Thursday, May 19, 2005

I'm not Fat, I'm just insecure!

I have a problem with the North American weight loss industry. This rant is brought to you by the New York Times, who had an article today discussing how people will spend their life savings and move to Durham, the so called "Diet Capital Of the World" in order to go on the "Rice diet" (apparently a favorite of many celebrities) and lose a few pounds. Apparently Durham's entire economy is reliant on the money these people bring into town.. WOW.

Now while I don't want the entire Durham economy to fail, I do think that the diet industry in general takes advantage of the insecurities of normal healthy people in a very negative way. Don't get me wrong - I think that if somebody eats junk food all the time and doesn't exercise, then they should get out of their chairs and do something, however the diet industry would not be the multi-million dollar industry it is without the buy-in of otherwise healthy people.

So, what we've got is an entire industry that makes its money of the irrational insecurities of regular people... You feeling depressed? Lose 10 pounds. Feel lonely? Lose 15 and then that cute guy/girl will notice you. Want to get ahead at the office? Lose 5 - your boss will be proud of you! And the problem is, we buy into this way of thinking so fully that it starts to work. Men prefer skinny women, even though 50 years ago they preferred curves. Pretty people get ahead at the office - at least in come customer service industries.

We can't allow ourselves to be healthy anymore - it's look like Renee Zelwegger or bust! (have no bust is more like it.) And Dr. Feelgood will sell you some snake oil that will cure what ails you and make you beautiful from the comfort of your own couch and we buy it. Think about it: Cellulite creams, diet bars, diet pills, metabolism enhancers, the zone diet, the atkins diet, the south beach diet, the grapefruit diet, liposuction, stomach stapling, fasting, slim fast, jenny craig, weight watchers, the DR PHIL diet, the Oprah diet....


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