Friday, 22 July 2016

Dieting Is Not the Same Thing As Brushing Your Teeth

facepalmThere are some things I can’t believe I have to say, and it appears that this is one of them. Yesterday I blogged about how my life changed after I found out that research shows that, while most people can lose weight short term, most people gain it all back (with the majority gaining back more than they lost) in the long term. Nearly every time I bring this up, I get comments like the one I received this morning:

shower, brush teeth, diet

Pictures shows a comment by “Barry” that says:

So why bother with anything? Why shower? Why brush your teeth? Eventually they’ll get dirty again, might as well just give up right?

My first thought is that if someone really can’t tell the difference between showering, brushing their teeth, and trying to manipulate their body size in a way that the research shows is nearly impossible and may harm your long term health, then I recommend they go ahead and stop showering and brushing their teeth and see if that helps them figure it out.

Seriously though, one of the things that holds a toxic, and sometimes deadly diet culture in place is the fact that people think giving your body so little fuel that (you hope) it will eat itself and become smaller, is roughly the same as brushing your teeth. That’s the world that diet culture has built.

Dieting can be a physically brutal, emotionally difficult, and expensive process that is often undertaken by those who have been misinformed – typically by the people selling the diet – about it’s likelihood of success either at making them thinner or healthier (which are two separate things,) and/or those who are trying to find a way out from under the soul-crushing horror of weight-based shaming, stigmatizing, bullying, harassment, and oppression that exists in our culture.

If we are to give fat people their rights to basic human respect, if we are to have any hope of a productive discussion about public health, then we have to stop normalizing dieting to the point that people consider attempts to manipulate our body size to be the same as basic hygiene.

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