This Is Us: Kate Now Finds Herself at a Fat Farm


Green Mountain at Fox Run’s Dr. Kari Anderson, Executive Director, and Shiri Macri, Clinical Director, hold weekly discussions about NBC’s hit dramedy This Is Us and the all-too-common struggle around eating, weight and body image that Christy Metz’s character Kate faces from a young age.

Kari: “There’s so much exercise at her retreat.”

Shiri: “I know, where’s the healing from the inside out? And Kate is so hyper focused on her weight, she can’t see past her own self.”

Kari: “Right, so much so that she may even self-sabotage, but not with food…with Duke (another man).”

This week’s episode of This Is Us definitely keeps the drama alive when it comes to Kate’s ongoing struggle with weight. The storyline follows Kate’s experience at the immersive weight retreat, which – different from what we first saw of it — is (disappointingly) very exercise oriented.  Even her name for it changes from an immersive retreat to a “fat farm”.

Fat farms aren’t known for healing from the inside out.

Hopefully that focus comes back soon, because we know from our experience at Green Mountain working with women who struggle with weight, that true healing for body image and disordered eating doesn’t happen on a treadmill.

When Weight Takes Priority, Life Suffers

Kate is so focused on making a physical change that she neglects to attend to Toby’s needs as he recovers from two major surgeries…alone in New York…while waiting for her to “get better”.

It’s no surprise that their argument and her consequent guilt leads her to want to eat to cope. But instead she may be turning to self-sabotage with another man as a way to avoid the difficult feelings she is unable to tolerate.

UGH! It’s still all about the weight. We just want to say: “COME ON, KATE! WAKE UP!” There’s a whole life, a whole world around you and you’re missing it. Stuck in an ongoing battle with her body, Kate can’t see past herself to appreciate it. We want to encourage her to get present, get mindful, tune in…to #BeHerNow!

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Mindfulness is Much More than a Buzz Word

Mindfulness is a main focus here at Green Mountain at Fox Run.  It’s an umbrella that covers all aspects of our lives.

  • When it comes to eating, mindfulness helps us focus on being aware of what we want, when we want it, and how much we want. Eating with full awareness keeps us in touch with when we’ve had enough, or why we may want more so that we can make intelligent decisions about what we really want.
  • Mindfulness also helps with movement and exercise. When we’re aware and in tune with our bodies, we can find the types of movement we find pleasure in.  It’s only in that way that we will continue to move.  If we hate it or it hurts, we’ll quit.
  • Most importantly, especially when it comes to healing body image and disordered eating, mindfulness teaches us how to notice our emotions as they arise, as opposed to being disconnected or dissociated from them. We can then tune into all our emotions, even the difficult ones, instead of running from them, avoiding, stuffing, numbing, etc.

Why would we want to do that with difficult emotions?

Because with mindfulness we learn that everything comes and goes, even emotions.  They come…and then they go.  In the famous words of the modern day founder of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

The practice of mindfulness teaches us that we can handle anything because “this too shall pass”.

And the Story Continues for Kate and Women Like Her

Kate is pretty checked out, so consumed is she with her weight. Duke actually hit the nail on the head with her, suggesting that she stop trying to be someone she’s not, and just accept herself as she is. The only problem is, he was saying it in a manipulative way to try to get her to be intimate with him. He hit home with Kate, though, and the show ends with her walking to Duke’s cabin in what appears like an acceptance of his offer. Who knows what she’ll do; we’ll have to stay tuned to see.

In the meantime, it frustrates us to see that it’s always all about the weight. The truth is that this is the reality of women who struggle with weight in our size-obsessed society. So we appreciate the show depicting what it’s like for so many women (and men).

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About the Author

Shiri Macri, MA, LCMHC

Since 2004, Shiri’s approach as a therapist for treating binge and emotional eating is holistic, focusing not only on the presented issue at hand but also considering overall health. Working in this way often includes mindfulness-based approaches. Now as a trained MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) teacher, Shiri’s love of mindfulness and meditation practices are at the forefront of her blog writings and recordings. Shiri is the Clinical Director at the Women's Center for Binge & Emotional Eating, affiliated with Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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