Another Diet Plan in Sheep’s Clothing?


When Weight Loss Products Jump on the Non-Diet Bandwagon

It’s always “interesting” (mild word for my true feelings) to see the television ads that come out every January, touting old and new (mostly old) weight loss plans and products. You know the players — they’re there every year, reaching out to people who are often desperate to lose weight.

This year, it’s really “interesting” to see some of those old players try to fall into step with the growing sentiment against weight loss diets.

Lean Cuisine Ditch the Diet 10-Day Try-It

Take the new Lean Cuisine Ditch the Diet 10-Day Try-It campaign (video below). I can’t get beyond their initial page on Facebook without giving them access to my profile and contacts, so am in the dark about exactly what kind of advice they are giving with this program.  The gist of it, obviously, appears that they are trying to hop on the non-diet bandwagon, albeit with a product that has always been associated with dieting.

Much like Special K is doing in co-opting body positive messages, including Marilyn Wann’s famous Yay! scale, as part of their Special K Weight Loss Challenge(TM).  But I digress.

On the face of it, Lean Cuisine’s campaign doesn’t seem that awful. They’re encouraging people not to diet and follow their plan that surely includes at least one Lean Cuisine meal a day.

The nutritionist in me cringes a bit at that, knowing that a steady diet of such meals is likely to leave someone low in important nutrients for good health, and maybe too high in other nutrients such as sodium.

Yet, the realist in me knows that many people eat so poorly (due to chronic dieting and other reasons), this could actually be a step up, especially if their other meals are well-balanced, and the Lean Cuisine meal is supplemented with vegetables and maybe other foods to make sure a person gets enough to eat. If it’s not enough, they may find themselves facing hunger pangs later on. Given the diet mentality that likely afflicts many people who would follow this plan, that could be a set-up for overeating.

The Big Question

The big question I have, and can’t see on their Facebook landing page, is whether the advice that accompanies their plan is not just another diet plan in sheep’s clothing.  Telling messages would be if the advice is focused on losing weight, rather than helping a person put in place a sustainable plan for healthy eating that truly supports health and well-being.

Has anyone signed up to “try-it,” and if so, would you be willing to share with me details about the effort?  If so, email me at  Thanks!

One response to “Another Diet Plan in Sheep’s Clothing?”

  1. Harriet Krivit says:

    All good points about this new Lean Cuisine approach, Marsha. BTW ,”picture’s say a thousand words”. Their ladies pictured are always model thin still presenting unrealistic goals for the average woman. And of course one must add more veggies and protein etc. not to “white knuckle” it…as far as hunger is concerned. But, Progressive Soups proudly uses the “diet” word in their latest soup diet adds. Still haven’t eliminated BPA from the cans lining. Everyone in all of these ads has so much happy energy with what they’re consuming? What’s funny is from these ads from we go to some young beautiful woman ecstatically savoring a Hershey’s or Dove chocolate describing her almost sexual experience as she bites into “it”…ah, and never showing the lady eating a second one. Like the Lean Cuisine portions…miniscule amts.

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

Marsha has been a guiding force at Green Mountain at Fox Run since 1986. In addition to overseeing a professional program that helps women establish sustainable approaches to healthy living, she is a respected thought leader when it comes to managing eating, emotions and weight. She has been a voice of reason for the last three decades in helping people move away from diets, an area in which she is personally as well as professionally versed. An accomplished writer and speaker, Marsha is the author of six books, including the online course Disordered Eating in Active and Sedentary Individuals (co-authored by Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, Human Kinetics), What You Need to Know about Carbohydrates (Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics [The Academy]), What You Need to Know about Vitamin and Mineral Supplements (The Academy), and The Pregnancy Cookbook (co-authored by Donna Shields, RD, Berkeley Publishing). She has worked extensively on a national basis to educate the public about nutrition and the impact of dieting on eating behaviors, including binge eating and emotional eating. Active in many organizations helping to further the cause of health and wellness, Marsha currently serves as vice chair of the Binge Eating Disorder Association and vice president of The Center for Mindful Eating and has been active in the Association for Size Diversity and Health in support of Health at Every Size(R) principles.

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