Nicole Black, the cofounder and former CEO of Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, has written a new book, Fat Shame: Ditch the Shame, Get Confident, and Claim the Life You Deserve, about her experiences coping with people’s — and her own — views of her physical appearance. Her book gives actionable advice relevant to anyone who wants to reshape their mind, spirit, and body.
What exactly is fat-shaming? It’s making someone feel badly for whatever their body looks like. I also don’t see why anyone needs to judge anyone else based on what they look like. I think it’s kind of interesting that most humans have a vocabulary of about 3,000 words and the word they seem to use to describe someone who is overweight is “fat.” I think we need a new word.
Your book maps out a mind-set to support successful dieting. Yes, there’s an emotional component. I didn’t write a diet book, because I’ve done every diet and they all work. But the key to sustaining weight loss is to get in touch with the emotional part: knowing what your triggers are, having enough strength to walk away from it. For me, a sense of injustice is usually my biggest trigger. Once a person knows what their triggers are, it’s easier to not put yourself in a situation where you’re likely to get triggered.
When did your healing process begin? It was one of those light-bulb moments when I realized that I’m not actually getting anything out of this. Nothing positive ever came out of me beating myself up emotionally and verbally.
So self-love plays a role in recovery? That is the crux of it. We are all in our own heads a lot of the time. I didn’t love myself, and I know that I am not alone. Almost everybody has at one time or another dealt with toxic people. So there are exercises in there for dealing with toxicity on any level.
Do you now feel healed? I’m a canvas. We are all works in progress, and we’re all in different stages of who we are and what we’re working on. But a mentor told me, “The key to life is to lead with kindness in your heart.” For me, it is the greatest gift that I can give to the world.