A sickening health

The diet industry has expanded to a degree that isn’t always healthy any more

When people list the things that are most important to them, most of them name health as one of the first. Magazines, commercials, Google keywords and TV shows then amplify the already-large role that this industry plays in our lives.

The American society, with more than one third of adults who are obese, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention and more than 50 percent of people who wish to lose weight, according to Gallup, provides a fruitful soil for an industry that declares war on unnecessary pounds, fat and sugar. And the resulting expanse is enormous: New strategies to become healthier, and especially skinnier, abound everywhere. Fad and quick fix diets like the “Seven-day spring slim” or the one that only allows a person to eat five bites per meal keep popping up all around and have only become even more weird and wacky.

Often leading to the yo-yo effect, many of these diet plans lack one of the most important parts of a balanced and healthy lifestyle: the fun and the pleasure. Many people seem to have forgotten that the oftentimes-demonized fat and sugar are important parts to receive an ideal nutrition. In an effort to boost their markets instead of actually helping the people they are selling to, the health and beauty industries often promote unrealistic images that lead to a decrease in self-confidence rather than weight. Because of the media, what is supposed to be a satisfying enjoyment becomes a struggle for perfection and a battle against one’s own body.

An environment that tells people again and again to try something new or different to become even more perfect certainly challenges the self-confidence to be perfectly happy with one’s own body. Headlines seem to throw accusations in their readers’ faces if they dare to accept and even like themselves the way they are.

In order to support an exaggerated criticism of a normal and healthy appearance, the media doesn’t shy away from cheating and presenting an abnormal ideal. Apparently, selling publications is worth not only a bad conscience but also encouraging eating disorders, including anorexia. Where in this jungle of diets, health plans, beauty tips and tricks has basic health gotten lost?

Somehow, the beauty and health industries have lost sight of what is naturally beautiful and healthy. And that is, first and foremost, a love of oneself and his or her own body. The incentive to eat the right food, to exercise, to do good to one’s health should be motivated by an inner desire for well-being and a high quality of life. Diet plans can be a valuable help with the right nutrition, but the ultimate health plan should always be based on what feels good to satisfy personal needs.

The body allows us to enjoy life in so many ways, and, luckily, most of the control over it lies in our own hands. This gift should be embraced as a great chance at life instead of being turned into a grave obligation.