Chrissy Metz as Kate

This Is Us: Working on Weight Loss Under Contract

What could be worse than living with obesity and feeling like you’re invisible? How about having the whole world watch while you work on your weight under the terms of an employment contract? That’s a circumstance that actress Chrissy Metz is embracing. When she signed on for the role of Kate in the hit show, This Is Us, Metz agreed that weight loss would be part of the story line. She explains:

In our contract, it did state that that would be a part of it, to lose the weight in the trajectory of the character as she comes to find herself. That was a win-win for me. Because it’s one thing to try to do it on your own. But as human beings, it’s an ego thing. We’re more likely to do something for someone else.

Whether or not I lose weight or stay the same, it’s purely a choice of mine for health. Not because I think that plus-size, curvy, voluptuous, big bodies aren’t attractive – because I think they’re awesome and sexy.

With her sudden success, Metz brings an important dilemma into view. For most of her life, she has endured abuse and unwanted attention focused on her body weight. Now she’s bringing a complex character to life with a mixture of self-acceptance, positivity, and a desire to be her best self. As her character considers the possibility of weight loss, the story ignites strong feelings about the subject. This tweet gives you an idea:

There you have it in a nutshell. Everyone wants to register their opinion. They seem certain of knowing what you should or should not do about your weight. Fat acceptance advocates offer up some of the strongest views. You’ll find a vigorous debate in social media about “doing this the right way.”

Here’s the thing. There is no “right way.” While we have no shortage of frauds and scams, real solutions are scarce. Trial and error, following evidence-based approaches, can get you to a better place. But the outcomes are different for every person.

Metz is bravely playing out a story about an intensely personal subject. Her decisions about how she cares for herself are hers alone.

If we want to watch with empathy, we can learn a lot. We might even grow in our understanding of humanity.

Click here, here, and here to read more.

Chrissy Metz as Kate, photograph courtesy of NBC

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November 21, 2016

2 Responses to “This Is Us: Working on Weight Loss Under Contract”

  1. November 21, 2016 at 5:32 pm, Michael said:

    It is worrying that people with severe obesity are being portrayed (sometimes even by themselves) as victims of their own poor choices – thus inferring that they are stupid and/or of inadequate character.

    I hope the writers of the show get some good advice and acknowledge the contribution of (epi)genetics, physiology, psychology and the obesogenic environment to obesity.

    Most fat people (like me) know that substantial weight loss is relatively easy vs. the heroic efforts needed to maintain that loss for years in the face of a rebelling physiology. If the show lives out to 5yrs, it will be interesting to see how this battle plays out.

  2. November 21, 2016 at 7:44 pm, Ted said:

    Well said.