I keep on looking at the fitness-related commercials, and I pay close attention to the “before” and “after” shots. Those are usually the most telling in regards to who they’re trying to target as well as what they want their target market to believe their product can create.
For example – the “before” and “after” shots for “a successful nutrition program that you have to purchase over the phone” might look like “a frumpy middle-aged woman” as the before, and a bikini competition model as the after. Like, it’s clearly a body that I can personally see came from extremely hard work. Do they really expect me to believe that all those muscles came from “a properly balanced diet” that, more often than not, consists of extremely processed foods? Please.
Or… let’s talk about the time frames on those photos. “I lost 20lbs in 6 weeks!” which, to me, more often looks like “I lost 50lbs on The Photoshop Diet!” because those photos were a product of some very creative airbrushing, not very hard work. And sure, they’ll have the disclaimer of “Results were a product of proper exercise and nutrition… plus our product!” Well, get outta town. Really?! I wouldn’t have guessed.
…and about those disclaimers. Regardless of whether or not they say “results may vary” or “results created with proper exercise and diet” or even “results are a product of fat-sucking aliens and drinking cyanide,” it doesn’t ever matter.. does it? All we see is “OMG LOOK AT WHAT SHE DID AND SHE USED THIS PRODUCT? OMG MUST HAVE!”
My questions, really, are about how we perceive the marketing meant to show us what “successful weight loss” looks like. I have my theories, but I’m much more interested in what you have to say. Is a successful weight loss story a matter of “appearance?” Does a success story have a certain look? Is it a mental thing that can’t be seen (and if so, why is that never in the marketing?) Is there a time frame applied – as in, they have to have kept the weight off for x amount of days/weeks/months/years – before we can consider someone a success story? Do we only consider it a success story if they achieved the weight loss through certain means (or rather, do we adequately consider how they might’ve truly lost the weight?)
P.S.: I’m talking about the success stories that we see on TV – commercials, infomercials, and even weight loss TV shows. Not blogs or bloggers – that means not me, either! 🙂