The fatosphere has been abuzz for the past couple days with a proposed new FTC rule. What has us excited about the actions of the Federal Trade Commission? The fact that they are proposing new guidelines be put in place for advertisers which, if implemented, would end the days when companies could make claims of incredible efficacy for their products followed by finer than fine print admitting ‘results not typical.’ Instead, if Subway continued to pay Jared Fogle, who lost 245 pounds through a regimine of exercise and Subway sandwiches, to hawk their sandwiches, they would have to de-emphasize the amount of weight he lost and admit that all they’re really selling is sandwiches and sides.
Imagine a world in which Kirstie Alley doesn’t do a new round of Jenny Craig commercials every five to seven years, lose a huge amount of weight, and then get her contract canceled when she starts gaining it all back yet again. Imagine a world in which dieters are not made to feel like complete failures when they don’t lose as much on Nutrisystem or Weight Watchers as their favorite washed-up one-time celebrity did.
Of course, there are naysayers. There are even naysayers in the fatosphere. Even I’m willing to admit this won’t be the end of annoying weight loss system/product advertising by a very long shot. After all, Weight Watchers’ campaign about ‘Hungry’ sabotaging your diet is running constantly. The diet culture is heavily ingrained in our world and the industry is far too profitable to expect an end to advertising simply because some stricter guidelines are put in place.
On the other hand, if I never have to hear Marie Osmond or Gillian Barbieri smug about all the ugly weight they lost eating expensive, freeze-dried, unappetizing cardboard meals, I’ll be a happier person. If I don’t ever have to hear a specific number of pounds Wynona loses with the ‘help’ of Alli, I won’t cry myself to sleep.
And if these systems and products have to say what a typical loss really is…I’m betting just a few more people will figure out that it might not be worth the expense, the side effects (such as Alli’s famous ‘anal leakage’), the potential humiliation (such as the weekly weigh-ins at Weight Watchers) to lose an extra pound or two over a typical result from cutting out desserts and adding an extra hour of exercise a week to your regular routine…which may or may not lose you any weight to begin with.
Your results may vary.