I’ve always wanted to magically awaken one morning to find myself thin, in shape, and beautiful. If the Magic Beauty Fairy ever shows up, I’ll probably die from shock. Sadly, some so called “health professionals” (read: television hosts) would like us to believe there really is some magical way to be perfect, and there is so much that bothers me about that, I’m not sure where to begin.
If you’ve been anywhere near any kind of media, you’ve probably heard about the Dr. Oz scandal. The celebrity doctor, who gives out what are, apparently, virtual prescriptions for miracle weight loss products, was scolded by U.S. senators for his role in perpetuating unhealthy diet tricks, which nearly never work.
To be honest, I’m not shocked. He’s not the first snake oil salesman who’s tried to hook unwary consumers. The beauty and fashion industries are monster money makers who have been bilking us with false promises for decades, and with the fight against obesity, the weight loss industry is catching up.
Generally speaking, the fight against obesity is a good thing. Obesity kills many people every year, and even children are becoming increasingly overweight.
It’s not healthy.
The problem is that as weight loss gains interest, so do people just like Dr. Oz who capitalize on the misfortune of others. I never want the weight loss industry to become similar to the beauty and fashion industries. In fact, I don’t want weight loss to become an industry at all. It should fall firmly under the umbrella of the healthcare industry, and that’s where it should end. Weight loss is something private between patients and doctors, not an opportunity for capitalism. There is no secret equation. There is no easy way. No miracle drugs or drinks exist. The equation is simple: Caloric intake must be less than calories burned. Translated: Eat less. Eat healthy. Exercise lots.
Some would have us believe we’re going to get by easier than that, but barring other physical reason for being overweight, that’s the only way to lose weight—at least if you want to be healthy.
The biggest problem I see as weight loss becomes an industry is there is a false standard of perfect being set, just as in the beauty and fashion industries. Healthy weight is important, but it’s more about health than the number jumping up at us on the scale. Other numbers like blood pressure and cholesterol are far more important than actual weight. So don’t tell me if I weigh more than X amount of pounds I’m disgusting. Actual weight is never as important as the other numbers a doctor will speak with me about. This is the way, though, that an industry will pull us in: Paranoia over something that really isn’t as important as other issues.
An industry sets a standard, be it weight, hair color, or clothing style. Anyone who meets this standard is called “normal”. Those of us who don’t? We need to start spending our money as quickly as possible to find that level of normal, even if the products will never work, or even worse, harm us. Phen Phen, anyone?
Not all people are attracted to a specific type of person, although the industries will have us believe we’ll be forever single and lonely because we’re horribly unattractive if we don’t meet their standards.
The people who do like us non-standard folks?
Oh. They’re said to have a fetish.
A person can’t just accept someone who is overweight and love them for who they are. Society says the have a fat fetish.
Whatever. Maybe society has standards fetish.
Maybe business execs have a take-my-hard-earned-money fetish.
Thinking of all this weight loss talks reminds me of my mother who tried every diet trick under the sun from the Cambridge Diet in the 80s to anorexia and bulimia. She skipped meals, drank disgusting shakes, and counted every single calorie that ever made its way near her lips.
She lived in constant fear of not being normal.
One would think after all science has taught us and all the strides made to accept folks for who they are, this sickness would go away. Tolerance would make a great antibiotic, wouldn’t it? Education could be a vaccine. Here we are, though, still letting capitalists take our self-worth and toy with our health.
Don’t get me wrong. Being healthy is important. Eating healthy and exercise are important for both the body and the mind, but this is something to be discussed with a real doctor—not some guy on TV—a real board certified physician who actually cares about the health of his patients, and who doesn’t make a dime from the pseudo-miracles people try.
This problem transcends gender, age, ethnicity, and almost every other barrier I can imagine. We’re all consumers, after all. Don’t let our weight loss struggles fall out of the realm of doctor/patient control. Don’t let our health fall under the blanket of “beauty”. If you want to lose weight, talk with your doctor. There is no miracle, no matter what the not so wizardly Dr. Oz and his ilk would have us believe.
Tammie Niewedde shares her life with 24, 21, and 16 year old sons. She also has a 2 year old grandson whose energy level reminds her exactly how old she is (40, and she owns that proudly!). In her home, you will find a 120 pound fur factory named Dexter and a few cats whom have decided that she is merely their staff. The root of her love for books, writing, and animals comes from being a child whose only siblings were books and her animals. She is a full-time student, mother, coordinator of all that is chaos, and a hopeless list maker. Most of her writing is creative non-fiction that describes her real life adventures. Her acerbic, biting sense of humor may capture your heart, or it may induce rage. Nonetheless what she writes is true to life. You can often find her hanging out with the kiddos, studying, reading, writing, and making lists…of everything! You can find her on Facebook!