Keeping Up Appearances

I grew up in the nineties when grunge was the order of the day. The perfect look was ripped jeans, slouchy shirts and messy hair. Meanwhile celebrities pretended to eat pizza and chips as if this was what formed their rock hard abs and enviable, toned limbs. (As someone who on leaving home gorged and devoured their way through Freshers. I can assure you the eat and pray you won’t get fat tactic never ever works.)

However, times they are a changing. My Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are all filled with pictures of Kale Juice and selfies in the gym accompanied by insanely annoying and self aggrandising hashtags like #healthyliving and #detoxday. Just once I would like to see an honest Instagram: here’s a picture of the undersized portions I ate at the overpriced restaurant before going home to gorge on actual food groups #fatlife #ilovefoodmorethanmen. However, this subliminal messaging is having an impact. We can no longer pretend as if looking good comes naturally. I personally blame reality T.V (as I am wont to do for any decline in society) for exposing the truth. Looking good takes hard work, dedication and (as I am painfully realising) investment.

I am constantly on a diet; I have tried nutritionists, Slimming World and Weight Watchers. All of whom I have paid in the hope they would be able to teach me the secret to declining marshmallows (the true love of my life) and eating chocolate in moderation. I also follow a variety of people on Instagram whom preach mantras such as #cleanliving and #eatpraylove. Whilst, frankly, the portions that these people eat genuinely amaze me- as if three rice cakes is a breakfast! And the fact they have time to arrange their food to resemble flowers or to do anything except shove it on a plate and then into their mouth simultaneously shocks and amazes me. However, there is no arguing that these people are extremely healthy. So I feel compelled to buy ingredients like goji beans, coconut oil and an odd category of food named “superfoods.” Not only are these food products about as filling as a spoonful of dust, but they also quickly drain my resources. Not only do I really just want a pizza and chips, but it is also a hell of a lot cheaper.

In a further aim to look good I am a member of my local gym. Living in London this, of course, means I pay an extortionate amount per month. I have plenty of complaints against my gym: I could rant and rave about the cramped, overheated classes that make you feel as if you are exercising in Dante’s 8th circle of hell. I could also pontificate on the fact that despite paying membership fees if I will never be able to afford a personal trainer. I do, of course, watch their classes in the hope of picking up tips, but this does not have quite the same effect. However, I think what hurts the most is the clapping. I believe there are two types of people in the world: those who enjoy and those who hate exercising. And despite all the inspiring Pinterest posts that preach its virtues accompanied by uplifting mottos and funky info graphics I hate going to the gym. So why I am forced to clap after spinning my legs so fast I am unable to walk properly for the rest of the next day I do not know. Further to the point, not only am I paying so as to avoid weight gain, but the only tangible benefit as far as I can see is the one-time-only free water bottle (that I promptly lost). Furthermore, since reading an article that explained how burning 400 calories on the treadmill does not mean I have nullified the bag of marshmallows I ate the day previously the experience has never been quite the same.

And yet despite spending all this money, time and effort on trying to achieve the legs of Blake Lively and the arms of Michelle Obama I am still far away from my goal. I suppose my one solace is that they weren’t published in the Huffington Post #justsayin.


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