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Once more, I wonder: what is left in those boxes, cans, and jars? Why am I paying $1.19 per ounce for something that really isn't anything?
Then I started to figure it out (sometimes I'm a little slow). The food hadn't really changed at all, just packaging. Food labels are like those ubiquitous Internet sales letters. They trumpet headlines that catch our interest because they are in synch with our desires and goals. Is that accidental? Of course not. Highly paid copywriters choose their headlines with great care, buying into national "obsession o' day", floating on coattails of latest fad.
Many of us are so desperate to control our weight that we buy into promises like unaware followers we are: bleating sheep heading for a precipice with no thought of questioning our leaders or striking out in a different direction.
The unspoken secret is that label doesn't matter. If we want to lose weight, we don't eat pasta sauce, potato chips, candy bars, or ice cream. Period. No matter what package says. Deep in our psyche, we know what we can eat (very little) and what we can't (a whole bunch). Allowing ourselves to be misled is only a fashionably acceptable way to fool ourselves, and we know it. We buy into hype because we want, so badly, to believe. We want to think that we are doing right thing, that we're really trying, that our motivation is pure.
Our weaknesses are being exploited by packagers and super store con men. Our ambivalence, and overwhelming need to avoid very real discomfort of effective dieting, invests misguidance of food labels with an illusion of truth.
Like our dimwitted ovine cousins, we, too, are eventually fleeced.
Virginia Bola is a licensed psychologist and an admitted diet fanatic. She specializes in therapeutic reframing and the effects of attitudes and motivation on individual goals. The author of The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a free ezine, The Worker's Edge, she is currently working on a psychologically-based weight control book: Diet with an Attitude. She can be reached at http://dietwithanattitude.blogspot.com