Time to defund the diet industry?

03/10/2017 10:25 am ET Updated Mar 17, 2017

Eighty five percent of women reported that they opt out of important life activities because of feeling bad about their looks, according to a study by Dove.

Eighty. Five. Percent. 

 

Twenty eight percent of women say they’ve experienced workplace discrimination. Seventy seven percent of women said this country needs to continue working to close the wage gap between men and women.  Eighty one percent of women in America use a modern form of birth control. This means that almost every woman (see my video below) is holding back on life because she doesn’t feel like she’s pretty, or thin, or sexy enough. We’re allowing ourselves to be oppressed by our own poor self-image.

At the same time, we’re being bombarded on a constant basis with marketing messages that reinforce the belief that our bodies aren’t good enough, thin enough, or sexy enough by the diet industry.

The diet industry contributes to the oppression of women by perpetuating harmful myths about women’s bodies for the sake of making a profit. And profit they do—Americans spend north of $60 billion annually on diet and weight loss products.

This means that we’re not only consenting to being oppressed by poor self-image, we’re paying into it to the tune of $60 billion a year, with our hard-earned (unequal) wages.

That’s enough to fund Planned Parenthood’s operating budget 60 times over. Every. Single. Year.

I believe that women are the future—but if we’re more preoccupied with losing “the last 10 pounds” than with the well-being of our society, this country is in real trouble.

When you spend money on diet and weight loss products, you probably don’t think about it as an investment. Low cost memberships in diet and weight loss programs tend to be less than $47 per month. But that spending is a form of investment. When you add up everyone’s individual purchases, it adds up to a huge amount of money that we spend as a collective.

I’m as guilty as anyone of buying in to products that promise fast, easy weight loss results. As a self-proclaimed “recovering fat kid,” I went on my first diet at the age of 7, and have struggled with binge eating disorder for most of my adult life.

While I have fallen victim to the powerful marketing messages of the diet industry, like many others, I have now chosen to consciously defund the diet industry on a personal level. And I want you to join me.

Let's stop allowing our existence to center around our size, and how closely our bodies resemble some unattainable standard of perfection.

Can we change this for ourselves, the women in our lives, and the next generation of women by choosing to accept ourselves and our bodies exactly as they are? Let's stop opting out of our lives and start living.

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