“We’re a married couple, we are both approaching 40 years old and we’re both morbidly obese.”
That’s Tina Macauley matter-of-factly introducing the inaugural episode of “The Weight Podcast,” a weekly dispatch on weight loss that she and husband Kevin Macauley record out of their Somerville home. Tina and Kevin decided to get healthier as a couple earlier this year, and they’ve been sharing their conversations about everything from Girl Scout Cookies to fad diets on Soundcloud. And if you think that’s frank, just wait until later in the episode, when Tina and Kevin actually reveal their current weights.
“I feel like as it was coming out of our mouths we were looking at each other like, “Really? We’re really going to do this?'” Tina tells us. “It felt pretty raw to just admit that.”
That level of openness might sound jarring at first, but the show isn’t all serious—in fact, it’s largely lighthearted, laced with Tina and Kevin’s laughter. A few episodes begin with the Beatles song “Carry that Weight,” and they joked at the beginning about calling their show “The Hippo Hour.” (“We went to the farmers market, and we bought a fucking donut!” laughs an exasperated Tina as she recounts the week’s eating habits in that first episode.)
“The Weight Podcast” is full of these kinds of honest conversations about food, about health, about eating. Tina has recalled the first time she saw a doctor write “morbidly obese” on her chart, prompting Kevin to explain the cycle of avoiding the doctor because you don’t want to hear the truth. Later, she explains part of her motivation for “The Weight Podcast”; she’s pushing 40, and her mom died from complications of heart disease at 46.
Tina and Kevin want to be upfront about their successes and failures because weight loss is a journey, and they haven’t yet found any one person who has documented that ongoing struggle in a regular way. “You’d see these articles with the before and after pictures and a long essay about how they went about losing weight,” Tina explains. Without addressing the day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month work that comes along with shedding pounds, it can be hard to relate to the people who have made that accomplishment—and what better format than a podcast? The Macauleys—already fans of programs like “Serial” and “You Made it Weird”—decided to start their own.
Sharing the journey isn’t the only benefit of the podcast. “It was sort of a way to hold our own feet to the fire,” laughs Kevin. The couple noticed that, while they might start eating better or hitting the gym for a while, they’d eventually fall out of the habit. The weekly episodes provide a framework and a sense of consistency, allowing Tina and Kevin to regularly retrain their brains and bodies while unlearning decades of behavior. And they say they’ve found that recording the podcast actually helps make them more motivated as time goes on.
Still new to the podcasting game, Tina and Kevin have tweaked the format of “The Weight Podcast” over the last three months. They’re inviting guests to speak, including marathon runner Sean Cameron and friends like Dr. Barb, with whom the pair discussed the documentary Fed Up earlier this week.
There’s also a mindfulness, consciousness component wrapped up in chronicling their weight loss this way. Asking questions like “Why did we overeat?” and “What was going on this week?” aloud is giving Tina and Kevin a forum to unpack their relationship with food and with their bodies. “You don’t have to necessarily be the most fit person,” Tina says. “It’s more a matter of how you feel about yourself.” They’re up-front about their successes and their failures—what’s working, what isn’t, what’s set them back—and they say it’s opened their eyes to just how common it is for people to struggle with managing their weight. It’s also helped to connect them with their neighbors; while the pair have lived in Somerville since 2000, Tina says the podcast has brought them together with members of the community they might not have otherwise met but who are working towards the same goals.
“A lot of people are going through the same thing—even my friends who are more fit than I am are going through the same thing as far as weight loss goes,” Kevin adds. “Other people are out there doing this and trying this … It makes you feel less alone, in a way.”