It’s not January unless everyone you know is on some kind of health kick, and the crazier the better - or so it seems. People are on cavemen diets and lemon detoxes, and extreme diets like the fruitarian diet, which is not actually that good for your health…
Just ask Ashton Kutcher who revealed he was hospitalised after turning fruitarian for his latest role playing Steve Jobs for the upcoming biopic. Kutcher said he fell seriously ill after a stint mimicking Jobs’ strict dietary regime of fruit, nuts and seeds.
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As the old year ended, I was confronted by an article written by Samantha Maiden in the News Ltd Sunday papers about politicians losing weight.
Sam had initially selected me as a successful example of size reduction. Come the last Sunday of the year, I was feeling appropriately affirmed by the anticipated lauding of my dietary achievements.
As dawn broke I leapt out of bed, into the car, and off to the local shop to pick up the Sunday Herald Sun. But as I opened the paper my bubble burst. Compared to Bob Baldwin’s shedding of 70 kilos, my paltry 4 kilos represented little more than a foregone Sunday roast. Indeed in the article itself, my role was simply to play foil to Jamie Briggs’ effort of losing 17 kilos, inspired by people continually telling him that he looked as fat as me.
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WhenI started this column, I vowed I wouldn’t write about my weight. Or diets. I figured if you’re female, you have enough going on in your own head. If you’re male, well, you don’t need it confirmed that we’re all bonkers.
But I’m not one for self-imposed rules. And with so many young women seeing body image as the greatest concern of their lives, I don’t think ignoring it is going to help. So, let’s talk about weight. We’ll start with mine.
For the past few years, I’ve had no idea what I weigh. I’m a words, not a numbers girl, so rather than curse the scales, I’ll realise my thighs feel a bit flabby, or – as has been the case this autumn – my jeans are a bit tight.
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We like to think of ourselves as a nation of animal lovers.
We bay for blood when a woman throws a cat in a bin in the UK, or a team of huskies is massacred in Canada, and are brought to tears when a Queensland hero risks his life in the floods to save a kangaroo from drowning.
Yet every single day there are stories in the shadows we miss.
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Cookie diets, lemon detox diets, juice fasts, vegan weeks, the master cleanse.
Magazines are full of them, friends bang on about them, and every celebrity worth their size zero britches will happily rave about their benefits.
Is there anything more frustrating, galling, idiotic, and yet somehow tempting than a detox?
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Recently I was out for dinner with friends and the bread basket duly arrived. It was a cracker: lovely thick slices of sourdough – some studded with olives, others with caramelised garlic. Next to it was a generous slab of butter and a bowl of gorgeous, grassy olive oil.
But here’s the thing – no one touched it. Even the men. Like me, my companions were all famished, but that innocuous wicker basket may as well have been a nuclear reactor, such was the contempt and suspicion that greeted it.
When did bread get such a bad rap?
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How many column inches in women’s magazines are devoted to dieting every year? Enough to cross the Nullarbor? Circumnavigate the globe? Traverse the universe?
“Get your body beach ready. Now!” “Your best body. Fast.” “Your best-ever body in four weeks.” “Shrink one size in four weeks.” And my personal favourite: “Drop a dress size by Saturday!” Really?
I should issue a little disclaimer and own up to writing many vacuous and silly diet coverlines during my 15-plus years working in women’s magazines. Seven kilos in seven days? Only joking. But you get the drift.
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