“Detox” the new code word for dangerous dieting
It’s that time of year, isn’t it? When the intention to eat healthily just doesn’t result in the same. Puritanical thoughts of eating only soup for dinner somehow morph into soup plus half a loaf of buttery toast. Steamed fish and vegies ends up as steak with cheesy potato bake.
A roast with all the trimmings is a regular occurrence and apple crumble is, somehow, always okay. Yes, the winter weather is dictating my diet and I have no choice, do I? It’s rather impossible not to put on the “winter two”. Or three, or four.
And as we reach August, this means I’m stuck wearing what fits. One, my fat jeans, or two, my leggings - marvellous creations with lots of stretch. But of course, I’m sick of both. (See boys, when we say “I don’t have anything to wear”, we often mean “I can’t fit into anything in my wardrobe”). I’m afraid that looking great in winter is only achievable if you’re Gwyneth Paltrow. Aka, Wonder Woman.
Do you get Gwynnie’s GOOP newsletter? I admit, I hated them at first but am now strangely addicted to the tiny perve we get into her wholesome life. That is, when I don’t want to kill her (Vanity Fair apparently feels the same way, taking the complete mickey out of her newsletters in the latest issue).
Why? She’s too perfect. She shucks her own oysters, uses Mallorcan hibiscus salt, flavours salads with Veganaise (a mayonnaise substitute), cooks with buckwheat soba noodles (???) and take great joy in creating meals for her no-meat, no-dairy, no-white-flour loving friends. A few weeks ago she posted a video of herself deboning an organic chicken to go with her Farmer’s Market salad. Is there nothing the woman can’t do? She’s so freaking healthy. It’s amazing. Admirable. Unbelieveable. And bloody annoying. Because of course she has the kind of job where she can take months off at a time to focus on her inner health. Unlike the rest of us.
Recently Gwyneth posted about a detox she did which, she says, “allowed me to work and exercise regularly, something I cannot do if I am on a liquid-only detox.” This particular detox involved her skipping only two (ahem) meals a day, and swallowing tablespoons of olive oil at night, along with a bunch of other rules.
Which brings me to my point. It is as I had feared. DETOX has become a new word for DIET.
Remember when diets were everywhere? All over magazines. Drop a dress size in a week, lose two kilos in two days type diets? And then they became a dirty word. Nobody would print one for fear of being taken down and vilified in the press as being responsible for eating disorders and poor body image. So guess what? The weight loss industry came up with a new term to sell their wares. It’s not a diet, it’s a detox.
It just looks like a diet when you examine it closely. Same low-kilojoule attributes. Same restrictive food intake and weird olive-oil drinking/grapefruit eating/supplement taking/food-group limiting traps of traditional diets.
The one that bothers me most is the Lemon Detox. You’ve heard of it, right? It’s advertised all over the radio and encourages you to buy their special syrup which you mix with fresh lemon juice and that’s it! You’ll lose weight and feel great!
You know how this works? You don’t eat anything. For days. Five in fact. Seven if you make it. 10 if you’ve got superhuman willpower. They promise good health, clear skin and weight loss.
Puh-lease. The reason you lose weight is not because of the miracle syrup or secret fat-fighting properties of lemon. It’s because you’re not eating. You don’t need a doctor, a $90 syrup and a radio ad to tell you that. I did it for five days and of course I lost weight. I also put it all back on after the five days because I was so hungry, I ate double time to make up for it. It’s amazing they’re allowed to advertise it at all.
The only way to lose weight healthily, and to keep it off, is the long, boring way. You eat three meals a day, lower sugar and bad fats and exercise at least three times a week. That’s it. It’s not brain surgery.
The next time someone mentions the word detox, whip them up a batch of Gwynnie’s favourite choc chip cookies. ‘Cause even Miss Health herself knows that sometimes, amongst all of the ridiculously nutritious pressure, that you need a splurge. And the winter weight? Maybe I’ll actually like buckwheat soba noodles and vegie bacon. Can’t hurt to try …
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