Permanent diets that lead to self-hatred

May 6 was International Anti-diet Day: the perfect occasion to discuss the fact that beauty ideals, especially omnipresent thinness, are hindrances to the psychological well-being of women. 

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Permanent diets that lead to self-hatred - NewsMavens
Dieting. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

In her new comedy "I Feel Pretty," Amy Schumer tries an experiment: what if she just drops dieting and accepts her appearance? How will her environment react?

In the film, things work out great, but in reality, the tactic is unlikely to bring results. Simply switching perspectives does not bring real change, says psychologist and psychotherapist Rahel Jahoda of the Vienna Therapy Center for People with Eating Disorders. There, she and her colleagues, along with a team of doctors, look after women and girls who suffer from substantial eating disorders.

Since 1992, the International Anti-Diet Day on May 6 aims to remind people that widespread obsession with perfect bodies and the billion-dollar dieting industry contribute to eating disorders. In the German-speaking world, Germany's Next Top Model has been massively criticized for sending an absurdly unhealthy message about body image.

Despite its naive treatment of the subject, there is still hope that Amy Schumer's new film will restart a much needed discussion on this reality, which has sadly fallen off the media radar in recent years.

Details from the story:

  • "An eating disorder is a serious psychiatric illness that is carried on the body," says psychologist and psychotherapist Rahel Jahoda from the Vienna Therapy Center for People with Eating Disorders.
  • The most frequent forms of disordered eating are anorexia, bulimia or binge eating. If left untreated, eating disorders can lead to chronic symptoms and even death.
  • Nevertheless, media interest in the topic has faded in recent years, and analyses of eating disorders have become rare, especially in connection with social ideals of beauty.
  • Social media advertising has increased our exposure to ads featuring unrealistic beauty standards.
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