It’s not the diet. It’s YOU.

From a discussion of celebrity endorsements of diet plans comes this gem from Nutrisystem exec Stacie Mullen:

“The dieting public understands that the dieter has a responsibility to comply with the program,” said Ms. Mullen, adding that if the dieter fails, “I don’t think the public blames the program the dieter was on.”

And from Zalmi Duchman of the Fresh Diet:

“If they don’t do good on it, it doesn’t mean the product doesn’t work,” Mr. Duchman said. “It just means that they’re not sticking to it.”

This perception really helps diet companies stay in business.  I’m sure diet programs REALLY don’t like this:

Reviews of the scientific literature on dieting (e.g., Garner & Wooley, 1991; Jeffery et al., 2000; Perri & Fuller, 1995) generally draw two conclusions about diets. First, diets do lead to short-term weight loss. One summary of diet studies from the 1970s to the mid-1990s found that these weight loss programs consistently resulted in participants losing an average of 5%–10% of their weight (Perri & Fuller, 1995). Second, these losses are not maintained. As noted in one review, “It is only the rate of weight regain, not the fact of weight regain, that appears open to debate” (Garner & Wooley, 1991, p. 740)
Traci Mann et al [emphasis added]

Most dieters regain their lost weight. It’s not that “they didn’t stay with the program.”  It’s that most dieters regain. Period.  The few who maintain significant weight loss long-term are a very small minority.   But as long as they trumpet “Anyone can lose weight!  Just pay us!” they can drown out the downer research that shows how unproven and full of lies their programs are.

7 thoughts on “It’s not the diet. It’s YOU.

  1. Oh yes. I’ve heard that from so many people when I wasn’t able to lose and keep it off. I was put on my first diet in early childhood and soon came to feel that I was personally a failure because I wasn’t able to transform myself into a skinny child. My diets were doctor prescribed and when the doctor told me it was my fault, I believed him. He was an adult and an authority figure after all.

    I expect it is much the same thing with these celebrity endorsed diet programs with the celebrity in place of the doctor as an authority figure. If their product doesn’t work it couldn’t possibly be that they are selling snake oil. It is the consumer who was the ‘bad fatty’ who caused their own downfall through lack of compliance. And sadly, people believe it because it was sold to them by someone they trusted.

  2. How many times have you heard “I am going back on Weight Watchers. I was on it before and I lost a bunch of weight” (that they promptly put back on!)

    “Most dieters regain their lost weight. It’s not that “they didn’t stay with the program.” It’s that most dieters regain. Period. The few who maintain significant weight loss long-term are a very small minority. But as long as they trumpet “Anyone can lose weight! Just pay us!” they can drown out the downer research that shows how unproven and full of lies their programs are.”

    You’re blaming the company. I blame the idiots who believe them. I have lost a tremendous amount of weight by being careful about eating and exercising and there are some people who want to hear that I took a pill or had surgery or something. “Fooled me once shame on you, fooled me twice shame on me” applies here.

  3. And what’s really great for the weight loss companies – if that last diet didn’t work (and it didn’t) pay them even more money to do it AGAIN (and again and again). Because it’s always your fault.

    Weight loss plan are the greatest scams ever created. They almost never work but people keeping on coming back (and paying) for more.

  4. It is a setup purely designed to benefit the people selling you stuff, to hell with your mental and physical health. It is a story that makes you buy it again and again and again without questioning the logic- of course you werent a “perfect” dieter- you had that milk or maybe the serving sizes were supposed to be smaller.. etc etc. Therefore your failure, not the product. And Im sorry no expensive program is – eat what makes you feel better, in quantities you feel comfortable with, without shame and guilt and move in ways that make you happy and feel good. And if you need it, get therapy to work through the problems you may have around food. (Though oddly enough this approach works to make you a happier healthier person but not necessarily a thinner one.. why this appears to be valueless I dont know.)

    *Huge headdesk*

  5. Pingback: Why I Think Declaring Obesity A Disease is Harmful | Living ~400lbs

  6. Pingback: The AMA is Wrong | Everblog

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