It isn't even Christmas yet. We haven't even had time to pile on those mince pie related pounds and the diet adverts are already back with a vengeance. But fear not, it is chocolate box - 1 and diet industry - 0, as the Daily Mail reports that the latest Lighter Life advert, staring Denise Welch has been well and truly banged to rights.
The campaign, which champions Denise's weight loss of 2 stone in 2 months, has been hung drawn and quartered by the ASA after it found that Denise's weight loss was too fast to be safely recommended. On medical grounds, losing more than 2 pounds per week is not seen as sensible weight loss and the campaign has subsequently been banned.
'Here Here', I say, it is just a shame that you couldn't ban the whole company.
Naturally Denise is up in arms about it, suggesting the ASA need to 'get out more', but I can't help that wonder if she is slightly more miffed at missing out on the extra 'weight loss' press coverage. After all if I'd swapped food for powder for 2 months, everyone (even strangers) would have to be told about it.
Ironically most weight loss diets, especially at the beginning do cause rapid weight loss, simply due to cutting out food groups or dramatically reducing calorie in take and of course, these are the most popular choices as we crave instant results.
According to Denise she 'felt better than I had for ages... obesity is increasing [and] people are dying from cancer, heart disease and diabetes.' (Mailonline) - Unfortunately Denise, people will die from these terrible illnesses anyway. And diseases like heart disease was already registered as one of the biggest killers way before the idea of an obesity epidemic was even created.
Equally, cancer doesn't really discriminate Denise and can have both many different causes or in numerous cases, non seemingly at all.
Now I don't knock Denise's weight loss. The fact that she is feeling better than she has in ages is great - but the truth is Lighter Life is possibly one of the most extreme diets out there. A meal replacement diet, that substitutes food for powdered potions at highly inflated prices is no sensible way to make lifestyle alterations. And the mere indication by Denise that she is now healthier because she is smaller shows how little we understand the relation of size and health. Part of what makes us healthy is what we put into our bodies. Filling yourself with nutrient rich fuel of fruit and vegetables, even if the calorie content is higher, is always better than living off chemically produced shakes.
We have to stop looking at the quick fix nature of our diet industry and sort out our individual relationship to food. Train our brain to make healthier choices, not simply remove food from the equation altogether.
While the Lighter Life plan is supposed to help you eventually reintroduce solids, it is little wonder that Denise's weight loss was so extreme. Like the current list of celebrities battling it out in the I'm a Celeb Jungle, take food out of the equation and those pounds will naturally fly off. It can barely justify itself as science, it is just common sense, but while the approach is logical the end result isn't.
Because despite the fact that Lighter Life medical director Dr Matt Capehorn said: 'This shows just why Britain is in its current mess, with one of the biggest obesity problems on the planet. There is something wrong when weight loss companies are trying to help dieters, and bureaucracy gets in the way.' (Mailonline) In my opinion that this is wholly untrue.
Contrary to their claims, diet companies want you to fail. Actually they need you to fail, because they need to feed off your desperation in order to keep you coming back and while there are many plans out there that can definitely kick start you onto a healthier eating plan, the very misuse of the word diet, deems many women to fall into a cycle of yoyo weight loss and gain that has equally damaging effects on their bodies.
Because while your weight loss will be extreme at the beginning and Lighter Life may help you reach your 'goal weight' in the short term, very little re-education has taken place. It is possible to replace one unhealthy eating regime, with another equally as damaging.
As 2014 draws to a close and we all make our new years resolutions, all I can suggest is stop focusing on a quick fix scheme. Look at your relationship with food. Is it healthy? Are your choices health? These are questions women and men of all sizes can ask. Because we are what we eat, fuel yourselves with the right things and remember that the word diet doesn't need to be a signal for another extreme meal plan thought up by a fat cat exploiting societies desire to be slim.