I’d never paid much attention to diet or weight-loss programs. Most of them sounded too ridiculous to ever be considered as effective. Others, were clearly only effective due to their starvation principles – lemon “detox” anyone? Certainly none of these seemed to be effective long-term (after all – who wants to live off diet shakes for the rest of their lives?).
And while most people i know would agree with my observations, i would still see those same people buying pills, drinking teas, mixing up shakes from sachets filled with powdered dreams…..Why?
After seeing an ad for BodyTrim in a friend’s magazine, i suddenly realised just how clever these diet & weight-loss companies are in their advertising.
What struck me about this ad, was the way BodyTrim had managed to link every unhappiness in this woman’s life to her weight, before promising her a “better life” through their program.
Fat Is Bad. Really Bad. In Fact, It Is Ruining Your Life.
Feel happy with your body? Do you accept it exactly as it is?
Well guess what – you shouldn’t.
Don’t you know that your weight is the source of all life’s unpleasantness & problems?
Life feeling out of control?
“I couldn’t fit into my favourite jeans [&] I realised I’d somehow lost control of my life.”
“Bodytrim has changed my marriage (It is now better than ever).”
Worried about being a “good” parent?
“I’m now something my daughter Ruby can be proud of.”
“Bodytrim is the secret that has made me a good mum.”
“Sadly, sitting in my office I see it all walking past me, little kids that are overweight with overweight parents, what chance do they have?”
Not as happy & carefree as you used to be?
“My sense of humour has also returned. I haven’t laughed so much in years.”
These companies want you to know that fat is bad, & that it is indeed, the source of all of life’s unpleasantness & problems.
But more importantly, they want you to know that they have the solution – for a price.
These companies realise, that as emotional creatures, we will all at some point in our lives, feel uncomfortable emotions like fear, shame, sadness, & anger. What they do with this knowledge, is try to tie those emotions to something more tangeable, & therefore “fixable” – our appearance, & in the case of companies like BodyTrim, our weight in particular.
Then, once they have established our weight, as the cause of these unpleasant emotions, they jump right in with a solution – ‘buy our product, follow our program, & you will never have to feel this way again!’ The idea is, that if you can get rid of that “excess weight”, you can “get rid of” those unpleasant emotions right along with it.
In fact, this exact idea is just one that BodyTrim managed to sell Maria:
“I am learning to be disciplined, self controlled and I refuse to be ruled by my emotions any longer.”
Learn to “control” your weight, & you can control your entire life, including those pesky human emotions.
Happily Ever “After”?
Have you ever noticed how miserable everyone looks in their “before” photos? And how happy they seem in their “after” ones?
While you may, on some rare occasion, come across a smiling “before” photo, you will never see an unhappy “after” one. Why? Because these diet & weight-loss companies don’t want you to question the outcome of their program – they don’t want you doubt it’s ability to make your whole life better. They don’t want you to think, ‘this might not work – perhaps my dreams of a fabulous new life, a happier marriage, a better job, & a killer new wardrobe, won’t burst forth into existence once i lose weight. Maybe i won’t feel any happier of more fulfilled.’
They want you to believe that everyone who buys their product & completes their program, leaves it with a sparkly new life – & that if you are just as miserable at the end, as you were in the beginning, then it was certainly you who had done something wrong. After all, there are no unhappy “afters” – their program (through weight-loss) makes everyone’s dreams come true!
The Path To Happiness
While i never believed in the long-term effectiveness of diets, i did take on the broader idea, that being thin will make you happy, & your life wonderful – the world will open up to you if you are thin. Truth is, that while i did end up with wardrobe full of new clothes, my weight-loss did nothing to bring my partner & i closer together, it didn’t result in the perfect job landing square in my lap, & it certainly didn’t make me feel any deep or lasting sense of happiness, or an increased sense of fulfillment in my life.
These days, things are much different. I have a deep & loving relationship with myself, & with my friends. I have a job that is perfect for me – a job that i absolutely adore. Never have i felt such joy, or fulfillment in my life. AND – i don’t diet.
This beautiful new life, did not come to me through some crazy diet plan, or weight-loss scheme – as clichéd as it might sound, my path to happiness has been paved with self-love & acceptance. It has come through chasing true joy rather than weight-loss, & learning to embrace happiness. And for those things, i didn’t have to pay those weight-loss companies a cent.
Do weight-loss companies really sell us long term health solutions? Do they really sell happiness? Or are they simply selling us low self-esteem in order to sell their product?
The decisions about your body & how it is treated are yours to make, so why not make those decisions informed ones? Next time you find yourself considering a new diet or weight-loss program, take a moment to step back, look at the messages you are being sold, & ask yourself – what are they really selling me?