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Give Yourself The Gift of No Diets

December 25, 2011

So I found this old sign which had blown into my yard and decided to re-purpose it.

Okay no… no I didn’t. I saw it on the side of the road and decided to steal it *ahem* take it down as a protest to hate speech. But to be fair, it wasn’t just any ol’ weight loss ad; it was a weight loss ad for children. No, just… no.I’m not exactly surprised, but I am seriously disturbed by weight-loss advertisers turning their sights on children. The obesity epidemic scaremongers keep crying “but think of the children!” and the diet industry is obliging.

The parents who fall for these ads are not bad parents per se. They just want the best for their kids. They want them to be happy and healthy, and they have been fed the line that weight loss is the only way to achieve it. If you repeat a lie often enough, you start to believe it.

This is what’s happened to us in regards to diet culture: lie, rinse, repeat… and repeat and repeat and repeat until you’re making 60 billion dollars a year and everyone properly hates themselves enough to want your products. But the people hating themselves include children, not that the diet industry seems to care. It’s practically rubbing its hands together, seeing green.

So I parked down the street a couple of blocks and walked down the highway to take it down. I’m not sure if what I did constitutes vandalism, theft, or both, but I couldn’t let this slide.

Despite being an outspoken activist on many topics, this was actually quite anxiety-inducing. Not least because I’m a fat woman with bright pink hair walking away with a diet sign (currently blue, though I don’t think that makes me any less noticeable). Conspicuous much?

Even worse, while I was trying to do this without anyone noticing, I hit a wrong button on my key chain which set off my car alarm. Since I had never had my alarm go off, I wasn’t quite sure how to shut it up, so I spent way too long hitting buttons trying to turn my alarm off while drawing plenty of attention to myself.

I managed to get the sign in my trunk and drive off without being arrested and thrown in jail for life (that happens, right?). By the time I got home I decided that I would repaint the sign and put it back out. I had a hard time coming up with a phrase that was short enough to fit on the sign, but in honor of the holiday season (read: diet and body hate season) I decided on “Give the Gift of No Diets.”

I spray painted the sign black with white letters using a spray paint for plastic to ensure it would stay on properly. Then I found myself a busy intersection (at the turn to shopping centers; perfect placement for the holidays) and stuck it in!

Yes, this caused a good bit of anxiety too. Who’s looking at me? What are they thinking? Fatty with an anti-diet sign? Yeah, eat up fatty. Of course you don’t want to diet, etc., etc. I just tried not to look up, and reminded myself that those thoughts are exactly the ones that we’re trying to change.

And into the ground! Immediately I had some calls agreeing with me and some shouts of thanks! No mean or hateful comments (though I don’t know how long the sign will stay up or if someone else will decide to steal it). And better yet: I have photo and video evidence of my crime (and yes, it is indeed warm enough in NC to be wearing a T shirt).

no diets

Happy Holidays everyone! Stay away from those diet scams and make your New Years’ resolution to just love yourself even more!

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. December 25, 2011 9:19 am

    I’m from NC originally, but I live in Marietta, GA now. And here, we have huge “Public Service” (not!!) announcement billboards on the highways that show an unhappy-looking fat kid. The picture disturbs me so much that I can’t even rightly remember the text, but it’s to the general effect that she suffers from The Death Fatz and somebody should damn well be doing something about her. Worse, it’s a photograph of a child model, not some artist’s rendering. So I imagine some photographer telling a normal, healthy, happy kid to look sad or sick or whatever for the camera, and it breaks my heart. What messages are we sending that kid, and kids in general? That you’re fat, you should be miserable? And what self-justifications and permissions is that sign giving to potential school-aged bullies and grown-up fat-haters?

    So to get to my point, good for you. If you do get busted, I’ll kick in something for your defense.

    • December 25, 2011 6:29 pm

      I re-read the billboard tonight on our way to dinner. It says, “Pudgy isn’t cute if it leads to diabetes type 2.” And not only is the girl in the photo looking miserable, she doesn’t even look clean, well-groomed, or nicely dressed. Get the message?!?

  2. December 25, 2011 9:27 am

    This is the worst damn holiday ever and I’m having trouble even tolerating myself, let alone loving myself. I won’t go into the ugly details. I just want to say I’m glad you did it. That was very brave. Also that you look beautiful in the picture holding the sign.
    Happy holidays.

  3. December 25, 2011 9:48 am

    This is my favorite “roadside sign” ever. I hope I see it on my way to work this week. It would bring me great joy.

  4. December 25, 2011 10:10 am

    How ironic that when I saw your shirt I immediately thought of the song Revolution. Nice sign!

  5. Fab@54 permalink
    December 26, 2011 11:44 am

    Love it!! And I love your hair too… although I do prefer that beautiful blue to the bright pink.

    Let us know how long that sign stays up!

  6. December 27, 2011 9:24 am

    Love love love. Sharing this widely.

  7. Bronwen permalink
    December 27, 2011 11:35 am

    This is AWESOME! I hope it will stay up for a while.

  8. December 27, 2011 4:14 pm

    Rock ON! Thank you for doing this and please keep us posted as to how long it stays up!

  9. December 29, 2011 10:36 am

    I’m definitely going to do this the next time I see a sign advertising weight loss. This is so fucking awesome. Thank you for doing this and for sharing it with us. And definitely keep us posted on how long it stays up. You’re the best, Heather!

    Peace,
    Shannon

  10. December 29, 2011 5:21 pm

    Hey everyone! So glad you all liked the post and I would *love* to see more signs “re purposed” this way 😉

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