Last night I did something I never ever do.
I bought a magazine.
I used to love a good "trashy mag" now and then. Total therapy. Read some garbage about celebrities, check out your invented horoscope, look at how expensive all the latest coat designs are... harmless. If in the right (intelligent) hands, who cares how shitty this stuff is? Brainless fun.
But last night was different. I was facing some empty time, had no book or laptop, so I thought: 'hey, I'll go invest in one of my favorite past times and get a trashy mag!' After a little browse, I was surprised to see a huge range of "healthy living" magazines in my local grocery store! Who knew?
I won't say the magazine I ended up choosing, but let's just say it was "Healthy Living", aimed at women.
So - women beware.
Beware and prepare.
Prepare to feel clueless, useless, confused and like your life will only be worth living if you are some kind of magical superhero with no job, all the time in the world and the perfect body.
Guess how she got that tummy? A PILL!! A pill in a bottle!! Isn't that amazing!?
Are you ready for my rant to begin? It may not be what you're expecting.
I'm not sure if you're ready.
Okay... you excited?
WHAT THE FAAAAAAARRRRRRKKKKKKK????? This magazine made me want to THROW THINGS, SCREAM, YELL and RAISE HELL!
I was not threatened by any of its nonsense. I was not confused by any of its messages. I understood it all perfectly.
Which is exactly what made me terrified. I see through this shit. But that doesn't mean everyone will.
The women who buy these magazines are surely buying them because they are genuinely interested in taking better care of themselves. They want to feel better, look better and have a better INSIDE as apposed to just looking like a skinny celebrity.
Ladies - I am telling you - it would be IMPOSSIBLE to follow all the advice in this magazine.
Who edits this crap?!?! Does the editor even have a job? Do they just check the spelling and look at the pretty pictures? Does the editor realize that if a person tried to follow all their advice it would be crossing over all over the place! It would be like trying to follow every rule in the Bible! A lot of it is nonsense, it would be impossible and it's all contradictory.
I'm not stupid: I know what you're thinking: "Hannah, you aren't meant to follow ALL the advice - they just present you with information and you can take or leave what you like."
Well - sorry, but NO.
Time for an example? Page Two on the bottom: "take two tablespoons of fish oil a day to decrease your risk of heart disease!" (RAGE) and then on page 20 they have an article promoting a high protein (yawn) low fat diet - talking about oils specifically as an "anti" food.
I'M NOT KIDDING. I understand that the diet industry is rife with contradictions... but this is the whole problem. People have no idea how to be healthy anymore because everyone gives different information. Surely we can draw the line at messages given in ONE MAGAZINE. Can't this one magazine at least agree what kind of diet they are passionate about? What the believe in?
Wait....it's almost like....
The diet industry doesn't ACTUALLY care about my health?!
People: it's all about money. No one cares about giving real health advice (or even doing the adequate research.) Fish oil for heart disease?! Are you kidding me? Heart disease is the result of clogged arteries! Extra animal FAT, especially from OILS is NOT going to unclog your arteries!!!!!
It's about pushing out content, finding "experts" with no clue and promoting whatever is popular (and paying) at that time.
Veganism is gaining popularity - so often I'll see articles like this one where they almost do a good job, but ultimately fail. It's being written because it's "topical", they know people will "click", so they've done a quick Google and think this entitles them to write about Omega 3 and give vague advice that is highly flawed. It even perpetuates the long-debunked myth about "complete proteins"! YAAAWWWWWNNNNNNNN. We know this is total bollocks now; you don't need to combine protein in any wanky way. But someone who wants to cash in, writing on "health", will still say it because they aren't up to date with developments in vegan nutrition. Therefore: someone reading this article thinks they're being "educated" on how to eat vegan they when aren't at all.
I enjoy a good rant now and then, hope you don't mind.
Going along with what's topical - this magazine did a lot of "Here's the Latest Fad Diet for You to Try". The diet they promoted (I number crunched the meal plans) had you on THIRTEEN HUNDRED CALORIES A DAY!! Ladies - that is starvation. I'm not saying no one lives on that, I'm just saying if you started following it tomorrow after a lifetime of eating a lot more calories: you will become a hungry zombie.
Do not slow your metabolism down like that, PLEASE. You will gain weight long term. Cutting calories is a recipe for disaster unless you are seriously overweight. If you are chugging down thousands of empty calories a day and unhappy with your weight - well, yeah, obviously cut down, but I am a big advocate of consuming ENOUGH, especially if your body is asking for it. 2000 calories is the recommended daily intake across the board and this suits me really well. I have friends who eat less than that and seem totally happy. Do what your body is asking for, not what a magazine tells you to. Your body doesn't know what 1300 calories is - all it knows is "am I satisfied?" "Have I got enough" "Do I have vitamin C"? No? Well then I'll send signals for more food.
Obviously, 2000 calories of chocolate is not recommended. 2000 calories of the right kind of food (PLANT BASED WHOLE FOODS) you'll be sittin' pretty.
Another thing that pisses me off about this magazine (and most of them, I suppose) is that they will spurt out "information" to meet deadlines, talk about whats faddy and not take responsibility for women genuinely relying on them for advice. That's a big responsibility and should be taken seriously.
Their readers obviously want to know what to eat, how to eat... what's good, what will help them, etc. They may follow this diet, not feel great (hungry zombie) and then think "well, eating healthy SUCKS. I'm hungry, I hate salad, at least when I was eating whatever I wanted I was happy and full!"
The whole world of "healthy living" looks like a world of deprivation and depression, all because the genius who magicked that "diet plan" together didn't do a basic calorie count. And if they DID then they're bonkers. Bonkers promoting a starvation diet that will send most people up the wall.
With a Trashy Mag, you know what you're getting. The cover tells you it's bonkers. Everyone knows Scarlett Johansson ain't "curvacious" (this is a whole other blog post!) and everyone knows Liz Hurley didn't have an affair with Bill Clinton, but it's trash to indulge in and TURN OUR BRAINS OFF.
With a "health" focused magazine, "gurus" on the cover, green drinks, "cleanses" and all that jazz - you are attracting a different kind of reader and therefore have a different kind of responsibility. If you put yourself up there as being a magazine with good content - fucking put out good content!! If you call yourself a health expert - don't talk bollocks! I beg you.
I never call myself any kind of expert on anything. When I give an opinion, it's my OPINION, based on what has worked and, more importantly, not worked for me. I would say I'm pretty fucking "well-read", that's about it.
After a mere hour of flipping through this magazine - I felt bamboozled. I felt baffled. I took a moment to imagine that I wasn't a vegan, wasn't remotely health conscious and wanted to be. Basically - I transported myself back five years to when I lived in a share house and didn't know what a green vegetable was.
If I'd read this magazine back then I wouldn't have a clue where to start. Should I cut out sugar? Does that include fruit? Should I start their page 27 "At Home Gym Plan" or should I start the diet plan? The cleanse one or the seven day one? Can I do that AND they gym routine or will I be exhausted? Should I do the fish oil thing or the vegan thing?
WHAT DO I DO?!?!?!?
I think what I'm trying to say is - please don't read these magazines as anything other than TRASH. I'm not saying they all are, I'm sure there are good Health Magazines out there (are there?!?! Tell me!)
The world of gossip and fashion is its own world of brilliance and problems, today I'm talking about Health Magazines. I don't read them often, so I can't speak for them all, but please relish how much conflicting information you can soak up in one issue. It's bonkers!
When you want to start being healthy (I've said it before) you need to activate your logical mind. You need to be logical. You need to switch on your brain.
Magazines will make us dumber, not smarter. It's a bold statement, but I'm saying it confidently. I genuinely read that magazine and couldn't remember how to think for myself.
I imagined the woman who has a monthly subscription to that shit. How does she know how to do anything for herself? Does she change her routine every month?!
Please - just be logical, QUESTION EVERYTHING. Research. And laugh at the research! Find the research that makes you not want to laugh.
Find the stuff you find hard to debunk. But try to debunk it first.
That's why... um.... Oops, I'm a vegan.
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