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On awful fad diets, blatantly stupid workouts, and my obsession with them.

January 25, 2010

Anyone who spends an extended period of time with me knows that I enjoy laughing at ridiculous diet and workout shenanigans, especially in the form of bad infomercials.  In tribute to my obsession, I have decided to compile a few of the best/worst here.  My top four:


The Shake Weight commercial.  There is a women’s version too, but I find this one funnier for what are probably obvious reasons.


The Neckline Slimmer: for those of us with unbearably fat necks who have no qualms about miming blowjobs to slim ‘em up.


The Tracy Anderson workout, featuring Gwyneth Paltrow: because no woman should ever lift more than 3 pounds or her arms will get big.  Also, once you hit 35 you must either starve yourself or work out with a personal trainer six days a week.   Otherwise you’re gross, I guess.


I don’t have a video for this one, but the Master Cleanse stands out to me as a particularly unreasonable diet that otherwise intelligent people seem set on converting me to.  I had a teacher in middle school that went on this diet for the recommended 40 days, and by the end of it hunger had transformed him from a slightly uptight man to something like a rabid wolverine.  For those who aren’t in the know, the premise this diet is pretty much to starve yourself for as long as possible, ingesting only an absolutely delicious combination of water, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and maple syrup.  Drink up, ladies!  After all, you’re just cleansing your system of all that totally yucky food.

On a more serious note, I think that part of why I fixate on these diets and workouts in particular is because they are so obviously ridiculous that it’s easy to distance myself from them, to dismiss them.  Laughing at these is no challenge; facing up to the very real pressure to fit the near-impossible beauty standard is.   I feel validated when I can step back and laugh at the few commercial efforts that by virtue of their ridiculousness will never, ever succeed in making me doubt  or devalue my own body among the many that can and will.

How do you stay positive and affirm your own body?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Becky permalink
    January 25, 2010 11:35 PM

    Oh Gwenyth, you’re so relatable. I just LOVE hearing about your sagging arms and how hard you work. All women clearly have the time and money to work out six times a week, hire a personal trainer, build one’s own workout room and install random bands from the walls. (It sounds like having an apple orchard really helps too.) But I guess this what 35 year old women have to do. If you don’t feel like starving yourself, you gotta work real hard. THERE’S NO FREE RIDE, Ladies!

    Great post, Norma, I love your pop-culture obsessions.

  2. agirl permalink
    April 14, 2012 3:07 PM

    I used to think I was morbidly fat at 5’3 157 lbs, until I realized that I have a large bone structure, so I’m allowed to weigh between 131-147. Plus I have some muscle, flat abs, boobies and a lot of junk in the trunk that guys love, so its no wonder everyones telling me I look great as I am. I’ve finally accepted that my voluptuous half cuban body will never be tiny, and ten pounds off is enough, 25 is unnecessary. I eat 1700 calories of normal healthy food and do intense Zumba + weights 6 days a week. That should do it;)

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