Sunday, September 21, 2008

Interest in dieting slims down - It's about time

This doesn't even begin to tell the whole story.
When it comes to dieting, Americans put on a good show, buying millions of diet books, watching TV programs about weight loss, obsessing over celebrities and their baby weight. But in the end, that may be all it is: a show. The number of people on a diet - 26 percent of all women in the United States and 16 percent of men for the year ending February 2008 - is the lowest it's been in more than two decades, according to a soon-to-be-released survey.

Buying millions of diet books - yeah, hope springs eternal, but once you find out that the diets in those books don't do you a bit of good, you quit buying them. It just takes some people longer (or more failures) to figure out that dieting doesn't work for long-term, permanent weight loss.
Watching TV programs about WL, well, there again, hope springs eternal and all that shit. Again, after a while, you realize those TV programs are just like the books.
And who obsesses over celebrities and their "baby weight"? Is that a media-driven obsession because the media just isn't intelligent enough any more to write an article with any depth and substance to it? Much easier to write about some celebrity's weight than it is to write about just about anything else.
As far as fewer people dieting now than at any time in the recent past, maybe, just maybe, it's because people are finally figuring out that diets don't work (never have, never will). Maybe people are finally figuring out that their pants' size has absolutely nothing to do with their health. Could it be people are finally wising up to the fact that dieting slims nothing down permanently but their bank accounts? I'll bet that's royally pissing off all those diet companies and the schills who write all the diet books people aren't buying anymore.
The report, which asks 5,000 Americans to keep a daily journal for two weeks about their eating habits, also found that despite high levels of obesity nationwide, a declining percentage of people want to slim down or, for that matter, consider excess weight unattractive. In 1985, 55 percent of those surveyed "completely agreed" with the statement, "People who are not overweight look a lot more attractive." Today, only 25 percent completely agree with it.

And those 25% are the trolls who come to the FAM to harass us because they have swallowed the propaganda about dieting/health/weight.
Dieting was once practically a national pastime. In 1990, the same report found that 39 percent of women and 29 percent of men were on a diet. So, what's happened? Balzer, who's tracked Americans' eating habits since the 1980s, believes the answer is that dieting is simply too hard. "It's much easier to change your attitude," he said, than to sustain the willpower to eat less.

Dieting is simply too hard? It's easier to change your attitude than sustain the willpower to eat less? Where the fuck is he living? If willpower is all it takes to eat less (and therefore lose weight), there would be no fat people left on this planet. How much damned willpower does it take to try diet after diet after diet, only to fail and fail and fail? Could it possibly be that it's not a lack of willpower at all, asshole, but that our bodies are just not created to live on an inadequate amount of food (and most diets advocate a severely restricted amount of food to be ingested, thereby setting you up for failure when your body rebels and forces you to start eating again instead of starving).
Dr. Sasha Stiles, medical director of the Obesity Consult Center at Tufts Medical Center, offers additional reasons why dieting is on the wane: "A lot of people are saying I don't have enough money to spend on a diet, or I'm going to try surgery."

Yeah, diets aren't cheap, especially the ones who require that you purchase and eat only their food (yeah, I love eating over-processed cardboard-tasting food that costs an arm and a leg, yep yep yep). As for WLS, yeah, right, that just works so well for permanent, safe weight loss with no complications (that pisses me off so much to hear that shit pushed that all I want to do is rant, rave, and foam at the mouth).
There's another possible explanation: Fewer people are dieting because there's no exciting new diet on the scene. In 2004, the top-selling diet book in the country, "The South Beach Diet," sold 2.4 million copies, in 2007, the most popular book, "You: On a Diet," by Oprah Winfrey's health guru Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen, managed only 706,000 copies, this year's top selling book, "Eat This Not That!" has sold a mere 552,000 copies so far, and is more reference than diet book.

Gee, could it be that there's no exciting new diet on the scene because there are only just so many ways you can diet and all of them have published, and published, and published, and found not to work, over and over and over again? I don't care how you write it up, how you recycle it, a diet is a diet is a diet, and it's going to fail the majority of people most of the time. People may just be wising up to that fact and deciding to keep their hard-earned money in their pockets to spend on better things than diets that don't work.
With no miracle plan animating dinner-party and workplace conversations, it's the same old, same old. That gets boring, says Amy Kropke, 41, of Newton, who says she'd be "fabulous" if she could shed 20 pounds.
"I love that moment where you're like, 'This is it. This is definitely the one," she says, her voice tinged with nostalgia for the days when South Beach thrilled her. She wants to be seduced again, preferably by "something that was easy, that you could lose 10 pounds without having to do too much."

Honey, if 10 or 20 pounds is all you have to lose, what's wrong with saying fuck the diet, fuck losing the weight, I'll eat a wider variety of foods that my body actually wants/needs and I'll do whatever exercise/movement I like that helps my body keep mobile. Beats dieting, hands down, I can guarantee you that.
"Dieting is not your normal way of living," says Liliana Staiculescu, 48, an accountant from Plainville, who tried Atkins and a no-fat eating plan before cutting diets out of her life. "You have to limit what you eat and pay attention to your health."

I'm sorry, limiting what you eat is a DIET. It's not a "lifestyle change", it's not cutting diets out of your life, it's DIETING. Dieting is not paying attention to your health, it's equating thin with healthy, which is so far from the truth. Thin does not always equal healthy, just like fat does not always equal unhealthy.


  1. YESSSSSS. I just read this and I am so excited. This is headline news. People are finally giving up on diets. FInally the diet industry is beginning to fail. What excites the hell out of me is that huge difference between what people thought of overweight people before and now. Huge difference. Great news!!!!

  2. Hey, you forgot to comment on the most asinine part of the whole article! :

    "'I keep wondering if it's market saturation,' said Oliver, professor of political science at the University of Chicago. '...Someone who is a clever marketer may see this [time of no new diet books] as a time to strike.'
    But first they're going to have to convince the overweight they're actually overweight. Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, says many heavy people don't see themselves that way.... 'With 2 out of 3 people overweight in this country, it is hard for many people to gauge when they are overweight,' she said. 'If you look like all of your friends, you may not perceive there is a problem.'"

    OH for fuck's sake, give me a break!!! Yeah, when 95% of women in this country hate their own bodies, how possible is it that the 2 out of 3 of them that supposedly "are" overweight don't even know about it? Most women who are normal weight, and many women who are underweight, still think they're overweight, for crying out loud.

    Oh, now that women are starting to accept their bodies and think that they might be beautiful, this is a big problem because their own perceptions MUST be wrong if they are positive perceptions. Only the negative perceptions are valid.

    I guess from a "marketer"'s perspective, though, a bunch of neurotic women who hate their bodies is a gold mine, so bring on the diet books and help this country out of its economic crisis!


  3. Forgot to say, mainstream media with its scary skinny celebrities OF COURSE would not be something the 2 out of 3 "overweight" people would EVER compare themselves to. Just all the other supposedly-fat people around them.

  4. Can... not... type...

    Brain 'asploded.

  5. Just delurking to say I love the mermaid so much, where did you find her?

  6. marymette - yeah, I did forget that part, but you said pretty much what I would have said, only better :)

    linda - I found the mermaid on Diary of a Fat Teenager and she doesn't remember where she found it. I've done a ton of searches looking for this mermaid, and haven't been able to find anything, although I have found a bunch of other cool fat mermaids. I'll have to post pics of them sometime, with links to them.

  7. Call me a skeptic but I don't think there are less people dieting, I just think there are less people calling it a diet or admitting that they are dieting. With Weight Watchers newest ads saying "It's not a diet, it's a life style change" the word diet is becoming more and more taboo. So people are less likely to openly admit that they are on a diet and more willing to admit that they are "making lifestyle changes." As you pointed out, that is STILL A DIET! Until people are willing to subscribe to fat/body acceptance, I just don't see how the mentality will be any different.

  8. Great rant, vesta.

    ""It's much easier to change your attitude," he said, than to sustain the willpower to eat less."

    #1 yes, dieting is HARD - eating starvation-level rations for an extended period of time, and then having to cut even those meager portions to keep the weight loss going, then to maintain it, is very hard indeed. In fact, it's darn near impossible.

    #2. What in hell makes you think it's so easy to change your attitude about being fat? That is NOT easy, asshole. Especially considering there is pressure from every freaking corner to BE ashamed and to change lest the eyes of the righteous be offended. Please.

    I'd be glad that more people are off diets except that they're taking it as bad news. Did they ever consider that the 39% of the people "on a diet" in 1990 might have lost the freaking weight and that's why they're not all on diets anymore? Isn't that how it's supposed to work? Oh, that's a great piece to rant on, isn't it? lol

  9. Annie - it could also be that most of those 39% of people on diets in 1990 lost the weight, regained it, dieted again, lost weight, regained it, etc and finally said "fuck that shit, this isn't working" and quit dieting altogether. Because we all know how well diets work for permanent weight loss.

  10. tiffabee - you could be right, the dieters aren't calling it a diet anymore, it's a "lifestyle change" (yeah, right, if it looks like a diet, restricts like a diet, cuts out whole food groups like a diet, it's a diet).

  11. True that Vesta. Anyone who "cuts" a certain food out in order to slim down their waistline and calls it a "lifestyle" change is seriously deceived.

  12. Oh *I* absolutely agree vesta - that's the most likely thing of all. It's just that if *they* want an explanation; they might just as well do with that. After all, aren't diets supposed to be temporary things, after which you merely maintain? Why would they even think the percentage of people "on a diet" should remain the same? It makes no sense.

  13. Annie - it makes sense to *them* because after all, "everybody knows" that fat kids grow up to be fat adults and those fat adults all have to diet if they ever want to be thin. The thing is, *they* don't realize that maybe those fat kids grew up seeing their parents dieting and failing, and just maybe decided that dieting wasn't the way they wanted to go. Or maybe those fat kids turned fat adults figured after one diet/failure that dieting wasn't working, and worked on self-esteem and HAES instead. But *they* don't want to hear that, because *they* are too invested in pushing diets/WLS/thin-is-the-only-way-to-be-healthy hysteria so *they* can keep raking in our dollars. Eventually, though, people see through the hysteria and propaganda/lies and don't believe much of anything the fatphobes have to say about weight/health.

  14. I have to agree with Tiffabee actually....after reading her comment. Sadly, I think it probably is more to do with people saying 'Im not dieting, its a lifestyle change'. I even saw a program last night where they were saying 'your not on a diet, your changing your lifestyle'. Changing your lifestyle basically mean't only eating vegetables and very low fat foods and hardly any carbs. So basically a diet. Reminds me of a saying. You can put lipstick on a ...........


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