Are Brands Fooling us out of Exercising?

Break a sweat. Don’t fall for one-month detox and inner cleansing plans that claims to ‘flush out of toxins’

I often get messages that read somewhat like this: “Weight Loss plan that WORKS! Lose upto 5 Kgs or More. Get…1 MONTH DETOX IN A BOX! Use code DETOX 40 & Get FLAT 40% OFF.” This links to a website where the “celebrity nutritionist” asks if we have “No time for exercise? No time for dietician?” Like the two are basic necessities of life. The product is sold on the basis of “inner cleansing” — not the kind that people go to church for — but the kind that “flushes out toxins”.

Meanwhile, a friend had an ad which said, in all-capital letters, “Dear member, lose weight without exercising. Is it possible? Learn how intermittent fasting works to change your body from within.” The talk was going to be presented by a person who represented a brand of foods that facilitated weight loss, the website of which declares, “Weight loss plans: No hard work no exercise.”

Both are selling products and services by touching on so many raw nerves: our insecurities about being overweight, our dread of exercise, and our hope that life can (and must) be easier not harder.

My generation — X they call us, like the elusive algebraic letter that never knew its own value — has had it rough. We didn’t have role models who played sport for its enjoyment, with the result that we now have a generation of competitive people who are so busy registering for runs and positioning themselves next to the photographer so they can post a sweaty pic on social media. The corporate world — we were the first generation introduced to MNCs, remember — has linked it to goals, which means we must either look at weight-loss or some sort of landmark (30 marathons in 30 days).

For women, most of our mums didn’t exercise, spending a lot of time in the kitchen (even when they were menstruating). As children, many of the girls simply stood on the sidelines of the field feeling awkward in their skirts, hoping the games period would end soon.

It’s no wonder girls find exercise boring, scary, tiring. They look terrible in tights, and they’re in awe of the few kitted-out folks running with ease in the park. Better to hide in the house and go with a “detox in a box” or a “subscription menu”.

The truth is, girls do need to exercise, but they don’t need to join a gym, run a marathon, swim in the sea. They simply need to walk at least 30 minutes a day, breaking a sweat, in comfortable clothes. And ignore the false messaging that marketeers perpetuate.

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