At the time you read this 50% of women will be on a diet. The reasons for this are many. Some are for religious reasons, others will say for health reasons, some say for better clothing choices but the biggest reason by far is societies attitudes towards people of size.
Diets are nothing new. In ancient Rome there were special rooms where people could make themselves sick in between multi course meals. In the 1800's starving to embody the Victorian fad of frail femininity swept through the middle classes and aristocracy.
In the 1920's women started dieting for the sake of 'Beauty'. The curvy role models like The Gibson Girl were no longer the favour de jour and the ultra thin waistless figure of the flapper was seen as the ideal. These ultra slim figures were seen in advertising and cinema. Following on from this many 1920's fashions showed a lot of leg and had sleeve less tops so young women in their teens and twenties in much the same way as young women do now dieted to emulate their idols.
Diet books, reducing creams and other weight loss quackery flooded the market. Women's magazines ran articles, advice columns and weekly menu plans to give their readers advice on shedding the pounds. It was in the 1920's The Hollywood AKA The Grapefruit diet came to public consumption – this diet which is still used now says that grapefruit has fat burning properties.
We are now in 2012. The diet industry is worth 2 billion pounds a year here in the UK. And the sad fact through the decades is – DIETS DO NOT WORK. They have a 95% failure rate. Women look in magazines or view the TV and see celebrities looking ultra slim and want to follow them. Diets appear in every magazine and women take the view that if they lose weight all their problems what ever they may be will also stop. The sad part about it is until you deal with whatever demons are causing you to overeat/abuse food no diet plan will work. There are beginnings of change showing, plus size fashion shows, research into weight loss in particular the HAES (Health At Every Size) movement are SLOWLY moving things forward but it all boils down to that we need to love the skins we are in now and not hang ourselves up on unrealistic images.