OMG: It’s another stupid diet

The latest diet to take the world by storm and knock the Dukan Diet off its low-carb throne (and ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ off the ebook best-seller list) has arrived.

Six weeks to OMG‘Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends’ was written by London personal trainer, Venice. A Fulton (real name Paul Khanna).

Fulton is another self-published phenomenon, selling 120,000 copies of his ebook on iTunes before it was sold to US and UK publishers for seven-figure sums.

The diet, like many best-selling diets these days, is low-carb, so fruit is out. But what’s getting attention are the unusual to extreme practices Fulton recommends to lose weight:

  • Have a daily cold bath.
  • Skip breakfast.
  • Drink coffee before you workout.
  • Blow up balloons.

Predictably there are plenty of health experts tearing his theories to shreds, but there are also journalists attempting to bring some balance to their critiques.

Julia Llewellyn-Smith in The Independent writes:

“But cold baths have indeed been shown, since Egyptian times, to significantly raise metabolic rates … Two black coffees on an empty stomach will help burn calories quicker. Fruit may sound healthy, but intake should be limited because fructose contains leptin, which blocks signals to the body that it’s full. Blowing up balloons indeed works our transversus abdominis muscles … His advice to skip breakfast is commonly held to be a diet crime punishable by a lifetime in XXL jeans. Yet evidence shows that if you exercise first thing on an empty stomach (after a cold bath and two black coffees), you’ll burn fat faster.”

We all know by now that the healthiest and best way to long-term weight loss is to simply burn more than you put in. Balancing your protein intake against carbohydrate intake can aid this process. Too many carbs are not good for you, but neither is too much protein, and people still disagree on what the right balance is. (NB: Fulton’s position is that each meal should be 50% protein.)

There have always been crazy diets and there probably always will be. But what REALLY distresses me about ‘Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends’, is not so much the content, but this:

  1. The target market: so clearly teenage girls and young women that the writer’s protestations otherwise are shamefully unbelievable. As if the title isn’t proof enough, there are plenty of references to parents and teachers, such as: “Coffee. Nice? Yuk? Something that teachers drink?”
  2. The use of the word “skinny” – an irresponsible, anti-health message if ever there was one.
  3. Exhorting readers to be “skinnier than their friends” – pitting teens and young women against each other in the race to be skinny. It makes me feel sick and angry just thinking about this message reaching teenage girls. How it must mess with their heads and their friendships. With some carefully chosen words, Fulton is suggesting their “friends” are rivals in a war of rapid weight-loss.
  4. He is anti-parents: “Many will say that you don’t need any help, including parents. They might state that, ‘you’re fine as you are’, ‘it’s unhealthy’, or repeat the classic, ‘it’s just puppy fat’. Guess what, you’re not a puppy! Are they right about the other stuff? No. Only you can ever decide if you’re fine. No one else.”
  5. He is anti-science: “Geeks can afford to relax. After all, lab coats are great at hiding thighs of any size.”

Some critics are saying this book will encourage disordered eating. Anorexia and bulimia are on the rise in Australia, with the greatest increase in children aged 12 and under (cases more than doubled between 1999 and 2006). Anorexia nervosa is the third-most common chronic adolescent problem and the psychiatric condition that causes the most number of deaths. It’s thought about 70% of 15-year-old girls are on a diet. Even short-term extreme dieting can do long-term damage to the body, our thinking and our appetite.

Plenty of mothers have tried Atkins, the Dukan Diet, the South Beach Diet. Now that I have a teenager, I think it’s best that I never do another diet that has a name or a book. I’m pretty sure that no mum of teenagers (boys or girls) will have a copy of ‘Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends’ in the house. But keep an eye out for it in your teen’s bedroom. They probably won’t tell you about it, because the writer has encouraged them not to.

What do you think of this and other fad diets? Have you tried any?
Does having children make you feel differently about them?

 

Comments

  1. katherine says:

    As a parent, my blood is boiling. This book is simply irresponsible and dangerous. I’ll be talking about it with my children tonight.

  2. I saw headlines re: this book yesterday but haven’t looked into it further, so thanks for the summary! If the focus isn’t on dieting and eating disorders it’s on inactivity and obsesity. No wonder it’s confusing to be a kid these days! Books such as this are irresponsible, and nothing more than a grab at quick cash. I’m sure the author is making a tidy sum at the expense of impressionable young people.
    Personally, I’ve never followed a diet in my life, although my mum was (and still is) always on one ‘program’ or another. I have sons, and one of them follows a strict vegan diet, but that’s not for weight loss! I prefer to eat what I want, when I want. I’ll never be skinnier than my friends, and that’s ok with me!
    Mum of Adult Kids recently posted..Use it or loose itMy Profile

  3. The fact anorexia and bulimia are on the rise in under 12s is shocking. The books sounds scary. But it is really difficult when you have your own weight issues to try to model good behaviour to your children. Just today I tried to embrace exercise and am making an effort to give up the chips and soft drink (neither of which my children have ever been allowed). My kids are naturally thin and have a healthy diet. But now they are older they question why I don’t try harder to lose weight. They are the ones who try to encourage me to exercise and give up junk food, so hopefully they have got the message it’s not about “dieting”. Having read Portia de Rossi’s memoir the insight into the life of somebody suffering anorexia and bulimia is frightening, a diet book which encourages teenagers to lie to parents and offers advice like drink coffee, take cold baths is just plain dangerous.
    Janine Fitzpatrick recently posted..The One Where I Try To ExerciseMy Profile

  4. ive done the dukin diet, body trim and cabbage soup 🙂

    meditarain next!
    Yvette @ DTlilsquirts recently posted..DTLS turns one {Blogoversary Giveaway}My Profile

  5. Yuck. I hadn’t heard about it but don’t like what I’m reading. Yuck.
    Emily recently posted..My chocolate ban is overMy Profile

  6. I’m studying for my Certificate in Nutrition at the moment and hearing about fad diets like these make me so angry. He’s obviously one of those people who thinks any PR is good PR – despite who rips him to shreds. Problem is he’s potentially doing so much harm to teenagers (especially girls) and he won’t take a bar of responsibility.
    Just terrible.
    Grace recently posted..Running the City To Surf for World Vision: To do more, to give moreMy Profile

    • Thekids says:

      I read that what he really wants to be is an actor – personal training was just his day job; and he had a small part on Harry Potter. Wonder if he is happy to find fame any way?

  7. I saw smething about this on the today show and was truly shocked, for all the reasons you just stated.
    As for a cold bath; I can see the validity. I always lose weight in the colder months, I’m assuming because my body works harder to keep me warm, and being a natural born Darwin girl, I have no warm clothes to help it! 🙂

  8. BossyMummy says:

    I thought this was just a satirical parody!!!!!! Oh dear, this is quite sick and has the potential to be very harmful.

  9. I wasn’t actually aware of this but am now thoroughly outraged!
    Catherine Rodie Blagg @CoTaaB recently posted..The "C" wordMy Profile

  10. Oh this makes me so angry! It is ridiculous what rubbish is allowed to exist sometimes! It makes me so sad that this is a bestseller.
    Robyn (@slightly_deep) recently posted..Why I don’t believe in same sex marriageMy Profile

  11. Unbelieveable!!! Things like this shit me. Thanks for sharing. Rachel x
    Rachel from Redcliffe Style recently posted..Mermaid TalesMy Profile

  12. Man, I hate stuff like this! Just because something is published and sells well doesn’t mean it’s good advice!
    What Sarah Did Next recently posted..Pressure… Pain… and Pajamas.My Profile

  13. Have any one of you actually read the book? Have any of you looked up the evidence he is stating in (recent) ethically conducted medical trials? I am 47 years old and lost 10kgs on this and have kept it off for over 3 years now. its not a diet so much as a set of principles to live by. Read it before you hop on the bandwagon and criticise it ladies!!!!!!!!

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