What’s the Appeal of the Fad Diets?
For as long as I can recall, I have seen many a fad diet rise into popularity and fall into obscurity. If it wasn’t Keto and Paleo, it was Southbeach and Atkins. Heck, I even traced back previously to fad diets that existed before the invention of the printing press, and even before the existence of Roman civilization. But with all of these fad diets, there is a core issue that is present in all of these instances. People want to lose weight quickly.
They are hoping for a shortcut, a miracle cure, something that they feel can magically solve their problems in an instant.
However, the cynics and skeptics of the world will outright tell people that such things aren’t real. And deep down we all know that fad diets won’t work in the long term.
But we still spend $66 billion dollars on the weight loss market. What gives? Are we really that delusional? Do we have our head in the clouds? Are we inherently lazy?
There is a lot to sociologically and psychologically unpack to get to the bottom of it. So, that is what is going to happen. Read on if you are interested in the topic.
People are Wired to Avoid Discomfort
I will be the first one to admit. I hate exercising. On occasion, I maybe get the urge to walk or run because it just sort of feels right, but I am not one to voluntarily run unless something is chasing me. But the thing is I know that I have evidence of and still am suffering long-term from it.
And I am not alone in this. According to Dr. Sherry Pagoto P.H.D. of Psychology Today, “Theories of human behavior have long shown that immediate experience often outweighs future rewards. ” No one wants to be uncomfortable. Ever.
And there is nothing wrong with that to an extent. In general, when we are avoiding pain, we are avoiding injury. If you have a hand over an open flame, you want to move it to both stop feeling the pain and burning ourselves to death.
However, it has gotten a little out of hand.
Let’s face it. In both upper and middle-class America, we are ridiculously comfortable more than ever to our predecessors. We live/work/relax in places in which we can control the very room temperature. We are quick to demand top not service for our money, and we get things more instantaneous than ever in the age of the internet.
It’s probably why we are so quick to hop on the fad diet bandwagon.
So, if that is the case, how do we fix it?
The answer is simple. Do it anyway. Our memories of pain are not the same experience as the act of remembering it anyway.
“…what is uncomfortable today may hardly be noticeable later. after you’ve experienced that discomfort over and over again.”
Speaking of avoiding discomfort;
People are Wired to Demand Instant Gratification
No matter how advanced in technology we have become, no matter what sort of society we live in, or how much money they have, we are still animals. Animals with basic instincts and immediate needs, like hunger, thirst, clothing, breeding, and social interaction.
And since we are no different than other mammals in the animal kingdom in that regard, you are going to occasionally notice certain instincts kicking in when certain situations arise, no matter how civilized or rich you are.
People are generally wired to like their routines, some more than others. In fact, things like greed, racism, sexism, and other forms of ugliness in the world are all a byproduct of the discomfort that comes with uncertainty. Human beings don’t like uncertainty. They don’t like being delayed, and they certainly don’t think long-term when they feel uncertain about their futures.
This is particularly true of both people who live in poverty and children. That is because a certain level of cognitive capacity is required to reach that sort of logic. And if your brain is malnourished or not fully grown, you are going to suffer poor impulse control.
And fad diets love to prey on people with poor impulse control.
Fad Diets Act Like an Instant Answer
Our current society is the perfect breeding ground for fad diets and the con artists who support them.
For starters, a good chunk of the United States has been suffering from a sense of insecurity for a very long time both in both a financial and safety standpoint.
In the last 20 years, we have seen: multiple school shootings, the first direct attack on America, several natural disasters, a few economic recessions, and increasingly dangerous divisive politicking. No one in their right mind would feel secure.
Then you have the current food atmosphere. The grocery gap, the increase of fast food chain growth, and the lack of actual nutritional quality in said fast foods.
If you combine these two things, what do you get?
A society filled with anxious and nutritionally malnourished people looking for a quick way to bring them out of both their mental and physical anguish.
It could only make sense that they would gravitate to fad diets instead of entering a long-term dietary commitment. They can’t see past their own impulses. It isn’t about willpower. It is about people who are scared and are too malnourished to have any decent sense of foresight.
But fad diets only continues to add fuel to the societal dumpster fire of nutritional education.
Why Fad Diets Aren’t The Answer
Much like how pharmaceutical companies profit from treatments instead of cures, Fad diets do not profit from permanent solutions to the obesity problem. I mentioned before it is a billion dollar industry.
Why would they want to make a permanent lifestyle solution if it will dry up their profit margin? What gain would they get from educating the populace?
That is why I urge you, think critically before you decided to waste money on something that guarantees weight loss results.
If the program, meal kit, or authors of the weight loss industry can stand to make money from short-term results, supplement sales, or meeting fees then they are scammers. Plain and simple.
If you want a permanent weight loss solution, you need to educate yourself. Find philanthropic groups and programs that are dedicated to food education. Talk to trainers who literally went to school for nutrition. Practice skeptical and critical thinking when you hear the words “Guaranteed” “Free” and “In Only”. These fad diets and the people who make them do not have the right to profit from your hard earned money and exhaustion.