Now that we've just about wrapped up the most gluttonous time of the year, you know exaaaactly what's next: Weight loss season! Not to mention thousands of media outlets blurting about the same insane crash diets they do every year, except, of course, in shiny new 2013 packaging. We live in such a bipolar culture that shoves fattening, sugar bomb food at us one week, then says, "Go on this miracle diet and lose 50 pounds STAT, Fatty!" the next. Ugh.
Well, some of us aren't gonna stand for it anymore! That includes U.K. equalities minister Jo Swinson, who written an open letter to magazines, asking them to "shed the fad diets and fitness myths" and urging them to "celebrate the beauty of diversity in body shape, skin colour, size and age." YES.
As editors you owe more to your readers than the reckless promotion of unhealthy solutions to losing weight. ... If your aim is to give practical, sensible advice about losing weight - and not how to drop a stone in five days - you should encourage reasonable expectations, instead of dangerous ones, along with exercise and healthy eating.
Bravo! Love this. BUT -- as much as I agree with her and do my best as a pro writer to report and comment on the right kind of health advice, the sad reality is that media is hell-bent on putting us on a mental and emotional roller coaster that plays on our deepest fears about holiday weight gain and hopes for New Year's weight loss. Why? Because it pays too well! And that is, in part, our faults.
Consider another loathsome side effect of "resolution season" ... Next month, the gym is sure to go from quiet and serene to busting at the seams with sweaty people who were on their couch instead of snagging my elliptical 11 other months out of the year!
Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying it's not admirable to want to turn over a new leaf and get healthy in the New Year. But buying into "after January 1" as the only time to do that or buying into fables that you can miraculously blast fat in whatever arbitrary time frame a silly magazine is promising you is just plain ridiculous. The best, only time is always. And the only way to stay slim is by caring about your health and fitness every day of the year.
That said, while calls for sanity like Swinson's are fantastic and necessary, ultimately, it has to be up to us to roll our eyes and turn our noses up at these crazy diet promises. To be above all the noise and not desperate for extreme, faux fitness fixes -- by having already figured out a solution of our own.
Here's Swinson talking to the BBC about the problem ...
How do you feel about extreme New Year's diet promises and plans in magazines?