What’s Your Anti-Diet Commercial?

Ah, the season of diets is upon us! There have been some particularly horrendous early contenders — like the one from Nutrisystem about how much better life is for those who’ve dieted away X lbs on Nutrisystem’s diet junk food.

The common theme uniting all these commercials is to promulgate the belief that going on X diet is temporary. You just need to sign up for Y months of Hip Watchers and you’ll lose “the” weight. “The” meaning the extra stuff, above some arbitrary Thin Fantasy boundary which can be anywhere from 5% – 30% less than your current weight. After losing “the” weight you can stop the diet, resume  normal life like eating how your thin husband/wife/friends eat, and exercising how they exercise.

When you actually do that? You gain it back. Plus 10%. Just in time for the new diet season. Shock!

So another round of Hip Watchers or DietJunkFoodSystem is in order. And it happens again. And again. And again.

Because there’s no such thing as losing “the” weight unless your weight gain was caused by something outside yourself. And then losing “the” weight usually just means recovering from an illness, having the baby, and so on.

Still, the idea of diets being temporary and weight loss being permanent is the most prevalent — and profitable — myth of the December 26 – February 15 diet season.

We’re told by the suggestive after-photos and testimonials that life is so much better after the diet is over. We’re aren’t told that the diet is never over. The pain, severe restriction, part-time job sweating at the gym, calorie account books, obsession over ‘bad’ and ‘good’ foods, fake diet junk food or refusal to eat whole food groups without a good medical or ethical reason, brain-fogginess of constant low-grade hunger, metabolic state of starvation even though you don’t look like you’re starving — it doesn’t end. Not after “the” weight is lost. And when we finally capitulate to a state of well-being that would be considered torture by any natural thin? — it means we’re broken .

Fuck that.

It’s time to push back against these insidious messages, the ignorant assumption by friends and family and coworkers that losing weight is always good and definitely permanent if you “do it right.” It’s time to expose the reality of the tortuous condition of the dieting life, and that other diet called maintenance.

How? By creating an anti-diet commercial.

Ideally, it would be a foil to Nutrisystem’s most recent commercial (can’t find a link), but ultimately to any commercial that tries to sell you on how much better life is after dieting, the typical — “more energy, cute clothes, bikini body, can now climb mountains, so happy, play with kids all the time, have constant sex with spouse, etc.”

I put together a short anti-diet commercial for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

Here’s my diet success story. What’s yours?

Include your anti-diet commericals in the comments, or send them to me at big dot liberty at yahoo dot com.

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A Little Fat Sociology

Have you seen Google Books Ngram Viewer yet? They are awesome. Play with them right away. That is, after you read this post, of course. 😉

The basics – Google Books Ngram Viewer searches for keywords in Google Books from way back to 2008. You can search for multiple keywords (up to four worked best for me) and graph the results next to each other. It’s pretty awesome.

h/t to Sociological Images for first pointing this out to me. I immediately thought of building some graphs that were relevant to Fat Acceptance and the sociology of size. Here are some initial results. There’s a link to the NGrams Viewer for each graph above the image, and you can click on the images to enlarge them.

Fat Acceptance

link

BLUE - "fat liberation" RED - "fat acceptance" GREEN - "size acceptance" YELLOW - "fatphobia"

(CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

Perfect Bodies and Inner Beauty

link

 

BLUE - "thin figure" RED - "hourglass figure" GREEN - "perfect body" YELLOW - "inner beauty"

(CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

Fat is Ugly and Thin is Beautiful

link

BLUE - "fat is ugly" RED - "thin is beautiful"

(CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

Muffin Tops and Baby Weight

link

BLUE - "baby weight" RED - "love handles" GREEN - "muffin top" YELLOW - "junk in the trunk"

(CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

Obesity Epidemic

link

BLUE - "obesity epidemic" RED - "healthism" GREEN - "bmi"

(CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

Lose Weight…But You’re Too Skinny

link

BLUE - "need to lose weight" RED - "too skinny" GREEN - "go on a diet" YELLOW - "stop dieting"

(CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

Epidemics, Nutrition, and Surgery

link

BLUE - "obesity epidemic" RED - "childhood obesity" GREEN - "food pyramid" YELLOW - "gastric bypass"

(CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

Another interesting one – Shed pounds, burn calories

Universally Loathed

So many intelligent people can’t comprehend the genetics of size, which I find both astoundingly disappointing and rather nauseating.

If I hear one more time — just one more time — that the size of my body implies I’ve got some bevy of psychological issues, whoever makes that claim will be told in no uncertain terms why they are wrong. I’m done being silent about this, going along when other people spew misinformation and bigotry because I don’t want to rock whatever boat. I’m not out looking for a fight, but unfortunately you don’t have to go far these days to either get attacked or experience others being attacked for happening to embody the ‘wrong’ shape.

Nearly every group strives to disinclude fat people, to the extent where vociferous, well-reasoned  arguments will be levied against the culture of lookism only to then exclude fat people yet again. For example, a recent comment (which sparked this post), ran along the lines of: “Judging potential partners based on looks is wrong, but hey, sometimes you can tell when someone’s messed up and that’s when they’re OMGFAT!”

(because, the argument ‘from reason’ further stated, fat people must be fat because they overeat and they must overeat because they have some disturbing emotional problems which imply they are broken and hence undesirable partners)

I’ve had conversation with and read articles written by people with multiple degrees in tough disciplines which still cave to the rabid cultural assumptions surrounding size. My hypothesis is this usually stems from the fact that they themselves aren’t fat, nor do they have any experience with people of size. Since they’re perfectly reasonable and intelligent, that must mean fat people are broken! The same goes for average-sized people who rag on very thin people: they can’t seem to understand that many naturally thin people have tried to gain weight and can’t, and are mocked or derided for their size.

It’s all so very unscientific, and so very non-rigorous and logically fallacious that I can’t help to conclude there exists an intellectual double standard concerning size. I’m not quite sure why – perhaps it stems from the infallible authority granted to doctors and other medical researchers, who are of course just fallible people subject to the same bigotries as the rest of us, and who don’t necessarily conduct their research more rigorously nor do they possess some sort of super-reason inaccessible to the rest of us.

All of this leads me to conclude –

If you are a person of size there is one thing you can count on in modern society, and that’s being universally loathed.

So right, I’m pretty pissed off.

…because it’s abuse. It’s a way for one set of people to commit violence against another without having to make the effort to be physically violent. It’s a way for them to feel artificially superior by climbing on the backs of the deviant ranks, though really whatever status system being contrived is based on completely arbitrary values. (Like thinner is better – better for whom? Like more makeup is better than no makeup – better for whom? Like dark hair and blue eyes and fair skin is better – better for whom? Why? How did it come to pass? How is it rigorous or objective in any sense whatsoever?)

I’m going to say it right back – Modern Culture – yeah, look at me when I’m talking to you, damnit – I loathe you, too.

But my loathing is based in reason. Because I loathe any entity, group, or collection of ideas constructed in order to do violence to other people, to keep them from reaching their full potential.

I especially loathe intelligent individuals with willful blind spots. Perhaps that’s because I used to be one of them, I’m not sure. Regardless, while I don’t think intelligent people need to be perfect (honest intelligent people will be the first to claim that they’re not perfect) I do think they have a responsibility to closely examine their own potential biases. Else doff that elitist mantle: you are no enlightened thinker if you willfully latch onto a belief because it conveniently supports your worldview without making sure it is rationally sound.

Most modern intellectuals, along with everyone else, have been socialized to believe fat people are low-status, disgusting, and broken. Hence they are willfully ignorant with respect to any information that might suggest the opposite. They want to keep finding us ugly, and disgusting, and broken. They want to other us. They want their bigotry to be reinforced, because they have a visceral fear of fat people.

And visceral fears are difficult to root out. Flipping through the pages of history they might in fact be one of the stickiest points of human prejudice. Why is that? I have a few theories.

Visceral fears are self-regulating. Teach a populace to loathe something, and they often self-segregate based on that characteristic. In that same sense those fears are passed from generation to generation, since children will be — through horrid, memorable abuse and punishment for deviance, often at the hands of their parents, teachers, and peers — well-taught to toe loathing’s line.

So what do we do? How do we handle being loathed? Well I know what we can’t do — OBEY.

Which suggests that the initial reaction we must cultivate is ANGER.

(I won’t go into constructive/destructive anger at the moment, but obviously I believe the above falls into the constructive category)

So get angry. What makes you angry about the way you were treated in your past, or currently, or the way you fear you might be treated in the future? Why do you think it’s unfair? You have every right to loathe what is being done to you, because it is objectively wrong. You know that, you agree with that, or else you wouldn’t think this whole Fat/Size Acceptance thing holds any water.

Get pissed; you deserve it.