No sugar, no spice, not anything nice.
In a calorie obsessed nation, the public is constantly bombarded with demeaning petitions telling them to “freeze their fat,” “eat as little as they can in 30 days,” and “try these new pills that stunt their appetites.” But this glorification of diet culture only leads to exceedingly severe mental and physical health complications that not only disparage one’s body, but also enmeshes the wellbeing of the individual.
According to the National Eating Disorder Association, nearly 30 million individuals in the United States have a clinically severe eating disorder. Ailments can range from the infamous anorexia nervosa (the dangerous restriction of one’s caloric intake) and bulimia nervosa (the use of laxatives, exercise, or purging to rid oneself of past caloric intake), to an array of unfamiliar subsidiaries including orthorexia, EDNOS, hypergymnasia, and diabulimia. Despite the polar contrast in behaviors, the effects of these habits can be critical, inevitably leading to an abundance of negative trade offs tailored to a few possible culprits.
To start, predominantly faddish corporations are no strangers to the influx of negative body image and eating disorders. For example, when you visit a grocery store what do you see? “Low fat, nonfat, no sugar added, low carb, 25% fewer calories, no calories, no saturated fat, less sugar.” The list is endless, leading the public to believe that these businesses are doing this for the health of their consumers. Sadly, this presumption is entirely false. These brands are not concerned with the wellbeing of their clientele, but pushing their preeminent motive to monetarily benefit off of the population’s vulnerability.
They constantly badger society with the notion that the public must adhere to their specific nutritional criteria in order to be considered healthy. And with no factual opposition, they are able to publicize the idea that “you are not good enough unless you eat like this,” forcing our communities to buy these products and proceed to think of our bodies in a negative manner.
According to Yorba Linda High School’s Ms. Ferris, our negative outlook on body image is a direct result of mixed speculation, whether it being through corporate facets or the intrusivity of media.
“So many easy-fix solutions are promoted, while healthy habits such as diet, exercise, and sleep regularity are a more complicated ordeal,” she said. Basically, we are a nation driven to an obsessed assemblage of insecurity by a toxic enterprise of abstinence. And while these businesses continue to force unreliable societal beauty standards, the public is physically and psychologically exploited for profit.
But despite this seemingly never-ending cycle of restriction that chains society to a commonwealth of idealistic beauty, there may be a solution that is all the more honorable and modest than any food label; and that is the idea of self-realization. By understanding that our bodies do not define us, we are able to successfully reject the media and diet enterprises that have only proven to be detrimental. Thus improving a national mentality that once provoked an ataxia of infirmities, and reinventing the concept of body positivity as whole.