So, this morning I was casually scrolling through Twitter, minding my own business. Picture the scene: I’m humming cheerfully, enjoying my Saturday morning coffee and eggs, listening to some old-school jazz. The sky is blue, and I’m still in my pyjamas.
Okay, the part about the sky isn’t true. But the rest of it stands.
Next thing I know, I’m faced with a promoted tweet from none other than Slim Fast.
Now, I did hurl out a bit of a snarky tweet in response, and then let it go. Then, as I listened to the radio in the shower, I heard an ad for a cosmetic surgery business telling me I could get the body I want today. Then, some old bloke told me to “take a chill-pill” before calling me “babe.” And then, I went on Twitter again, to the same promoted tweet.
And that’s when I got mad. So I’m sorry if we’re re-hashing old ground, and I’m sorry if this post isn’t my most tidy or grammatically correct, but y’all know how I get when I’m pissed off. Today, I am pissed off. Like this.
So, to Slim Fast: I have a problem with you.
Actually, I have numerous problems with you. Let’s start with the product in question: the 3-2-1 7 Day Plan. It’s built around the idea that you can have three snacks, two shakes or meal bars, and one balanced meal.
I think you’re already going down the wrong track when you think a healthy way to live can be structured around one balanced meal a day. That’s crap, and I don’t care what your nutritionist Fiona (apparently without a surname) has to say about it.
This is no real way to live. Here’s what one day looks like:
Snacks – Chocolate Snack Bar, 1 Orange, Sour Cream and Chive Pretzel Snack Bag
Meal Replacements – Chocolate Crunch Meal Bar, Chocolate Flavour Shake
Balanced Meal – Quick Fish Pie
They’re selling it on the fact that “you get to eat six times a day!” idea, although you’ll note that they’re very, very tiny eats indeed. And also, if I were only eating six things over the course of a day, and three of them were chocolate flavoured – and when I say chocolate flavoured, I mean artificial-kinda-gross-chocolate-flavoured – I’d be pretty unimpressed. Unless it was Easter. I mean, I love chocolate like a friend – but that’s not how you want to survive.
Anyway, let’s look at that again, with a good old fashioned ingredients – or rather, “ingredients” – list attached:
Chocolate Snack Bar (Rice Crispies (23%) [Rice Flour, Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Salt, Rapeseed oil, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin)], Plain Chocolate (22%) [Sugar, Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Butter, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Vanilla Extract], Chocolate Biscuits (11%) [Wheat Flour, Sugar, Vegetable Fat, Cocoa Powder, Malt Blend (Glucose Syrup, Barley Syrup, Malt Extract), Skimmed Milk Powder, Salt, Flavourings], Glucose Syrup, Oligofructose Syrup, Bulking Agent (Polydextrose), Sweetened Skimmed Condensed Milk (Skimmed Milk, Sugar), Sugar, Humectant (Glycerol), Cocoa Powder (3%), Sunflower Oil, Flavourings, Emulsifier (Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids) MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF EGG, PEANUTS AND TREE NUTS.)
1 Orange (just an orange)
Chive Pretzel Snack Bag: (Wheat Flour, Dried Potato, Vegetable Oil, Salt, Dextrose, Onion Powder, Sugar, Yeast Extract, Modified Maize Starch, Sour Cream Powder (0.5%), Whey Powder (from milk), Flavouring, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Parsley, Chive Extract, Colour (Paprika Extract) MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF SOYA.)
Chocolate Crunch Meal Bar: (Soya Nuggets (23%) (Isolated Soya Protein), Rice Crispies (12%) [Rice Flour, Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Salt, Rapseed Oil, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin)], Glucose Syrup, Milk Chocolate (10%) [Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Cocoas Mass, Skimmed Milk Powder, Lactose, Whey Powder, Milk Fat, Emulsifiers (Soya Lecithin, Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate), Vanilla Extract], Bulking Agent (Polydetrose), Oligofructose Syrup, Humectant (Glycerol), Sweetened Skimmed Condensed Milk (Skimmed Milk, Sugar), Vitamins and Minerals (Dipotassium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin C, Magnesium Oxide, Niacin, Ferric Pyrophosphate, Vitamin E, Zinc Oxide, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Vitamin A, Copper Carbonate, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Biotin, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12.), Milk Chocolate chips(3%) [Sugar, Whole Milk Powder, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, Whey Powder, Skimmed Milk Powder, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Vanilla Extract], Sunflower Oil, Sugar, Reduced Fat Plain Chocolate Powder (1%) [Sugar, Cocoa Mass, Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Vanilla Extract], Flavouring, Emulsifier (Mono-and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids), Salt, Lactose. MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF GLUTEN, EGG AND TREE NUTS.)
Chocolate Flavour Shake: (Skimmed Milk (78%), Water, Milk Proteins, Cocoa Powder (1.2%), Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Stabilisers (Cellulose, Cellulose Gum, Dipotassium Phosphate, Carrageenan), Thickener (Gum Arabic), Maltodextrin, Emulsifiers (Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids), Vitamins and Minerals (Potassium Chloride, Sodium Carbonate, Magnesium Hydroxide, Vitamin C, Sodium Chloride, Zinc Gluconate, Vitamin E, Ferric Pyrophosphate, Niacin, Sodium Selenite, Copper Gluconate, Pantothenic Acid, Manganese Sulphate, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Beta Carotene, Thiamin, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Potassium Iodate.), Sweeteners (Sucralose, Acesulfame-K), Flavourings, Antioxidant (Ascorbic Acid).
Quick Fish Pie: Skimmed milk, plain flour, butter, spring onions, salmon in brine, salt and pepper, French bread slices, finely grated mature cheese.
I’m not going to pick a fight with the balanced meal, although it sounds pretty god damn boring to me – but the rest of it? Heck, that does not qualify as real food – and it certainly doesn’t sound like it’s going to do you any good. There are a lot of chemicals you’ll find above that I’ve seen before, when I listed the ingredients in a Happy Meal last Halloween – so it’s still the same old processed crap that contributed to weight gain in the first place.
It’s just… It’s not food.
For comparison, here’s what I ate yesterday:
Breakfast: Smoked mackerel and poached eggs with fresh basil, red peppers and spinach.
Lunch: Salmon fillet (marinaded in lemon and black pepper), with red onion, fresh peppers, jalapenos, tomato, cucumber, spinach, hazelnuts and avocado, with balsamic vinegar.
Dinner: Steak with asparagus, mushrooms and spring onion with avocado and fresh red chillies.
Snacks: Apple, brazil nuts.
I don’t need an ingredient list, because I’m eating things composed of actual food. That’s a great start. And it’s all good, tasty stuff. I am not going hungry, and I’m eating six times a day. GO ME.
So that’s the first part of my issue with Slim Fast. My second issue, however, is with the fact that Slim Fast – or any other unsustainable, extreme diet – will never help you to lose weight and keep it off. Unless, that is, you plan to spend the rest of your life eating meal replacement shakes and going hungry. Although because your metabolism will adapt pretty quickly, the initial weight loss won’t last long anyway – so soon enough, you’ll plateau.
Once you’ve plateaued, you’ll either have to further restrict your calorie intake, or you’ll get disheartened and go back to eating the same stuff you were before – processed foods, all calorie-dense and nutrient-poor – and you’ll gain the weight back with interest.
All you’ve done is screwed up your metabolism, your food habits, and your self-confidence. You’ve failed at a task that the marketing tells you is “simple” and “easy.” According to the diet industry, you suck.
And that’s what the diet industry is built upon. If there was one diet that was easy, and did work, they’d have gone out of business already, and we’d all be Rihanna-a-likes by now.
No: Slim Fast and their ilk can, quite frankly, shove their seven day diets, their quick fixes, and their soul-destroying bullshit, where that big ol’ sun refuses to shine.
Please guys: don’t fall for this shit. Make a real change to your life by learning how to eat real food, to exercise, to enjoy your life as much as you deserve to. Make a permanent change by realising that you can be a success; you can be happy; and you can be well, just so long as you believe in yourself.
And now, I’m going to go back to enjoying my day off. Over and out.