Here I go, stepping on my box. It's a strange box. It's made out of soap. Yes, on my soap box I go.
If you were to turn on your TV, scroll through all your social media accounts, and look at a few popular magazines, how many different diets or dieting products do you think you
would see? How many glamorous promises would be thrown at you about what would happen if you changed your body?
The answer is 1.7 thousand.
Just Kidding. But it feels that way!
At first I thought our culture was obsessed with consuming different diets. Then I realized that actually, the diet industry is obsessed with consuming our culture.
Huh? What? Let me explain.
When you start to examine the literature, research and listen to personal accounts regarding dieting, you will find some very troubling information. You see that these diets aren't actually living up to their promises of creating a better life for people or more confidence and joy in one's life. In fact, they can very easily do the opposite.
The diet industry makes over 60 BILLION dollars a year by making people feel like they need to lose weight, tone up, and/or drop 3 jean sizes. Why do they do this? Because clearly they are making a ton of money.
The diet industry profits on our insecurities. They are in no way trying to get rid of or change the harmful and unrealistic beauty standards in our culture, they are actually trying to reinforce it. The more we desire to meet these standards, the more cha-ching
goes in their pockets.
The real problem here is simple: diets don't work.
Seriously, they don't.
They may work for a few months or maybe even years (if you are lucky) but research shows that most people who diet end up gaining all the weight back (and often times plus some) in a relatively short amount of time. Think of the people you know (or even celebrities) who have lost weight from following a diet, and have gained it back. I know people who have done this over and over and over, yo yo dieting is a real thing, people.
The worst part is that when a diet inevitably stops working and an individual ends up
gaining weight back (if they lost any at all), all the blame is on them, not the product. It's a matter of a lack of willpower, or an inability to stick to a meal plan. So on top of feeling insecure about how you look, now you also feel bad about who you are- that you are not strong enough to stick to it.
...And guess what happens next? People feel defeated so they reach for the next diet because THIS one promises it's faster and easier. It's not though. And here we are again, starting the miserable cycle of dieting from the beginning.
Society tells us we are weak because we can't stick to a diet. But maybe, just maybe, diets don't actually work because they are not sustainable. They are crap. There, I said it.
Side note: If you are thinking, but I really need to be healthier because my body doesn't feel good, know this- there are ways to live a healthier life that ACTUALLY WORK. They do not involving depriving yourself of food or obsessing over everything you eat. I encourage people to learn more about eating intuitively and mindfully (I have resources if you are interested).
The more people in our society that turn away from the diet culture, the less power and influence it has. Take a stand. Be a person who preaches body love and self-compassion. Be kind to your body and be an example to other people who aren't. People are hungry (pun intended) for this type of message. We will not find body-acceptance through the false promises of dieting, we find it in loving our bodies and treating them well.
Slowly stepping off my box made of soap.