When we lose twenty pounds…we may be losing the twenty best pounds we have! We may be losing the pounds that contain our genius, our humanity, our love and honesty. ~ Woody Allen
Wow! I saw this thought-provoking quote by Woody Allen today. Messages the weight industry use to promote their weight loss strategy can be very harmful. Too often advertising talks about what we will gain when the dieter loses weight. Typical gains that are suggested include our health, energy levels, confidence, self-respect, a new career, romance with a new partner and so on. It’s rare to hear what one may have lost in the journey to lose weight.
The first thing you lose on a diet is your sense of humour. ~ Author unknown.
Currently in Australia, the upcoming season of The Biggest Loser is being advertised with the theme “Love Yourself” (see video below). The message they appear to be promoting is that if people lose weight they will find romance, gain confidence and be lovable. I really believe this to be an insidiously, destructive message. In my last post I talked about advertising that promoted shaming people in order to make them try and lose weight. Effectively, The Biggest Loser advertising is promoting shame as a weight loss tool and the effects of this message can be damaging and far reaching.
I’ve been on a diet for two weeks and all I’ve lost is 14 days. ~ Totie Fields.
This type of advertising also has the potential to cause further pain to the individual, when the goal weight they are striving for is not reached or maintained. For the vast majority of people who go on diets, the likely scenario is they will not maintain the goal weight. Diets have proven themselves to be ineffective. So what happens after a person regains the lost weight? Anyone who’s ever been a yoyo dieter and had beliefs about their self-worth being based on their size, may recognize the cycle of further emotional pain as a result of their apparent ‘failure’ to maintain their weight. Self-loathing and despair occur as a result of diets that promise miracles but don’t actually work.
Dieting is wishful shrinking. ~ Author unknown.
Self-respect and a person’s capacity to love and be loved are not conditional on one’s size and shape. Confidence is not dependent on one’s size and shape. The expectation that you need to wait to lose weight in order to have these is false. It is irresponsible for weight loss advertising to perpetuate these destructive thought patterns.
Self-respect cannot be hunted. It cannot be purchased. It is never for sale. It cannot be fabricated out of public relations. It comes to us when we are alone, in quite moments, in quiet places, when we suddenly realize that, knowing the good, we have done it; knowing the beautiful, we have served it; knowing the truth we have spoken it. ~ Whitney Griswold.
What do you think of Woody Allen’s quote? Do you believe self-worth is dependent on size? Please feel free to share your thoughts….