Thursday, 13 January 2011

Lean & Green

New Year's resolutions – easy to make, tricky to keep. Promises to yourself for the new year ahead. The future you. Christmas indulged, the resolve to lose weight and firm up those wobbly bits has resurfaced along with countless ads and programmes to beat the bulge. Rammed down your throat, this message to be fit, thin and fabulous makes food the more desirous choice. The old adage, “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”, overpowered by the urgent need for instant gratification. Who can blame the afflicted when programmes promoting self-discipline and body confidence are so inappropriately titled? ITV's “The Biggest Loser” my No. 1 offender. Its incentive lost in the notion that overweight equals loser. A negative connotation urging me to loudly exclaim “Language Timothy!”, while I simultaneously reach for the biscuit tin. The struggle to lighten the load unmissable entertainment.

My gripe a three-lettered word: FAT. Tipping the scales as both a physical and consumptive sin. FAT is not the issue, but our perception of it is. Fit, fat and healthy - well why not? I'm not denying Britain has a serious problem and needs to shape up, but where's the positive reinforcement? That smiley face or star, the symbol of good work - a job well done? As a veggie obsessed with healthy eating, advertised methods to drop a dress size concern me. Inspire to be special, shaped like a “K” and shake off those weight worries with a liquid diet. Said to provide all the nutrients you need – added vitamins, minerals, protein, splash of milk, and heaps of sugar. Great, if you happen to be lost in the jungle, flying to the moon, or dying of dehydration, but as an everyday occurrence it's unlikely. Just your average commute to work? In which case, I salute thee.

Offered false hope by tricks of the trade, to desperate dieters popping pills and minuscule portions are standard fare. A cycle of deprivation, which once set up is hard to dissuade. Education and vegetarianism, according to some, the light at the end of the tunnel. I agree, losing weight is an education, but vegetarianism? Research suggests meat consumption is associated with weight gain. Eating less the key to a leaner waist. I don't refute this, but should vegetarianism be represented in this way ? A fad to fight the flab? Conscripting others to the cause?

This link to weight loss and vegetarianism I find disturbing. Veggies have important dietary considerations too. It can be easy to get it wrong. Your weight, size and shape not a true measure of health. You can be lean and green, but still fail to love the skin you're in. As the NHS rightly suggests, healthier living is a change4life. A matter of FAT – Fix Attitude Therapy.