Health Magazine

They May Be Skinny, but I’m Not Impressed

By Fitvsfiction @fit_vs_fiction

I was walking through the grocery store with my son yesterday and had a “WTF?” moment, when I passed by the snack aisle and saw bags and bags of a chip-like product with the words, “HI I’M SKINNY sticks ” boldly and brightly written on the packaging. I had to stop and check them out. It doesn’t take a genius to see that these are lower-fat options for the potato chip eater and I have no problem with that. My issue isn’t with the product, just with the marketing of it.

 I get it.

The whole point of developing a product is to profit from it.  In order to profit from it, you need to promote it and with the diet industry being a 40Billion dollar industry, it makes sense from a marketing perspective to hop on board the weight loss crazy train. But, I think that this company is selling themselves short. When I looked at the Hi I’m Skinny website, I found out that their snacks aren’t just low in fat, but contain whole grains and NO GMOs. That’s good,right?

The problem is that I cannot get past the obnoxious packaging.

It angers me that a company that seems to understand the importance of healthy foods would choose to focus on our fear of getting fat instead of our need to get healthy. I realize that ”I’m Skinny” is more of an attention grabber than “I’m Healthy” but every time our health takes a backseat to our weight, it reinforces the myth that skinny IS healthy and that is not always the case.

For me, this goes beyond cute or clever marketing. I think it’s dangerous and here’s why:

We live in an image obsessed, fat-phobic, one-size-fits-all, thin is in, skinny jean wearing, thigh gap measuring, binging and purging, body hating society where kids barely out of pre-school are begging their mothers to keep them home from school because they feel like they’re just too fat to fit in!

WHY is this happening?

It’s happening because we are constantly being told that fat is bad and skinny is good. But guess what? All fat isn’t bad, in fact, some it is pretty damn important! We need it in our foods AND in our bodies. Of course, there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats and moderation is key when it comes to how much of it we have in our lives, but demonizing it is just a dumb thing to do. There are too many low-fat/non-fat products on the market that might make you skinny, but the amount of chemicals and additives they contain, certainly won’t make you healthy.

We need to be so careful with the messages we’re teaching our kids. if we want our kids to grow up feeling self-confident, self-assured and full of self-respect, we need to encourage them to take more pride in being Smart or Brave or Fun or Inspiring or Curious or Unique than just being skinny.

I realize there are people who will read this and think, “Lighten up, lady. It’s just a crispy snack.”  But if we continue to promote the idolization of skinny bodies while minimizing the importance of healthy ones, we need to accept that the only thing we’re going to be feeding is the diet industry’s insatiable appetite for profit.

They may be skinny, but I’m not impressed
  UPDATE: I sent an e-mail to the HI I’M SKINNY website asking them about their name. I wanted to know if they had chosen it because they believe that being skinny is as important as being healthy or if it was all about marketing to desperate dieters. I was surprised to hear back from the president of the company within just a couple of hours and really appreciated her response. She explained that as a mom herself, she is very concerned with healthy food and it’s what their company promotes. She explained that their name was just a cheeky way of saying “lower fat” and compared it to coffee shops that sell “Skinny lattes”. She also said that it described the shape of their snacks. She sounded sincere and I believe her. However, I still think there’s a bigger picture that’s being missed here. Being obsessed with our weight has become so commonplace that we don’t even recognize it anymore. It would be hard not to think about our weight when it seems like we’re constantly being told we need to lose some! Personally, I think calling their product, “Skinny sticks” would be fine, it’s just the whole, “Hi I’m Skinny” thing that rubs me the wrong way. I guess it’s because with skinny messages everywhere these days, I am hearing from more and more kids who are feeling like they can never be skinny enough and are doing everything they can to try and get there.

Hi I’M SKINNY, I get where you’re coming from and I think your product is a good one. Unfortunately, I also think that by jumping on the “Everybody likes to be skinny” bandwagon, you’re missing out on the opportunity to change the way we look at food and our bodies. When I walked by your product at the grocery store, the message in bold print wasn’t about how your snacks would make me feel, just about how they’d make me look. Am I being oversensitive? Definite possibility. But if you knew how many kids were battling body image issues today, I think you might be too.

Thanks for hearing me out.

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