I know there are quite a few people on my flist that are on a diet. Please rest assured that this is not directed at you -- it's just that your recent posts have gotten me thinking.
I am vehemently against 'vanity' weight loss. I firmly believe that if you are trying to lose weight for ANY reason besides health, you shouldn't be doing it. Even if you are 'overweight,' you shouldn't be losing weight for the look of it.
I've read quite a few studies that show that weight is not a good measure of health. Muscle weighs more than fat, and therefore it is highly likely that an athlete would weigh a good deal more than a model of the same height, and be far healthier. Health simply cannot be measured in pounds. I personally believe that the best measure of health is how you can perform athletically -- i.e. walking a few miles without getting seriously winded. If you have plenty of energy and find it easy to walk/run/dance, then in my eyes you're healthy enough.
If you have to devote more than 45 minutes a day to exercise and/or actively restrict what you eat to 'maintain your figure' (not to mention taking diet pills or drugs!), then I think you are fighting your natural body type, and what for? If you don't get joy out of the exercise, why are you doing it? If you aren't an athlete or living in an area where you are routinely chased by lions, what's the point? I think you're just wasting life. We only get so many minutes to live, why waste them doing something you don't like and don't need to do?
I do think it's good to eat reasonably healthy and be moderately active. But you should be able to skip a day (or a few days!) of exercising every now and then, or eat a cookie if you want to.
The weightloss industry is ridiculously lucrative -- and the sad thing is, they make so much of their money off of people who are healthy enough, but still looking to lose 'those last five or ten pounds.' Wanna know why those few pounds keep coming back? Maybe because they're supposed to be there! Most women aren't supposed to have flat bellies or thin thighs or narrow hips!!! The percentage of women who have that natural body type is like 9% -- and that's only while they're in their teens and twenties. Women are supposed to have curvy bellies (even if it's just a slight curve) and wider hips and fuller thighs than teenagers. There is nothing shameful or unhealthy about any of that.
If you are wanting to lose weight for health reasons, I say more power to you. But don't try to pretend that you need to lose ten pounds 'for health' -- those few pounds aren't going to make a difference. They won't even make a difference in the way you view yourself -- because if you can't accept yourself as beautiful at ten pounds over what is supposed to be your 'ideal' weight, then you aren't going to be able to do it while fighting your body to keep it under where it wants to be.
My belief: Eat right, be active, and whatever form your body takes on, that is the form it was meant to have.