New Year, Same Plus Size Me

plus size swirl sweater
plus size swirl sweater


The diet industry and body shaming are closely connected, creating a harmful cycle that promotes impossible beauty standards and harms people’s mental and physical health. The way the diet industry uses body shaming tactics to sell products to plus size people makes these beauty standards even more pervasive, leading to a society where we constantly feel unhappy with ourselves.

Both traditional media and social media have a big part to play in this. They show us carefully selected images and messages that make us believe these beauty standards are normal. This has a huge impact on how we see ourselves and how we feel about our bodies.

In this blog post, we’re going to explore the link between the diet industry, body shaming, and unrealistic beauty standards. We’ll talk about why this connection is so damaging and what we can do to fight against it.

1. Understanding Diet Industry, Body Shaming, and Unrealistic Beauty Standards

The diet industry thrives on body shaming tactics to sell its products and services. By perpetuating the idea that individuals must conform to a certain body size or shape in order to be deemed attractive or successful, these companies create a demand for their weight-loss solutions.

The Role of Advertisements and Media in Body Shaming

  • Advertisements often feature before-and-after photos of people who have supposedly achieved significant weight loss through their programs.
  • These images are meant to evoke feelings of inadequacy and inspire plus size customers to try the same methods.
  • Traditional media outlets, such as magazines and television shows, often promote unrealistic beauty standards by showcasing predominantly thin and fit individuals as the epitome of attractiveness.

The Impact of Media on Body Image Perception

  • This constant bombardment of images can have a detrimental impact on individuals’ self-esteem and body image perception.
  • When people do not see themselves represented in the media they develop negative attitudes towards their own bodies.

The Role of Social Media in Perpetuating Body Shaming

  • Social media platforms further contribute to this cycle by providing a space where anyone can voice their opinions about others’ appearances without consequence.
  • Body shaming comments and posts are prevalent online, with influencers and everyday users alike being subjected to harsh judgment based solely on their physical appearance.
  • This normalization of body shaming behavior perpetuates the notion that it is acceptable to criticize someone’s body, adding fuel to the already toxic environment created by the diet industry.

Promoting Body Positivity and Self-Acceptance

In order to combat this destructive nexus between the diet industry, body shaming, and unrealistic beauty standards, it is essential to challenge these norms and promote body positivity. Here are some steps we can take:

  1. Encourage media outlets to represent diverse body types and celebrate individuality.
  2. Embrace all body sizes and shapes.
  3. Help individuals develop a healthier relationship with their bodies and prioritize their overall well-being over conforming to societal expectations.

Remember, you are more than your physical appearance, and true beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

The Consequences of Plus Size Body Shaming

Body shaming can have profound and long-lasting effects on individuals, therefore affecting both their mental and physical well-being. Here, we will delve into the negative emotional outcomes commonly experienced by those who have been body shamed, as well as the complex relationship between body shaming behaviors and the development of eating disorders.


Body shaming instills a deep fear within individuals about not meeting society’s standards of beauty. This fear can manifest as anxiety about social situations or a constant state of self-doubt.


Body shaming often leads individuals to blame themselves for not conforming to societal expectations. They may feel guilty about their appearance, believing that they are somehow responsible for not achieving the desired ideal. This guilt can be overwhelming and lead to a negative self-image.


The constant criticism and judgment faced by those who have been body shamed can contribute to feelings of worthlessness. Depression can further exacerbate negative body image and make it even more challenging for individuals to break free from the cycle of body shaming.


Body shaming can trigger anxiety in plus size individuals, causing them to worry about their appearance and how others perceive them. This anxiety can impact various aspects of their lives, including relationships, work, and overall quality of life.

Eating Disorders

Perhaps one of the most devastating consequences of body shaming is its link to the development of eating disorders. The constant pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards can lead individuals down a dangerous path of extreme dieting, excessive exercise, or other disordered eating behaviors in an attempt to attain the desired physique.

The relationship between body shaming and eating disorders is complex. Body shaming can contribute to the development of disordered eating patterns as individuals strive to meet societal expectations. Simultaneously, individuals with pre-existing eating disorders may experience intensified body shame as their disorder progresses.

It is crucial to recognize the devastating consequences of body shaming and its potential to impact individuals’ mental health and overall well-being. By promoting body positivity and acceptance, we can help create a society that celebrates diversity and supports everyone in their journey towards self-love and acceptance.

3. How the Diet Industry Profits from Shame and Failure

The weight-loss industry often capitalizes on plus size people’s insecurities and societal pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards. They employ deceptive tactics to promote their products and services, ultimately profiting from individuals’ struggles with body image and self-esteem.

Deceptive Practices: Manipulation of Data

One of the ways in which the diet industry achieves this is through the manipulation of data using misleading statistics. By cherry-picking data or presenting it in a biased manner, these companies create a narrative that supports their products, often preying on individuals’ desires for quick fixes and instant results.

The Truth behind ‘Success Stories’

Moreover, the weight-loss industry frequently showcases ‘success stories’ as a means of promoting their products. However, upon closer examination, these stories often reveal themselves to be short-term in nature and lacking long-term sustainability.

It’s essential to bring awareness to these practices and empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being amidst the overwhelming influence of the diet industry.

4. Unmasking the Shame Machine: A Review of ‘The Shame Machine’ by Cathy O’Neil

Cathy O’Neil’s book, ‘The Shame Machine,’ offers a compelling analysis of the weight-loss industry and its perpetuation of a culture of shame. The book delves into the insidious ways in which societal norms regarding body size and shape contribute to the stigmatization of individuals living with obesity. It also sheds light on the damaging impact of these norms on people’s self-worth and mental well-being.

O’Neil’s critical examination exposes how the weight-loss industry capitalizes on these societal norms to profit from people’s insecurities, perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards and promoting harmful diet culture. By exploring the intersections between societal expectations, obesity stigma, and the diet industry’s exploitative practices, ‘The Shame Machine’ provides valuable insights into the complexities of body shaming and its broader implications for plus size individuals and society as a whole.

Through O’Neil’s thought-provoking analysis, readers gain a deeper understanding of the systemic issues that underpin body shaming. It uncovers the intricate web of influences that sustain this destructive cycle. The book prompts readers to question established norms, thus fostering a more empathetic and inclusive approach to health and wellness.

Combating Plus Size Body Shaming

1. Highlight the importance of health professionals in creating a safe and inclusive environment for patients, free from body shaming biases.

Health professionals play a crucial role in combating body shaming by fostering a non-judgmental environment for plus size individuals seeking care. By promoting positive body image and addressing weight-related issues with sensitivity and empathy, they can empower patients to prioritize their overall well-being rather than conforming to societal beauty standards.

2. Empower individuals to cultivate media literacy skills as a means of resisting harmful beauty ideals set by the diet industry on various platforms.

Educating individuals about media literacy is essential in enabling them to challenge the unrealistic beauty standards perpetuated by the diet industry. By understanding how marketing strategies exploit insecurities, individuals can make informed choices and resist the pressure to conform.

3. Promote self-compassion practices that can help protect against the negative impact of body shaming.

Encouraging self-compassion is pivotal in helping individuals build resilience against the detrimental effects of body shaming. By fostering self-acceptance and nurturing a positive self-image, people can shield themselves from the harmful repercussions of societal judgment. Subsequentially, advocating for legal measures to address weight-based discrimination is crucial in protecting plus size individuals from prejudice and promoting equality.

4. Encourage the building of supportive communities that celebrate body diversity and promote inclusive health and wellness values.

Creating supportive communities that advocate for inclusive health and wellness values is instrumental in challenging narrow beauty standards. Therefore, by celebrating individual uniqueness these communities help to provide a nurturing space where people feel valued regardless of their appearance.

These multi-faceted approaches collectively contribute to creating a more and inclusive society that rejects body shaming and prioritizes holistic well-being.


It’s time to take a stand against society’s unrealistic beauty standards and embrace body positivity. Instead of falling into the trap of diets and quick fixes, let’s prioritize our overall well-being.

Remember, your worth is not determined by your appearance. You are worthy just as you are, regardless of your size or shape. By loving and accepting ourselves, we can create a ripple effect of change in the world around us.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this movement:

  • Embrace body positivity and reject the diet mentality to prioritize holistic well-being in the face of societal pressures.
  • Spread awareness about the damaging effects of body shaming and advocate for change at both individual and systemic levels.

Together, we can create a world where everyone feels comfortable and confident in their own skin.

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