i was on the subway this afternoon, looked up, and saw a series of signs running across the top of the car.
LIVE OR DIET
DIETS ARE MEAN
PEOPLE DON'T FAIL, DIETS DO
STOP DIETING, START LIVING
MAKE A NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION TO NOT GO ON A DIET
isn't that awesome! how inspiring! i wanna get on this NO DIETING train!
i was, of course, intrigued. i wholeheartedly do not believe that diets work. yes, you will lose weight, but you will gain it back, or you will spend the rest of your life obsessing (mildly to severely) about keeping the weight off i.e. you will develop an eating disorder. it is my opinion that dieting IS a culturally-acceptable, culturally-endorsed, culturally-encouraged eating disorder.
anyway, upon closer inspection, i realized that these uplifting little bon mots were ads for Weight Watchers.
Weight Watchers, these signs tell me, is not a diet.
and oh yeah, bullshit.
Weight Watchers IS a diet. yes, you don't count calories, but you count POINTS. a number is a number. i will admit that WW is not the worst diet in the world as far as diets go. they've made adjustments in recent years that emphasize the importance of fruits and vegetables and exercise, but it is still a diet. it teaches you nothing about learning to eat intuitively, about listening to your body and its needs. you can spend the rest of your life counting calories or counting points or counting pounds, but it is still counting, and it is still crazy-making.
they weigh you every week. that's seriously fucked up. this allows no room for individual differences in how weight is distributed, muscle mass, water retention and extra heavy pair of dungarees. even more disturbing, it's an almost guarantee that you will, at one point or another, go to your "weigh-in" and leave in a shittier mood that you walked in. why? because you gained A POUND.
i went on Weight Watchers a few years ago "just to see." (more bullshit. i wanted to go on a diet. i wanted to be in control. i wanted, on some level, to develop another, more culturally-acceptable eating disorder). mostly, what i remember is that our meeting leader looked like Vincent Price, and that i was hungry ALL OF THE TIME. i had close to zero energy. but hey! i lost 2 pounds my first week.
when i came back the next week, i knew i'd gained the 2 pounds back before i even got on the scale. when i hopped on the scale, and the numbers revealed that i had indeed gained those two glorious, life-changing pounds back, my meeting leader WOULD NOT EVEN LOOK ME IN THE EYE. he was ashamed of me? for me? i felt like i was being shamed, tsk-ed, scolded for gaining TWO POUNDS.
"well, let's just get back on track for next week."
fuck you, i thought. i will not be back next week. or ever.