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.

16 comments on “What’s Your Anti-Diet Commercial?

  1. angrygrayrainbows says:

    In my experience, not only does the diet have to continue forever that it has to get more and more strict to even attempt to counteract the body’s natural efforts toward getting us back to the weight it wants us to be at. Back when I was playing this game, it felt like I was a spring that had to get wound more tightly and more tightly until I became diet fatigued enough be forced by my body and mind to stop the madness.
    I like this anti-diet commercial idea!

    • bigliberty says:

      You’re absolutely correct — I remember that effect well. When I started it was some seemingly maintainable WW kind of diet, but by the end of that horrid diet I was barely eating a full meal every three days, and I was exercising 2 hours in the gym per day and biking everywhere.

  2. deeleigh says:

    Seriously, massively full of win!

    (Great voice, BTW.)

  3. deeleigh says:

    Mind if I link to it on BFB tomorrow?

  4. obathos says:

    Big Liberty, would you do me the honor of going out to dinner with me tonight? Prime rib… coffee… dessert… and scintillating conversation.

    Plus we can point and giggle at the WaitWhat?Watchers, the NutriSystemicFailures, and the JennyCrashers…

    like last time.

    Oh, and I’m quite taken by your speaking voice as well. Make it say “yes” 😉

  5. rubyfruit says:

    You have a great voice for radio. Congratulations on your noveling!

    If only I had a microphone. I’d do this. My own dieting past is full of short-lived triumph followed by long bouts of beating myself up when the weight came back and then some, followed by giving up after the second failed diet and having fainted during my volunteer time. Fortunately, I was not hurt, and neither was anyone else.

    • bigliberty says:

      Thanks so much! My dad was in radio for 20+ years, so I know where I got it from 😉

      Oh do I know those short-lived triumphs well. It’s funny, because each time you feel like it’s going to last forever — that *this* time, *this* time it’s going to stick — and it never does. So sorry to hear about the fainting. Though my orthostatic hypotension was very much exacerbated by food restriction, thankfully I never fainted in a public place. That’s just horrible 😦

      Regardless, the most important thing is to spread the reality of what dieting really is — torture, shame, and ostracism — and that the reality is nothing like what these Diet Season ads would have us believe!

      • rubyfruit says:

        What I find incredible (from my experience anyway) is that it only took me twice plus a bunch of other, smaller-scale diet tips that didn’t work either (which led to the two much larger, more ridiculous crash-dieting things) to learn that the diets don’t work because they’re designed to fail (so that you have to try different ones over and over and spend more money on unsatisfying food and exercise regimens that are in no way enjoyable), not because of any defect of my character.

        Then again, the fainting incident happened at church, which didn’t make it less embarrassing, and said fainting happened during a churchwide 21-day fast. And that is a rant by itself.

  6. Two of my favorite diet lines:

    “Eat less, way less.”

    “Just stay on this diet and you will lose the weight.”

    Mine are:

    “Eat more, party more.”


    “Just start eating normally and you will lose the suckage!”

    • bigliberty says:

      I’ve had it argued to me that the famous ultra-restrictive diet of 1200 – 1400 cals/day for the rest of one’s life will add something like 5 – 8 years on to the end of one’s life.

      I never got why that was a great argument point. I know the kind of living hell that restriction puts one in — why would I want to spend the rest of my life in that place, especially a *longer* life? It’s insane. Thinking of the productivity lost to brain-fog, the time lost to food-journaling, the money lost to more expensive, lower-cal food that will fill you up more, just everything spent to live life in such a restrictive fashion — and have to live a *longer* life that way, to boot?

      Thanks, but no. If someone said, “Hey, live on this desert island with a bunch of cranky jerks and nothing to eat but coconuts for the rest of your life but hey, you’ll live 5 – 8 years longer!” I’d reply, “Go screw.”

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pattie Thomas. Pattie Thomas said: #HAES RT @nourishthesoul: What’s Your Anti-Diet Commercial? (on Big Liberty Blog): http://bit.ly/dOkxQ9 […]

  8. […] over-priced packaged “health” food will be key to a better life. She decided to create her own anti-diet commercial – which is fantastic – and encourages readers to do the […]

  9. Kate @ Walking in the Rain says:


    I would love to record my own ant-diet commercial, but I’m getting over a cold and am so congested it would be hard to understand what I’m saying. Also, because of the dratted cold, I ended up watching far more television commercials this week and each one had my gnashing my teeth in frustration. Especially the Nutrisystem one–my mom once broke down and ordered a months worth of food and then tried to give it away to me because of how awful it tasted. I prefer to make my own food.


  10. bigliberty says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Sorry, your comment got sent to spam for some reason. I’m not sure about what to do about the Google Ads … they don’t show up if you read the post on my site. Maybe if you’re reading the post through another venue, that’s where they show up?

    Thanks for the comment!

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