Your Flab on Facebook: the New Diet

Women have tried everything. Cutting out carbs, cutting out fat — heck, even cutting out calories entirely. Yet to their despair, nothing works. Nothing, except posting pictures of yourself on a public Facebook page — yes, in your underwear, and yes, including fat, wobbly tummies and whatnot. This is the new diet. This is why I think you shouldn’t try it.

What it offers

No calorie cutting, but three proper meals a day — eating like cavemen even. Working out three to four times a week with exercises that’ll burn your fat for 72 hours, whatever that may mean. All this in twelve weeks for just £49. Oh, and don’t forget to post those Facebook pictures in your underwear — front, back and side — every single Saturday. This is the Frank Personal Training plan.

Why it works

It is not the diet itself that women — or ‘Frankettes’ — rave about. According to them, the pictures do the trick. While posting bikini pictures is a nightmare for most women, the Frankettes find it motivational and encouraging because of the responses they get.

What it does not do

I, as an insecure bird, can identify with this. I, too, feel good when someone praises my looks or accomplishments. These women are praised for how much weight they’ve lost and even for the mere fact that they have lost weight. As an anorexic, such comments made me feel great in the past, but they seem so empty now. They do not reflect anything at all: not my beauty, not my skills, not my personality. They simply reflect that my body has changed and that’s it.

The power of the pictures

Obviously the power of this diet programme lies in these pictures, but I question whether they have the effects people presume they have. This is how 36-year-old Pippa describes the influence of the pictures:

With this programme, I still have days when I think: ‘Well, the odd bowl of pasta or bottle of wine won’t make a difference.’ But I stop myself because I know that if I do that, when I put up the next photo, everyone will know what I’ve been up to (Daily Mail).

I take issue with the idea that apparently, “the odd bowl of pasta” does make enough difference to show in a photo, and for this reason you should not eat it. I have lived by similar thoughts for years, discarding pasta as something “bad,” and always reluctant to eat it, but now I eat it a few times a week, and happily so. I love it and I still have not quite become as big as an elephant, not even when I eat the occasional pizza. I’m not saying that everyone should just eat as much pizza and pasta as they want — I’m just commenting on the train of thought.

My concerns

I’m scared that this whole post-your-photo-on-Facebook thing will give people the impression that there is a certain standard to adhere to, a certain ideal to achieve. After all, “this on girl has lost X weight, and this other girl has even Y pounds, so I must…” That people will get the impression that minor things make a massive difference when they really don’t.

Balance

After my own experiences, I am definitely not a supporter of dieting. I am a supporter of healthy living though, and by that I do not mean that you can or cannot eat certain things, but that you manage to find balance: in your eating pattern, the amount of exercise, and most of all in your mind. Don’t take it to extremes. You’re not going to grow fat if you eat the sporadic hamburger or if you skip your exercise for once. Don’t take this to an extreme either by using these as plausible excuses every single time, but balance it. And more than anything, focus on your health and how you feel, rather than on weight, on what shows and what doesn’t, or on empty Facebook comments for that matter.

Photo by Laura Lewis

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