How General Mills Is Shedding Light On 'Dietainment' In A Good Way

by Stefani Pappas
"Are you ready for bikini season?" "Celebrity secrets to a hot body." "Get skinny in just one week." "Ten miracle foods that really work." "In every situation, somebody will judge you on the way you look."

These are all phrases from General Mills latest ad campaign, which features young girls reading common diet messages in the media.

The company coined the phrase "dietainment," which is "unhealthy diet messages disguised as entertainment."

This campaign and petition comes as an addition to the "World Without Dieting" movement, launched in 2013 to help replace the word "dieting" with other phrases, such as "healthy, strong, nourished and amazing."

We have seen this recently from other major companies and celebrities, and Lauren Conrad also eliminated all body-shaming phrases from her personal website.

Why is this of concern? Why should we care?

Nearly 1 in 3 girls have dieted.

What many of us don't realize is these dietainment messages are a huge part of our everyday lives. On our way to work, we see countless newsstands with magazines splattered with common dietainment phrases: "Get thin quick!" "Drop 10 pounds in one week!" "Secrets to a skinny bikini body."

It's just become routine for us to dismiss them, rendering them harmless.

But, think about the younger generation witnessing these dietainment phrases. Think about the young girls and boys who are idealizing this unattainable standard.

Some of us may think dieting is harmless, and we consider it a typical course of action most take to combat the growing obesity epidemic.

However, dieting can cause much more harm than good, and most of this stems from the low self-esteem and body-image issues related to dieting.

According to a survey done by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 75 percent of American women "endorse some unhealthy thoughts, feelings or behaviors related to food or their bodies."

Maybe dieting has always been a reflection of a lack of confidence in our bodies and our relationships with food.

But, how did the idea of leading a healthy lifestyle turn into restricting ourselves out of low self-esteem?

Why are we only concerned with our outer appearance? Is this what we should be teaching future generations?

Dieting is linked to these feelings of low self-esteem, but what can potentially happen to pathological dieters?

Thirty-five percent of normal dieters progress to pathological dieting, and up to 25 percent will develop partial- or full-syndrome eating disorders.

What does this diet obsession leave us with? Horrible feelings about our bodies that lead to even more self-harming actions.

Although eating disorders are definitely centered on food, they are predominately psychiatric disorders. Negative thoughts about food and our bodies lead to these diseases.

Forty percent of newly identified cases of anorexia are found in women aged 15-19. Young girls are prone to these diseases because of dietainment.

Moreover, there has been a rise in incidences of anorexia in young women of every decade since 1930. Anorexia is one of the most dangerous psychiatric disorders, and it has a sixfold increased risk for death, mostly due to major depression.

Females aged 15-24 with anorexia nervosa have a mortality rate 12 times higher than the death rate of from all other causes of death.

This is a scary fact, yet it is the reality of eating disorders. Pathological dieting can lead to the development of eating disorders, which leads to this increase in mortality rate.

Dietainment is to blame for this progression.

We should be focusing on living well, eating nourishing foods, staying physically active and taking time to do things that make us happy.

Dieting, restricting and shaming our bodies is not the answer, and it certainly is not something we should be preaching to future generations.

General Mills has a goal of reaching 10,000 signatures on its petition to help end dietainment for the next generation.

Sign the petition here to help stop this dietainment-led industry.