It's a known fact that women only think about three things: Sexually pleasing their men, getting that rock/baby/shoes/chocolate, and losing weight. The internet is inundated with "how to" articles on these topics, from landing and keeping your very own Commodities Broker (even if he is Patrick Bateman, NBD, you can change him, girl!) to shedding those pesky winter pounds before they even begin. Because so much is squeezed from the dry teat of this weak material, writers either have to regurgitate the same tired crap or, if they're feeling adventurous, dream up all new ridiculous crap to entertain the women folk.
Currently the most offensive to me is the late fall/early winter onslaught of seasonal weight loss articles - you know, the "Avoid those Turkey thunder thighs so
men will want to fuck you and you won't die alone
you can stay healthy
so our advertisers can sell you more garbage you don't need
!" But when holiday puff pieces tell you that eating off of tiny blue plates and pouring salt on your dessert are the secret keys to Skinny, it's time to do some soul searching and critical thinking. "Tips" like that aren't even really tips, they're just jumbles of words forced into a sentence. It's as if these writers threw dice with things like "accountability," "downward dog," and "green juice," printed on them, and then wrote down whatever phrases were randomly created. Voilà, a hot new slim-down secret for ski season!
In iVillage's "52 Little Changes for Big Weight Loss Results," we're treated to the most inventive litany of such ideas that I've seen in awhile. Wait, don't click through! Each tip is on its own slideshow page, as they're trying to razzle dazzle the pageviews right outta you while simultaneously creating the most frustrating website viewing experience possible. Since I don't want you to waste any effort not directly related to weight loss (I sincerely hope you're squatting while you're reading this), I have sectioned out all of their 52 tips and tricks below.
To lose weight the easy way, you must:
- Join Weight Watchers
- Start Tabata training
- Fidget more
- Relax! Stress makes you fat.
- Exercise 10 minutes longer than usual
- Every morning, write down what you plan to eat for the day. Then remember to take your OCD medication.
- Somehow get 20 minutes of sunshine daily. Frankenstorm is no excuse.
- Shop the perimeter of your grocery store, like some sort of emaciated Ninja.
- Eat healthy 80% of the time. Or more! Probably more!
- Don't take weekends off! That could account for, like, 3 pounds a year!
- Focus on the deeper reasons you want to lose weight. Really ponder.
- Feel positive about the future! Crankiness is fattening.
- Focus on the deeper reason you want to lose weight. Think about how you feel after your workout.
- Stay away from enriched foods
- Skip those 2 teaspoons of sugar in your coffee
- But say no to diet soda and artificial sweeteners
- Drink lactose-free milk instead of rice or almond milk
- Drink chocolate skim milk instead of sports drinks
- Eat fresh or frozen fruit instead of canned
- Eat less candy, or eat dark chocolate, or eat low-calorie candies like Tootsie Rolls instead of M&Ms
- In fact, just eat kids' sizes of junk food
- But pay attention to your cravings! And indulge them - Snickers is not off limits! As long as it's bite-sized.
- Lemon juice, sourdough bread, and pickled foods to slow down digestion
- Fish, flax, and avocados. (Share your recipe!)
- Brussels sprouts
- Sneaky vegetables! This means to puree those nasty non-fun-sized foods into sauces and smoothies so you don't really taste them. Blend in some fun-size Kit Kats while you're at it.
- Eat only in designated dining areas
- Keep serving dishes off the table. Ward them off if you have to.
- Don't watch TV while you're eating.
- Fill a small plate. Fill it! To trick yourself!
- Eat off small blue plates [Ed.: makes so much sense, why didn't I think of that?]
- Use big forks
- Drink water (even better, lemon water to slow down digestion) before eating
- Start your meal with soup or salad
- For breakfast, eat eggs.
- For lunch, eat something that's 250 calories less than whatever it is you normally eat.
- Add small amounts of fat and protein (1/4 cup nuts, beans, or, again, an egg)
- But no ketchup or mayo or 100 calorie condiments! Those'll getcha!
- Eat more fiber (like fruits and veggies)
- Just a bunch of fruits and veggies: 2 in each meal, 1 in each snack
- Eat four bites and stop. Savor those four bites.
- Chew 40 times
- Eat until you're 80% full
- Don't eat the last five bites of your meal (use it for leftovers - add it to beans, tofu, and spinach salad)
- Eat fruit instead of dessert
- Add a pinch of salt to the dessert
- Brush your teeth, including your tongue, after each meal
- Go for a walk afterwards.
So, basically, your day will look like this: Imagine sitting down in your dining room with the TV off, drinking a glass of lemon water, then having a cup of bean soup and pureed vegetables, then eating brussels sprouts, walnuts, spinach and leftovers from a tiny blue plate with your giant fork, chewing 40 times each bite. For dessert, you'll enjoy some salted fresh fruit. Then, go brush your teeth and take a walk. If you're still hungry, walk for an extra 10 minutes and have a fun-size Snickers bar and think about what you plan to eat the next day. Sound good??
Although iVillage touts these as "little changes," the reality is that many of them are quite large - like start Tabata training and joining Weight Watchers. Some are absurd and have the potential to trigger dangerous eating behavior, like taking time each morning to write down what you're eating that day. Some just restate others (eat veggies. eat veggies! EAT YOUR VEGETABLES OR DIE!) and some contradict each other - pay attention to cravings, and if you want something just eat a bite size version, but you know, stay away from enriched foods.
Plus, there's just the logistical nightmare. You're told to eat kids' size junk food but Snickers fun-size come in giant bags that you tear right through, isn't it better to eat a full size one and get on with your life? And since when does ketchup have the same calories as mayonnaise? And because ketchup is made with vinegar, isn't that a good thing because vinegar, according to them, slows down digestion, but I guess there's all the sugar and AHHH! My suggestion is just to eat the one you like more. Ooh, or maybe mix them to create the ultimate French fry dipping sauce (after a chocolate milkshake, of course). Delicious French fries.
I know you can pick-and-choose from these tips, but ultimately, we all know that slimming down is just about eating less and exercising more. If there was a person left on Earth who was confused about that fact, tada, now you're not. Whether or not that's possible for you to do is the real issue - taking into account biological and physiological factors, access to healthy foods, and the time and ability to prepare said foods.
I'm not sure what to do about trend pieces like this that aren't even really trend pieces because they're always around. If we emailed the people who wrote these things, and let them know they're really tired of this shit, maybe that would help? But real change probably won't come until it affects these businesses financially. Not until we stop purchasing magazines filled with articles like this, stop clicking on this shitty "tips & tricks!" bullshit, and try as much as we can to not give our important advertising dollars to places that thrive on women feeling like shit, we probably won't ever see changes in our bodies. I try to do that, but it's honestly almost as difficult as following all 52 of those dieting tips, as the businesses that create and exploit ladies' insecurities are pretty much everywhere.
What's a girl to do?? I guess I'll just go eat my lady-sized broccoli serving off a lilliputian blue plate and then go for a forty minute plus ten minute walk. Then, I'll go home and binge! Because live by the magazine weight loss article, die clutching a bag of leftover fun-size Snickers bars and a gallon of Vincent Gallo rosé.
- Laura Beck