The next time I have a craving for anything I know is fattening or am tempted not to exercise, I will think about the new me, and I will be strong.
—RICHARD SIMMONS'S PROJECT ME PASSPORT VIDEO
It's the weight loss industry's ugly little secret: Diets don't work. But even if diets don't help people lose weight, they do offer a solution to another challenge of modern life: the hunger for structure and meaning.
Trouble is, it's a bad solution.
Dieting has become a way of life for millions of Americans. Diet foods, once a specialty-food category largely reserved for diabetics, have entered the mainstream. Combined sales of Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi now exceed one billion dollars per year, and reduced-calorie prepared entrees such as Lean Cuisine, Weight Watchers, and Healthy Choice have captured a large share of the frozen-entree market.