Now I remember why I don’t watch TV

Tonight, on the National Geographic TV channel, there’s a special I want to see.  It’s about a cave in Mexico where the largest crystals in the world have been found.  (http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/giant-crystal-cave-3569/Overview/00#tab-Overview)  The crystals are so large, they dwarf the researchers that are walking on them.

Anyway, I have the TV on early (because otherwise I’ll forget to turn it on), and even though it’s on the National Geographic channel, I’ve already had to sit through 3 different “diet” commercials.  One showed a mother and son making a chocolate cake.  Just as the mother is getting ready to take a swipe of cake batter from the emptied bowl, they freeze frame and tell you how the new Special K chocolately cereal is so much better for you!  Of course, the commercial tells all about the supposed health benefits of staying at a “healthy” weight (because it has nothing to do with what fat people look like, honest — they just want us to be HEALTHY).

Three commercials in a half hour.

Now, none of those commercials are going to have me running to the store to buy Special K cereal (chocolately flavor or not), or to the phone to call Jenny Craig and get on their weight loss plan.  But that’s not the point.

The point is, I’m watching a channel that has to do with science, exploration, and history.  What do diet commercials have to do with any of the programming?  I mean, I would expect to see commercials for diets, diet aids and what have you on a station like WE.  After all, with shows geared to humiliate and bully normal weight individuals (read women, because none of the shows have any men in them) into losing weight six weeks before their weddings, you kind of expect to see a LOT of commercials for diets.  At least I do. 

But the National Geographic Channel?  Not so much.

Now I remember why I don’t watch TV very often.

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13 Responses

  1. I’m a calorie counter myself but I have to say;
    What is the point running diet commercials on a kid’s channel right in the middle of the shows they’re watching?!

    I mean, it’s nick jr., for crying out loud! What 2 or 4 year old needs to know about this?

    If they think the parents are watching, yeah right, we’re busy cleaning our homes, our elderly parent’s homes, preparing healthy meals, etc.

    Actually, I have been wanting to write to nickelodeon to tell them how these commercials in th middle of the day in between my kid’s programming (limited, though I don’t plop them in front of it all day, even if I did, they wouldn’t stay there) is completely unnecessary!!!

    I mean, I’m trying to keep my diet stuff mostly to myself and not let them hear much of it as it is! Do you know how I could do this?
    Thanks!

  2. […] Original post by A Day in the (Fat) Life […]

  3. I haven’t had cable in five years and I don’t miss it at all for exactly that reason. I also havent’ owned a scale in that long. ^__^ I really think both things have helped me accept myself a lot better.

  4. ME:
    As far as I’m concerned, there’s no call to be showing weight loss commercials on children’s stations. Nick, Jr. Cartoon Network. Neither of them should be airing weight loss commercials. But then, my personal opinion is that no network should be airing weight loss commercials.

    It’s going to be a long time, if ever, before I’ll see that last.

    As far as the trying to keep your diet stuff mostly to yourself and not let it affect your children? I’m afraid I’m not going to be much help to you, as I’m pretty much anti-diet. My suggestion would be to just stop dieting, and start working on accepting and loving you for who you are.

  5. Jen:

    There is a scale in my house. It belongs to my mother-in-law. I’ve not stepped on it in a year.

    I know that has helped a LOT in me accepting myself. Also, getting clothes that fit, and doing my best to not care what the number is on the tag. I’ve got jeans that are size 18, 20, 22, and 24 in my closet, and ALL FIT ME. That’s just absurd! When I figured out that the number doesn’t mean anything to the manufacturers, it helped me to realize that it really shouldn’t mean anything to me either.

  6. I’m with you on the annoyance over diet ads. As much as I think that body hatred and weight obsession are and have been about looks and women, it’s spreading. Although I’m female, I watch a LOT of sports on TV and they’re now full of diet ads geared towards men.

    It’s annoying and it’s everywhere. On bad days it drives me nuts, but on good days I can remember how much happier I am for making the decision that I am one of the apparently few people not looking to lose weight. (and am ESPECIALLY not interested in spending money to maybe possibly help me do so)

  7. The pervasiveness of diet ads really is annoying/disturbing. I tend to record things and then fast-forward through the commercials, but every once in a while I’ll watch something in regular time and find myself getting angry. I think my favorites are the ones claiming that oatmeal or Cheerios is going to lower you cholesterol–as if that was the only factor.

  8. @ME: Good for you for not wanting to get your kid sucked into the diet mentality. I’d avoid talking about dieting or not being “allowed’ to eat something. And focus on doing the “healthy” stuff for the right reasons. Hey, let’s go rake a big pile of leaves and jump in them, or take a bike ride, or play tag, not because “Mommy needs exercise,” but for fun.

    It’s probably also good to phrase any “limits” you put on yourself or him in terms other than weight-loss. “You can have one piece of Halloween candy, because if you eat the whole bag, you won’t want dinner” is different from “Halloween candy is fattening, don’t eat more than one piece.”

  9. The Nutri-System ads are the worst in my opinion, along with the commercials for the lap band/Realize band (the reasons they give for WLS are stupid and has nothing to do with actual physical health, but that’s another topic).

    The women they feature on there look great after the weight-loss, but they also looked great before, and most of them are in-betweenies, not size 20 and up like me. Plus, they also give off this attitude that if you’re a size 10 and up, you can’t do anything but wait for someone to get you off the couch or out of bed. And they show those ads on just about every channel.

  10. It actually is a targeted marketing tecnique, though a bit more subtle than the “advertise toys on cartoon network/advertise home appliances on foodtv”

    Think of the kind of person who would rather be watching a documentary on crystals than sunday night football.

    NatGeo’s advertisers know its demographic:

    Educated, nerdy, maybe a bit socially awkward, with expendable income (that channel runs on the fancy cable package where I’m from).

    All of those things combined create the perfect person to sell fitness products to! Regardless of thier weight. I bet there were more than a few Bowflex spots in there too, aimed specifically at the 22 year old geology MA student who has never had a date.

    This is how advertising works. You show your potential buyer a simple fix for a complicated problem or showing them what they didn’t know they needed.

    It is not good or bad. That’s just how it works. If one complains about an industry’s tactics it will not stop them from selling their lucrative products, it will just change their sales pitch. Look at Jenny Craig with Queen LaTifa and “size positive” or Weight Watchers with its “Diets Don’t Work” campaign. Those ads are aimed directly at us, The Self-Actualized-Thinking-Fat, when we have our moments of weakness. As far as these companies are concerned, these sorts of straight forward “you will not be a size 2 and we don’t offer gimmicks” plans are exactly what we’re asking for. It is our responsibility, as consumers, to make our own educated desicions and spend our money on nutricious food and enojyable activities. And that goes for everyone.

  11. As far as adverts on kids networks, those are aimed at the moms who are feeling like they’ve let themselves go after quitting work to devote themselves to home and family.

    Same thing with the tampon adds that are coming 5-10 years too early for most of the target audience.

    It’s a pretty smart technique actually, since daytime advertising costs are usually less than prime-time ones.

  12. Keeks:
    I can’t attest to the normal programming for NatGeo, but during the time I watched (aproximately an hour and a half) there weren’t any advertisements for exercise equipment. I wouldn’t be as befuddled about the inclusion of those commercials as I am of diet commercials.

    At least the special on the Crystal Cave didn’t have any diet commercials at all.

    “It is our responsibility, as consumers, to make our own educated desicions and spend our money on nutricious food and enojyable activities.”

    Yes, it is. But too much today, advertising and media glamorize the ultra skinny to the point where a US size 10 is considered fatty mc fatterdon. Our aesthetics and ideas of what looks like a “healthy” weight is being skewed by anorexic-looking stars who are being pushed at us as the “average” look of beauty. Not the exotic or once in a lifetime beauty, but average. You know, like you or I should be able to obtain, if we ust punished ourselves for the rest of our lives. Almost unobtainable BMI’s (of 18.5 or less) -for the real average people – are what’s being pushed at us as being normal.

    And when we “Self-Actualized-Thinking-Fat” try to rebel and say “Um, no” we get commercials from Queen Latifa telling us that it’s for our health. We have Weight Watchers trying to tell us it’s not a diet (which is a lie). Even though there has never been even one study that has proven without a doubt that being skinny will keep diseases like heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer etc away, it’s “for out health.” The fact is there can never be a study that shows unequivicably prooves skinny=disease free, because skinny/normal people get all these diseases and die from heart attacks and strokes every day.

    We basically have the advertising firms telling us white is black.

    So yes, I object to seeing weight loss commercials on a science/health/discovery/travel channel. I actually object to seeing weight loss commercials on ANY channel, but especially science/health/discovery/travel oriented channels.

    Smart techniques? Maybe not if enough people band together and refuse to buy the product.

  13. Bree: “Plus, they also give off this attitude that if you’re a size 10 and up, you can’t do anything but wait for someone to get you off the couch or out of bed. ”

    Exactly. I’m MUCH bigger than a size 10 (being between an 18 and 24, depending on the brand, but that’s a different blog entry), and I’m not waiting for anything. This past week I’ve walked over 5 miles, played lazer tag with the husband and step-daughter, and done all the normal things a healthy, active individual does. There’s too much life to live to be stuck on the couch or in bed waiting for life to find me.

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