The Muller Light Yogurt Scandal
Those two words really make me cringe. It's 2018 and people are still buying into what I believe to be one of the biggest diet scams to exist. Group weigh in sessions? Classing foods as "syns" (read: sins, ie bad)? Giving out leaflets that advise you not to hang out with overweight friends? Yeah, it's a no from me.
Slimming World has always been a fairly tenacious subject in the press, but there's been another blow up recently, when the company announced that Muller Light yoghurts would no longer be "syn free" and would now contain 1 syn. The nutritional content of the yoghurt hasn't changed at all - it contains exactly what it did before - so how is this yogurt now magically a "syn"? Nothing has changed, nothing at all, and it literally proves that Slimming World make this stuff up as they go along. And yet people are still buying into it. As someone who has struggled with food and body image for so much of her life, it makes me so sad that people are actually paying to be told to act in a way that my brain made me act when I was at one of my lowest points in life.
Mark my words, Slimming World will be pushing their own "syn free" yogurt to replace this Muller Light yogurt soon...
Because it's all a marketing scam.
Paying to go and get shamed into eating less, calling foods "syns" and being told to only eat X amount of them - it's disgusting. And whilst it might be a quick fix in the short term, it's not going to work in the long term. There is nothing healthy about categorising foods into "bad" and "good", into "syns" and "free". There is nothing good about having a group weigh in, being made to feel like you're not doing it right if you don't lose as much as someone else. It actually amazes me that it's 2018 and people are still buying into this. And it's not just Slimming World, either. Weight Watchers, Herbalife, Jane's Plan, Cambridge... they're all marketing scams! It's the diet industry's way of making money off you.
There is a proven way to lose weight/maintain a healthy weight and lead a healthy lifestyle, and it doesn't involve paying a company to tell you what you can and can't eat. It's called a balance diet and exercise.
Seriously! All you have to do is eat well, and move often. Eat what you like, when you like. If you're conscious about weight, make sure when you eat a bit more, you exercise a bit more! Do it all in proportion, if you're trying to lose weight. If you're just aiming for a healthy lifestyle, eating a full, balanced diet and exercising around three times a week should be enough.
Of course, it depends on every individual situation and lifestyle - but I can tell you now, Slimming World isn't the healthy answer for anyone. Calling food 'syns' and limiting how many 'syns' you can have in a week encourages guilt and shame around food, just like the rest of the dieting industry - and Slimming World (and all the other diet plans/groups) are no exception to that. There's nothing healthy about constantly counting how many "syns" something has, and as qualified nutritionist, Rhiannon Lambert said in her piece for the Independent:
"An obsession over which foods are good and bad is an impossible, rule-driven way of eating that is familiar to so many eating disordered people, a behaviour that I see in my clinic every single day... diet culture is seen everywhere, from restaurant menus to supermarkets, and I believe that if we perceive what we eat as good or bad, it is often an extension of how we see ourselves"
And that's the tea, sis.
But what do Slimming World say?
And whilst Slimming World often argue that the word "syn" is short for "synergy" and relates directly to nutrition and food, you know as well as I do that they've nicknamed 'bad' foods "syns" because of the delightful play on words it has. They want you to feel bad for eating a chocolate bar because then you keep going back to the groups for "help" and "advice", and they make their money. They want you to keep avoiding "normal" foods so they can offer you a branded Slimming World alternative - and again, that's how they make their money.
I mean, kudos to those who have used Slimming World and have lost weight and now feel happy and content in their life. I have a number of friends who have used Slimming World and look fantastic! I always tell them how proud I am of them, because I know how far they've come, and it's so important to support your friends. But that doesn't change my feelings towards the company and I'm always very open about that. Whilst I've been tempted a couple of times in the past to join, I never have - and I never would. It just doesn't sit right with me, paying a corporation to tell me what foods I can and can't eat.
I've managed to lose weight, a considerable amount of weight, simply by having a more balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising more. I walk 10,000 steps a day, and I have an 8-hour a day office job where I'm glued to a desk - if I can do that, anyone can. If you're aiming to lose weight, then pay attention to the nutritional advice for what you're eating. Look at fat content, research how many calories you need to consume - because eating too much or not enough both have a negative impact on your weight! - and make sure you're having enough of each food group. Don't cut carbs, don't cut sugar - eat everything in moderation. That, or exercise in proportion to how much you eat. I'm not a health professional but both my Mum and my Dad's girlfriend are personal trainers, so I think I have some clue with what I'm talking about.
The diet industry is toxic.
From the way gym's target us in the New Year about getting a "bikini body" to the way health stores stock meal replacement shakes, from pushing a slim, size zero ideal body type to us in mainstream media, to promoting plans like Slimming World. It's all toxic and it's all to make money from us. Every time we feel bad about ourselves and buy into any element of the diet industry, we're lining some fat cat's pockets who, in truth, does not give a stuff about how anyone feels, anyone's health or dieting. They're in it for the cash and nothing else.
Love yourself at all shapes and sizes. Enjoy all the food you want to enjoy, exercise because it's fun or because it makes you feel good, not just because you want to be slim. Skinny doesn't equal happy or healthy, so make sure you feel happy and healthy, no matter what size you are.
Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Cambridge, Jane's Plan and everything else can all get in the bin - and I hope that this Muller Light yogurt scandal opens a few more people's eyes to how much of a scam the diet industry is. Go enjoy your yogurts, hun!