Yo-Yo Dieting Isn’t A Career

I have no idea how much my own weight has fluctuated in the past couple of years, but I can tell you all about Kirstie Alley’s rides on the bathroom scale. And Melissa Joan Hart’s. And Britney’s and Kelly Clarkson’s and…well, you get the idea. A girl can’t grocery shop without 42-point font headlines screaming about another celeb’s double digit weight loss.

The problem isn’t just opportunistic tabloid editors making a quick buck. As Times’ Sunday Styles section pointed out, the “Ass Size Ad Nauseum” problem is not so simple. No, some celebs are more than happy to tell us all about their jiggly parts.

“Some celebrities, like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Tyra Banks, Kim Kardashian, Jessica Simpson and Kelly Clarkson, respond to the tabloid finger-pointing with shoulder shrugs or defiance. But others take part eagerly. Their weight sagas inevitably include self-abasement as a springboard to their new selves.”

I’m so over celebs like Kirstie Alley exploiting their weight gains and losses in magazines and on TV, conveniently putting a little oomph in there careers. Any savvy handler knows how to spin the entire story arc—the weight gain, the shameful fall from grace, the weight loss, the redemption. Instant magazine cover, plus an article inside about all the groundbreaking things that celeb did to lose the pounds! You know, like eating less and exercising more. Groundbreaking!

Regular women, of course, don’t profit from book deals (like Kirstie’s How To Lose Your Ass And Reclaim Your Life) or TV shows (like “Fat Actress”). Maybe yo-yo dieting is profitable for a handful of celebrity women, but it’s relentless negativity for us real women: “

“These celebrity stories can even be counterproductive: health experts say that many famous dieters flaunt weight-loss goals that are unrealistic for most obese women.”

One woman, a 31-year-old doctoral candidate in theology at Notre Dame, told the Times, “It’s easy to lapse into ‘Oh, my body’s ugly,’ and ‘What’s the use?’ [Alley] triggers all those messages for me.” Anyone who says women should just tune all this out doesn’t realize its everywhere and we’re only human—we’re open to the power of persuasion.

Kirstie said she is “disgusting” because she re-gained over 75 lbs. But us ladies can scarcely avoid Kirstie and other actresses smack-talking their own bodies when they’re “fat” and praising themselves when they’re posing in a bikini. Those messages are telling women all over the country that that their bodies are gross too. And that, Kirstie Alley, is the real reason why you’re disgusting. [NYTimes]