Enforcing the idea of dieting on today’s youth is a destructive mentality


Even if you don’t follow social media influencers like the Kardashians or other celebrities on apps like Instagram and Twitter, you’ve probably encountered at least one ad for something like “Flat Tummy Tea” or other “quick fix” diet pills and laxatives. Many popular influencers post about these products in order to get paid; however, this type of weight loss culture puts extreme and unnecessary pressure on today’s younger generations.

Diets, in general, do more harm than good. This is ultimately due to the fact that they don’t take into consideration the different body types that are ever-present in society. Not only this, but they also put enormous amounts of unneeded pressure upon young girls and women to try and achieve “the perfect body.” When women like Kim Kardashian showcase their seemingly perfect figures, it’s not always possible to tell the amount of plastic surgery, waist trainers, or million-dollar personal trainers that helped them get that way. When young girls internalize the idea that this one diet or product is going to make them have the body of Kim K in a certain amount of weeks, the only ending in sight is that of unneeded disappointment and failure.

The Atkins diet, the paleo diet, and the raw food diet are only a few of the fads that continue to circulate the web, glaring into the eyes of susceptible young women and children. This culture of dieting is actually contributing to a generation of individuals who place more value on being “thin” rather than being healthy. “Healthy” is a subjective word; “healthy” looks different on everyone.

This is why it doesn’t make sense to enforce particular diets on an entire society of people. Diets, in general, are restrictive, but the idea of restricting everyone in the same way is ridiculous. I recently listened to a This American Life podcast titled “Tell Me I’m Fat,” which featured multiple stories centered around the culture of hatred surrounding fat people in today’s society and America’s especially. One of the stories–set in the 1970s at Oral Roberts University–featured their aerobic program that forced students to exercise and diet in order to gain a certain amount of points. Since the college’s ideal was that of people who remained concerned with their health and wellness, they even went as far as to create a weight limit on the students allowed to participate in and graduate from their college. For example, if someone came back from summer break two pounds overweight, they were sent home on a mission to lose it.

It may seem as though this story is obscure and would never happen today, except it does. Maybe it doesn’t happen on such a large scale as the college scandal, but the ever-pressing diet and exercise patterns forced upon children and teens is overbearing and, ultimately, discrimination. People need to learn to accept that everyone comes in all different shapes and sizes. Everyone is different, and that is okay.

Enforcing diets on people won’t create a society of perfect bodies; it will create a society of unnecessary self-hatred.