It will likely come as no surprise to you that selling the idea that we can manipulate our body size is big business – to the tune of over $60 Billion a year for the diet industry. Of course, when you spend that much money to put out that many ads you have to get a little flowery with the language, and then you get no end to the euphemisms for intentional body size manipulation that we (including me) use all the time. Today I thought I’d take a closer look.
Lose Weight: Let’s start here, with perhaps the most common term. For me it conjures an idea of someone wandering around the neighborhood yelling “HEEEEEERE WEIGHT! COME HERE WEIGHT! WHERE’S MAMMA’S SWEET LITTLE WEIGHT?!” hanging up flyers on telephone polls. Most people are able to make their bodies smaller temporarily, though in the long term almost everyone gains the weight back, so maybe “Weight Lost and Found” would be a better term.
Shedding Pounds: This sounds like I’m going to find tiny bits of fat stuck to my furniture and clothes, like we need to develop a “pounds roller,” cousin to the lint roller. I’m sure if the diet industry thought they could make money off of it they would make it, even if it’s not necessary or effective.
Reducing: I feel like they are going to put me in a sauce pan and simmer me until I’m half my original volume.
Diet: In the good old days this just meant the food that someone ate. Now it is a word loaded with meaning and connotation, made compound with terms like Paleo, Viking, and South Beach, and used to bore one’s dining companions and/or try to establish someone’s moral superiority through a big performance about their mastication.
Getting Fit: This is just wrong. Fitness is about conditioning the body for movement in one or more of four aspects – strength, stamina, flexibility and technique. Nobody is obligated to participate in movement of any time, but the conflation of weight loss/body size with fitness is an unholy marriage that causes any number of issues including the mistaken belief that the only good/correct outcome of activity is a smaller body. If someone says “That person is fit” or someone says “I’m not fit” we haven’t been given any information about their body size.
Got some of your own? Leave them in the comments!
I’m excited and honored to announce:
I’ll be the keynote speaker and teaching two cabaret dance workshops at the 2nd Annual Dangerous Curves Convention in Detroit June 12-14!
I’ll be one of the keynote speakers at the Weight Stigma Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland September 18-19th! (I’m also putting together a European speaking tour while I’m there so if you’re interested e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org.
I hope to see you there!!!!!
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