Weight loss companies would be having a field day at the moment. Everyone is at home, gyms are closed, and people are stressed. These together would be the perfect breeding ground for negative and toxic thoughts about our bodies, and with more people scrolling through Instagram and Facebook throughout the day, weight loss ads know just how to target people.
These companies promote products that suppress appetites and help you to lose weight, but they don’t appear to promote any form of exercise. They advertise fat burning hot chocolates, detox teas, and “cleansing elixirs” to help you continue your fitness goals through a healthier lifestyle, supposedly.
They know exactly what they’re doing. But with posts that say “been trying to keep yourself from snacking nonstop?”, I see it as preying on the insecurities of people who are probably already feeling guilty about the few extra coronavirus kilos. Spoiler alert: you’re perfect the way you are and these products don’t do shit.
Honestly, this is not the time to diet- just stop! It’s not a competition for weight loss now. Eat good food that will help you mentally & physically. Nourishing food is important for all of us. I know not everyone can afford expensive produce just cook with what you have!
— Romy Gill (@romygill_) May 4, 2020
Jameela Jamil, Voice Of The People
Actress and activist, Jameela Jamil, has been calling out companies who make these products and the celebrities who endorse them for a couple of years now. She has called out the Kardashian sisters, Cardi B, Iggy Azalea for promoting these products that contribute to the unrealistic standards of beauty that are constantly advertised within public media, especially to young people.
At the end of 2019, thanks in part to Jamil’s very public call-out campaign against the promotion of these products, Instagram changed their community guidelines to only allow weight loss products to be viewed on accounts where the user is over the age of 18. This of course won’t stop the ads from circulating on the platform, however.
On 7 May, 2020, Jamil posted to her Instagram stories asking for her followers to send her ads about fasting/diet products so that she could “see who needs a bloody talking to” and report the ads to Instagram’s head office. She has also called on her followers to report the ads themselves too, saying “We can change this app together. We have ALL the power”.
View this post on Instagram
❤️ I am going to personally report all of them to Instagram headquarters ❤️ I specifically want to know about the paid adverts that pop into your stories and timelines. Not from people you follow.
Weight Loss Products Are Bullshit
Especially at a time where people are even more vulnerable to the kinds of messages that these companies advertise, we need more celebrities like Jamil to loudly and proudly call them out. Look at all of the comparative photos that people have been posting about Adele recently about her weight loss. Yes, she looks incredible, but that’s not the point.
Women’s bodies, and of course bodies in general, are a site that others believe they have the right to have an opinion over. And when weight loss companies feed into this rhetoric that women should look a certain way and prey on their insecurities, toxic behaviours slowly start to become the norm.
Young people are especially vulnerable to these kinds of toxic messages, as they are still developing and are constantly bombarded with photoshopped images of celebrities, reinforcing the unattainability of their beauty.
Also, if you think this is unnecessarily heated for no reason: I assure you, these messages and these bullshit weight loss products have a PROFOUND effect on young people (who haven’t yet realized there’s a multi billion dollar industry preying on their insecurities)
— ♡ lydia, but socially isolated ♡ (@cleveland_lydia) April 2, 2019
A few days ago, I had clicked on a Facebook sponsored ad about multi-vitamins, and then another for skin care. The ads that then followed and consumed my feed were weight loss products. They did start to get to me, but thankfully after constantly scrolling straight past them and not engaging with them, my ads went back to being about GYG $3 tacos and DessertBox donut bouquets.
Of course now that I’ve been actively searching these weight loss companies for this article, the ads have started again.
It takes more than one honest celebrity to push for the change we need to see. Of course you’re allowed to want to be healthy and look the way YOU want to look, but do it in the right way. Exercise at home, eat good food, drink lots of water and get a decent sleep at night. Don’t let these kinds of companies feed you lies. Even the celebrities that endorse them probably don’t even use their products!
The rise in “fasting apps” during lockdown is freaking me out a little. This feels like a slippery slope for eating disordered behavior. I personally don’t think fasting at home alone is medically sound, ESPECIALLY without being monitored by a healthcare professional. pic.twitter.com/rsRPppCQIf
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) May 6, 2020
Image Source: Instagram, Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamilofficial)