American Bodies: White Lies

“I cannot tell a lie” attributed to a young George Washington has always represented American values. Thus why during the recent Presidential campaign didn’t we object to the obvious prevarications from the candidates? Is this a possible explanation of how we have changed? Physically and also emotionally.

The body damage from obesity is obvious, but issues of the psyche are buried. The impact of 50 years of dieting on our bodies and minds has to be examined. The weight loss business is big and powerful: more than 100 million dieters account for healthy revenues of $64 billion. Obviously, the most famous and the richest and the smartest woman in America wouldn’t invest in a loser business.

Dieting is a game that has its own special rules- most of them unspoken. Dieters know never to blame any diet program for their failures. Dieting is a serial activity: starting several every year, each lasting no more than three weeks, is a typical pattern. The odds of winning at losing are worse than in Vegas. Enter the coping mechanism; lying, dieting’s sidekick. How else to field the questions about what and how often and how much that dieters confront in weight loss meetings? Unlike AA, the evidence of failure is visible. Despite all of this failure and anxiety, dieting is also addictive. We don’t give up. We hear about losing 20 pounds in a flash- an obvious lie- but still we’re ready to try it. People still watch Biggest Loser knowing the contestants will regain the pounds. It’s a lie. It’s Fake News. Fake. Fat. Who cares?

The majority of Americans have played the dieting game or have friends and family who have. This reality of failure weighs on us all. The sin of gluttony leads to shame and defensiveness. As a defense, lying becomes easier to do. Why care that politicians lie, they are just people and most are not winning any looks contests either. If you don’t pay attention, there’s no elephant in the room.