This is Us: Kate Goes to an “Immersive Weight Retreat”


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.

Shiri: “Wow, Kari!  It looked like Kate went to a Green Mountain!”

Kari: “Yeah…what a breath of fresh air.”

Aaaahh! What a breath of fresh air this week’s episode truly was. Kate chooses to decline gastric bypass surgery after having been through the scary ordeal of Toby’s heart surgery and instead decides to attend an “immersive weight retreat”.  

Music to our ears, here at Green Mountain…“An immersive weight retreat”. This Is Us! (Pun intended.)

An Immersive Weight Retreat

The scenes are all too familiar…Kate drives into the mountains and is left at a retreat where the focus is on working through what’s underneath weight struggles. The program offers meditation, hiking, and drumming, among other things, all with a focus on mind-body health.

Shiri: “They’re totally describing our program, Kari!”

Kari: “I know, I’m so glad she made this decision.”

It is true, yet we acknowledge that sometimes people still opt for surgery in situations like these.

There is no shame in that.

We know that regardless of whether one opts for surgery, it is still very important and even necessary to do the underlying emotional work that is behind struggles with eating and weight. In fact, we regularly work with women who have already had surgery or are getting ready to.

The underlying “stuff” is usually there regardless of changes to the body.

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Understanding What’s Underneath Weight and Eating Struggles

Here at Green Mountain at Fox Run, we have over 43 years of experience in helping women who struggle with weight and eating get a better understanding of what’s underneath weight and eating struggles.

Though Kate was confused and frustrated at first, we totally support meditation, drumming, and hiking as part of a broader perspective on health. The evidence: later in the show Kate had an emotional “purge” during a drumming session where she recalled many of her difficult body/weight related memories.

  • Being excluded and bullied because of her size at a young age
  • Being used and ignored by her peers at her own birthday party
  • The funeral of her father, who was the one positive, supportive source of love, acceptance and compassion in her life

While recalling these difficult times in the drumming class, Kate screams in rage…and so it begins.

It’s Not About the Weight

You see – weight may be at the forefront of Kate’s mind, along with the minds of so many other women (and men) who are labeled by society as “overweight”. But that’s not where the work is.

Society focuses on weight and believes that if you “fix” the weight issue, everything will be fine.  

Painful and sometimes extreme measures are suggested to “fix the problem” like dieting, boot camps, and surgery. When that doesn’t work (because it doesn’t for 95% of people who try)…it’s back to the drawing board.

What we know at Green Mountain is that much like the retreat Kate goes to, it’s very much necessary to look underneath weight/eating issues to uncover what’s behind them.

For Kate, it’s likely that food has been the companion and lover she lacked for much of her life. Food was always there when she needed or wanted it, and it was always “pleasurable”.

Then add the trauma of losing her father (the one source of love and acceptance), and she likely ate to numb painful feelings of grief.

Again…it’s not about the weight.

It’s about feeling those difficult feelings without using food to numb them.

It’s about finding REAL love and REAL acceptance, instead of pretending it’s coming from food.

That’s where the work lies…not on a treadmill, or over a small plate of kale and quinoa.

Why Now? Why Here?

Every Monday morning at Green Mountain, we ask the new group of participants the same two questions: “Why now?” and “Why here?”

Though everyone is beautifully unique and has their own story, there are strong common threads:

  • Why Now – because I’ve tried everything else for so many years and I’m tired; because I’m scared of what I’m doing and how it’s affecting me; because my family is worried about me.
  • Why Here – because I don’t want the same-old-same-old diet program, or boot camp that’s going to beat me up; I’m tired; because I want to understand why I’m doing this/why this is happening to me; because I want the solutions to come from the inside out.

I think Kate’s answers would have been the same.

Again, such a breath of fresh air for us to see Kate go to a “Green Mountain at Fox Run” of sorts. We hope she’ll uncover underlying “stuff” that will help her come to some emotional resolution.

We look forward to next week’s episode to find out. In the meantime, if you can relate in any way to Kate’s story and are interested in getting to know yourself and this struggle more deeply, consider a stay at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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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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