Satisfaction Factor

#18 - Weight Loss Marketing Is False Advertising

January 26, 2022 Naomi Katz & Sadie Simpson
Satisfaction Factor
#18 - Weight Loss Marketing Is False Advertising
Show Notes Transcript

On this week’s, Naomi & Sadie are diving deep into all things fitness and wellness marketing, calling out some of the more manipulative marketing tactics, and sharing how we can be both more conscious consumers AND responsible in our own work of marketing health-based programs & services. We're talking about: why weight loss marketing is false advertising, before & after photos, results-not-guaranteed testimonials, too-good-to-be-true claims, high pressure sales, pain points, and all kinds of other manipulative marketing techniques. Plus, a fun conversation about ridiculous fitness products (Shake Weight, anyone?) and ridiculous diet claims from grocery aisle magazines!

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

And if you're a fitness or wellness professional interested in incorporating in your work and your marketing, be sure to check out Sadie's new FREE on-demand mini-course, Wellness Without Weight Loss!

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

For this episode's transcript, visit: www.satisfactionfactorpod.com

This episode references:
Emily Eley Coaching
Meg Boggs
Rachel & Sara Turner
Natalie Topalian (The Brand Copywriter)
Katie Kurtz, MSW, LISW-S

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 providing anti diet support to free thinking grownups who want to reclaim their autonomy and consent from diet culture.

Sadie Simpson:

I'm Sadie Simpson, an anti diet group fitness instructor and Intuitive Eating counselor. I help other fitness professionals disengage from diet culture, so they can improve program enrollment, engagement, impact, and retention without shame and manipulation.

Naomi Katz:

Hey, Sadie.

Sadie Simpson:

Hey, Naomi. So today, we are going to talk about manipulative marketing, specifically in the diet, weight loss, and fitness industries. Because I'm sure you have all seen the fun advertisements this time of year, especially on magazines in the grocery store, and on TV, and social media. And today, we're just going to talk a little bit about what manipulative marketing is, share some examples, discuss how to recognize it as consumers, and how as professionals- and basically professionals in pretty much any field, who do any kind of work with program or service marketing- how we all can play a role in either lifting up or dismantling manipulative diet culture based marketing.

Naomi Katz:

I am so excited to have this conversation. I think the timing is amazing, because January. And I also just think it's so important to talk really specifically about this stuff. Because the more awareness we can build around it, I feel like the less vulnerable we are to it. And also, as professionals, like we have an obligation to talk about it. So I'm really excited about this.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. And you're right, like this time of year, especially in January- this is the time where we see all of the marketing- all of the diet marketing, the weight loss programs, the New Year's resolutions, and stuff like that. And we almost come to expect it- like this is a normal thing that we expect to happen every year, every January. And I'm kind of glad we're talking about this topic closer to the end of the month, when these advertisements are slowly starting to kind of fade away a little bit, because I think it's really telling that we're not seeing as much of this advertising right now. And it shines a big bright light on the fact that dieting is not, in fact, a lifestyle change that we often see as the promotional word using some of these marketing tools, and ads, and things like that, or that weight loss isn't permanent for most people. But instead it's just a temporary thing. And we see weight loss ads and things like that all year long, but like it's nothing like what happens this time of year.

Naomi Katz:

Totally. January's a rough time of year.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, it is. Well, even in working in the fitness industry for the last 15 years, it always kind of shocked me that, as businesses, and as companies and organizations that I worked for, like there was always so much emphasis on having a successful January. And even when I worked in management, like financially, we relied on the influx of new members in January. And basically that one month carried the whole organization for the entire year financially, which like, now that I'm on the outside looking in, that's a really bad business model for so many reasons. But from- yes, a financial aspect- but this whole model is based off of like shame, and manipulation, and upholding diet culture, and like forcing people to do these things during a very specific time of year. And it's just- it's a wild phenomenon out there.

Naomi Katz:

It is, and it's- oh my god, it's so- it's so bad. Like I- I don't know if this is entirely true- but I think it is- but I've always heard that gyms- like that their whole financial model is basically based on people who sign up, most likely in January, and then never actually go, but also don't cancel their memberships. So like their whole business model is based on people not doing- like not using their product or their service.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. Oh my god, that is such a thing. And it's especially a thing- and I don't have like the stats in front of me right now- but for like discount gyms, so like the $10 a month, like Planet Fitness and stuff. That is the business model, because

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. especially if it's a lower cost- so if you're only paying 10 or 15 bucks a month- people don't really notice that on their like monthly finances and their monthly spending. And they're like, it's just 10 bucks, I'm just gonna pay for it, even if they don't use the service. So yeah, it's a whole business model. And it is- Yeah. Well, and I know that those discount gyms also then make it really hard to cancel your membership. So like, even if you do try and cancel it, it becomes like a whole rigmarole. And so I think a lot of people are just like, it's only 10 bucks, it's easier to just let it go. Maybe I'll get back in there. You know, it's that whole, like, next time it'll be different type of mindset around it, too. Between those two things, it's just like, well, you're just paying for stuff you don't use.

Sadie Simpson:

That just sucks. That sucks that this is how we market fitness programming. It sucks how we have to consume advertising and stuff like that, not just this time of year, but really, all the time. And it's just very unfortunate. But because of this, and kind of as a way for me just to channel my internal rage that this is normal, and this is a thing that we do in the fitness industry, I just created a new free resource that I'm excited to share with y'all, and it's called Wellness Without Weight Loss. So this is a free virtual mini course- it's a 30 minute course- that is, as the title suggests, about creating, delivering, and marketing wellness programs that aren't centered around weight loss. So specifically, this is for group exercise instructors, personal trainers, other people who might work in a fitness or wellness setting. But really, it can be for anybody who has an interest in learning more about adopting and incorporating more weight neutral practices in their work or in their life. Because I think it's really important that we take an active stand against practices that uphold diet culture, and that contribute to weight stigma, and that perpetuate disordered eating and exercise behaviors. Because when we do stuff like this, especially as health or wellness or fitness professionals, we're laying the foundation to create safe wellness spaces where all bodies can feel included. Plus, honestly, it's a smarter business move- one that doesn't rely on this false promise of weight loss and this emphasis on January and these key times of the year to make money. So I'll link to Wellness Without Weight Loss in the shownotes. Or, if you DM us at @satisfactionfactorpod on Instagram, I'll send you the direct link there. But again, this is a free 30 minute virtual mini course specifically discussing information on how to market, engage, and retain members in a health or fitness program in a way that feels good instead of gross, without relying on January, without relying on weight loss as a marketing tool. And I've included a lot of specific research and statistics about how and why adopting a weight neutral model is better, not only for our clients' health long term, and it's better for our business by promoting authentic physical, and mental, and social, and emotional health in a way that does not discuss, or focus on, or emphasize weight loss whatsoever. And this is an on demand thing- you can watch it anytime. It's not live. But I definitely recommend checking it out soon, before the end of the month, so you can begin to implement some of these ideas and changes within this first quarter of the new year.

Naomi Katz:

That is so exciting. I am- I- first of all, I can't wait to watch it. That- that sounds amazing. But also like- especially as a free like mini course type of thing- like, Yeah, well sign up at the link in the show notes. that's like invaluable information. And we'll talk more about this later, but I know, when I have started to really focus on not manipulative marketing and- and stuff like that, like that it has really made significant changes, and I think it's so important to open that up, especially in an industry like the fitness and wellness industry that is like trained- like literally there's courses training people to market in this really manipulative way. So I love that you're doing this, and I- I can't wait- I can't wait to watch it myself, like I said. Oh, I will.

Sadie Simpson:

So we've talked about this in pretty much every episode- about how important it is that we cultivate a sense of media literacy, and that we begin to develop more critical thinking skills when it comes to receiving marketing messages. And we'll share some specifics in this episode on how to do that, and how to spot the bullshit, and what to do about it. But first, I think it's just really important to recognize that marketing exists to attract clients so we can make money. Like that's a thing for any industry, but specifically like talking today about, again, the health and wellness and diet fitness weight loss industries.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, I mean, let's not pretend that we're not trying to make money here. Obviously, if we have a business, we're trying to make money.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

It kind of goes without saying. You know, it's

Sadie Simpson:

Oooh. interesting, I'm actually about to take a course- like a free mini course, actually- from somebody who calls themselves an

Naomi Katz:

-which I love so much. Shout out Emily Eley anti capitalist business coach- Coaching, by the way. The thing is, these are not necessarily antithetical ideas. Like we can be anti capitalist, and also recognize that businesses need to make money. Like, it's- a lot of it has to do with what we do with that money, and like whether the point of getting money is to just be growing forever- just to constantly- just to accumulate more and more wealth. Like no, maybe that's not what we're trying to do. But businesses make money. And that's what marketing is meant to do. Let's not pretend that it's something else.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, like marketing is vital for any business. And I think cultivating more awareness and shifting how we market our own programs is really important for us, as business owners, and, again, for people who might not be trying to sell a product or service, to receive information as consumers. So let's kind of talk a little bit about how to do that. So first, I think it's really important to be clear that weight loss marketing is false advertising.

Naomi Katz:

Can we go back and like literally just say that again, because I think it's so, so important that it like bears repeating as like- like, let's just say that straight out.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Weight loss marketing is false advertising.

Sadie Simpson:

We've already talked about this before, weight loss is a $72 billion industry. Diets have a 95% failure rate. And we've cited this like over and over and over again, but weight loss through dieting can't be sustained by most people for more than a short period of time. So like this whole idea of using weight loss as a marketing mechanism, is false advertising. And I don't know how many times we're going to be able to say that in this episode, but I think we need to say it like 5 million times. But anyway.

Naomi Katz:

Yes, 5 million seems like approximately the right number- the right number of times for that.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. Do we make purchases, knowing ahead of time that the product is going to fail 95% of the time? Like do we buy a car or refrigerator, knowing that it's going to stop working within a year or two? And, even if we do make a purchase- like a substantial purchase, like a car or an appliance- and it breaks in a year or two, we're probably going to be mad at the manufacturer, or the salesperson, or the store for selling us a crappy product. But things get kind of different when we talk about dieting, and weight loss, and fitness programs, and things like that, because when we make these big purchases that we hope and assume are going to change our bodies- which we hope and assume is going to change our lives- when those programs fail us, we don't really blame the salesperson. We blame ourselves for not being able to stick with the program for longer than a couple of months at a time.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, so two things. First of all, it's so interesting, like not only is it false advertising in that, like it fails- like 95% of the time you don't get what you paid for- but it's actually almost like even bigger than that. Christy Harrison, in the book Anti-Diet, uses this analogy where it's something about, like, would you get a haircut where like, there was like a two thirds chance that your hair would be longer at the end of it, or something like that. Like something that like literally does the exact opposite of what you're paying for it to do. And so that's important to recognize too,

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. because, again, there's like a huge- like not only do people regain weight, but like two thirds of people gain more weight than they spent the money to lose in the first place. Again, weight gain in and of itself is not a bad thing. But like, you're spending all this money and you're literally doing the exact opposite of what you paid for. And two, it does like actual literal harm. Like there's like risks to our mental health, there's eating disorders, and you know, all kinds of other things that are like, actually literally harmful- you know, weight cycling, yo yo dieting, has all these health risks and stuff like that. And so, cars are a great example of this- like cars that do harm to a large percent of the people that are- that they're sold to- you get lawsuits, like cars get recalled. Like, there's all kinds of things that happen and like structures that are in place to protect people from that in other industries. But in the weight loss and fitness industry, it's like, oh, no, it's your fault. You're doing it wrong. Oh my gosh, yes. Like I hadn't even really thought about the lawsuit and the- the safety aspect of it. Because like, whenever you have a product that repeatedly fails, it either gets taken off the shelf, or it goes back to like some sort of safety protocol where they fix it. Like I think about car seats, for example, like whenever we were kids and babies, like car seats were completely different than they are now, because over time, like they have evolved to adapt to change based on like improved safety standards. But that hasn't happened in the diet, fitness, weight loss industry ever. We instead-

Naomi Katz:

Yeah.

Sadie Simpson:

- keep getting more and more products that are more and more unsafe.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. Like, okay, if you apply this- like a similar logic, and- because the thing is, it's almost like, well, we don't care, because it's possible that for a little while you'll be in a smaller body.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

And it's like, if you- again, if you apply this to cars, it's like, oh, this car looks really cool, but like 95% of the time, or two thirds of the time, or whatever, it explodes. It's bad for you like 95% or two thirds of the time. Nobody's going to be like, yeah, but you look so cool driving it until then. That sounds absurd, right? But like, that's essentially the logic that's being applied to this kind of advertising and this kind of like lack of effectiveness in the fitness, and wellness, and like diet industry.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. Well, and this is how we stay in this place of constantly blaming ourselves, when the product, or the system, or the program, or whatever- like when it doesn't work long term, instead of getting mad at like the larger system, we get mad at ourselves. But that's what this marketing is designed to do. Like it's supposed to appeal to our subconscious desires of what we, you know, hope to see in ourselves in the future or whatever. But gosh, like, especially in the wellness, and fitness, and weight loss industries, like there's just so many unethical like tactics being utilized here. And we'll talk specifics in a minute. But they just keep us focused in on this one specific goal that we know is not either attainable, or sustainable. And it just kind of snowballs into this bigger picture thing that just affects our society. Like it shows up in eating disorders, in weight stigma, in oppressing people who don't fit into what the hypothetical goal or outcome is supposed to be of all these programs. And it's just- it's just really bad. So let's talk a little bit about how some of this manipulative marketing shows up. And there are some pretty obvious blatant things that we're all probably pretty aware of, but there's also some subtle things that happen too, that we don't really realize until we start to think about it a little bit. But first and foremost, let's talk about before and after photos.

Naomi Katz:

Love a good before and after photo conversation.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. We all know about before and after photos. And there's a reason why this is common, and it's because they're very widely accepted as a standard way to market any kind of weight loss program. And weight loss equals money. So when potential clients or potential customers see these dramatic side by side before and after weight loss photos, it sends this message that by participating in whatever program the person in the photo did, that everybody's gonna achieve this same dramatic result. And, oh my God, there's so so so many problems with before and after photos, and we can name a few of them, but the list is endless.

Naomi Katz:

Can we just insert another instance of weight loss is false advertising here? It seems like a good- a good spot for another repetition of that.

Sadie Simpson:

Yep, weight loss is false advertising. So one thing about before and after photos is that this whole idea of an after photo, it reinforces this widely accepted assumption that smaller is better, and that bigger is worse, or bigger is bad. And if you've been listening to this podcast for a while, we've discussed the concepts of anti fat bias, fatphobia, weight stigma, all of these concepts in depth, and will continue to do so forever and ever and ever. Because promoting that a smaller body is a better body through before and after photos, it continues to perpetuate these harmful assumptions and these harmful systems that are just so prevalent everywhere we go.

Naomi Katz:

I just- I can never get over like what the impact it must have on individuals to see themselves in the before photos- like how that must impact people on a personal level, and how like marginalized that just, you know, must make them feel, and how bad that must make them feel. Like, just on like a human level, like, think about the fact that you're doing that to somebody-

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

-when you post before and after photos. I just I will never stop thinking about how awful that is.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, and it's- like, I mean, I've seen this a lot on- Meg Boggs is a great example of when you see a person in a fat body exercising, there are often like comments on their social media pages, or just assumptions that they are doing this as an, essentially, a before photo. And I think if anybody out there is listening doesn't follow Meg Boggs, that's a great person to follow on Instagram, just to kind of see how this shows up like in life, and how shitty it is, and how this kind of thing needs to stop. But again, like to put it super clearly, before and after photos are false advertising. Because when we see somebody's before and after photos, we are also seeing a very, very, very small snapshot of somebody's temporary weight loss, and we're not seeing a long term picture of body and weight fluctuations. And bodies change like, all the time- every year, every day, every decade, whatever- like people's bodies are going to change. But when we see just this one moment in time of a before and after photo, it's not giving us the full picture either.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, you know how I feel about bodies are gonna change- that it's like one of those like constants in life.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

One of the few constants in life.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

And that's absolutely true. Not to mention the fact that it- that it's not actually telling you anything about somebody's health status.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

Like, they might be in a smaller body, but like, maybe they don't have their period anymore, or like maybe they're tired all the time, or whatever else. Like it's literally telling you nothing about this person. It's just this tiny, tiny snapshot of what they looked like at one moment in time.

Sadie Simpson:

On that note, too, before and after photos, they contribute to poor body image. Like, whenever you see You know, we talk a lot about like, oh, like choosing weight these dramatic photos, it really kind of adds to our distortion of what's supposed to happen- like that we're supposed to embark on this fitness journey or whateve, and the end result is supposed to be this dramatic body change. And often that leads to things like body dissatisfaction, or body dysmorphia, body comparison, eating disorders, exercise related disorders- and it just contributes to a lot of harmful beliefs. loss for yourself is autonomy- maybe- but like talking about it is not a neutral act. Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

It's not like an autonomous thing because of how it affects other people, and before and after photos- because a lot of people post before and after photos of themselves, like, oh, this is my weight loss journey. And I think that they feel like maybe that's different, you're selling anything. But like this stuff all applies to those kinds of before and after photos too. Like, this is not a neutral thing.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-mm. And then there's also airbrushing, and editing, and Photoshop.

Naomi Katz:

Filters.

Sadie Simpson:

Filters. Yes. That just really like amplifies these dramatic photos and things like that.

Naomi Katz:

Absolutely. And don't get me wrong, I love a fun Instagram filter. But like there's a difference between- it's much like we talked about in the beauty standards thing- there's a difference between this filter is fun, and I'm using this filter so that I look different than how I look.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

In terms of before and after photos, I also think- so there's- there's sort of a trend these days of posting before and after photos, but with captions that talk about how the real change was on the inside.

Sadie Simpson:

Oooh.

Naomi Katz:

And I feel like that's like a specific category of before and afters that is worth talking about. That, and I think the other thing is, we see ones where it's almost like a reverse before and after, where people are showing themselves at their thinnest, or even in the midst of an eating disorder, or something like that, and then the after photo is them maybe in a slightly larger body. And like that this is the better one, essentially. I just feel like it's really important to talk about the fact that even those often aren't as neutral, maybe, or positive as we think they are. Those things can be especially problematic for people who are struggling with eating disorders, for one thing. And also, I think a lot of times it sets up this like false belief that like there's a right way to recover into a healthier body. So one of the things that people with eating disorders struggle with a lot is this idea that like, okay, they're gonna gain weight i recovery, but they can't gain too much weight- like that there's like an upper limit to like what's an acceptable weight to recover into. And you very rarely see eating disorder recovery before and afters that actually show somebody in a significantly larger body in that after photo. And so it reinforces this belief that like, well, as long as you recover into a socially acceptable body. And so that's really problematic.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

And then the ones that maybe have the caption about, like, oh, I look different, but the real change is on the inside- those are really problematic, too, because you're still- even if you don't mean to be doing it- reinforcing this idea that weight loss is what brought about those inside changes, and that in order to feel better about yourself, and be more confident, and whatever, losing the weight was part of gaining those things, and that is necessarily part of getting those things. And that's problematic on a lot of levels that I'm sure I don't even really need to lay out here.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, I'm glad you pointed that out. Because that kind of takes it into a little bit of a different layer of like just the surface level, here's before and after photo of dramatic weight loss, because there's a lot- like there's a lot of complexity here like all around, with just different types of before and after photos.

Naomi Katz:

I have a standing rule, actually, where I do not follow anybody who posts any kind of before and after photos. Like, and if I don't know, but then I see that, I unfollow like immediately. Like that is just not something that I am willing to have as part of my social media experience, as much as I am capable of controlling it.

Sadie Simpson:

I like that.

Naomi Katz:

Which- by the way, listeners- that is an option for you as well.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. Yes.

Naomi Katz:

There's also another sort of nuanced thing around the photos we use in marketing that might be worth talking about, which is how- even if we don't post before and after photos- if like we, as professionals- if we ourselves are in smaller bodies- or you know, socially acceptable bodies, or whatever- and we are like constantly centering the posting of ourselves and our own bodies in our marketing, that that can be a little problematic too. Because even if we never, ever, ever say, if you do this, you'll look like me- that's still what people see and hear because we're so conditioned to see and hear that because of all the manipulative marketing out there that does do that. I know the algorithm loves photos of ourselves. And I'm not saying you have to hide or like that you should never post photos of yourself. Like, that's definitely not what I'm saying. But there's ways to do that that like is maybe a little bit less likely to bring about that association. So like, you know, we can show the messy stuff. We can post photos that aren't always like, you know, made up and professional looking and stuff, especially if that's not how we are in real life. We can give context to those photos in the caption. We can maybe do less like posing, and a little more like real life type- I don't know. And I mean, sometimes it's even just maybe fewer full body photos, if you're a particularly- I don't know, there's a lot of nuance to that. But it's- it's a- it's sort of a subtle thing that I think is worth mentioning, while we're talking about photos too.

Sadie Simpson:

Ooh. I like that. And especially for so many of us out there now that are pursuing our own personal branding, and our personal businesses, and stuff like that, I think those are some really important considerations. Well, even thinking about like group fitness instructors and personal trainers, even if you work for somebody else- and this can be said, for like any business, even if you don't, technically run your own business, but you work for a gym, or you work for a studio- when you promote yourself on social media as an employee of that studio, you're still like promoting yourself and the studio at the same time. But I think it's important to consider like the stuff you post personally, like how does that reflect the message and the values of the gym or the studio? And how does that reflect like your own personal values as a fitness professional too? But, gah, yeah, there's a lot to consider, like, especially when marketing ourselves and our programs. And I think another thing that we see a lot in program marketing is the use of testimonials. And again, like I think there's a time and a place for testimonials. Don't get me wrong, I never think there's a time and a place for before and after photos. However, testimonials are something that we can utilize to like promote our programs, but it's one of those things that we need to do it in a way that isn't causing harm, that is more in alignment with our values, and that just feels better. Because- we talked a little bit about this in the toxic positivity episode- that we never see just the regular old neutral, medium testimonials. We never see, really, the bad testimonials, either, highlighted in program marketing, for obvious reasons. We only see these extremely rare, good testimonials. And I think, as consumers, it's important to remember this. Like when we're purchasing products, whether it is like a nutrition, or fitness, or any kind of other products for that matter, like we need to recognize that the testimonials we see are like the best of the best, and they are curated specifically to promote like the benefits of the product.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, and like, obviously, like as professionals, we're gonna post the good- like good testimonials.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

Like, I am- like that's- I don't even necessarily think that as professionals you need- we need to stop doing that.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

But I do think- and this is something that I learned from, you know, my business coach Rachel Turner, who- I'll talk a little bit more about some of that experience later, I think- but that like she never posts testimonials without giving some context to that person's experience. Because one size does not fit- like these experiences are not necessarily universal to everybody. Like the fact that one person, who has certain abilities, certain privileges, certain whatever, had this experience doesn't mean that somebody else who doesn't have those things, or has different lived experiences, is going to have the same experience. So like putting it out there as like, this is what people experience in my program, or whatever, without giving any context to what this person came into it with is really, again, kind of manipulative and false. Like not everybody is going to have the same experience.

Sadie Simpson:

Hmm, I love that perspective. And I think on the flip side, a prime example of some of the really more manipulative things we see are, specifically, like BeachBody branded programs. So you see things like 21 Day Fix, Insanity. And I specifically think about BeachBody because there's still, to this day, like a lot of infomercials out there for it. So not just picking on BeachBody, but like any kind of infomercial based fitness wellness program. Because I mean, you really do hear about like the top tier results achieved from participating in some of these specific, and often like really extreme, really restrictive programs. And we're not always being told the full story when we see these testimonials. Like we're not clued in to the reality that some of these better testimonials in some of these mainstream programs have been from people who were compensated to give raving reviews. We're not shown the long term results, again, just like in before and after photos, but just like these immediate short term changes. And then we're not really hearing the stories of participants who have struggled to potentially stay consistent with some of these extreme exercise programs, or just other barriers people experience. Like, we rarely hear about the negative long term effects of some of these short term programs like something like 21 Day Fix- that, how like it does contribute directly to things like weight cycling, yo yo dieting, eating disorders, body obsession. And that's just something- you know, unless we see like an expose a documentary on Netflix about it, like we rarely hear about this side of things.

Naomi Katz:

It's so interesting, because it's literally like the exact parallel to weight loss research. Mm-hmm. Where like the studies that we see about like, oh, this thing works really well- they're not doing follow up with these people past a certain point. Like, I think, the longest- like, it's rarely past the one year mark. And most people, when they start to experience weight regain, is like somewhere between the one and five year mark- especially two to five. And so like we're definitely not taking that into account. They don't talk about- like they only show the results for the people who actually stuck with the program through- for the- like, they don't even talk about how many people dropped out-

Sadie Simpson:

Oh yeah.

Naomi Katz:

-because it wasn't sustainable along the way. It's like self selecting, essentially. And it's so interesting how that's true in weight loss research, and it's also true in the way weight loss programs are marketed. Like, the system is so clear there.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, and I think this also goes back to something else we've talked about before here and there, of complimenting and praising weight loss. Because I've been a part of some wellness- like, quote, unquote, wellness based programs- where weight loss was one of the advertised desired outcomes of participating in the program. And whenever we pulled like testimonials and reviews of the participants, they were always from people who received a lot of praise for their weight loss. So whenever we're thinking about, like the words and the phrases we use to compliment people, and when we do compliment weight loss, again, we're kind of feeding into this same idea, this same system, that weight loss is and has to be the ultimate goal of participating in any kind of health related program. And it just distorts the idea that there are a zillion other potential positive outcomes that can come out of participating in maybe a new exercise program or something like that. But the focus is always on weight loss.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. Well, I mean, I feel like I know so many people who used to straight up be BeachBody coaches.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

So like they had such a good experience with it that, not only did they leave a good testimonial, but they actually became a BeachBody coach- who now, however many years later, are like, this was the worst thing ever.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Like it ruined my relationship with food, like I would never do it again, and stuff like that. And it's like- that, to me, is like a much stronger testimonial than whatever they might have said while they were doing it and like experiencing the compliments and the praise associated with it.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. I think another thing that we often see in health and fitness program marketing is just this too good to be true aspect. Like we see this a lot- of lose X pounds in X amount of days- like 30 pounds in 30 days, or whatever you see on- like on a magazine. But then like what happens after the 30 days?

Naomi Katz:

Which is the question about Whole 30 all the time, right? Like, ok cool, and then after the 30 days? Oh no,

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. that's nothing.

Naomi Katz:

Don't look behind the 30 day curtain. This is the

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. Yeah. kind of stuff that- so I have like a- an obsession with looking at the ridiculous claims on like grocery store checkout aisle magazines. I, at one point, briefly, started doing like a little like series on Instagram about like debunking diet magazines, and maybe I'll bring it back at some point. But so I take pictures of these things a lot. Ben loves when I do that while he's in line with me. But, as a result, I can I can sort of share with you some of my like, too good to be true claims- Yes.

Naomi Katz:

-that I've like accumulated over the years.

Sadie Simpson:

I'm excited for this.

Naomi Katz:

So the number one- I'm gonna do like a top four countdown, how does that sound?

Sadie Simpson:

Sounds good.

Naomi Katz:

I think the number one was the- it was a headline that said no sweat keto, and then underneath that, it said ice cream that boosts weight loss by 1,100 so like 1100%. Just grab a jar and four ingredients. Drop 36 pounds in three weeks. I literally don't even know where to start without

Sadie Simpson:

Oh god. one because it's like so absurd. Like, okay, first of all, let's start with the 36 pounds in three weeks. We don't talk about pounds here a whole lot. But like, because this is the way this stuff is advertised, I feel like it is helpful to deconstruct like why that's so problematic. 12 pounds a week is like, you are ill. Yes.

Naomi Katz:

Like if you're losing 12 pounds a week, you should go to the hospital.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

Like it is not okay. So there's that. Boosting weight loss by 1100%. Like, first of all, compared to what exactly, is my first question. Like, I just- how are you measuring that? What does that even mean? There's only four ingredients in this ice cream. So like, am I supposed to only eat ice- there's so many questions. I just don't even- I literally don't even know where to start with that one. So that's- that's number one, and I think you can probably understand why.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

I'm gonna go ahead and say- god, there's so many. I have- I don't have these in order in my notes, because I'm a dummy. I don't know why.

Sadie Simpson:

That's okay.

Naomi Katz:

How about how about this one- heal your gut and autoslim to your happy weight. There's like a number of things about this headline that stand out to me. Which is, one, that it preys on that like gut health. So like- like combining the health and weight

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm. loss thing. The your happy weight, which assumes that my happy weight is smaller than I currently am, and that my weight is directly related to my happiness. So like there's a number of things here. But like, again, the sub headlines to these things are where they really shine. 90% of us lack the nutrient that keeps our gut lining from eroding. What?

Naomi Katz:

Right? The benefits of this are reverse GI problems, reverse mental exhaustion, reverse stubborn fat, and, of course, drop 12 pounds a week.

Sadie Simpson:

I wonder what's so magical about that 12 pounds a week number.

Naomi Katz:

I honestly have no idea but it shows up repeatedly, which is so weird.

Sadie Simpson:

Oooh. I bet there's been some kind of research that people- like there's some kind of goal associated with that, or like some kind of psychological thing-

Naomi Katz:

Yeah.

Sadie Simpson:

-associated with that number 12. I don't know

Naomi Katz:

I'm sure that's true. The nutrient that keeps what it is. our gut lining from eroding? Folks-

Sadie Simpson:

What's that nutrient?

Naomi Katz:

That is not a thing. There is no nutrient- there is no like specific nutrient that 90%- so like 90% of us are walking around without gut linings apparently?

Sadie Simpson:

Wouldn't like all of our like insides just like come out of our orifices if that were a thing?

Naomi Katz:

See, Sadie, this is an excellent question. Because gut is a really- like, are you talking about my stomach? Are you talking about my intestines? Are you talking about my abdomen? Like, what part of my gut lining exactly are you talking about that I'm missing?

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my god.

Naomi Katz:

So yeah. I also want to point out the mental exhaustion part that this is supposed to help. It's really, really interesting how many of these magazines also on the cover feature an article about being tired or stressed.

Sadie Simpson:

Hmmm.

Naomi Katz:

And it's like, yeah, you're losing weight at the rate that you would if you had a disease- assuming you're actually doing that- but, at the very least, you are severely underfueling your body in order to chase that goal. So like yeah, you're probably a little tired and stressed.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

And something tells me this diet is not actually going to fix that mental exhaustion.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my gosh, these are terrible.

Naomi Katz:

Right? Um, okay- thyroid rescue, lose 12 pounds in seven days.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh. 12 pounds.

Naomi Katz:

Again, magic number. And restore your health on this three week plan. But again, ridiculous sub headline- chronic stress impairs thyroid function for 80% of women over 45, making them fat, sick, and tired. Again, we've got like the whole conflation of health and weight here, which is like a common theme through all of this. But like 80% of women over 45 have impaired thyroid function?

Sadie Simpson:

I think we need to bring like an endocrinologist on here to talk about that because I don't believe that is true.

Naomi Katz:

Between the missing gut lining and the like messed up- and the impaired thyroid function, we are not doing too well, people.

Sadie Simpson:

No. We are- like our society is crumbling from the inside out.

Naomi Katz:

Yep. And then the last one- another keto. Okay- best keto yet, lose 19 pounds this week.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, 19.

Naomi Katz:

That's what makes it the best keto yet-

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

-obviously is you get that extra seven pounds.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

Um, subheadline- repairs damaged fat cells so they burn fat faster than ever, proven to reverse diabetes in 12 weeks.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, my god.

Naomi Katz:

Maybe- this one maybe should have been first. I honestly don't know. What the hell does repairs damaged fat cells so they burn fat even mean?

Sadie Simpson:

I don't know.

Naomi Katz:

Do we think our fat cells burn fat?

Sadie Simpson:

This is wild. And then, reverse diabetes in 12 weeks?

Naomi Katz:

Yeah.

Sadie Simpson:

That's a pretty- pretty hefty claim there.

Naomi Katz:

It's totally fine to just make these like blatantly false medical claims, right? Like that's legal.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, yeah.

Naomi Katz:

That's fine, right.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, it's perfectly fine. Most of these were like three weeks based, and it's interesting, like whenever- and again, I don't have like the stats in front of me- three weeks is probably the duration where a lot of people start an extreme diet program and then by the end of three weeks, that's kind of when the diet program starts to not be happening anymore. So I wonder if there's like a magic number there to the three week threshold, as far as like the motivation slash sustainability to like eat this specific way for three weeks.

Naomi Katz:

I mean, I think that lines up with what we found when we looked at the stats about New Year's resolutions, and how long those last. Like most of them don't last past January. So I think the fact that so many of these are three weeks, or even when you look at Whole 30, that it's 30 days- like the fact that most of these things don't even try to present themselves as something you do longer than about a month adds up.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. Well, that was a fun little segment. Maybe we should have a segment every week of magazine articles and covers that you see at the grocery store that are crappy.

Naomi Katz:

Maybe I'll bring back my reels series on this. Because that was fun.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. Yes. Well, something else that's fun- let's talk really quickly, too, about just some ridiculous fitness and nutrition products that we see out there. Because a lot of times these products in and of themselves like are the marketing. So specifically, let's talk about the Shake Weight for a minute. I can't keep a straight face even when I say the word Shake Weight.

Naomi Katz:

I cannot wait to talk about the Shake Weight.

Sadie Simpson:

So I'm sure we are all familiar with the infamous Shake Weight. But doing a little bit of research for this episode, I found that by 2010- at the height of the Shake Weight phenomenon- this product had over $40 million in sales.

Naomi Katz:

I cannot believe that the Shake Weight brought in $40 million in sales. I like literally am speechless, and that never happens.

Sadie Simpson:

The tagline for Shake Weight- I couldn't remember what it was, so I had to look it up too- but it was "Shake your way to firm and fabulous arms and shoulders in just six minutes a day." And I didn't realize this until yesterday when I was looking this up, but there were two Shake Weights. There was a men's Shake Weight, which was five pounds. And the women's Shake Weight was only two and a half pounds.

Naomi Katz:

Interesting. There's nothing better than nonsense marketing and weirdly gendered marketing for no reason.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

That's like a- it's like- it's like a perfect storm there.

Sadie Simpson:

Well, and I think- like the Shake Weight, obviously, it wound up being more of like a joke satire thing. Like it was on SNL. And maybe people did purchase the Shake Weight as a real product. I don't know. But regardless, like $40 million is a lot of money to be made.

Naomi Katz:

Totally. And there's so many products out there that are like that. That I feel like, one- it's funny, I was thinking

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. this when you were talking about like, you know, infomercial like weight loss programs and stuff like that- but like, can we just get to the point where we're like, if it has an infomercial, it's probably bullshit? Like- Yes.

Naomi Katz:

-just throwing that out there. But even things that

Sadie Simpson:

Oh yeah. don't have infomercials. So like, the thing that I always

Naomi Katz:

-tone your legs or something like that. First of think of, as far as this is, do you remember those sneakers that like were basically rounded on the bottom? And they were supposed to like- all, I feel like those can't have been good for so much stuff because of the instability. But I always think of, in The Office- because you know how much I love The Office- that there's an episode where Kelly Kapoor is wearing those sneakers. And like, she says something along the lines of, I'm basically wearing a gym on my feet. It cracks me up just to think of the fact that like, there were all these people walking around in these like, ridiculous shoes, that definitely did not do anything. And I can't help but wonder how much money those things made.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my gosh.

Naomi Katz:

Especially because it wasn't just one company- like so many different brands made those shoes.

Sadie Simpson:

I think Skechers, they were called Shape-Ups. I'm pretty sure.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, that sounds right.

Sadie Simpson:

Skechers Shape-Ups. I will never forget- actually, I did forget until you just mentioned these shoes. But when I first started teaching Zumba, I had a person come to my class wearing some of these shoes. I've always been a very like risk averse person- like I'm always like aware of the risks involved, especially like in my classes, and when I'm like working with people in an exercise setting- and this person came in with these Shape-Up shoes on, and I was like, that is a very bad idea. We're gonna be doing a lot of like lateral, side to side, forward back movement. You're gonna have to take those shoes off because you cannot break your ankle in here. And she was very- like, she wanted to wear those Shape-Ups during class. But I was like, nope, you cannot do that here.

Naomi Katz:

As somebody who basically has a perpetually twisted ankle because I've twisted my ankles so many times, that hurts.

Sadie Simpson:

There's so many other like wild products out there. Actually, if you're listening, and you have any other specific products like Shape-Ups or Shake Weights- maybe you've tried them, or maybe you've just seen them and were like, huh, this is interesting- send us a DM over at @satisfactionfactorpod on Instagram. Tell us about some of your favorite products that were designed for fitness, or health, or that sort of thing you've experienced over the years.

Naomi Katz:

Absolutely, we would very much enjoy that.

Sadie Simpson:

We talked about a lot of these really obvious things that exist within marketing with fitness programs, and diet programs, and things like that, but there's also some subtle stuff that we don't typically think about. Like specifically talking about high pressure marketing, and high pressure sales, and using pain points, and urgency, FOMO- so fear of missing out. And I think a lot of these things exist, again, in like the bigger mainstream programs. But a lot of this exists in smaller online business based programs, or like people that we know that are selling products- like they use these things like pain points and urgency to really get us to make purchases that we might not otherwise make if these aspects weren't involved in the marketing.

Naomi Katz:

Online business has a huge problem with all of these things. And like you said, the reality is, I think all business has an issue with these things- but especially in the online business space where people basically start their own business and they have no idea how to run a business. You know, like, and that's not their fault. Like I'm that person. Sadie, I know you're that person.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

You know, like we just- you know, and you actually have a background in fitness marketing, so like you probably came at this even ahead of the game a little bit, where the rest of us- like, I have never marketed anything in my life. Like I don't know. And so- and then there's all these business coaches out there who are literally telling us to do it this way. You know, we don't know any better, and so we do, and it's just so harmful.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. Well, and specifically thinking about pain points- like this is where, in marketing, where we highlight and emphasize the problems customers face. And again, this is how all marketing is done- like products and programs exist to solve a problem. But especially in the fitness and health and wellness marketing world, it can be really problematic when we're talking about some specific pain points, because a lot of times these pain points that are brought up normalize disordered behaviors, and emphasize assumptions that fat is bad, and really highlight the idea that, you know, the purpose of fitness is for fat loss, and you have to do all these things, and in order to become a better mother you have to lose all of your baby weight- these pain points really try to dig into your skin to get you to purchase a program or a product that kind of taps into your insecurities.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, it's super harmful and problematic. You know, especially because a lot of the times, these things that people market as pain points are actually marginalization, or oppression, or trauma, or like all these other things. Positioning whatever product it is your selling as the cure or the solution, and also in a lot of ways positioning the customer as the actual problem. Like oh, if you would just invest in this, if you would just take this step, then all that stuff would be fixed. And it's like, actually, you're not going to fix my oppression and marginalization and trauma, with this 12 week fitness program. Like that's not going to happen.

Sadie Simpson:

Right.

Naomi Katz:

So it's- it's really, really- and you're absolutely right, it just preys on these insecurities, and then increases those experiences of oppression and marginalization and trauma. It's really bad.

Sadie Simpson:

I'm just gonna go ahead and say it- a lot of this happens in MLM marketing, especially MLM marketing related to like supplements and weight loss products, because they are taught from like the upper tiers of the organization that they need to tap into people's insecurities in order to make sales, and there's a lot of pressure that trickles down from above to get the money, and to get the sales, no matter what the cost is. And it's just super problematic.

Naomi Katz:

It's almost like a pyramid scheme is not an ethical business model.

Sadie Simpson:

No.

Naomi Katz:

It's almost like that.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my gosh. Well, and that kind of brings up another point, too, of the idea of this urgency or high pressure marketing. Because we see this a lot, again, in MLMs, but in online business, in general- if you don't rush to sign up for this program by this particular date, then you're just gonna miss out on your opportunity for lifelong change. And obviously, like, as business owners, we recognize and know, like, we have to have deadlines. We need to meet certain benchmarks in order to be sustainable. But a lot of this high pressure marketing is like bullying. And it forces people into making financial commitments without having the space to really consider the pros and the cons of the outcomes and the investment and that sort of thing. And that exists a lot in the fitness and wellness space, too.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, the- the like really short open and close periods, and like, the false ones- like- like, yeah. I mean, I have a group program, and like enrollment closes at a certain date, because the whole group starts on a certain date. And like, obviously, that has to happen. But like if you give enough time for people to enroll, and if you give them enough notice of when things are going to close, so that they have time to like make their full decision and go through the whole process. And then the other thing you see is a lot of times people do open and close for things that don't need to be open and close.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm

Naomi Katz:

And you also see people who do things where- like, I only have three spots in this, when like actually they have as many spots as they want to have, but like they're trying to drive that scarcity. You're essentially like pressuring somebody into doing something that they might not be ready to do.

Sadie Simpson:

And that just doesn't feel good, from a business owner's perspective, and from a consumer's perspective- like that just doesn't feel good for anybody. So there's a lot of opportunity for change here. And again, maybe someday in the near future we'll have some specific business experts, marketing experts, on here. I think that'd be really helpful to kind of extend this conversation a little bit further. But one other thing that happens a lot is this idea of FOMO, and just cultivating almost false FOMO- kind of like you were talking about- like, if you don't sign up tomorrow, you're gonna miss out on one of three spots that are available, but there's more than three spots available. And this happens a lot in health and fitness program marketing too, as a way to kind of, one, like trigger those pain points that we talked about. But it kind of just cultivates this idea that, wow, like, if everybody else is doing this program, I need to do it too. And it removes a sense of autonomy, almost, of us being able to make our own decisions on what we need and what we want in a program or product.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, like the whole idea of being like last chance, and like not talking about the fact that you're going to run this program again in 12 weeks.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. Like, this is it. We're done.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, it's not my last chance. It's my last chance until the next time.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

And like, that's another thing that like, maybe we could be clear about when we advertise things.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. What's the harm in saying, yeah, this is your last chance till next month, but give people time to make a decision for themselves? Unfortunately, this is how we're taught to market health and fitness, and even nutrition programs. It's how the big brands do it. It's how we do it on a smaller scale in our own personal online businesses. And it's almost like this trickle down thing that normalizes manipulative marketing tactics in a way that we don't consider them to be problematic. Like, I know, when I first started out doing business online, I was given the advice- this blanket statement- sell them what they want, and give them what they need. So knowing like in my heart and soul that selling weight loss programming and fat loss programming was not something that I wanted to do. However, I was essentially taught that in order to kind of enroll people in programs and to make money, I had to sell a weight loss program or a fat loss program, even though, when I was delivering the actual content of a program, the focus was not on weight loss or fat loss at all. It was on behavior change, and on mindfulness, and mindset, and just all these other surrounding things. But the ultimate goal was not weight loss or fat loss, even though- like, I definitely marketed programs when I first started out as a weight loss program, even though the content was not weight loss driven at all, because I thought that's what you had to do in order to get clients and make money.

Naomi Katz:

I've definitely gotten that advice of sell them what they want, give them what they need. Like, and I feel like there's another word for that. It's called bait and switch. And it's totally not cool. It's not an okay thing to

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. do. But yeah, I definitely had a lot of that same experience when I first started out. And honestly, it always felt gross. So like, personally, I know, I basically didn't sell things when I first started out because it felt so gross to sell. And like obviously, that's not a good business or marketing tactic. Like not selling things is not a good way to have a business. So, like it definitely didn't work out for me. For me, it's really been like a game changer to like find people who provide business services and coaching that isn't like this. So I mentioned earlier, I worked with Rachel and Sara Turner for business coaching. And their whole thing is like human first business, and trauma informed, and consent based, and all of that. And I'll link to all of these folks and their Instagram profiles in the show notes, in case you are listening, and you're a professional, and you would like some better ways to do some of this stuff too. So yeah, Rachel and Sara Turner for business coaching. For copywriting. I've done some work with Natalie Topalian, who is @thebrandcopywriter on Instagram. Same thing- like she works very much from a like trauma informed, consent based lens, and like has really helped me incorporate that into my web copy, and my sales copy, and stuff like that, so that I can do this stuff without preying on pain points and false scarcity. And then the last person who has really changed so much about how I do business is Katie Kurtz, who teaches trauma informed practices, and has just really, really helped me see how I can infuse things like consent and autonomy into everything that I do around marketing, around sales, around coaching, around all of that stuff. The thing that's so interesting is that we're told essentially that the only way to make money is to do this really gross way of doing business, but the reality is my business only started making money when I ditched all the gross business practices and started marketing through this consent based, trauma informed, human first lens. And part of that was because I finally felt comfortable enough to do marketing, and like, so people even knew I was selling something. And partly, I think it's because I really truly believe that people would rather not feel like shit. Like, I think that people would rather buy things out of- again- you know, it's like we talked about last week, that like best interest buying versus detrimental buying- and I think most people would rather buy things that they feel like are in their best interest, as opposed to things that they think are going to fix something or like prey on their insecurities. I think most people feel better about that, even if they don't have the words for it, or know what it is about it. So I think that's a big part of it, too. And really, all of that is about consent- so like making sure that you're not like hard selling and pressuring people. Rachel Turner talks a lot about, like, if you took this idea, and put it in the context of something else, like a sexual encounter- you know, like overcoming people's no's and objections, and like, you know, pressuring them into doing stuff that they don't really want to do- wouldn't that be really incredibly problematic? So why do we think that's okay to do in business? Like, no, it's not. Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

And so, really finding ways to allow people to opt in to this stuff, or opt out if they choose to. Clarity- so being really transparent about things like pricing, open and close dates, the next time you're going to offer this, and, you know, stuff like that. Choices about how they want to interact with your content or your program. And accessibility- so like really making sure that people who don't all have the same kind of lived experience, ability, privilege, stuff like that can still access what you're doing. You know, and obviously, these original sources are the best place to get this information. But just to sort of share a little about like, this is a different way that we can do this stuff.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my gosh, I love that so much, and there's so much we can learn from these people who are actual experts in marketing. So thanks for sharing those with us. So that was a lot of heavy stuff, but I think important stuff for us to recognize as both consumers and for those of us who may work in a position where we do have to market and sell programs and services. So what do we do with all this information? I think as a consumer, it's really important that we consider the claims that were made in some of these marketing advertisements that we see, especially as it is related to fitness or health. Were the claims from actual research, or did the data come from like replicated studies? Were the claims from primary sources, or were they just assumptions about losing 12 pounds in three weeks, or whatever, that somebody just made up to slap on the cover of a magazine? And you mentioned this earlier- consider is the product or service on an infomercial? Is it endorsed or promoted by a celebrity? That can pretty much guarantee that it's more about making money over providing a service. And something else to consider, too, is when you are on the receiving end of advertising or marketing do you feel like the person or the product is pressuring you to make a decision based on emotion, and just urgency, over rational thought?

Naomi Katz:

And like almost to elaborate on that a little bit- is this person basically trying to make you feel bad about yourself so that they can fix it? And then some other things that I like to consider- Is this product or service a one size fits all solution, or does it honor different abilities, and lived experiences, and privileges? And are different bodies represented in the marketing for this product or service?

Sadie Simpson:

Ooh.

Naomi Katz:

Or does everyone look the same? Like is everybody in your group a small bodied, relatively privileged, white, cisgender woman? Because if that's the case, you really can't market this as something that's going to fit for everybody, because chances are, it might not. And also, chances are, there's some other factors that might be going into the results that you're seeing, and stuff like that. So just something to, like as a consumer, consider- like do I see myself in the marketing and advertising of this, or is it just people who look a specific way?

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, that's a really, really good point. Well, and even on the flip side, thinking about this, from a professional standpoint, are we promoting our programs in a way, with the pictures, and with the copy, that we are attracting clients and customers that we are truly serving or truly seek to serve? Or are we just promoting in one very like linear way that attracts and serves only a very specific person? And I think a big part of that, as a marketer, is being really transparent and honest about our program and our product offerings, and not trying to like hide facts about what we're offering- like be really clear in what you're trying to sell and what you're trying to promote so people can make that autonomous decision of whether or not they want to get involved. Prioritizing, again, consent and autonomy over urgency, and authentic storytelling over outrageous claims, and finding alignment with our personal and our business values, and using that to drive our marketing, versus simply just copying what other people do, or like repeating what the gurus say we're supposed to do. Because that doesn't work for everybody. And it just perpetuates this way of marketing that's just riddled in a lot of shame, and a lot of manipulation, and just a lot of weight loss focused messaging, too. And I'm going to throw out a possibly unpopular opinion here too, especially for fitness and wellness and health professionals- we have to remove weight loss and fat loss from the expected results of the basis of our programs and how we market them. And I know that's not going to be widely accepted by a lot of fitness and wellness professionals. But from a personal value standpoint, for me, it is very important to offer, to sell, to promote exercise and movement and fitness in a way that is completely clear of any type of weight loss programming or messaging. There's this unfortunate reality that, as fitness professionals, in general, sometimes we are hesitant to adopt a more weight neutral model, or a more fat positive model, or something like that within our fitness and wellness based businesses, because it goes against the norms of the industry- like it's not something that is common within this world. And it's also- it's scary to try something new and something different, especially when it's the complete opposite of how we are accustomed to operating our programs, and how we're used to marketing our programs and services. But I think it's really important to acknowledge that when we address some of these fears in regards to shifting the paradigm of fitness programming, we're faced with untangling some of our own shit- like some of our own internalized capitalism, some of our own internalized anti fat bias. And that's really scary for a lot of people. And I think that's probably why a lot of people are hesitant to shift how they market their programs and how they promote, especially with fitness programs. But I think ultimately, it really comes back to intentionally choosing to create a culture that aligns our personal values with our business practices, and finding a way to do that in a way that feels good for the marketer and for the consumer. And again, if this is something you're interested in learning more about, be sure to check out my free mini course Wellness Without Weight Loss that we'll link in the show notes.

Naomi Katz:

I don't even feel like I can add anything to that. Like that's all just so spot on. And just how much of it is really about being willing to face our own shit that we might need to unpack in order to make this work. I love how you said it- the- creating a culture that aligns with our- our values and stuff. Like that's really what it is. Like, when we- especially within like group programs, especially when we're working like with people- that we really do have to think about it as creating a culture. That's such a good way to put that. And so yeah.

Sadie Simpson:

Well, and even tying this back to Intuitive Eating- which is something we try to do in every episode- cultivating the ability to make autonomous decisions for ourselves based on our personal preferences, and our own desires, and our own needs. A large part of this comes from cultivating more awareness about the information we're consuming and being more critical of some of this mainstream marketing and messaging, especially as it's related to exercise and nutrition.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, totally. You know, I think so much of ditching diet culture is learning to see the ways that diet culture preys on our insecurities and does all of those things. It's like the- it's the FOMO, it's the pain points, the false urgency around it and stuff. Like there's so much of that that mimics diet culture. And so it's important when we're divesting from diet culture to recognize when that same model is being used.

Sadie Simpson:

So as we wrap up, what's satisfying for you right now?

Naomi Katz:

I believe I mentioned recently that I just bought some, like a new kind of nail decal. It's so funny, like, this was such like a, an awesome, like, in depth conversation. And now I'm like, so let's talk about my nails. But seriously, let's talk about my nails because I bought these, this new brand. And they're amazing. Like, it's so so rare that something you buy is literally exactly what you like, hoped and imagined it to be. And these are. Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, like they just have, like, slightly better designs than the one that I was using before. And they're definitely a lot more sturdy. And they're going to last longer. Like I just am so psyched about it. So this is like such a small thing, but it's making me so happy right now.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, that's amazing. And they look super cute too. From far away. I can't really see like up close. But via zoom. They look great.

Naomi Katz:

Yes, they're my Zoom nails. What about you, it's satisfying for you right now.

Sadie Simpson:

So last week, I said the upcoming Snow was exciting and satisfying for me right now. However, after getting a large amount of snow in a very short amount of time, and not being able to leave the house for almost a week. I'm glad the snow is melting. So it is satisfying for me for the snow to go away. And we'll hope that it stays away for a little while.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, you know, it's so funny when we had that conversation last week. I remember specifically saying that my favorite thing about the snow here is that it doesn't last realize that we were about to get a snowfall. It was a record that was set at 130 something years ago. I had no doubts about what that that's what was coming. And so here we are like a week later, with just still so much snow. Yep. So I'm with you on that for sure.

Sadie Simpson:

It can melt now. Anyway, if you enjoyed this podcast, we would love to connect with you over on our Instagram page at satisfaction factor pod. Be sure to comment and let us know what you think about this episode. And if you enjoyed

Naomi Katz:

this episode, in this podcast in general, one simple thing that you can do to support us, especially if you're listening in Apple podcasts or Spotify is to leave us a rating and a review. This helps us reach more people. And we always want to spread the anti diet message as far as we can.

Sadie Simpson:

And that wraps us up for this week. We'll see you next time.