At certain times of the year (post-Christmas mainly, but also on the run up to that expected warm weather time of the summer) we find ourselves bombarded with adverts for diet groups all hinting at the need for that perfect body. Many of these are spearheaded by 'celebrities' (and I use that term loosely) who have had 'amazing results' from using this particular method of dieting or have 'found their sparkle again', which they may well have done but they have also been paid a huge wad of money to front these campaigns.
If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen a couple of ranty updates (What? Hush now...) over the past few days...
I have a lot of respect for Weight Watchers and other dieting organisations such as Slimming World because they encourage well-being and slow, controlled weightloss. Nothing faddy. However, the lovely (and I do like her) Patsy Kensit apparently 'ballooned' in weight but managed to lose 14lb in three months using the WW method. 1lb a week? That's a bit slow, surely? Unless you don't actually have any real weight to lose?
I started a conversation about this via
my usual extended ranting outlet a Facebook status update. You can read it as I've made it public but I'd also like to highlight some of the responses from the conversation. Liz mentions that, in her experience, online mentions of Weight Watchers are 95% negative at the moment and Kelly suggests that if there were more 'normal' sized people on television Patsy wouldn't be as appealing to the WW marketing team. Sonya feels demoralised because she has already lost 21lb on the WW diet, has another 7lb to go to reach her goal weight but her goal weight is half a stone more than the weight Patsy 'ballooned' to!
Over on Twitter, during my original rant, one (anon) tweet that was sent to me confirmed that under normal circumstances, Patsy wouldn't be allowed to 'join' WW because she will have had a normal BMI. Sian suggested that Patsy had may have been chosen because we see her as 'one of the girls' but that idea had backfired.
It's really interesting that everyone who responded to me was keen to point out the failings of this campaign. Normally when I have an outspoken opinion the conversation is very two-sided with viewpoints on both sides of the fence.
Wanting to live (and eat) healthily is always at the forefront of my mind. I'm not good at dieting and yearn for the days when I could eat and drink merrily and not have to worry about shapeshifting. But I'm older, have had a few medical issues and my metabolism isn't what it used to be. I find it a chore to go to the gym mixed in with waves of enthusiasm. But it's a choice.
I'm tired of celebrity DVDs that turn fairly normal-looking fames into lollipop heads (it's always women... never men). Yes, the weight loss is apparent but they have been filming non-stop with a personal trainer for the purpose of the DVD, not prancing around a living room, gingerly bouncing around an excited puppy and twatting a knee on the corner of the coffee table, whilst worrying about a loose floorboard, the ornaments on the shelf and what the neighbours can actually see through the window.
Weight gain and loss - and being happy with your own body image - is a very personal emotion. You have to be happy with your own shape and size and fuck what anyone else thinks. In the past I have blogged about the Daily Mail's Sidebar of Shame contradicting itself when it comes to the 'ideal' size or shape. The post, entitled "Fat", is still one of my more popular posts over two years later. Here's how I concluded the post and my view hasn't changed one iota:
Is there a right size for women to be? And why isn't there the same obsession abut men's weight? We know that the average size of a woman has increased over recent years thanks to our style of living yet the extremes are still used as examples. We have to teach the next generation that it's OK to be YOU, but a healthy you. We need to teach our kids that there should be no pressure to conform to a particular shape or style - we'e not all the same, after all. Wouldn't that be boring?