The word diet has been pretty much universally replaced with the term "lifestyle change." At first, I was on board with this, even as corporations started adopting it as a marketing tactic. It sounds good, right? "Weight Watchers is a lifestyle change, not a diet!" It sounds way more fun, frankly.
And then something changed: I actually went on Weight Watchers a few months ago. Before my book was released, I discovered that I'd gained about 15 pounds and no longer fit into the clothes featured in the book--the ones I was supposed to wear to events and signings. I wanted (actually, needed) to fit back into those clothes, but I was also disturbed by such a quick (and practically unnoticed) weight gain in my life. If I kept it up, where would I be in a few decades?
Weight Watchers comes highly recommended, so I tried it. Plus, it's so retro! It was founded in 1963 by a Brooklyn homemaker. And it worked: I followed the plan (more or less) and lost exactly 15 pounds. Yay me. Everyone who notices says I look thinner in my face. Is it possible to lose 15 pounds from one's face? Apparently. (Below, the evidence.)
But all along the way, I was annoyed by the company's insistence that I wasn't on a diet; I was making a lifestyle change. How are the two mutually exclusive? Hasn't dieting always been a lifestyle change--one where you eat less? And honestly, being on Weight Watchers kind of feels like being on a diet. I love food, and there was certainly an amount of deprivation involved. Some days I felt like I couldn't stand to see another salad. This whole "lifestyle change" business seems to be just another way to market weight loss products to women, right?
(And since I know you're going to say it: of course it's good to aspire to a healthy lifestyle. But when did "healthy lifestyle" become a synonym for "thin"?)
P.S. I was also going to use this post to rant about how people are using Pinterest for "thinspirational" messages (which share a lot in common with pro-ana messages), but I was pleasantly surprised by something. If you search "thinspiration" in Pinterest, you get this message: