One of AnyBody’s goals is to bring a case against Weight Watchers as one example of where the diet industry knowingly exploits the aesthetic ideal of slenderness. It has plenty of evidence that dieting does not help people maintain weight loss.
A recent contributor to AnyBody, Sue Thomason, wrote a very insightful piece in response to AnyBody's ongoing case against the ethics of Weight Watchers. We thought you should all read it on our front page, and if you have personal experiences of the Weight Watchers program, please help us by leaving a comment.
From Sue Thomason:
The diet industry marketeers know full well that restriction leads the human subconscious survival instinct to activate, which drives people to overeat. The subconscious survival instinct does not know that food is available, it takes messages from the conscious mind that food is restricted, so it sees danger and it FORCES you to eat as much as you can in order to survive the famine.
The diet marketeers know that restriction of food allows you to take control only for short periods of time before this survival instinct kicks in. They perpetuate the message that the only way to lose weight is to follow their restriction regimes, and they set their customers up for failure and those customers, who see no way out, keep on going back to them and giving them more money, fuelled on by their short term success, which they see as evidence that diets work.
The reality is that they don't work and that they CAUSE overeating in the first place. Diet companies, such as Weight Watchers, CREATE overeaters.
With its ever growing profits and it's 98 per cent long-term failure rate, The diet industry is the most successful failed business in the world.
The universally accepted diet information, be it under the label of 'healthy eating' or 'cutting down', is creating the so-called 'obesity epidemic' that is now the second biggest killer next to smoking in the developed world. (And it's not an 'obesity epidemic' it's an overeating epidemic. Obesity is only one symptom in a line of symptoms caused by overeating. To pick it out and place the blame on it makes as much sense as blaming lung cancer caused by smoking on the accompanying cough!)
Without restriction, we have a genuine choice and are not driven by the subconscious need to survive in the face of a famine. Without restriction we do not overeat - because overeating is unpleasant. The only reason that overeating feels pleasant is because when you do it you are relieving yourself of the pain and suffering of restriction (or dieting). The pleasure is an illusion.
The diet industry has done as much harm to our society as the tobacco industry - if not more. I teach overeaters how to stop overeating. All of these women have spent their entire lives being dictated to by the diet industry and the physical harm, the misery, degradation and misplaced self-disgust that they live with is no different to torture. If they were in a marriage that affected them the way the diet industry does, the relationship would be legally regarded as emotionally and physically abusive and the courts would provide them with the protection of a restraining order.
Yes, Weight Watchers should be taken to task in court. They should be forced to reveal the long-term failure statistics of their products and services and made to publish them alongside the temporary success stories that they use to 'push' their drug.