During the Christmas period, the media bombarded us with new and exciting recipes to spice up our Christmas meals. However, now the Christmas period is over, we are overwhelmed by new diets to lose weight. Whole TV programmes have been devoted to healthy eating and weight loss.

These diets are formed to advertise expensive foods so we feel the need to buy these products. Sometimes this isn’t necessary. These articles and programmes about weight loss can have a negative effect on people. They can make someone feel self-conscious about their weight and guilty about the food they have consumed over the holidays. This could lead to people cutting down their food consumption to unhealthy levels and develop an eating disorder. The media has completely juxtaposed their ideas on food, it has gone from encouraging eating and gorging yourself to the complete opposite: dieting, weight loss plans, and ‘superfoods’.

The media has a huge effect on eating disorders. It shows us unrealistic body image ideals. Because of this, eating disorders are continuously on the rise. People are obsessed with their body image and if it fits the unrealistic standards of social media.

Many people use pills such as fat binders. These are often scams and do not really work. Most of the certified ones are said to be harmless if used properly. However, some people buy them off the internet, these could be fakes and very dangerous. There are several cases of people dying due to these diet pills. They are believed to contain a very dangerous industrial strength chemical called dinitrophenol (DNP). DNP was used in many diet pills from 1930 to 1938. It increases the body’s temperature to as high as 44 °C. Just before death. This causes hyperthermia. These dangerous side effects caused lead to the chemical being banned.

Many people are putting their lives at risk just to loose some weight to meet the modern standards of beauty created by the media.

The Christmas period is all about fun and celebration, it shouldn’t be shamed by magazines and newspapers almost criticising people for eating and making it almost seem like a crime.

Celebrities come out with ways to lose weight quickly, it is all to make money.

Imagine the drop in mental health issues like depression and anorexia if the media concentrated on more important things than body image and weight loss. We get influenced by the media every day. The mannequins in shop windows showing ‘the perfect body shape’, posters and billboards almost shoving beauty standards in our faces and adverts showing were to ‘improve’ and reshape your body so it meets the standards the media sets for us. If the media created a body image that is actually possible to achieve and that is actually sowing a healthy weight so people can feel comfortable in their own skin and not have to put their health at risk. The medias changes in attitude also show that everything they say can make money in some sort of way, whether it is advertising a product, including a celebrity opinion or simply just getting people to buy their products. Companies can make large amounts of money from simply creating the idea that people have to look a certain way to be accepted.

“Diets after Christmas are just a marketing campaign for shops and businesses to make huge profits because people believe they need to lose weight due to the constant pressure from social media to look good. January is just the excuse to make more of advertisement campaigns which force people into buying fitness and health products.” - Charlotte Henley-Castleden, Farringtons school.

Alice Watson Farringtons School