Top Secret Stigma

So I’m going to broach a topic unpopular to many of you, not because you don’t understand or disagree, but more that it’s Un-PC or just a topic rarely discussed, save at a big lunch with a gaggle of gals. It’s the “he whose name must not be spoken” topic in the 20’s dating world, inherent within our cliques but mentioned by relatively few. Like casual sex and addiction to bad reality tv, it comes inherent with a semblance of guilt and potential judgment by others.

It’s dieting.

For one reason or another, it’s just not cool to be on a diet. People feign allergies to gluten before they’ll say they’re doing the Atkins diet. People say that sugar upsets their stomach while they’re verbally refusing the sweet tea and mentally drooling over the delicious refreshment of it all. And, God forbid you go to Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers — you might as well wear the scarlet letter: in this case, F for FAT.

Face it people, diets are the fashion faux pas of the century.

Ever heard of a model on a diet? A movie star (other than me, that is?) Nooooooooo… They’ve got trainers, they work out, they are ‘preparing for a role’ and ‘getting in shape.’ But never a diet — diets are for fat people, for the plebeians among us.

You’ve all seen the statistics. Yet, and despite even newer awareness of this information, we’ve got “American Idol” judges telling girls to lose weight because apparently, the American ideal Idol is svelte. It’s a 40 Million dollar industry that is hush-hush because, apparently, dieting is something of which we’re embarrassed.

I’m broaching this because I’m smack dab in the middle of this debate with myself, and I’m guessing there’s others out there who are as well. Others who totally feel guilty when they go off of whatever diet they’re doing this week or this month, others who go on the Atkins diet and then, upon complete avoidance of anything carbo-laden (and complete ravenous consumption of any and all meat-laden products), are dying for a Coke. Not just a Diet Coke (which, incidentally, isn’t suggested as Nutra-Sweet apparently affects one’s ability to go into ketosis), but a full-fledged, hangover-curing fountain Coke. And some chips. And even a (God forbid!) Turkey Sandwich, bread and all.

But, in our society, what does that leave me? Weak. Ashamed. Off the diet-wagon and again in the forever-cycle of restraint, slave to the 40 million dollar industry and again wishing I looked better in a swimsuit. I’m appalled to say that even when they called from “The Bachelor” the first thought in my head was (since I was in the midst of ravenously consuming my dinner): “I’ve got to start dieting NOW.”

The issue isn’t necessarily the diet. Let’s go through the tenses: I’ve dieted, I diet, I will diet. And, statistically speaking, you probably have or will too. The issue is the stigma attached to said diets, the fact that it’s the masturbation-esque quagmire of the decade: everyone’s doing it but nobody’s talking about it.

Well, I’m tired of this. Diets, while not optimal, are a normal part of our society. Though both guys and girls are still reading Maxim and Stuff and Men’s Health and Cosmo, very VERY few of us look like that. And the ones that do, I promise you, have at some point gone on a diet. Even if it’s to look better in the photo shoot the next day or to lose 10 lbs. before the high school reunion, weight is a huge issue, it’s seen as important, and hell, why not just put it out there in the open and come to terms with the reality.

I’ll set a good example and start:

“Hi, I’m Aubrey, and I just went off the Atkins Diet because I wanted a piece of Oreo Cheesecake. Yes, I’ll likely begin again tomorrow. But in the meantime, [like everything that is fun, good, and frequently morally reprehensible], it was worth it.”

Dieters Unanonymous: it’s got a ring to it, no?

4 thoughts on “Top Secret Stigma

  1. great! since you’ve already broken the diet for the day, we should probably head to neighbor’s for an order of chicken nachos, followed by some fries and a big FAT beer!

  2. so maybe i’m getting old, but everyone i know is “doing it”. we discuss the number of calories in a leaf of lettuce while ordering a double patty hamburger, hold the bun please. this is all followed, of course, by a strawberry-flavored shake consisting of water and some sort of protein powder to wash it all down. welcome to the thirties where this type of behavior, whether you are male or female, is openly accepted!

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