Yeah, But Are You Really On A Diet?

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016_IP_R29_0023-2_IngallsPhotoPhotographed by Ingalls Photo.
In the twilight of your New Year's Day hangover, you committed to a diet. And, ever since January 2, it's been all juice for breakfast and cardio sessions at the gym, right? Because according to a new report from market research firm NPD Group, we're all kind of lying about our New Year's diets. NPD's research indicates that one-fifth of people claim to have been on a diet at some point in 2012. But, that's down from more than 30% of people in 1991. So, what changed?

Maybe we're all just more accepting of how our bodies look. In 2012, the NPD says 23% of people found overweight bodies much less attractive than "normal-weight" bodies — down from 55% in 1985. Or, maybe we're all just hiding our crazy diets, for fear that we'll be judged. Recall Marisa Meltzer's essay in which she explored the problem with dieting and feminism. Slate's Katy Waldman echoes Meltzer's sentiments about the complexities of women and weight loss: "In this age of health, purity and clean living, no one wants to admit to something as outré as a diet. We are all effortless Gwyneth Paltrows, not hapless Bridget Joneses! We follow our active, juice-loving instincts, and our bodies naturally conform to the radiant well-being of our souls." Dieting, then, is considered a sign of weakness. So, even though 60% of Americans claim they want to slim down (according NPD), they're not actually all hitting the gym.

Maybe this latest statistic is a combination of feeling embarrassed about dieting and a growing acceptance with the way our bodies look. But, what we know for sure is that the culture of dieting is changing. (Slate)