and one last thing that I feel like I have to mention is the whole thing of the gourmet super food dessert. So in the letter it says "The simplest first step can be as fun as learning how you can eat more dessert and be proud of it, without guilt or regret (truly). In fact, we’ll show you how dessert can actually enhance your well—being with our Gourmet Superfood Dessert recipes!" And so, being the curious internet researcher that I am, I had to find out what in the world is a gourmet superfood dessert. Like my initial thought was, like, is it cake made out of kale or something else? But it's actually dessert recipes made out of Shakeology.

Naomi Katz:

Oh my god. So just to be clear, it's not enough that we're replacing all of our meals with meal replacement shakes, we definitely want to also be replacing desserts with our meal replacement shakes. Because otherwise in this new body positive version of Beachbody what would the Beachbody coaches sell?

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my gosh, it's all wrapped up into one big freakin scam.

Naomi Katz:

You know the thing is that it's so frustrating it's you know shades of how NuMe coops Intuitive Eating language again, just like we talked about with like how they keep talking about satisfaction. Like dessert can actually enhance your well being because it adds to satisfaction and pleasure and it can you know be comfort and it can be nurturing and nourishing and connecting to people and all of that like dessert can absolutely enhance your well being a Shakeology shake for dessert is sure is shit not doing that.

Sadie Simpson:

Have you ever tried Shakeology? No, I haven't either. But I mean, I've known a lot of folks, you know who have done all Beachbody thing no Shakeology thing. And they always touted that it was like oh, it's so good. It tastes better than any other supplemental shake I've ever had. I'm like, of course you say that? Because you're so

Naomi Katz:

yeah, you know, listen, I've never tried it. Maybe it's delicious. Maybe it is the most magical meal replacement shake that has ever existed in the entire world. It's still flippin SlimFast it is like it's not it doesn't matter how delicious it is. It's not a milkshake.

Sadie Simpson:

It's probably SlimFast with little like greens powder mixed into it.

Naomi Katz:

It totally is. It's you know, modern day slim. For me wrap up I just want to share like a little fun fact about, like the behind the scenes of this episode. So prepping for this episode has like wreaked havoc on our advertising algorithms online, looking all this stuff up and interacting with these websites. So we're both seeing all kinds of like weight loss ads, and especially like Beachbody weight watcher noon type ads. But this morning, the Sadie's sent me a screenshot of an ad that she got for a Beachbody workout program and I almost died laughing It is it was a picture of an extremely thin woman like not for nothing i don't know like I don't have any evidence for this but like it looked photo have shopped to me. Oh, for sure. And then it was for a workout program called job one. And I was dying like, so like you're basically just telling me it is my number one job to lose weight and look this entirely unattainable and like not actually even real way. Like it is job one everybody

Sadie Simpson:

that reminds me that meme of like You had one job, and this is the one job and you can't do it right. And that's exactly what it's telling us like you have a job to look this way

Naomi Katz:

body. With a cutesy little eye is 100% not a body positive company. It is still both a diet company and an MLM. It's just a lot sneakier about it now.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

If you found this interesting, and you would like to hear us talk about, you know, similar issues with Weight Watchers and Noom. That is what we are doing next week in the bonus episode within the satisfaction space. So if that sounds interesting to you, head to the link in our show notes, the satisfaction space dot m n.co. And go ahead and join the satisfaction space so you can get access to those bonus episodes. Sadie, what's satisfying for you right now,

Sadie Simpson:

this episode has been very satisfying for me, it has been fun for me to just research even though all of my ads on Facebook and Instagram are Beachbody ads. I don't even care this, just researching this. And talking about this has just given me life. So very satisfied by it.

Naomi Katz:

My God totally. Sidenote, I forgot to mention this earlier. But like, if there are ways to filter out weight loss ads, both on Facebook and Instagram, you can choose your ad settings and your settings on Instagram. And in Facebook, you can report ads. So like one of my favorite pastimes is reporting diet ads as misleading or scam. And then you can also hide ads. So like if you start getting ads for weight loss thing is you can choose to hide them and you won't see them anymore. So that's

Sadie Simpson:

a hot tip, because I have been getting a lot since I've been researching this stuff.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, highly recommend.

Sadie Simpson:

What's satisfying for you right now,

Naomi Katz:

honestly, also this episode, this was so much fun. I enjoyed the hell out of this. But also, I am super super satisfied by getting sort of in touch and connecting with our local fat community. Last weekend I went to the Asheville fatties like monthly hangout get together. And it was like just the most nurturing, amazing, awesome experience. Like it was just so nice to be in a community of people where you just knew that you were going to be safe of diet talk and Body Talk, you know, especially when you meet new people, because diet and Body Talk tends to be considered, you know, just small talk. It's like idle chat. And it's what you talk about with people that you don't really know. And so especially in instances where you're meeting new people, there's like, usually like a high level of possibility for that kind of conversation. And being able to walk into a group of new people and know that nobody is having that conversation is amazing. And it means that we all got to have conversations that were so much more interesting and nourishing and connecting and just, it was fantastic. And I'm like you know, that was days ago and I'm still kind of riding high on it. So

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, that's so awesome. Shout out to ally if you're listening to this. Thank you for coordinating AVL Asheville fatties as a concept in our local area. That's amazing.

Naomi Katz:

100% Yeah.

Sadie Simpson:

If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to leave us a rating and review in either Apple podcasts or Spotify because these ratings and reviews help boost us up in the podcast rankings and help us reach more people.

Naomi Katz:

Thanks everybody. That's it for us this week.

Unknown:

Doo