In response to a request that I put about for fatphobic things for which people would like some comebacks (a blog post I’m currently working on) I received the following request:
“Suggestions for how to respond to the ENDLESS diet commercials from 12/26 – end of Feb. I used to be able to avoid them by just keeping off the TV and listening to my local public radio station. Since that company that starts with n became an underwriter it’s impossible.”
Diet commercials are THE WORST. Their product doesn’t work, so commercials do one of three things:
Show Short-Term Success
Almost everyone loses weight short-term, and almost everyone gains it back long-term with many gaining back more than they lost. So what you’ll see in most commercials is people who are still in the weight loss “honeymoon” period, before they start the almost inevitable weight regain.
There are a few people who manage to maintain long-term weight loss, so diet companies sometimes cherry-pick them for their commercials, and try to make us believe that we are likely to have the same results. Think of it this way, there are people who survive skydiving accidents when their parachute doesn’t open. Based on diet ads logic, I could use them to advertise Ragen’s School of Parachute-less Skydiving – but I’ll bet you wouldn’t (and you definitely shouldn’t!) sign up to jump with me.
In the case of the super dangerous things, like stomach amputation surgery, they not only cherry-pick the successes, they completely gloss over the very serious failures. There are many people who experience such horrible lifelong side-effects that they would give anything to take back the surgery. You won’t hear from them in the commercials made by the people who profit from butchering the digestive systems of fat people. And of course the people who are killed by the surgery will never get to tell their stories.
You’ll notice that every single ad for diets has a disclaimer that basically explains that the diet doesn’t really work/ Those aren’t there by accident, or by the grace of the companies shilling this snake oil. They are there because they are legally required. It’s the only way they can get away with what is essentially false advertising.
So what do you do about them? Here are some strategies that I’ve found helpful:
Find a phrase to say to yourself (or out loud!) whenever you see one. I use “Hey, That’s Bullshit!” Other people have told me that they use “Nope, Nope, Nope’ or “LIES IT’S ALL LIES!” I’ve found that after a little time, it became such a reflex that my brain would say it before I had even fully processed the diet ad.
When you see these ads, you can think to yourself “I’m so grateful that I know better now!” Consider using it as an impetus to message an activist whose work has helped you to tell them thanks!
If the ad is on a forum where you can report it, that can be helpful. For example, every time Facebook feeds me a diet ad, I report as misleading. I’ve successfully gotten a few taken down, but regardless I find it quite cathartic.
Regardless, remember that the diet industry perpetuates fatphobia and then preys on the people who are its victims – that’s all diet ads are. The industry is without morals, ethics, or even common decency and the decision to walk away from it forever is solid and sound.
If you have other suggestions for dealing with diet ads, please leave them in the comments!
Was this helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)
Like this blog? Here’s more cool stuff:
Jeanette DePatie and I have created a coaching program for walking, running, or rolling any distance, starting wherever you are now! It includes :
- Our Rock the Road Training Tool that customizes your weekly workouts starting exactly where you are right now, and gives you total flexibility (no more cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all workouts!)
- 6 weekly coaching video calls (you can watch online or just call in on your phone)
- Insights from guest coaches
- A dedicated Facebook group (with no weight loss or diet talk allowed!)
- Access to Jeanette and Ragen via a priority access email address.
Investment: $69 (DancesWithFat members get $20 off, check your member e-mail and member page for the coupon code!)
Wellness for All Bodies Program: A simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective. This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)
This e-course that includes coaching videos, a study guide, and an ebook with the tools you need to create a rock-solid relationship with your body. Our relationships with our bodies don’t happen in a vacuum, so just learning to see our beauty isn’t going to cut it. The world throws obstacles in our way – obstacles that aren’t our fault, but become our problem. Over the course of this program, Ragen Chastain, Jeanette DePatie, and six incredible guest coaches will teach you practical, realistic, proven strategies to go above, around, and through the obstacles that the world puts in front of you when it comes to living an amazing life in the body you have now.
($79.00 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)
Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)
Book and Dance Class Sale! I’m on a journey to complete an IRON-distance triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here! (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)
I’m (still!) training for an Iron-distance triathlon! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com .