I was chatting to some friends on Twitter today about the constant clickbait quick fix torrent of ‘information’ about diet and fitness. It is a source of frustration for me. Every year I find myself blogging about the ‘new year new you’ narrative, that, following the messages to eat all the food and drink all the drink at Christmas, turns to telling you that you need to sort yourself out and reduce the size of your thighs.
It’s mostly about marketing. But the marketers are only telling us what we want to hear. We don’t really want the truth. We want something easy and quick. We want to look like the beautiful people in the magazines, even though deep down we know they are airbrushed to hell or living on kale and never, ever have a glass of Prosecco.
The reality doesn’t sell quite as well.
You want to get fit or lose a lot of weight? Here’s the reality.
It is going to take a long time.
It will be tough and involve significant effort on your part.
When you get to where you want to be, you will have to work just as hard to maintain it. Probably for ever. This is just as hard as the getting there in the first place.
You will have to give up stuff you like.
Your body will hurt, quite a lot in some cases.
You will want cake.
You will also want wine.
You will have to make good choices in the moment. Every single day.
Sometimes, it will all feel like too much and you might want to give up.
You might never look like the person in the magazine in real life. Although you might be able to on Instagram if you get good with Photoshop.
The quick fix stuff doesn’t work – not in the long term. We know that. Most so-called miracle diets are anything but. Otherwise they wouldn’t need to keep inventing new ones. The diet industry in particular has failure built in – their revenues depend on it. Because if you can easily lose the weight and keep it off, you won’t need to buy any more stuff.
The quick fix stuff is a nice idea. It’s also a dangerous one. It sets people up to fail. It can encourage bad habits. It promises but can’t deliver. And this helps no one.
Reality is better. Even if it isn’t quite as sexy.