Promotion of fitness program draws criticism

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

Daniel MacEachern
Published on June 29, 2013
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.
— Telegram file photo

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