How to Stop Dieting Today


The belief that dieting is the great equalizer keeps you hooked into the prevailing notion that if only you could muster more determination, you would succeed by getting thinner. When this doesn’t happen, you blame yourself, perhaps become depressed, experience a lower sense of self-esteem, and feel shame. This process ensures the continuation of the belief that permanent weight loss is possible for all who show the required attributes. By blaming yourself, rather than challenging the culture that peddles and perpetuates the myth that diet determination leads to lasting weight loss, you guarantee the cycle will continue.

But why would anyone want that cycle to continue? Who benefits from having you believe that it is your lack of willpower that accounts for your diet failure? That it is your lack of resolve and hard work that accounts for the return of the pounds?

Stop Dieting

How many advertisements for weight loss pills, supplements, teas, and creams do you read about in a day, a week, or a month? How many television commercials implore you to do something now about your weight? Weight loss programs repeatedly present a before and after picture of a person who was unhappy, lethargic, and fat, but after embarking on the program or diet plan being advertised, the person is now happy, energetic, and thin. In such a short time! Her life has turned around! What are you waiting for? This could be you! Order now! Of course, each commercial or advertisement now runs a very tiny disclaimer on the bottom of the ad. It reads, “Results arc not typical.” We want to put it out there so everyone can read this without a magnifying glass. RESULTS ARE NOT TYPICAL! But the disclaimer is either so small, or run so unbelievably quickly, that viewers¡ªthe potential consumers¡ªare left with the feeling that they too can achieve “success” with this product. They too can be thin, with the promise of happiness ever after.

In 1989, the Federal Trade Commission, in charge of fegulating advertising and marketing, began investigating commercial weight loss claims. From 1992 to 1993, it charged seventeen companies, including the five biggest in the United States¡ªWeight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutri/Systems, Physicians Weight Loss Center, and Diet Center¡ªwith making false and deceptive claims about both the safety and efficacy of their programs. They discovered that less than 1 percent of people are able to maintain weight loss for five years, despite the companies’ insistence that their programs were effective. Moreover, leading obesity researchers often have an economic stake in promoting commercial weight loss programs, as they serve as consultants or researchers for or present at conferences sponsored by the weight loss companies. There are strong economic benefits for those in the diet and advertising industries to keep you feeling insecure about your body and believing that their product will be the answer to your prayers.

You continue to spend more money as the diet program or product repeatedly tails. But, and this is crucial, if these companies can convince you that you have failed in your use of the product, rather than the product failing you, they can become and remain successful.

The diet and advertising industries are taking advantage of the values embedded in the American Dream. The idea that we can accomplish anything with the right attitude and values keeps us trying over and over again. This reasoning fails to address the impact of genetics, physiology, and evolution in matters of body size and weight. Of course, there are choices that each individual can make regarding food, activity, and lifestyle, but even if everybody ate the exact same foods and engaged in the same amount of daily activity, there would still be a wide variation of body sizes.

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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