Promotion of fitness program draws criticism

Daniel MacEachern
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Le Boudoir says the store caters to all body types, and isn't urging weight loss

Nicole Whittle and Mona Winter own and operate Le Boudoir in downtown St. John's. Whittle says the boutique caters to all body types, and that Le Boudoir's partnership with a fitness coach is not about losing weight.

A local lingerie store has been criticized by women after it announced a partnership with a fitness coach, but Le Boudoir says it's about health, not weight loss.

Earlier this month, Le Boudoir announced on its Facebook page a partnership with Courtney Rowsell at Love Yourself Lean for a four-week summer program. "Get Swimsuit Ready in 28 Days!" read the post, with Love Yourself Lean promising to combine "metabolism-revving foods, fat-melting and muscle-sculpting workouts to help you sculpt a swimsuit ready body," which drew a backlash from a handful of people.

"I am disappointed you are supporting the attitude that a woman must be thin to be beautiful," was one person's response. "I think I will be taking my business elsewhere," was another.

Others defended the store and the program.

"It isn't about weight loss as much as it is about changing your lifestyle to a healthy one," wrote one, while another said Love Yourself Lean also educates clients on nutrition.

Darcie Cohen criticized the promotion on Facebook for "promoting the idea we can't love what we look like in bathing suits unless we lose weight...AND...there's nothing healthy about a rapid weight loss program," and told The Telegram weight-loss programs highlight a "nonexistent problem" for women who don't look like Hollywood actresses.

"I'm disappointed that they would partner with a weight-loss program," she said. "I think they create a lot of dissatisfaction and unhappiness in people, because they don't really work for people, the vast majority of the time."

Cohen said the company should focus more on providing a wide range of styles for different body sizes and shapes, and not promote the idea that people need to lose a few pounds to look better.

Le Boudoir co-owner Nicole Whittle says the store does cater to all body shapes, and Rowsell approached the store because she was looking for swimwear experts for the program.

"She was looking for a swimwear store that would have the knowledge and the inventory and the room to be able to do a mini-session at the end of her program, where we would just take five different body shapes, help them discover swimwear that would best suit them and what they're looking for."

It's not about losing weight, said Whittle, but "feeling better about yourself, feeling healthy and just finding a swimsuit that suits your style and what they're looking for."

Rowsell of Love Yourself Lean also said her programs are about confidence, not weight loss.

"We really try to foster a very healthy lifestyle change," she said. "If you look at the name itself, Love Yourself Lean, it is about self-love and taking care of yourself and respecting your body, fuelling with good, clean food, getting good exercise in, having a great exercise regime consistently, and doing so in a very safe, effective way." Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

Geographic location: Hollywood

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Recent comments

  • essie
    July 06, 2013 - 20:53

    i think this is a Case of Over sensitivity (comming from a bigger girl ! ) ! Courtney Rowsell's Program is Very Positive and Promotes healthy eating and exercise. there are women of every shape and size and age doing her programs and she is equally supportive to all of them. . you cant say anything anymore without someone being offended ....

  • John
    July 04, 2013 - 17:28

    A little of topic, but related. Has anyone ever looked into or seen any legit credentials from Ms. Rowsell? Is she a registered dietitian, kinesiologist? With so many people jumping on the fitness bandwagon, people need to make sure they know where they are getting advice. This is an unregulated industry and it seems to be full of people who's only credential is being in decent shape them selves. I checked the LYL website and could find no mention of legitimate credentials qualifying anyone there to of advice on health, fitness, or diet.

  • Sandy
    July 04, 2013 - 05:44

    Since when was advocating for a normal body-weight sexist? For the first time in over 100 years children are not expected to live longer than their parents. Hey, if you want to kill yourselves by being overweight, than have at it, jjust don't fault others for wanting to be a normal bodyweight... Just because more than half the population is overweight , it does not not mean it's normal.

  • Not a Perv
    July 03, 2013 - 19:58

    @carogers - As a male, I have been a victim of the "my face is up here" comment from women. This comment shows a lack of taste and understanding of proper communication. Much information in a converstation is actually conveyed through body language. The look on somone's face, their posture, and their arms or hand movements all help give meaning and context to the words being said. No one ever goes about like a robot looking straight ahead at all times. Therefore, it is natural and correct for someone to look at another head to toe. Unfortunately, some over sensitive people with no taste go about offending others by accusing them of being pervs when simply reading body language.

  • Alpha Mail
    July 02, 2013 - 13:59

    Thanks Ms. C. Rogers. You have unwittingly confirmed everything I said in my post. They weren't leering at female faces, which underscores my point that women with nice physiques are more sexually attractive to males. For us, the face is secondary. It isn't a case of being right or having been brainwashed - it just is what it is. Chalk it up to biology and, as the French say "célébrer la différence". Both your posts convey your intense dislike of men. Yes, we have some insensitive clods on our side (as does yours), but we're not all bad. You might consider getting some professional help for whatever painful experience led you to believe that we are. Counselling might also allow you to resolve not only your anger issues but your own body self-image. And, finally, let me be clear that I encourage women (and men) to become fit first and foremost for reasons of good health. The fact that trim women and men are more sexually appealing to one another is merely a bonus.

  • penny
    June 30, 2013 - 21:10

    I'm sure that all too often women go into the store (& others like it) and come out feeling worse about themselves because they don't look the way they want in clothes like that. So it only makes sense to partner with somebody that's going to get said women pointed in the right direction. It's certainly NOT an insult, it's giving those that want it an option.

  • Ralph
    June 30, 2013 - 21:00

    Clearly all negative comments here are from overweight people. Guys, be happy being chunky, sure, but realize obesity leads to diabetes, heart disease, and other such troubles. If you are happy being overweight, power to you, but don't insult people who want to be healthy. Should we have ads for how to increase your weight and eat unhealthy? We need to be healthy. Will we all look like models? Of course not. You can be 20-30lbs overweight and reasonably healthy but 30lbs or more, you aren't healthy. Happy with how you look, sure, but you aren't healthy.

  • alpha mail
    June 30, 2013 - 20:22

    Kudos to the lingerie ladies. Before saying anything else, I might as well self-declare - I'm a male. From Ms. Cohen's perspective, that probably means I have no business having an opinion on this subject at all. But I will comment anyway on the accusation that the owners are "supporting the attitude that a woman must be thin to be beautiful". Most men are not so shallow as to judge women on one characteristic only - any more perhaps than women judge men in that manner. But when it comes to two particular characteristics - facial appearance and body condition - many of us will choose the latter every time. If, as a woman, you had to go through life obese but strikingly attractive, or extremely fit but homely - go for the latter. Not only does it mean better health, but many men will find you much more sexually appealing. You'll understand if I don't include my name. I don't want to be strangled by some fat lady's bra.

    • carogers
      July 02, 2013 - 10:26

      OK Aloha male....down boy. You say men don't judge by one characteristic ....that is so not true...if you were take off the alpha rose colored glasses that shine such positive light on your gender you will see your young and old male counterparts leering at young girls if in a chance conversation talking to their chest...where do u think "my face is up here" comment is about??? I saw men stopping and staring and turning as the woman passes with absolute no attempt to hide his leering...that was yesterday at Canada celebrations. AND WHO THE BLAZZES SAYS ALL WOMEN WANT A MAN ?????Your mind set was developed with blinders on and the tunnel vision you are experiencing is the result of years of conditioning by media of what "attractive" is and is not. You have a clear definition of what is sexually appealing....and you are convinced you are right because of the media brainwashing you have encountered as a young man in the media world of perfect bodies to ogle. In case you have not been able to draw the conclusion here between women offended by a shop dedicating itself to encouraging that only perfect bodies are worthy of consideration and your "alpha mail" few words of wisdom your response is exactly the problem. That stereotype of what is considered attractive what is and is not acceptable body image is the result of encouraging the brainwashing of men. YOU ALL ARE SHALLOW AND YOU DO JUDGE WOMEN AND GIRLS 1ST BY THEIR BUST SIZE. Now show some honesty and admit you are all tarred with the one brush some just hide it better.

  • Jenny
    June 30, 2013 - 12:08

    For this promotion with Le Boudoir, Courtney Rowsell has posted a video on her Facebook page, and Le Boudoir has posted it on theirs. In it, Courtney and the store owner are talking about the program and showing various types of suimsuits. The first one the Le Boudoir owner shows is a bandeau bikini and her direct words are, "This one is meant for the perfect little body, so work hard, ladies." Why is she trying to say now that the promotion is not about weight or size? Does she not see how she is contradicting herself? What is her idea of "the perfect little body" and what about customers who don't fit that idea but still want to buy the swimsuit?

  • Townie
    June 30, 2013 - 11:15

    There are bikini beaches in Newfoundland? Where can I see them?

  • Jeff
    June 30, 2013 - 08:53

    wow... talk about being sensitive. A womens lingerie store promoting health and wellness is a bad thing?? Sounds like someone just needs something to whine about. Go back to sleep Darcie Cohen, whoever you are.

  • BT
    June 30, 2013 - 08:10

    Anyone who is critical and negative in general is not happy with themselves so maybe they should sign up for a program.

  • carogers
    June 30, 2013 - 07:36

    Ok....Let us just look at the words used in name of this program "Love Yourself Lean".... it does say "lean" that is the opposite of fat so why are they saying now it has nothing to do with weight loss?? It is not called love yourself healthy...the owners are just trying to tap dance around insulting women who don't look like the magazine covers

  • Paul
    June 29, 2013 - 22:29

    I am convinced there is a portion of the population that spends most of their time looking for things they can find offensive. "Love yourself lean" at Le Boudoir or "Love yourself large" at Ches's. :)

  • Vic
    June 29, 2013 - 21:41

    If the program is about health and confidence, why is it called "Love Yourself LEAN?" Why not "Love Yourself Confident" or "Love Yourself Healthy?" Confidence has nothing to do with being lean.... and being lean doesn't mean being healthy, either. Hey, Ms. Roswell and Le Boudoir- know how I get my "bikini body?" I buy a bikini and wear it. If programs/magazines/etc didn't consistently tell women we need to lose weight to get a "bikini body," we'd be more confident just the way we are.

  • Kay
    June 29, 2013 - 16:30

    While I'm not keen on the name of LYLs current program, they are very good at teaching healthy nutrition & exercise habits!

  • Connie Benson
    June 29, 2013 - 16:24

    I am totally appalled at what Cohen has said in this article! Does she even know what she is talking about? I am one of Courtney Rowsell's clients and I am not skinny but thanks to Courtney I am eating clean and have becoming active and enjoying life! I was tired all the time and very unhealthy and unhappy, Courtney got me off the couch and out with my son's being active. Yes I have lost weight and yes I have toned and you know what thats great!!! It has enriched my life so much I have so much respect and love for that lady for giving her all to the women who choose to look to her for help and direction. I will never be a size 2 and thats not what this program is about, I eat all the time but I eat healthy, fabulous meals and treats . I love my healthier me and so does my family and friends. I am very excited to see how far I have come and its not just a fast weight loss program its a lifestyle change that is permanent. That is the key to Love Yourself Lean! . I am 43 years old and I feel great!!!!! I'm loving myself Lean and I love Courtney Rowsell for giving me a choice and a chance to do that. Don't knock it if you haven't tried it is my advice and I can't wait to shop at Le Boudoir !!!

  • Hmmm
    June 29, 2013 - 15:34

    I'm disappointed in two parts of this situation: 1. The owner of "Love Yourself Lean" says the program is about confidence, and she points to the name for that explanation.....did anybody else read the LEAN in the title? Why not call it "Love Yourself Skinny"? Reads almost the same way to me. 2. It's obviously somewhat of a weight-loss program when it's called "Get Swimsuit Ready in 28 Days". I see why people would take offense to this. It pretty well puts Le Boudoir at the same level as La Senza. I much preferred this store when I felt it promoted healthy body image for all shapes and sizes.

  • Chip Paulson
    June 29, 2013 - 11:51

    In the end of the day, health IS more important than weight loss alone.