New Year, New You – the ultimate guilt trip

I got an email today with the following subject line:

‘Change your relationship with food away from ‘it’s complicated’…‏ 

I work in marketing and I know about effective subject lines, and this one pissed me off royally. I have a great relationship with food, thank you very much, we get on just fine. 

Inside the email were 20 heavily discounted products and services to help us ‘lose weight’, ‘blast fat’, or ‘beat the bulge this New Year’ – basically a barrage of stuff to make us feel guilty for our Christmas indulgences, undo our wrongdoings and suck us into the whole New Year, New You bullshit.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for new beginnings and setting goals at New Year, but I don’t agree with the way we are constantly bombarded with airbrushed, unrealistic perfection and made to feel like crap if we don’t have the ultimate ‘bikini body’.

protein shake supplement diet shake
Skinny Diva Diet Shake. Er… no thanks. 

This one email had everything for the self-loathing, post-Christmas guilt tripper – protein muffins and 5:2 diet books; weekly meal subscriptions;  slimming patches, food hypnosis sessions, juice detoxes and about 101 different types of meal supplement or replacement shake with the word ‘skinny’ in the product name.

Almost half of the products used those irritating, ubiquitous stock photos that plague our media at this time of year – the perfectly-slim waistline with a tape measure wrapped around – a symbol of the relentless quest for the ‘perfect body’ that so many of us have strived to attain since we first found our body-insecurities as adolescents.

New Year New You slimming patches lose weight fast
I tried slimming patches years ago – bought them in secret (and no, they didn’t work)

The healthy way

The problem is, until you eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly (i.e. find something you LOVE doing not just something you feel like you HAVE to do like hit the gym for hours on end in January), you’ll never change your lifestyle or body shape – not for the long term, anyway.

It took me a long time to find joy in exercise – I quit smoking and joined Weight Watchers first and lost nearly two stone, and once the weight started to drop off I got into bootcamp and then started running.

I quit Weight Watchers after it stopped working for me and saw a Brighton nutritionist and that was my turning point. I’m by no means totally happy with my fitness or body image; I still love a good binge and know I’ve got so much more to learn in terms of running and nutrition/fuelling – but it’s a journey, and a lifelong one that I’m never turning back on.

I’m not going back to the sofa-dwelling*, fag-sucking lazy arse that I used to be – but that’s because I’ve changed my life the right way, the healthy way – not by being hypnotised into stopping eating, detoxing or sticking slimming patches on in the hope that I’ll be a size six by next week.

A word of advice, folks – if you get an email like this, do yourself a favour and scan it for cool exercise class deals and then stick it in the trash. No amount of chemically-produced self-adhesive slimming patches or magic meal replacement capsules are gonna make you change your lifestyle.

That takes something called dedication, perseverance and desire to change. It’ll take a bloody long time and it won’t be easy, but the only person who can do it is YOU.

Now go make it happen!

Apologies to anyone who has found longterm success with any of the products in this email – 

I’m keen to hear your story if you have! 

* A fair amount of sofa-dwelling still goes on I can assure you. 


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