Breaking Bad Ads

Anyone see this gem of a Superbowl commercial?

It’s titled, “All You Can Eat,” and yes, that’s the voice of Aaron Paul, of Breaking Bad fame.

Any thoughts?

Here are mine. Food is not a drug. It’s something we need to survive. Can people develop unhealthy relationships to food, behaviors that mimic addiction? Yes. But, this commercial doesn’t focus on that process or how to heal it. What it does do is villainize food – condemning items that are glazed, fried, baked, iced, etc. The images are presented at a frenetic pace, with food portrayed as harmful and repugnant as the blue product Paul’s character helped produce.

The ad ends, “No one’s telling you what to do. You can stop whenever you want. Well, sort of. . . you got to eat, right?” Yes, you do have to eat, and this is one of the main reason that abstinence models of addiction don’t work with food. Cut out those foods that you’re craving? Often, those will become your binge foods. Check out the diet-binge cycle or have a conversation with someone in recovery from an eating disorder to find out more.

The finale presents the words, “It’s time to take back control.” But to me, control doesn’t come in the form of a diet (even a diet that doesn’t call itself a diet). Control comes from returning to your innate ability to self-regulate intake and to use food for nourishment (and pleasure) in healthy ways. The ad’s tagline? “Weight Watchers: Help with the hardest part.” I disagree. In the struggle to heal your relationship with food, getting involved with Weight Watchers, endorsing the diet mentality, and demonizing food items is likely to make the process that much harder.

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