It’s a new year, which means that everyone on the telly is telling you to lose weight. You’re not good enough with those few pounds on you, are you? Maybe you should shed them. That’d make you into a better person, wouldn’t it? You’d be a better wife/mother/student/husband/daughter/cousin/son if you weren’t so damn chubby, wouldn’t you? It’s easy to hijack the “New Year New Me” vibe with incessant and incoherent fatphobia that’s alluring enough to lull anyone into a diet. Dieting is a multi-billion dollar industry that garners a lot of attention around January.
Every year, my eyes are peeled for the new diet fad. Whatever it is, from protein powders to weight loss pills, they’re gobbled up by consumers, treating new year’s dieting like it’s a suffragette-style hunger strike, except it’s not in the name of women’s liberation — it’s all in the name of a tighter bod.
This year’s new craze is raw water. Essentially, it’s just water straight from a spring or a river. Unfiltered, untreated, and unsterilised. So it’s probably filled with germs and faeces. A company called Live Water supply jugs of it to people living in and around San Francisco and Los Angeles. What residents in Flint are drinking out of the taps, gentrified communities in LA are paying $6 a gallon for. And the people who’re drinking it are getting ill, suffering from diarrhoea and a parasitic intestinal complaint known as beaver fever… all to lose weight. But at least they’re getting skinnier, right?
That being said, I don’t think anyone should blame the consumer for simply buying what people are selling. Adverts are pretty seductive, especially when they blend themselves in with chatter about morality and trying to be better, like what happens every new year.
Perhaps it’s natural to criticise what’s in what we’re drinking: I know I want to know what’s going in my body, and I’ll be less trustworthy of a product that tries to hide its ingredients. So I understand the appeal of “raw water” — anyone can go to the nearest river and see it right there, and with bottled water or tap water, the qualms surrounding fluoride date way back. The “water-consciousness movement” who are so desperate for this raw water stand on a bed of unfounded concerns about fluoride, yet have legitimate concerns about lead. But please, for the love of all that is holy, if we’re going to be critical of any kind of liquid can it be something like Coca-Cola and not tap water? You know, the company that drains villages of its water and sells it back to them?
Despite what the adverts and fads tell us, you’re allowed to put on weight, especially over New Year because Christmas is just a few days earlier. Christmas is a feast day. You’re supposed to eat as much as possible. If you’re a Christian, EVERY SUNDAY is a feast day. I mean, God wants us to eat as much as possible to celebrate Her name. Let’s not allow weight watchers into making us feel guilty for eating a few extra roast potatoes, and then let it get to the point where we’re drinking unclean water for the sake of “health”. Fads are confusing, so here’s your reminder that you’re fine without them.