Diets are a con, but fat people are still undesirable.

This article by Sally Van Oak admits that the diet books of the last 50 years are mostly a sham, and that the diet industry doesn’t want anyone to lose weight, because then they would be out of business. Unfortunately her article seems to think that human biology, dieting and ideas of beauty only go back as far as WWII, something that doesn’t really take into account corseting, and pictures of rather voluptuous Edwardian beauties that were in vogue right before WWI hit (and brought the stick thing flapper era with it.)

I’m so tired of articles like this, pointing out the issues with the weight loss industry, but simultaneously peddling the values and misconceptions that power it. ‘Fat’ is still blamed on crisps, fries, candy, ‘hidden fat’ and all sorts of modern day diet boogies that are normally blamed for rising obesity levels. I can get behind the fact that sedentary lifestyles are probably causing some of us to be bigger than we might be under rationing, but we’re also taller and less likely to suffer from rickets and other diseases that are the result of diet deficiencies.

Fashion houses are ‘upsizing’ to cope with the changes. Buy a size 10 dress now, and it is the equivalent of a size 14 in your grandmother’s day.

Sally Van Oak should also take note that the average person is taller, and likely to have larger feet than they did 50 or even a 100 years ago. Our diets have changed dramatically in nearly every century, as trade and technological improvements have made new choices available to us, and changing tastes have dictated new delicacies. She cites a curvy celebrity as an example that tells us it is ‘okay to let ourselves go’. I don’t condone violence, but phrases like that make me reach for the stress ball. A curvy celebrity is not saying anything, other than that she is trying to be comfortable with herself and who she is, in an extremely high stress and highly scrutinised environment. They have their own fat experience, but it has nothing to do with mine.

If poverty and restriction of freedom is the only way to keep us ‘healthy’, as the writer of the article seems to think it is, then I would rather have prosperity and freedom of choice and joy in my life any day. I think it’s great that Ms. Van Oak is exposing the fraudulent nature of the diet industry, but she should have dug a lot deeper to give her article more weight and less hypocrisy.

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~ by pewter on July 23, 2009.

3 Responses to “Diets are a con, but fat people are still undesirable.”

  1. “‘Fat’ is still blamed on crisps, fries, candy, ‘hidden fat’ and all sorts of modern day diet boogies that are normally blamed for rising obesity levels.”

    Van Oak’s article drips with condescension, but I have to agree that overindulging in calorie dense food does contribute to obesity. I don’t understand how eating more energy than one expends is a misconception when it comes to weight gain.

  2. The idea that people are Obese simply because they ALL do one/the same thing is a misconception. I am not fat because I scoff doughnuts, crisps and cakes. Obesity is so often blamed on particular foods that the doughnut eating fatty is a cliché. The anger against obesity also lumps all obese people into a single box, and my feeling is that generalisation is bad. No single factor towards obesity exists in isolation. The issue with fatty stereotypes is dealt with elsewhere in the fat-o-sphere by better writers than myself, but the article I refer to ‘disowns’ diets in one breath and continues the cycle of shame and self hate in another. That’s what I object to.

  3. I agree that’s a lousy cliche. From personal experience, an awareness of the calorie density of food and eating accordingly did help me lose weight. This can be healthy foods like nuts, avocado and raisins. And being aware of drinking calories like beer and soda. This is MY experience, other’s may have different situations.

    Part of the controversy is semantic, on what the word “diet” means. I prefer to use the word “nutrition” to describe the awareness of what one eats and acting accordingly to that awareness. Diet suggests a quick fix, a mere “means to an end” where it is ejected once one reached their “ideal weight”. This is why I suspect many gain the weight back. They don’t see it as a lifestyle choice.

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