Based in Frome, somerset, #fitMess is a blog by Joanna Beale. Her posts draw on her work as a personal trainer, as well as her own personal past experience of significant obesity.  Her general focus is overall wellness and body positivity.

Screw you, Herbalife

I've touched upon how I once lost an immense amount of weight through meal replacement shakes. Just over 11 stone in a year, in fact. I was even a poster girl for one meal replacement shake company, appearing on tv (GMTV, in fact; secretly a bit disappointed I didn't make it onto This Morning, lol), in newspapers and magazines, talking about my 'incredible' weightloss. Jobsworth journalists with formula-driven remits put words in my mouth about my 'newfound confidence', my sudden desirability and my dream life now being complete. It was fast, incredibly difficult and by the time I reached 9 stone, I was losing my hair, sleeping 14+ hours a night, and my skin was so grey that I had to wear foundation all day so that other people wouldn't notice. I had no energy, loose skin everywhere, and more than anything, I was starving, all the fucking time. Like, so fucking hungry I wanted to cry every day.  It was not so much of a dream life as it was a total nightmare. I hated everything, especially myself, despite wearing a small size 8, which I had convinced myself would be the answer to all my problems. Wow, the joke was on me.  Life stopped being enjoyable. And one day, after two years of insanely restricting my eating, I binged. And my body was so grateful to receive the nutrition that it had been missing that it didn't want to stop... and all of that weight piled back on. I tried and tried to get back on the horse, kept persevering, failing, caught in a cycle of denial and self-punishment, convinced that these shakes were the answer to my problems. I tried multiple brands, maybe it was the taste? I avoided Lighter Life and Cambridge because even in my desperate state I felt they were too extreme (or maybe I was just too damn tight to splash out that kind of money on shitty flavoured water?).  I tried Slim Fast, Herbalife, Body by Vi, JuicePlus... to see if the effects were any different than I remembered; the list of ingredients seemed even longer now, the taste even more artificial. The bulking agents bloated me and while the taste seemed fine at first, now I can't even smell them without feeling nauseated. I thought that maybe, in the right context, these programmes might work for some people. Maybe it was just me that it wasn't right for. Maybe I had failed, maybe I would always fail.  I just hadn't done it right.  It was all my fault that I couldn't make the magic products work again.


Something is not healthy because someone chooses to describe it as such.  Any 'diet' package sold to you will inevitably be one that sets you up to fail, because the pushyass cockwomble salespeople, canny, cynical advertisers and commission-based trainers who sell it to you want you to keep buying more of it. NO FUCKING SHIT. I even became one of the salespeople (for a VERY short time), and was horrified by the force of greed that powers the machine of these corporations. Everyone in that chain is so desperate to get to the top they couldn't give a flying fuck about you or your health.  You are nothing more than an open purse flapping in their multilevel marketing tornado winds.  So, how much did I spend on this 'food'? Added up over the years, it must run into the thousands. What a fucking mug. I'm more angry about that than anything else.  The answer to my problems was never in a powdered, pilled, or ready to drink format. I needed to acknowledge two things: 1 - why I had put on the weight and 2 - why I couldn't stop eating. Taking food out of the equation will NEVER solve your problems. Face your demons head on, instead of running away from them and lining the pockets of a multinational corporation.

Making lifestyle changes, healthier choices and sticking to the right exercise regime for you is what will help you lose weight and fat steadily, for a lifetime. Guess what?  It's going to take some fucking time if you want to change your life.  It will not be easy.  It will not be quick.  Maintaining a healthy muscle mass will keep your body fat in check. Eating a good balance of natural, unprocessed foods with a macronutrient ratio suitable for your daily expenditure will keep your internal organs functioning correctly, helping regulate your hormones and even your moods. You will find energy levels you never thought possible. Put simply: shakes, sugars, syrups, colours, preservatives, sweeteners, fillers, bulking agents, appetite suppressants, thermogenics - these should not form the backbone of your diet. 

Get back to basics. Cook some shit.  Know your food, don't be afraid of it!  Your body will thank you, and I won't have to swear at you.


Lily Allen - Fuck You EMI UK (P) 2009 The copyright in this audiovisual recording is owned by EMI Records Ltd: Click pic to listen

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