***note: some of the images below may contain triggering content, but the purpose of including these images is to point out how stupid ads are***
It’s that time of year, y’all! If you turn on your TV (or worse, go to the check-out aisle in your local grocery store) you’ll find a SLEW of diet ads everywhere you look.
This is the time of year where everyone decides *THIS IS THE YEAR THEY ARE GOING TO LOSE WEIGHT* but guess what?! They won’t. Why? Not because people don’t care about their health, but because diets don’t work.
There are a million and a half reasons why diets don’t work, which you can read more on here. For one, most people who lose weight through dieting gain it back. It’s also UNHEALTHY TO NOT EAT just so you can control the shape of your body.
All of that isn’t the point, however. The real point is that this is the time of year when diet ads run rampant and people everywhere are talking about their bodies, about their new exercise regimes, and about “losing that weight they put on during the holidays.”
I already wrote a post about my new year’s resolutions, and how they all have to do with recovery, my mental health, and just living a good life, but I think it’s important to recognize how hard of a time this can be for people in recovery.
The holidays are hard enough, but when you add in the post holiday let-down (yes, it’s a thing!) and then factor in the triggering shit people say this time of year, January can be a month from hell.
If you’re like me and you live somewhere cold, it can be even worse.
Over the past year, I’ve collected some of my *favorite* diet ads and captioned them with my thoughts pertaining to how STUPID they are.
These ads show how ridiculous diet culture is. And my sarcastic comments are a way for me to combat the messages that I so CLEARLY disagree with. These magazines try to convince women that changing their body and controlling what they eat will improve their lives. While some of us can see through these messages and understand that this is a simply a systemic issue at work, some people are struggling with their mental health and other personal issues and believe these messages.
I mean, hey, that’s how EDs start, right? Companies that make money off of women hating their bodies LOVE these ads and keep putting them in magazines because people buy into it.
If we hear the same messages over and over (“only a size X is attractive” or “you must weigh XXX to be pretty”) we start to believe them, it’s just how our brains work.
My dietitian told me recently about seeing two magazines side by side at the grocery store. On the cover of one magazine, a woman promised that she had the 7 secret “fat burning” foods inside. The magazine right next to it had a man and a large caption reading “Fat burning foods are a myth!”
These magazines were owned by the same company. They’re just targeting their audiences to make money and sell more magazines and diet culture products.
Companies make money off of the hatred women have for their bodies. If we stopped believing that only a size X is attractive, we’d stop buying all these pills, eating all these foods that we really don’t even like, and we’d accept our naturally imperfect bodies. But if we did all of that, these companies would lose a CRAP TON of money.
Demystifying diet culture is hard, because there are people who are PAID to write these lies and make them sound very believable. I try to pick out diet culture lies by looking out for words like “miracle,” or “overnight.” Basically anything that promises you a specific change in a specific time frame is full of shit.
Sometimes we are vulnerable and we fall prey to these ads, but for me, seeing these magazines is now something to laugh about. I feel bad for all of the people out there who are in these vulnerable places and truly believe that changing their body will make things easier. The truth is that no diet, no workout regime, and no weight will change the problems in your life.
The only thing that ever helped me better handle the inevitable curveballs that life likes to throw at me was therapy and learning how to have healthy relationships. If I could write a blog on how to do all of that, I would, but for now, PLEAAASE recognize how dumb diet culture is. I mean, really, look at those ads!