anorexia · diet industry · diets · eating disorder · eating disorders · media · mental health · weight loss

Diets are Dangerous…

Diets. We probably all know someone that’s been on one. Most of us have been on one ourselves. It’s usually just an attempt to lose a few pounds. Diets seem healthy, harmless and sometimes like the best thing for someone to do. But they can be dangerous and they can lead to eating disorders. I understand that this is not always the case. I understand that some people need to go on diets for health reasons but a hell of a lot of people who put themselves on diets do not need to lose weight.

A lot of people who develop eating disorders say that it began when they tried to eat a bit more healthy. Perhaps they started eating more fruit and vegetables. But then it can spiral out of control. It’s easy to enjoy the weight loss. It’s easy to start eating less and enjoying losing more weight. It’s nice to see the numbers on the scale drop. People start telling you how good you look. You tell them about this great diet you’re on.

Well, this can get serious really quickly. You eat a bit less and you lose more weight and soon it is not enough so you start exercising too or skipping meals altogether. It starts pretty innocently but it becomes more sinister. You get thinner. You get sick. Soon, you are in the grips of an eating disorder and really mentally unwell.

It’s the new year in a couple of months. That means people will be going crazy talking about their desperate need to lose a few pounds, there will be diets advertised everywhere and celebrity fitness DVD’s. People will buy into it but I am urging you not to. I want to remind you that this diet culture we are in is dangerous for everyone. As someone in recovery from an eating disorder, I can say that hearing friends talk about diets and calories makes me feel like I should be. It damages my recovery and diets put them at risk of potentially developing eating disorders. Eating disorders kill people.

It makes me angry. Seeing constant adverts for new diet pills and diet companies. STOP IT. Stop making people think that they need to lose weight in order to be happy. Stop showing unhappy fat people and happy thin people, the world does not work like that. People are not that simple. Weight loss is not equal to happiness. Eating Special K every day will not make your life better, following weight watchers will not make you a good person. Diets sometimes help you lose weight but unless your doctor advises you to do so, you probably do not need to. These companies are making money off of your misery, low self esteem and desperation.

Most importantly, the diet industry wants you to feel bad about yourselves. It wants you to hate your body so you buy their products over and over again in a desperate attempt to fix things. However, this doesn’t work. So you try more diets and low fat foods and gym classes. Losing weight is not how you learn to love yourself. It is not how you become happy. Looking after yourself, being kind to yourself is how you learn to love yourself. And you should love every part of you because if we all show ourselves a little bit of love, these awful diet companies will go out of business. Eating disorders may decrease in frequency.

Ignore the diet talk. Do not buy into this culture. You are more than your weight and you deserve to love yourself for who you are not because you lose weight on a diet.

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