FebFast, Dry July, Oscober, Droptober (cut out booze and you’ll lose weight) – for a third of the year we are made to feel guilty about enjoying alcohol. More than a third if you count all the publicity these events get in the month beforehand. Let’s name the next one Bore-gust, so the smug suddenly-sober can sit around with their sparkly eyes and talk about how their lives are sooo much better now that they get up early on Sunday mornings.
Sure, these things are for good causes – cancer, kids, “healthy lifestyles” whatever that means, but apparently it doesn’t include the cheek-aching laughter that happens when you drink with friends. But if the cause is so great, then why all the body policing? After all, telling people they should give up alcohol for a month in order to lose weight and get sparkly eyes and give their livers “a break” (which I’m not convinced about because livers are very good at what they do), isn’t really in the spirit of doing it to raise money for charity, is it?
To borrow a wonderful phrase from Marieke Hardy‘s You’ll be sorry when I’m dead, I like living life blurrily. My life does not revolve around alcohol, but alcohol is certainly a part of it. Just like food and reading and live music and blogging. Besides, I gave up alcohol for six months in 2000 (long story, but it involves an alcoholic and a broken heart), and became so smug, judgey and boring that even I didn’t want to hang out with me.
I know it’s Michelle Bridges’ job to tell people they should lose weight. Otherwise she wouldn’t sell books or get clients. But don’t assume that we all want or need to lose weight. Enough with the body policing.
In her Sunday Life column yesterday, she wrote:
At some point in our lives, we need to start saying “no” to ritually tucking in to lollies and cakes. Colour me cynical on this one, but I believe that when we are no longer children, we should leave behind childish things.
Firstly, why? And secondly, booooorrrrriiiiinnnnng. In my experience, people who keep a child-like joy in their lives are the ones who are the happiest.
There’s something very weird about a grown man or woman walking out of a fast-food outlet holding a double whopper dopper burger and a bucket of cola.
What’s weird about an adult buying food? Personally, I think it’s funny that people drink coke (I used to clean the toilet with it, works wonders in a grubby sharehouse), but if people want to drink it, that’s their business. You’d hope that someone in the health industry would have a stronger argument than just “grow up because softdrinks are for children”. One that’s perhaps, you know, backed up by science.
She also writes that “a piece of sponge cake in the office every Friday afternoon” is a junk food habit and you should stop it. Bollocks. If you get a piece of sponge cake every Friday, then I say enjoy it. Enjoy the break from your desk, enjoy the chatting with colleagues, enjoy the ritual of sharing a cake at the end of the week. Also, can I come and work with you?
(Disclaimer: I am not a health professional and this is not health advice. If you are concerned about your liver, see a GP to have it tested. You wouldn’t take medical advice from me, so why take it from a personal trainer with a barrow to push?)