There’s something to be said for recruiting a workout “buddy” to help you reach your fitness goals. Or even partaking in a spinning or aerobics class to challenge yourself to keep up with the crowd. In short, sometimes making promises to other people can hold you accountable for the promises you make to yourself when it comes to getting in shape and losing weight.
Actress Chrissy Metz seems to buy into that ideology, which is why she was happy to sign a weight-loss contract when she landed her role on the NBC show This Is Us, according to TVLine. But the transformation is not just for vanity reasons. Metz’s weight loss is crucial to the storyline of her character, Kate, a 36-year-old who is on a journey to shed pounds because she feels that is the only way she’ll fulfill her dream of getting married and having a family.
“In [my] 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,” Metz told TVLine. And the actress was totally gung-ho about it. “That was a win-win for me,” she said, “because it’s one thing to try to [lose weight] on your own. But as human beings, it’s an ego thing: We’re more likely to do something for someone else.”
She added that is was a “different kind of motivation, so I was excited about it.”
Of course, not everyone would agree with Metz’s theory. There are plenty of people who don’t feel they need to make a commitment to anyone but themselves in order to slim down. So Yahoo Style asked registered dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade if weight-loss contracts are effective — and whether they’re a healthy approach to shedding pounds.
“A lot of times we do need that outside accountability [to lose weight],” Palinski-Wade says. “When there’s someone holding you to that commitment, [you’re] more motivated. There are positives in that aspect.”
But Palinski-Wade warns that while a contract, or a promise to someone else, could be a great way to get started losing weight, it shouldn’t be the only motivating factor — and it shouldn’t be treated as a short-term experiment. She feels that promising to lose weight for a job or a personal challenge is fine, but commitment is key. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using a contract as a motivation tool, but you still want to focus on the changes you’re making as long-term lifestyle change and not just a quick fix,” she says.
She also cites the dangers of yo-yo weight loss as a reason not to use a contract as a temporary experiment. “Losing weight just to regain it six months down the road isn’t healthy,” Palinski-Wade notes. That said, the dietitian does think Metz’s contract — and the fact that she’s talking openly about it — is a positive thing. “Weight loss is a personal journey,” she says. “The more people share their story, the more tools and ideas they provide for others’ journeys.”
And Metz wants to make sure her fans know she signed the contract — and is losing the weight for the right reasons and that she’s not selling out to the “Hollywood machine” or throwing “big girls” under the bus. As she said in the interview: “I just have to be very clear. 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.”
And This Is Us keeps things realistic, which also sends a positive message. Metz’s character experiences victories and setbacks on her weight-loss journey. So the show itself is also proving — both onscreen and off — that there are no quick fixes when it comes to getting fit. Losing weight is hard work that requires commitment — whether that commitment is to yourself, to your employer, or simply to your gym buddy.