Weight Loss, Diets and Costs


Last year, Americans spent an estimated $46 billion on diet products, weight loss spas, healthspas and self-help books and another ‘$40 billion on vitamins and supplements.’  That’s billions, with a “b”. Combined, this would rank 42nd in world ‘GNP figures’, higher than the GNP of Philippines, Columbia, UAE, Chile and 174 countries.

While this can be fodder for arguing about efficacy, treatment, and causes, to me this is more indicative of the desperation, anxiety, and misery that being “overweight” causes, especially for women. ‘Body dissatisfaction among women is at an all-time high – it seems that women have begun to believe in record numbers that they can never be thin enough to be satisfied.

And yet, this very ‘body dissatisfaction’  combined with ‘roller coaster dieting’  is what kicks off behaviors that can either turn into an ‘eating disorder’  or gaining more and more weight after each bout of dieting.

While I’m not the kind of feminist that sees conspiracies everywhere, it does occur to me that we’re all spending a lot of energy focused on what we put into our mouths, and whether our thighs look as good as the airbrushed model we see….this would be a fantastic plot to keep women down, but it appears we’ve done it to ourselves, by believing the fantasy of the perfect body equating with the perfect life.

I’m reminded of a comedian I saw once that talked about not feeling comfortable if everything was too good in his life…he would start to look around for something that was wrong, to make himself feel better. He looked at his body and exclaimed, “Ah-ha! I have a hangnail!” Then he described pulling it off, then getting an infection and needing to be hospitalized.

Is this what we’ve done to ourselves with diet, exercise and the pursuit of a good enough body? What starts out as a minor issue can turn into a life altering situation if you keep picking at it. Maybe we should quit picking on ourselves, and take stock of our accomplishments and abilities, regardless of weight. I don’t know that ‘Sojourner Truth’  or ‘Susan B. Anthony‘  would have accomplished as much if they were worrying about carbs all the time.

To me, I think Susan C. Wooley, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Co-director, Eating Disorders Center University of Cincinnati Medical Center, best describes the waste of women’s talents with this quote, “Our emphasis on thinness has created a monster.  There is this army of overweight women, hating themselves, waking up every morning feeling that they are inadequate, spending energy they should be spending getting a doctorate or becoming president, counting the calories in a box of cereal or counting out individual raisins.”


2 responses to “Weight Loss, Diets and Costs”

  1. Blog Business World says:

    Carnival of the Capitalists at Blog Business World

    It’s Carnival time again!

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    That was a little long for a tag line. I’ll have to work on improving that one.

  2. Half Sigma says:

    There will always be a preferred body type, and those not of the preferred type will always feel bad and left out.

    This is human nature.

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