Now we live in a very fast-paced world.
Fast food, fast cars, fast internet, fast relationships and fast solutions
**Rewind to September 2009**
A mixture of emotions went through my head on that daunting, yet exciting first day of performing arts college, but did I think almost a year later that nasty little demon called ‘body dysmorphia‘ and his scheming sidekick named ‘diet addiction‘ would creep in and have a huge impact on my life? No Sir!
**Fast forward to May 2010**
My last year as a teen and my first year in a professional dance and musical theatre showcase – this was the moment we had been waiting for all year
So when the time comes for our daily lunch trip to the local Sainsbury’s, we stumble across the glorious words of Slim Fast!
There’s that word again – FAST!
Thanks to strategic word placement, bold colours, a somewhat decent reputation and finding the stuff AS SOON AS YOU WALK THROUGH THE DAMN DOORS (!) that red and white bottle glistened and grabbed my attention like Tom Hardy getting caught in the rain….shirtless
Now my friend Shareefa in particular had been intensely praised up until this point for her fantastic weight loss and ‘transformation’ among many others in my year group.
‘Wouldn’t it be great if we just lost a few pounds before the show? We would really look great in our costumes’
Nothing major, just a few pounds. After all, the website says it works so it must be great!
So I had one
(Cafe Latte flavour)
Just one bottle to replace my lunch for that day. You know, just to try
Wait. A 325ml processed beige coloured liquid = a complete meal replacement? Apparently so. Because according to this bottle, testimonials and brilliant advertising, this WILL help you reach your goals and WILL control your hunger for up to 4 HOURS *cue the false veneer smile*
You could taste the chemicals, the additives and the feeling of having NO IDEA what you are actually putting into your body. It’s like theres actually a patch on your tastebuds made for rubbish like that…
Did I listen? Did I F***
Next Sainsbury’s outing, I stocked up. I stocked up real hard. Now and again I bought the ‘recommended snacks’, but my goodness them shakes. I drank them dry as they did the same to my bank balance.
I may aswell have been peeing Cafe Latte
Breakfast & lunch. Lunch & dinner. Dinner & breakfast.
Now, the notorious Slim Fast plan actually recommends you have 2 shakes a day, 3 snacks and 1 meal
This is for your average person.
8 hours of training a day including dance, acting singing PLUS extra classes for teaching exams PLUS show rehearsals> Not your average person!
I’m reading all this out loud to myself right now and the little voices in my head are literally screaming
‘What were you thinking?!’
I was seeing results
Of course I was seeing results! I was malnourished and depriving myself of food. In reality I wasn’t even hitting 1000 calories a day! God forbid I’d hit them quadruple figures – at least all that counting kept my mental maths up to scratch (ish)
**Suddenly its show week**
We had a little barbecue round the back of the college, just a thing we do for the third years that are leaving
This is what I looked like (notice I’m eating an orange and definitely NOT a burger)
Youre probably thinking; ‘whats the problem?’
‘She looks normal, she’s not anorexic so she’s definitely healthy!’
‘Seriously, whats this girl whinging about, I’d love to have a body like that!’
And this is something that NEEDS to be addressed. Just because someone may LOOK healthy on the outside doesn’t necessarily mean that they are on the inside.
Technically, I had an eating disorder and a diet addiction. Some praised me for losing weight, some saw the warning signs. Obviously I lapped up those ‘compliments’ like I’d finally got my Red Chilli at Nando’s
(obviously wouldn’t be eating that though)
**Night of the Show**
I was in my first year so I wasn’t in many numbers – I think only about 3. However, after each and every single 3-5 minute performance I did on that stage, I would walk back to my dressing room, and immediately have to lie down on the floor otherwise I would be in danger of passing out.
I was ill. Completely run down, my immune system seemed to have packed up and left, and I was completely unhappy because I still wasn’t at my ‘ideal size’
So what exactly did I put myself through all this for?! Yes I’ve lost weight quickly in a short space of time but who’s the real winner?
None of Us
We have the wool pulled over our eyes while being gently fed teaspoons of optimism, testimonials and prosperity
And the person feeding you just happens to be the nations favourite celebrity, who GETS PAID to be that face and TOLD what to say
So what do we do? We keep our mouths wide open, ready for that next spoonful, in the hope that the next one just may be a little sweeter.
And who wins? The corporate giants that drown you in a Cafe Latte flavoured pool; turning a blind eye to the fact that you are miserable, malnourished or even mentally ill
Because the brutal truth is, either way they still get paid. And their empire still grows.
My very last Slim Fast was probably about a year later. I dipped in and out of it over that time but never abused it like I did that Summer.
I finally got sick of that Cafe Latte flavour and EVERYTIME I am tempted by it again, I just thought back to how hideous and miserable I felt that show week
Do you have a ‘Fad Diet’ story? Share your experiences and your advice below
REMEMBER TO TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR PART 2!