Posted on December 05, 2013 by Dr. Deah
Trigger warning for: Just about everything that may cause you to want to pull a trigger, or trigger feelings about body issues.
FREEZE! (it's the fat) POLICE!!!I was driving off to my beloved Lake Merritt to meet with one of my Walkie Talkie clients and lo and behold there was a new billboard in the hood. Not since I wrote about the 1-800-BAD IDEA billboards in my post, WWJD?, had I been so profoundly distracted by an advertisement while driving. There are so many things wrong with this ad that I actually nominated it for a Healthy Weight Week (HWW) Slim Chance Award. For those of you unfamiliar with HWW and the Slim Chance Awards (SCA), HWW is celebrated in the United States the third week of January. One of the features of Healthy Weight Week, SCA, is used to expose the widespread fraud and quackery in the weight loss field that are touted as trying to help people become happier, healthier, and sexier, by losing weight and or fat.
WEALTH BY STEALTHMore recently the “weight cycling” aka diet industry has become increasingly adept at going undercover by borrowing some of the vocabulary from the Health at Every Size® philosophy. They now advertise their programs as NON diet approaches and proclaim that if you use their product or program you can give up chronic dieting and live a healthier, thinner, and happier life. With great stealth they cloak their message of body hate in health mandates and the importance of self-acceptance. One weight loss product has even used a take off of Marilyn Wann’s Yay Scale to hypocritically sell you a thinner happier self. And with the wide spread tradition for many people of diet laden New Year’s Resolutions looming in the near future, the frenzy is ramping up. This means that soon there will be a long list of nominees for the Slim Chance Awards to choose from. According to the original Healthy Weight Week Website, (this year, after years of spear-heading HWW, Frances Berg handed the gauntlet over to Marsha Hudnall) the Slim Chance Awards are given to
"...the worst of the worst of the many weight-loss products and programs that flood the internet, the airwaves, and the pages of print materials each year in seemingly increasing numbers. Diet quackery disappoints and defrauds its vulnerable victims, and all too often it injures and even kills.”
ANY PUBLICITY IS GOOD PUBLICITYThere are those who will say that any kind of mention or acknowledgement of these plans and programs adds weight to their importance and should be ignored to best serve the objectives of the fat/size acceptance movement. I agree there is a fine line between advertising and exposing a product. In the case of the Slim Chance Awards, I think the positives outweigh the negatives. If you don’t know about something then you can’t protest what it is doing. Nor can you warn others who may be using the program of its pitfalls.
THEY SAID THERE WOULDN’T BE ANY MATH!
“Healthy Weight Week is a time to celebrate healthy diet-free living habits that last a lifetime and prevent eating and weight problems. Our bodies cannot be shaped at will. But we can all be accepting, healthy, and happy at our natural weights.” Frances BergThe creators of Cool Sculpting® agree that we cannot, using our will alone, change the shape of our bodies BUT (see the but rule) if we are willing to use their procedure we will be thinner which of course means healthier and happier. In order to sell their primary product, Fat Freezing, they need to sell their secondary product, Body Hate, which then in fact becomes their primary product because without Body Hate there would be no need for the Fat Freezing…(deep breath) and they do this by listing the top ten reasons why anyone who can pinch the slightest amount of flesh on any part of their body (in lieu of bone) is or should be very unhappy.
TEN REASONS WHY THEY WANT YOU TO HATE YOUR BODY"1. I don’t love my love handles 2. Two words: summer vacation. 3. Make my time at the gym look like I’ve been to the gym. 4. Show up at the reunion in the same jeans I wore then. 5. Move on to resolutions #2 and #3. 6. Put my bag in overhead without hesitation. 7. Wear spandex without embarrassment. 8.I eat right, so I deserve to look right. 9. Make my birthday suit my best outfit. 10. I want my body back." You see they can’t sell the cure without first selling us the dissatisfaction. The two points that irk me the most are numbers 3 and 8. They are basically saying that we can be physically active and have a “normal” relationship with food and it still isn’t enough if we can pinch an inch. This is COMPLETELY antithetical to the HAES® tenets and is the exact message that fuels the development of eating disorders and exacerbates self-loathing.
KAOS VS. CONTROLIn the old television series, Get Smart, the bad guy's organization was KAOS and the good guy's was CONTROL. I know I can not control the proliferation of these billboards. (Although I am fondly remembering when we were putting billboards up in Georgia to fight a fat shaming campaign that was being waged by a local hospital). I also know that I can not always plan my driving or walking routes to avoid seeing them. What I can CONTROL is the internal CHAOS they create inside of me when I see them by choosing to: *Control my desire to commit vandalism. *Control my rage so I don’t slam into the rear bumper of the poor unsuspecting car in front of me. *Control my urge to use food to act out, numb out, or not speak out. *Control my reaction of spiraling down into a place of hating my body because I am being told that my body is something t0 be hated. And I can nominate them for a Slim Chance Award because even if they don’t get the award, I have already won by publicly proclaiming that,
"I’m not buying either of the two products they are selling!"If you would like to learn more about Healthy Weight Week or would like to make a Slim Chance Award Nomination (the deadline is December 11th) CLICK HERE. If you would like to order one of my new bumper stickers or refrigerator magnets (proceeds go towards financing my soon to be released book, Dr Deah's Calmanac: Your Interactive Monthly Guide for Cultivating a Positive Body Image) they look like this: and can be found HERE. Til Next Time! Dr. Deah