If you haven’t yet heard, Nestle recently purchased Jenny Craig Inc. to the tune of $600 million (no, this is not a joke). What a perfect time for a post on what I call the “diet-world dichotomies.” We’re all familiar with the edible incarnations of good versus evil (carrot good, ice cream bad), on-plan versus off-plan (Monday versus weekends), and a host of other black-and-white depictions that define the diet world.
But, each extreme occurs only in relation to the other—diet Monday occurs after overeating weekend. Overeating weekend follows diet week. I’m reminded of one of main tenets espoused by Geneen Roth: “For every diet, there is an equal and opposite binge.” Call it Newton’s fourth law of (e)motion. It’s a cycle that fuels itself.
To add a psychological touch to this concept, I believe we are always acting out some part of the impulsive-compulsive spectrum. When we’re impulsive, we overeat, and when we’re compulsive, we restrict. As with most things, freedom from the struggle lies with moderation, a concept which Nestle will likely overlook.. It’s as if their marketing team will now cheer on your chocolate consumption, “More, more, more. . . oops, too much. . . go to Jenny Craig!” And, when you tire of/fail at Jenny Craig, which you inevitably will, there's a road paved with chocolate just ahead.
It’s an age-old battle:
Impulsive vs. compulsive
Id vs. superego
Jean Valjean vs. Inspector Javert
And, in its latest acquisition, Nestle has purchased the rights to the impulsive-compulsive spectrum. It has, as assets, the entire continuum of human behavior, related to food. Not bad for 600 million.