In their annual New Year’s Fitness Challenge, Self Magazine partnered with frequent collaborator, plus-size model and body positivity cheerleader, Iskra Lawrence, to unveil a series of fitness routines and a one-week meal plan. Coupled with a fierce picture of the gorgeous Lawrence striking a powerful pose, the magazine’s cover promised “28 days of fun workouts + easy eats.”
Such an honour to be on the Jan cover of @selfmagazine thank you @joycemarg @rsinnkelly for believing in me and always encouraging us to be our healthiest and happiest selves. 👆LINK IN BIO👆 And you can all start 2017 with me & #TeamSELF by getting my FREE four-week workout and healthy eating plan when you sign up! 👆link up in my bio👆 Photography @kaizfeng styling @almudenagg Thanks to my family @jagmodels & @models_1uk for making this all possible. #NewYearsChallenge #iskralawrence #everyBODYisbeautiful
What they forgot to mention was that the so-called “easy eats” published on the website didn’t include much in the way of calories, and this prompted a flurry of negative comments from readers on social media directed at Lawrence and Self editor in chief Carolyn Kylstra. The New Year’s Challenge seemed to be advocating eating disorders, readers noted angrily, and sends a very different message than the #everyBODYisbeautiful edict that the model passionately promotes.
🍫 Happy New Years everyone😘 if you’re feeling the pressure to do the whole new year new you diets, think about what reason you’re doing it. It’s gotta be for you. And it’s not about changing yourself because you’re not good enough we can make healthy choices of moderation and self care improving our health rather than just changing a number on a scale. I will set myself new goals and challenges in Jan to try and be the best version of myself. I will never feel guilty for eating chocolate or pizza but I also want to keep finding new ways to challenge my body and mind. Eating what I want in moderation but also nourishing myself and trying new exercises to improve my fitness, strength & even for stress relief. Tomorrow is the start of my Jan challenge with @selfmagazine we spent time thinking of a way to create a healthy challenge that you can learn from and it’s about you feeling good about yourself because health is so much more than just a size or weight. The links in my bio👆 to sign up and I’ll post a pic for the first move tomorrow😝 wearing @aerie undies in this pic by @gavinglave #iskralawrence #everyBODYisbeautiful
Well Kylstra and Lawrence heard the outcry loud and clear and decided to start the New Year right–with a very public apology. In an article titled “We hear you,” Kylstra wrote that “Out of respect for Iskra, her followers, and all of you, we’ve removed this sample meal plan from the Challenge entirely. We’d also like to apologize for having included it in the first place.”
She goes on to say that “In partnering with a body positivity advocate who is a role model to many people who have struggled with and are in recovery from disordered eating, we should have been much more sensitive to this issue. It’s clear that this type of information could be triggering. This wasn’t at all our intention, it’s on us, and we’re sorry.”
I want to first thank you all for voicing your concerns about the New Year’s Challenge. I know nothing I can say will undo the damage that was triggered, but I’m thankful to have you all to learn from. Your voices have had such a huge impact and that makes me so happy. After seeing many of your comments and DMs, I spoke with SELF’s editor-in-chief, Carolyn Kylstra. We had a meaningful conversation about the Challenge, after which she made the decision to remove the meal plan. My involvement with the Challenge from the beginning was the fitness aspect—I wanted to share some of my favourite workout moves with you all that aren’t for weight loss, but to feel healthy, strong and to look after our bodies. I knew that there would be recipes involved but did not know that they would be put together in the form of a meal plan or be so restrictive / low cal. I don’t believe in diets, haven’t controlled my food since recovery, and would never mean to advocate for them. So thank you to @selfmagazine for hearing us – this truly shows the power of our community and the importance of the work the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is doing. We are stronger together and we are enough! Thanks to my bf, fam, my team, @nourishandeat @ddlovato and all of you who support me & @nedastaff 💚💙💚
Huge props to @SELFmagazine for removing the meal plan from their recent release after being approached by eating disorder survivors. ❤
— Melissa A. Fabello (@fyeahmfabello) January 4, 2017
In a week where Lena Dunham‘s thigh cellulite is on full display on the cover of Glamour and the founder of Cléo journal, a prominent feminist publication, has publicly declared that she resolves to stop dieting, 2017 is already off to a promising start. It’s time for body shaming and dieting (sorry goop cleanses) to be yesterday’s news.
Let the year of healthy living (no matter what that looks like to you) begin.