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The “Celebrity Diet” Bandwagon

Published on June 7, 2012

The recent news of yet another celebrity signing an endorsement/weight loss deal has hit the news and again leaves me worried about how fickle our society can be as it follows its “biggest (weight) losers.” You may have heard that Jessica Simpson has signed what reports are indicating is a multi-million dollar deal with Weight Watchers to promote its line of weight-loss products (meal planning, meetings and foods) after the recent birth of her first child. On the surface, the deal doesn’t seem extraordinary. We’ve seen Ms. Simpson gain and lose significant amounts of weight over the years. She’ll no doubt be able to lose it again, especially with the prospect of earning millions of dollars for doing so. But isn’t that the point? If we look at a picture of her life over the last ten years, we can call her what she is a typical “Yo-Yo Dieter.”

If you’ve followed the trend of the celebrity weight-loss endorsement deals over the last several years, you’ll notice one common factor across the board no matter who the celebrity is or which company their shilling for: Turnover is quick and frequent! We don’t typically follow them for more than a year at most. In fact, Weight Watchers began heavily promoting its last celebrity spokesperson, singer/actress Jennifer Hudson, in late 2010. Reports of Ms. Simpson’s deal with the company were already emerging as of early December 2011. I point this out not because I want to discourage anyone from getting healthy, by whatever healthy and safe means that is effective and necessary. What I hope to illustrate here is that, unlike statistical data for bariatric surgery, we don’t usually follow these celebrity diet endorsers for five years and certainly not for 10. If we did, we wouldn’t see a trend that indicates long-term weight loss success. There are plenty of examples out there of celebrities who have gained their weight back, and more after an endorsement deal has ended, the dust has settled and the cameras bright lights have moved on to shine on someone else. Yet the truth is, weight-loss companies wouldn’t spend the millions they do on these celebrity endorsers if there wasn’t a significant spike in their revenue when they do it. And that means, as a country, we’re hiding from the truth: No matter how you choose to do it or who you are, maintaining a healthy weight is a life-long commitment and motivation MUST come from within.

While we like to think that celebrities are a different “breed” than the rest of us oh what we could do with all that fame and fortune! they’re really not, at least when it comes to weight loss. Yes, they have trainers and meal planners and chefs, and they can grace the covers of magazines for their “amazing transformations” just months after beginning their weight-loss journeys, but they can, and often do, gain it all back (and then some) too. Here’s a homework assignment for you: Dig back through your memory, of a public figure who promoted a weight-loss product or program at least three years ago or more and try to find out what they weigh now. With some exceptions, the chances are great that you’ll find they’ve gained the weight back. When you find the evidence you’re in search of, pat yourself on the back for being a smart consumer. For you know the Truth. Real and lasting weight loss isn’t a year’s worth of hard work with a lifetime dividend of looking and feeling fit. It’s something else entirely. It’s hard work that requires a lifetime commitment for most everyone even celebrities.

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