Last week William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, introduced Prince George to the waiting crowds outside St Mary’s Hospital in London.
It was a truly magical moment and the couple’s joy and delight at becoming first time parents was visible for all to see.
However, before too long, some journalists and media publications started the conversation about Kate’s post-baby weight.
One Sky reporter (Anna Botting) even asked, “Why does she still have a bump?”
And OK! magazine have been forced to apologize after running a cover story on their 30th July issue for promoting an “exclusive duchess and diet shape-up plan” along with an interview with Kate’s trainer.
What is going on?
Irresponsible media, false promises and the power of the billion pound weight-loss industry
I think it’s these types of ignorant comments and attempts by the media to cash in on celebrity culture which help drive and sustain the mammoth weight-loss industry.
That’s because instead of embracing and celebrating feminine curves and the fact that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, the mass media continues to promote an idealised “one-size-fits-all” look.
And it seems there’s even more pressure during the summer months as women across the UK try the latest fad in an attempt to achieve the perfect beach body so they can look good and enjoy their holiday.
It’s fair to say that dieting has become a normalised lifestyle choice. What’s more, the latest celebrity tips, proven weight-loss strategies and low calorie recipes continue to help the fashion, beauty and media industries profit.
The message is subtle – but clear…
- Fat is ugly.
- Thin is beautiful.
- In order to be “accepted and perceived as beautiful” you should lose weight (even if you don’t need to).
And the answers to the above problems are simple. Try this latest, trendy diet or shape-up plan and you’ll feel happier, sexier and more confident – guaranteed.
Summer heat and frantic slimming strategies
Unsurprisingly it’s not just diets that become trendier in the summer months.
Online pharmacy Chemist Direct recently claimed how sales of slimming pills were 46% higher this March than January. They attribute this trend to the huge number of people with failed New Year diets who “need” to slim in time for summer.
Superintendent Pharmacist at Chemist Direct Omar El-Gohary said:
“These are boomerang dieters who with the best intentions started dieting in January, but gave up after a few weeks. With summer around the corner, they are now having another go.”
Dieting is everywhere.
But is the seemingly innocent decision to restrict food, try slimming pills and lose weight causing people more harm than good?
And are women being innocently drawn into a lifestyle choice that could actually be detrimental to their health, wellbeing and self-esteem?
Introducing the dark side of summer dieting
In my opinion the answer is YES.
That’s because that hard truth is diets rarely work.
In fact, the majority of people who diet actually end up gaining weight.
It means the diet plan that promised happiness actually leads to more misery, eroded self-esteem and lack of confidence. It’s a reality that’s far removed from the elated, happy females you see celebrating their diet success in those glossy magazines.
Diet failed again? It’s YOUR fault
It gets worse. You see most people blame themselves when their diet fails.
After all, the tempting headline that tells you “not to panic” because you can lose 5lbs in 5 days is supported by testimonials and beautiful women excitedly declaring how the plan worked for them.
So it means if you don’t get the same results it must be down to you – especially if you lacked willpower and ended up comfort eating because you felt so hungry.
But would it shock you to know you’ve been misled?
That’s because if the diet you chose didn’t work, it probably wasn’t because you craved the wrong foods or because you weren’t motivated enough.
Instead, the failure was because your restrictive eating plan initiated an instinctive survival mechanism in your body which was sparked into action because your sudden change in diet and calorie intake signalled that food is scarce.
And because food is essential for your survival, your body responds to a lack of it by switching on a range of powerful physiological responses including:
- Increasing levels of hormones that stimulate appetite
- Decreasing levels of hormones that suppress appetite
- Slowing the metabolism (which makes it harder to lose weight)
- Causing the body to hoard fat
- Magnifying food cravings into an obsession which in turn can lead to comfort eating and even bingeing
Let’s be honest – how can willpower be expected to counter and overcome this instinctive survival response?
In turn the end result is diets are inherently unsuccessful and the odds of success are powerful stacked against you.
Cravings, binge eating and bulimia
And there’s a darker side.
That’s because consistent binge eating can initiate a slippery slope to bulimia.
Bingeing can feel incredibly good as it releases the stress and tension that’s built up as a result of restrictive eating. However, the pleasure is short-lived because once the binge has finished the dieter begins to panic as they imagine and visualise the fat piling on. Purging can become a strategy to cope with this. And when bingeing and purging become habitual, the dieter loses control and bulimia silently takes its grip.
Eating strategies can kill self-esteem and destroy body confidence
Feeling the very real pressure to diet to look good and fit in can cause untold heartache and misery.
As a former bulimia sufferer and a bulimia recovery coach I’ve experienced first hand the devastating impact diets have on women who often had no need to lose weight in the first place.
But they chose to diet because:
- They believed their body didn’t quite match up to the stick thin models idolised in the popular media.
- They became dragged into the myth that life will be better if their thighs were thinner, their tummy more toned or their breasts more pert.
- They believed they weren’t good enough as they were.
Are Your Dieting Strategies Killing You?
In my role as a bulimia recovery coach, one of the biggest problems I encounter is that women simply aren’t aware that diets can actually make them feel worse.
- They don’t know about the dangerous physical, mental and emotional side effects
- They often don’t appreciate their chances of dieting success are very low
- They don’t realise the body switches on a powerful physiological response to restricted food
What’s more, they don’t realise there’s an alternative that offers a way to avoid dieting for good.
So to address this problem I’ve written a NEW EBOOK. It’s called:
“Are Your Dieting Strategies Killing You? Revealed: The Dark Side of Summer Dieting”.
This eBook goes into far more detail than I can cover in this blog and provides in-depth answers as to why diets are inherently unsuccessful, but more importantly, what you can do instead.
If you’d like to read this eBook and discover the dark side of summer dieting in more detail, simply CLICK HERE.
And please, let me know what you think.
Bulimia Recovery Coach
Julie won a 15 year battle with bulimia over 30 years ago and now mentors and coaches others to bulimia freedom. She is a compassionate, caring bulimia recovery coach who brings a unique and powerful perspective on recovery that has helped people from all walks of life, not just stop bingeing and purging but learn how to love themselves and their bodies and create a life they love.