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    The Weight-Loss Industry and Eating Disorders

    By Kristen Houghton     

    More of my hard earned dollars have found their way into the coffers of weight-loss organizations than I care to count. Finally, though, I’ve lost the weight I wanted to lose and have maintained it for over five years. It’s a small success.

    But my success is tempered by the very people who originally helped me. While I may be happy and comfortable with the amount of weight I lost, the weight loss organization does not agree. After meeting my personal weight goal, I was “encouraged to drop another five to ten.”

    With the media focused on the negative message sent to young women by anorexic models and actors no mention is made of legitimate weight-loss organizations. Believe it or not these organizations are just as much to blame for eating disorders.

    Let’s say you join a popular weight loss group. You only want to lose twenty pounds but are “advised” to lose thirty. You are then told that, “it is always best to get at least five pounds below goal.” So now, instead of the twenty pounds you felt was right, you’re being told to lose thirty-five. That’s fifteen pounds more than you wanted to lose.

    A woman in my weight loss group could not lose the last seven pounds of the sixty she was told she needed to lose. Fifty-three was all her body was willing to give up. Yet she was pressured relentlessly by the person in charge of the meetings to “lose that extra baggage.”

    A friend of mine belonged to a nationally known organization. She was told to leave half of all her meals on the plate. The problem was the meals, which came from the organization itself, were already excruciatingly small. When she protested, her weight coach said: “Come on! Don’t you want to shoot for a size zero?”

    We are bombarded with images from well-known weight-loss organizations that subtly, and not so subtly, hint at how horrible our lives will be if we aren’t a certain size and weight. We are made to feel that there is something wrong with us if we don’t achieve the “right” number on the scale and the smaller that number the better.

    The public needs to remember that weight-loss is a multi-billion dollar a year business. The commercials, the testimonials, the “before and after” pictures are all advertising at its best.

    We should not allow anyone to tell us how we should look. That decision should be ours alone. Being healthy should be our prime objective.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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