The Atlantic

The Dangers of the Appearance-Driven Diet

A new study found that when people focus on looks, they're less tuned in to the body's signals of hunger and fullness.
Source: Andy Wong / AP

Growing up I was terrified of being fat. My mother made disparaging remarks about girls on TV who were slightly chubby  and the teen magazines I read were endlessly obsessed with losing weight. On the eve of my first year in college, I learned of the Freshman 15 in one of those teen magazines—the apparent inevitability that every freshman would gain 15 pounds in their first year in college. I was even more horrified when I arrived at school and found myself facing an endless buffet of desserts and cheese-filled entrees. I suddenly had to rely on my own self-control to stop myself from eating ice cream for breakfast. I didn’t trust myself. I never had.

That’s when I turned to the world

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