Almost two decades of dieting resulted in the usual sad outcomes for Alexandra Jones. There was weight lost only to be regained, meals missed, and social occasions ruined. In the end she lost weight for good only when she stopped obsessing over it and got engrossed in her life. In this article you can follow her from learning dieting at her mother’s knee to attempts at diets ranging from Weight Watchers to cabbage soup.
In the end she learns that weight isn’t the best marker of health and that dieting was never going to work. And she also learns the dangers of undercover diets in the guise of clean eating, transformation, and wellness.
The difference, Dr Orbach points out, between 1978 and now, is the words that we use to describe our diets. “Instead of saying ‘this is going to make me thin,’ the language takes on an almost moral quality. We talk about purity, about ‘healthy,’ ‘natural’ and ‘clean’ foods. We use euphemisms (like saying we’re undertaking a ‘transformation’) to signify that we’re going on a diet. But the effect, and the impact on us, is much the same.”