Because my husband usually rises before me and switches on the tv in the other room, I often wake to the childhood jingle about stealing cookies from the cookie jar, repeated by a woman and a man touting their weight loss success on the Cookie Diet.
It really bugs me, initially just because of the ad. Then I start thinking about the diet.
The concept of the ad is just not right.
The advertisers are playing off folks’ love of cookies and the extra appeal of being “forbidden.” But the ploy is just another example of how misguided weight loss mantras continue to be fostered.
It reinforces the idea that cookies are something we have to sneak. Even if it’s supposedly said in jest, weight-struggling adults buy right into the idea because, well, that’s what diets have told us for years — cookies are off-limits. But that just sets us up for overeating them.
With children, while it’s important for parents to set limits, fostering the concept of sneaking sweets doesn’t help. Again, even if it’s in jest. Kids are pretty literal. And if the kids face weight challenges, it just sets them up for the adult reaction.
I’m also not convinced the diet offers any real solutions.
It can be argued that some people initially need structure to help them improve their eating patterns, e.g., specific guidelines to help them eat well (see what I mean by that in our FitBriefing “It May Look Like a Diet but It’s How You Think About It.”)
Ideally, however, the structure would be something that would help us develop new habits. Eating cookies for breakfast and lunch (which is how at least one person I know followed the diet) isn’t exactly setting a great pattern. (Btw, my friend lost a lot of weight on the diet a year ago. Today, she’s back where she started.)
What’s more, while the cookies on the diet are “allowed,” real cookies aren’t. Once again reinforcing that idea.
The cookies are made from “extracts of natural ingredients like fruit, vegetables, wheat and dairy.”
Oh, and “doctors” developed them, so they’re alright. Well, maybe if you want so-so-tasting cookies. But not sure this qualifies them for weight loss magic. Yes, they feature fiber and protein, which may help manage hunger. But unless the hunger management is in conjunction with learning how to eat real food, and perhaps healing physical issues that created the abnormal hunger in the first place, the chances aren’t good the reduced hunger will last.
What do you think? Should I just laugh along with the “joke,” or do I have a point?
thanks to kevandem for this photo (via flickr)