Diet pop culture: Aromatrim.

Would you believe that smelling something utterly disgusting might kill your appetite for otherwise tasty food?

Me neither.

Making food unpalatable = instant willpower.

Or you could just move to a tiny apartment with three cats who share a litter box. And who have impeccable bathroom timing (i.e. mealtimes.)


Anyway, I’m working like crazy over the next week or so, but I will respond to everyone who’s contacted me very soon. Sorry for the delay.

Share your own ridiculous diet culture shit, or simply take part in the pointing-and-laughing in comments.

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  1. Posted July 24, 2009 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Ha! I just posted a link on my Twitter page a couple weeks ago to a NY Times piece on some new aromatherapy drug that’s supposed to make you thin. I get that most of our sense of taste is closely related to our sense of smell, but aromatherapy dieting still smells fishy to me.

    • Posted July 24, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, totally. Stuff like this is basically aversion therapy. Sort of like antabuse. The problem is — if people are in control over their own aversion therapy, and it’s unpleasant, then DUH…they’re just going to stop using it!

      And that’s not even mentioning the most important point which, to me, is: EATING IS NOT AN ADDICTION. And treating it as such is just wrong-headed and wildly unhealthy.

  2. Posted July 24, 2009 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    A bad smell can churn my stomach, but it’s usually an extremely temporary measure. If a piece of food smells bad to me, I’m not going to eat it, but if the bad smell goes away and the food itself smells good or neutral, I’m probably going to eat.

    For my part I can definitely say that no power on earth is going to make me force myself to smell something disgusting in order to avoid eating…and it probably wouldn’t work unless I wore the darn thing around my neck 24/7. Not to mention the way that after a while one becomes inured to unpleasant smells and can ignore them.

  3. Posted July 24, 2009 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    i honestly would have thought that infomercial was taking the piss if i hadn’t seen it on here.

    what gets me is that the message behind it — that taking sensory pleasure *shudder* in your food is the Big Bad, and something we must each combat with whatever crazy-ass technology we can possibly find, no matter how absurd.

    and come on, one of those women was tiny. what on earth would she need to diet for anyway? oh, that’s right, she wouldn’t! it’s just that she might enjoy eating from time to time and that simply can’t be allowed, now, can it? *rolls eyes*

    i resent people making money off of other people’s insecurities. our bodies’ responses are not something we should have to fear!

  4. Carolyn
    Posted July 24, 2009 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    I have this amazing diet tool called a hammer.

    Every time I want to start a diet to boost my self esteem – I give my thumb a good solid WHACK with the hammer and I miraculously stop thinking about dieting!! It’s a lengthy process but soooo worth it.

    • Posted July 26, 2009 at 4:06 am | Permalink

      OK, that’s a classic comment! i’m still laughing. nice.

  5. jaed
    Posted July 24, 2009 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Stuff like this is basically aversion therapy.

    Stuff like this is basically pro-ana! Yeesh. Let’s all try our best to get an eating disorder, shall we? Anorexia nervosa is so much healthier!

    I do purely hate this stuff, when I see clearly pathological ideas and behaviors leaking from pro-ana communities into the wider world.

  6. Posted July 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Holy crap. OK, 2 thoughts (leaving aside the overarching insanity of it, because that’s just a given):

    First off, did you notice that the way you’re supposed to use it is either to hold it under your nose WHILE YOU EAT or to take a bite and then a sniff??? I’m sorry, but I eat approximately one meal a day in the privacy of my home, and even then I’d feel like a tool holding that damn thing under my nose the whole time. Forget about using it in public.

    And second, I have this little thing called A BRAIN that likes to work in tandem with these little things called MY EYEBALLS. I can SEE that when I eat a brownie and then sniff the Aromatrim (who came up with that name, btw?) that it’s NOT THE BROWNIE that smells bad. Aversion therapy FAIL, right there.

    Ahem. Sorry about all the caps. I can’t decide if this is more ridiculous or hilarious. *Sigh*

    • Posted July 28, 2009 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      (Fixed your comment for you, Marste. Still no idea why it’s doing that.)

      • Marste
        Posted July 29, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        I know, weird, right? This is the only blog it does that on, too. *shrugs* Oh, well. :)

        • Posted July 30, 2009 at 10:40 pm | Permalink


          (okay, so it was probably me.)

  7. Posted July 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    This is interestingly, ridiculous. I would be categorized as being of the “diet culture”, but there are so many things within it, that even I, can’t defend. lol.

    • Posted July 30, 2009 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      I love diet culture, in a weird way. Well, anything that smacks of cheesiness and bullshit. I watch infomercials with true enthusiasm. My husband thinks it’s a sickness. I prefer to think of it as exquisite taste.

  8. ken ambrose
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    In our society, over-eating, meals with heavily processed foods loaded with artificial ingredients and sweeteners, and sendetary life styles are the norm, not the exception.
    This is the environment and behavioral norm that leads to obesity and a plague of RELATED health problems on all age groups. We are one of the physically sickest industrialized societies in the world-look up the stats if you don’t believe me. Check out infant mortality rates, diabetes rates, COPD rates, CANCER rates, etc. etc. etc.
    It is kind of disgusting actually that most house pets in this country get more calories (not to mention better medical care) than most children in the rest of the world.
    THAT is the real moral outrage, not the pressure on the self-inflicted disease we foist on ourselves by our poor lifestyle choices…
    Ken Ambrose

  9. Kris
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    OH. MY. GOD. My MOTHER had those when I was growing up and made me use them (because I was a little bit chubby as a child; ONOES). They didn’t smell bad at all, they just changed the taste of the food in your mouth, and that itself was off-putting.

    Being able to look back on it now, it’s absolutely ridiculous; let’s shame people for eating! No, no, never enjoy brownies, cookies, or french fries! Deprive yourself of foods you enjoy so you can be ~skinny~.

    That makes me want to be sick.

    • Posted December 11, 2009 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, in the commercial they kept saying it had an “herbal” scent or something. Which probably makes the whole thing slightly less off-putting. I just really, really like the idea of marketing a weight-loss aid in the form of fake rubber dogshit that smells like…real dogshit…and making people sniff it before eating.

      Now THAT would make for a good commercial.

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