"It seems to me that it's only since around 1970 that the concept of diet and exercise has existed in the way it does now, which is based on exertion and restriction being the key to weight loss, and yet since then, we have seen an increase in obesity in countries that have adopted it. (These are also the countries where the fast-food industry boomed during that time.) The diet industry is making a lot of money selling us fad diets, nonfat foods full of chemicals, gym memberships, and pills while we lose a little of our self-esteem every time we fail another diet or neglect to use the gym membership we can barely afford." (302)
~ Portia de Rossi
It's interesting, but I've never really thought about dieting as an industry as the above except from Portia de Rossi's memoir, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, declares it to be. And, honestly, I have to say that I agree with her. There are so many different fad diets out there that claim you'll lose weight quickly, you'll be in the best shape of your life, you'll feel better than ever. What they neglect to tell the consumer is that, as soon as you stop taking their "magic" pill, you gain everything back...plus some. It really does wreak havoc with your self-esteem, your body image, and your body in general. You do feel like a complete failure. It's disheartening and disingenuous. Shame on you diet industry!
De Rossi does a great job of bringing the reader into the mind of self-denial and delusion that one suffering from anorexia and bulimia believes. Some of the "truths" are absolutely shocking. The extremes that she would go to in order to "look good" for Hollywood were heartbreaking and atrocious. To imagine you were never thin enough at 82 pounds is mind-boggling. The blame she places on her father and her mother at times, only to realize that they had no control over how she reacted to comments and judgments directed toward her, shows the reader the lack of responsibility that she felt toward her condition. I think that her foray into the modeling industry at such a young, developing age was more the culprit than anyone or anything else. To be told at the age of 12 that you have a saggy ass and need to work out has to be devastating and definitely has a negative effect on the body image of a developing teen. It's no wonder de Rossi had such horrific body image issues.
Left: A glimpse at one of her lightest points. Right: A more healthy de Rossi.
She chronicles her struggles with constant weight issues, moving from the most extreme weight loss and weight gain. She also explains the struggle she still faces every day when it comes to her weight. Yes, she's at a healthy weight for her body type and height. Yes, she's finally happy with who she is and where she is in her life. All in all, it's a beautiful journey filled with tragedy...and very few calories.