I’ve just finished a 30 -minute YouTube workout in my bedroom. My face is its usual shade of post-workout mahagony and I’m feeling grateful that my window isn’t overlooked. Hauling myself into a downward dog in knickers, trainers and half-rolled up Karrimor t-shirt isn’t my best look.
I’m also on day 5 of Paul McKenna’s hypnotic weight-loss app plan, teamed with his book ‘I can make you thin’. Having to disguise his beaky-faced book cover and hope the size 16 Arial isn’t as easily readable on the tube as I think it is bad enough. But I’m also working through feeling guilty if I chew my food less than 20 times (muesli is MUSH, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE!!!) or because I accidentally didn’t leave any of the delicious pasta I made for dinner on my plate like a reformed character.
This is the latest in what I jokingly call my ‘weight-loss fads’ to friends and colleagues. Though Paul disagrees – he (and many of his formerly fat and disturbingly convincing Amazon reviewers) says it’s a total change in your attitude to food. We’ll see how I’m getting on after 21 days of falling asleep to Paul’s hypnotic trance – spoken in tones not dissimilar to The Fast Show’s Swiss Tony. I half expect him to kick off with ‘losing weight is a bit like making love to a beautiful woman’. But alas, I remain disappointed.
Other fads have included Weight Watchers and 5:2. Weight Watchers worked fairly well until I started saving up my dinner allowance to have a red wine and a Mars bar. 5:2, on the other hands, was the source of the only two times I’ve snapped at my boyfriend in the year since we got together for blindingly trivial mishaps – hell hath no fury like a woman hungry.
I call them fads because I inevitably write them off fairly soon after I start. My interest wanes, a social life gets in the way, and the level of planning and organisation required takes time away from, well, hanging out with my boyfriend, eating dinner with friends, or….not writing lists, doing a ‘big shop’, or being generally on top of my life.
I also think part of the reason I’ve drifted away from what I thought was reasonably healthy living is because trying to eat well and going for a couple of runs a week just doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. If you’re even slightly active on social media, I know that you know what I’m talking about.
Clean, fit Healthy living is everywhere. And it’s intimidating.
Fit and powerful is the new thin. Sports bras are the new Victoria’s Secret. It’s £80 running tights and Nike Fuel Bands. It’s marathons and track sessions and triathlons and cycling to Paris with sunburnt-zebra-skinheads who shave off all their body hair.
My old pal and destroyer of all muscles, Jillian Michaels, seems old hat, now. I’ve heard about something called ‘Insanity’. Which looks like the kind of thing that came on the late-night shopping channels of yore when I rolled in drunk with a McDonalds. Which is – incidentally – the only time I could convince myself I was capable of undertaking such torture and surviving. I missed the bootcamp bandwagon – I was too busy eating pulled pork and drinking peanut butter milkshakes.
Let’s take Instagram. Home of the selfie. Home of endless photos of carnivorous feasts drowning in melted cheese. Now also home of the gods of health and fitspiration. A photo of a vegan goddess contorting herself into a death-defying yoga pose in a bikini against the backdrop of sunset on a mountain-side cements her majesty. The typical bodyfat percentage is in single digits. Mine is roughly the same as a pork scratching.
And then there are the foodies. Gone are the heady days when the ‘foodie blogger’ category was dominated by the bakers – the friendly food pornographers, as I like to call them. Wheat is not your friend. Sugar is the devil. Low fat is a lie. Agave nectar is something you eat, not an airmile. These raw cacao brownies are 10 times tastier than any bakery – and you’ll have enough energy to swim the Channel!
I thought a Chia seed grew into a magical Chia Pet, but alas, again, I am disappointed. I joke, of course. I am a female Chandler Bing and these jokes are my comfortable sweater vests.
I think those who put a huge amount of passion and work into sharing their knowledge, recipes, workouts and tips are unquestionably doing a lot of good. I do. I bow to your superhuman organisational powers, dedication, propensity to prop up Holland and Barratt, and ability to drink what looks – to the unreformed among us – like the insides of a Greggs pasty in a rainy gutter.
I’d like to be a bit more like you. I really would. But weirdly, I almost feel like I can’t even give it a go because I just can’t do it all as perfectly as you can. I don’t know where to start. I don’t even know what spirulina is, FOR SHAME!
Of course, the great thing about instagram is that for every excuse, there’s a fitspirational instaquote
Well, that’s me motivated. Do they sell Chia seeds at Lidl?