How Fad Diets Lead to Weight Loss Obsession
Are You a Weight Watcher?
Why do people love to read about weight loss, and why there are millions of articles dedicated to it.
Below are a few points why weight management gets talked about:
- Weight loss is powerful
- It makes us feel good
- We can all relate to it
- Someone we know struggles with it
I'll start off with the biggest point that encompasses the other points; weight loss is powerful.
Why is it powerful?
It's powerful because it makes us feel good, we can relate to it, either we or someone we know struggles with it, and it's generally regarded as a positive.
Most of the time stories of weight loss are success stories and when we lose weight there's often some praise involved. Our society clearly wants us to be as fit and skinny as possible, right?
Why We Struggle with Fat
We can all relate to it because chances are we've seen it everywhere. Unless you live under a rock or can't leave your home, then you've seen the struggle with fat. People can become obsessed with their own weight and try to fight it with a variety of diets and exercises.
If you're trying to lose weight you know how difficult that can be, and you know the feeling when you begin to gain weight but you're not the only one.
Weight loss is one of the most common health problems people deal with. Heck Americans are known for their obesity (seriously), but there's more to it than our struggle.
It's the pain of watching someone we know deal with it.
Whether they're a parent, spouse, child, other family member, a co-worker, or a friend there will be someone you know dealing with weight issues. The fact that we have someone we know dealing with this is another reason why weight and weight loss affects us.
Diet Ad Claims
- Weighing the Claims in Diet Ads | Consumer Information
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Weight Loss Reality Shows
My 600 Pound Life
I'm not sure there's any other topic that's discussed more than weight. The reason why everyone, including myself, writes about weight loss/gain is because people enjoy reading about them.
These topics secure the popular vote not only through written content but through video production.
There are a multitude of television advertisements, reality shows, and TV shows that are about dropping the pounds.
For example, The Biggest Loser is a reality show where losing the most pounds and percentage of weight earns you a massive cash prize. Whether getting healthy for money is considered ethical is up for debate.
My 600 pound life is about the journey including weight loss surgery and the emotional roller coaster associated with it.
Beyond magazine articles and television shows are influential product ads.
How will a product not become popular if it claims to drop 10 pounds in 10 days with little to no effort right?
And let's not forget the diet fads like Atkins or Weight Watchers...well actually those aren't bad but there are literally hundreds of dumb diet regimes sponsored by celebrities that "claim" helped them become a size 2 in two months.
When you have an issue that targets all of us then why not make the big bucks by catering products for us. The United States is an enormous (literally) corporate mecca where weight loss advertisements are cash cows.
They promise everything for nothing, so why wouldn't the gullible many make them popular.
The Before and After Pictures
Biggest Loser Success Stories
One of the greatest hooks that articles entice readers with are the before and after pictures of everyday people.
The success story is the goal we try to achieve, and people's obsession with those stories are greatly relational. The before and after pictures show regular, normal people we can relate to and their image gets reflected unto us.
It makes the impossible seem possible
Articles dealing with weight loss talk about the diet, the exercise programs, and conclude with the before and after of the average Joe. Personally I find the better weight related content surrounding the realities of weight loss instead of offering an easy step by step guide with unrealistic expectations.
I'm not knocking anyone who writes about this topic for a living, but I see why it's overplayed. There are only so many diet tips one can give before the reader or consumer has had enough, and the same goes with exercise programs.
Yes I already know about cardio or aerobics, high intensity training (HIT), strength training, and how long to do them for. I don't need to read thousands of articles that talk about the same thing.
The diets people write about are interesting but only if the author puts a clever spin on them. Again I can only read so much about eating fruits and vegetables while avoiding unhealthy foods but I digress.
There are many health articles that include before and after pictures, and I'm not mad at them.
There's nothing more attractive in a weight loss piece than seeing a 400 pound man lose 200 lbs. in a year or two that ends up running the New York City marathon.
And of course you're going to see a sluggish, poorly dressed, and depressed looking man or woman on the left and a healthy, smiley, and vibrant person on the right in the before and after pics.
Living With Weight Loss Obsession
Why Society is Obsessed with Weight
Losing weight has become an unavoidable obsession for a lot of people.
I mentioned how society doesn't like overweight people, and they literally shove weight loss products down our throats so we can be slimmer. How are we not going to become obsessed when we're being forced to deal with it?
I mentioned that there's an endless supply of articles about this topic hence it's inescapable nature. If you're online there will be an ad, a link, or some sort of article that talks about losing weight.
Through those online mediums, weight and losing weight is crammed into our minds, our conscious, and our subconscious. Maybe Sigmund Freud could have explained that to us if he was alive today.
But yet the most intriguing part about all of this weight loss talk is....
Do Advertisers Want Us to Be Fat?
We have just as much if not more products that talk about food, restaurants, recipes, etc.
We also have constant ads for popular restaurant chains like Burger King and McDonald's. There are channels devoted to only food, and let's not forget about all of the content dedicated to FOOD!
I've been preaching about obsession but I understand why it happens. You literally would have to be Amish and live in a cave not to notice.
If only we were geared towards receiving adequate information, entertainment, and interest. A pleasant balance would be nice but as long as there's money to be made then that's unrealistic.
As a society, topics of weight and weight loss will remain at the top of our health list for good reason, and I don't see it changing anytime soon.
However as technology continues to get injected into the health field, then we should see a lot more interesting stories pop up that really can help people.
That is the goal after all.