Enough already about the “toxic” diet industry, because the junk food industry is far more toxic and is a $200 billion a year industry, far more than the diet culture which comes in at a relatively scant $71 billion.
I was inspired to write this article because not only was I helping many people lose weight when I was a personal trainer, but a self-proclaimed fat activist posted on Instagram that the toxic diet industry and culture is the following:
“Selling us a ‘cure’ that preys on our fears of being excluded, forgotten, mocked.”
Why not also vilify the auto insurance industry, which practically monopolizes TV commercials by preying on our fears of vehicular accidents?
Why don’t fat activists criticize the pharmaceutical industry that runs neck-in-neck with the auto insurance ads that tries to convince us that the only way to feel great is to take a prescription drug?
This fat activist, who spent two weeks on a ventilator due to COVID-19 (hmmm, wonder if her morbid obesity had any role in that), fails to consider that many people want to lose weight for reasons totally unrelated to fearing being excluded, forgotten and mocked.
Some of my clients cited the following reasons: better health and fitness, to lower cholesterol or high blood pressure, to get off medication for type 2 diabetes, to improve athletic performance, to eliminate knee and back pain, to garden without being sore the next day, etc.
How DARE fat activists lump all dieters into this box and label it toxic?
If anything’s toxic, it’s the fast-food industry, raking in a staggering $200 billion a year in the U.S.
“All to earn a buck,” continues this fat activist, referring to diet culture.
Well hey, what about the buck that the fast-food industry wants to earn? Seems to me they do a heck of a lot of preying.
A classic example is McDonald’s famous jingle years ago, “You deserve a break today, so get up and get away … to McDonald’s.”
What about the kids’ sugary cereal industry running their ridiculous TV commercials during cartoon slots?
What about Tony Tiger preying on naïve moms by convincing them that Frosted Flakes, a sugar-laden, highly processed product, can give their kids an edge in sports performance?
What about the Snickers campaign, “You aren’t you when you’re hungry”?
What about lotions and shampoo ads preying on women to make them feel less than acceptable unless they have perfect-looking skin or bouncy, shiny full hair?
Where are the body positivity crusaders here?
Funny how none of them deem the 30-minute infomercials for surgical hair restoration as preying on men’s fear that baldness will bring them exclusion and mockery.
“Diet companies aren’t looking out for YOU,” continues the fat activist.
Well heck, what industry IS? All they really want is your money! No kidding! This can be said for any industry.
All Lane Bryant and Torrid want is money from these fat activists, yet they’d never criticize these plus-size clothing companies.
That’s what business do: try to get your money. This concept is as old as the hills. Why is it suddenly a sign of toxicity?
“And they will use anything they can to convince you to give them your money.”
Excuse me, but isn’t this the plan of every single business that ever existed in the history of the universe – including, of course, the fast-food and other processed food industries?
“Dropping out of the diet culture will save you money!”
This fat activist mistakenly assumes that every person who goes on a diet to lose weight is spending money on a pricey weight loss program.
Is she NOT aware that many dieters do it all on their own, spending LESS money on junk food, lowering their monthly food bill?
Though there are expensive diet and weight loss programs, this doesn’t mean most people who want to lose fat go on these programs.
None of my clients ever went on any “program.” I taught them the concept of portion control and limiting processed and fast foods. They SAVED money this way. Nothing gimmicky or toxic.
What’s so toxic about diet culture?
If someone needs help with macronutrients, calorie counting and portion control, there is nothing wrong with paying the Jenny Craig company or Nutrisystem to do the figuring for them.
This approach will cost much less money than would the many junk food binges that they’d otherwise be engaging in.
Only a fringe portion of the diet industry presents with exaggerated or false claims, namely, the companies selling pills they claim will burn away fat deposits.
The industries that are most toxic to the body are those of tobacco and liquor. In third place is junk food.
Fat activists should ask themselves how many people die every year from alcohol (including indirectly from drunken driving) and tobacco, and how many perish every year from heart disease caused by junk food.
The final question then should be, “How many people does the diet industry and culture kill?”
People die from anorexia nervosa, but far more succumb to illnesses caused by overeating.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.