The scourge of the celeb fitness DVD
By Diane Cooke
If celebrity fitness videos worked, why are we getting podgier, asked Sarah Vine in The Daily Mail in 2016.
Indeed Ms Vine has a point. She also believes that they exacerbate women's insecurities about their bodies, which is another valid point.
Reality TV star-turned presenter, Scarlett Moffatt, on losing just over three stones, commented that if she could do it, anybody could. In fact, that's something everyone says when they lose weight. And it doesn't half irritate the rest of the population that can only lever itself off the sofa to drive to the chippy.
The difference is that most celebrities have an army of helpers, nutritionists, personal trainers and cheerleaders, plus a big cash incentive to keep their grasping little hands out of the biscuit barrel. There's no bigger incentive than a big fat cheque to help one slim down.
In fact, that was actually a government incentive at one point.
In 2008, employers were being encouraged to set up competitions with money, vouchers and other rewards for people who gave up junk food in favour of healthy eating and living. Those losing the most weight would earn the biggest prizes.
Ministers believed that by giving people incentives to do something about their weight would help avoid larger costs associated with treating cancer, heart disease and diabetes caused by obesity. Similar schemes have worked well in America and British medical insurance companies already offer discounts for people who go to the gym regularly.
Jessica Barrett, writing for The i, learned how to spot when a celebrity is about to launch a fitness DVD while working on a celebrity magazine.
"First of all we see the series of pap shots from the celebrity’s holiday. Their weight gain is immediately made obvious in several ways: the subject will be grabbing their belly, or tucking into a huge portion of fish and chips, drinking a pint of beer or walking down the beach with no make-up or fake tan on (the indignity!) – all of this will be done in an ill-fitting bikini to further accentuate matters. They’re intricately posed to make sure they look the worst they’ve ever looked.
"Then the workout photos begin: personal training sessions (always in a public place which a paparazzi just happens to have stumbled upon). They’re always in unflattering workout gear, tiny shorts and a crop top: belly on show, pained expression on face. Finally, we have the unveiling of the new body which comes with the official announcement of the workout DVD. Normally the celebrity is standing next to a cardboard cut out of their former “fat” self. And they’ve usually dropped from a size 16 to a size 8 in a matter of months."
In the case of Scarlett Moffatt, she was whisked off to a Swiss bootcamp where she worked out for six hours a day and ate only 700 calories.
So the next time you're tempted to buy that celebrity fitness DVD, think on. You'd be wiser putting the money towards a healthy lunch.