Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Big Fat Profits: Diet Industry Worth $104 Billion in 2012

Peggy Elam, clinical psychologist and publisher at Pearlsong Press, shared a link to this press release.  Here's a quote from it:

"The North America Weight Loss / Obesity Management Market was worth $104 billion in the year 2012 and is expected to reach $139.5 billion by 2017."

Here is Dr. Elam's commentary, which I couldn't agree with more:

"This press release describing the anticipated growth in the 'weight loss/obesity management market' and the high growth (profitability) potential of bariatric surgery illustrates why the American Medical Association was so hot to declare 'obesity' a disease against the advice of its scientific advisory council."

The diet industry wants your money.  I want your love.

Instead of wasting your money on the billion dollar diet industry trying to shrink your waist, eating away at your sanity, here's some free advice from Dr. Linda Bacon's book Health at Every Size, which if you want to achieve frugality at epic proportions, you can probably check out for free at your local public library:

1)  Give up trying to lose weight.  This is really hard to do in our culture, but you can do it!  It's been three years now since I've ditched dieting.  My internal measurements of health (blood glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure) are all great.  I feel better, both mentally and physically, than I ever have.  This forty-two year old non-dieter could easily whoop the ass of my inner twenty-two year old dieting ass.  And there's no comparison between my health now as a fat forty-two year old vs the eleven year old anorexic I once was.  Remember that no matter how old you are or what size body you have, we're all entitled to good health.  

2)  Regardless of your size, “enjoy a variety of real food, primarily plants.”  By real food Dr. Bacon means less-processed.  And don't assume "junk" food is cheaper than real food.  A bag of potato chips costs more per pound than a sack of whole potatoes.  You can spend ten bucks on ingredients for a giant salad or you can spend ten bucks on a giant meal at a fast food restaurant.  Pay attention to how you feel when you finish both meals, an hour later, two hours later, a day later, etc.  Which ten bucks makes your body feel better?

3)  Move your body in pleasurable ways, which Dr. Bacon calls “active living.”  Free things you can do with your body include taking a walk outside, playing tag with your kid, going on a hike in the woods or at a nearby park, lifting "weights" as you watch TV using canned goods from your cupboard, enjoying a romp in the sack with the person you love the most, doing yoga poses in bed, in a comfy chair, or on the floor of your home using a free book from the library, checking out free music from your local library and dancing to it in your living room, or at a party in your garage.  What other fun things can you do with your body for free?  Leave your ideas in the comments section below.

4)  Most of all, love yourself.  Just the way you are.  This might be the hardest part.  If you don't love yourself, why bother with healthy living?  Stop worrying about the spread of your ass and focus on spreading your love.  All bodies are beautiful.  They are vessels of the divine.  My body gave life to my child.  My body is amazing.  So is yours.  Reading this just now, remember, your body keeps you alive.  Channel your inner Mister Rogers, look into the mirror, and repeat,: "I like you just the way you are."

This advice is not going to raise profits for the multi-billion dollar diet industry. But it raises awareness that health comes in all sizes and it has raised my self-esteem immeasurably.  It's time to end this cultural war on "obesity".  The hippies were right: make love not war.  Love your body.  Stop being at war with it.