**TW – I get sweary in this post, I just couldn’t help it!
Ever since The Biggest Loser’s Michelle Bridges made squillions from selling her 12 week online starvation program, reality tv shows have become a launching pad for young, plastic surgeried sexbots aiming to capitalise on their 15 minutes of fame. There’s a growing trend for fitness trainers, swimwear models and “social media influencers” to follow a specific career trajectory: appear in cringe-worthy reality tv show, build up a huge fan base, then launch a ‘health and fitness brand’ (ie, sell weight loss) to coincide with the end of the tv show.
It’s the new way to climb the career ladder, the 2018 version of a sex tape.
One show in particular is breeding body transformation programs quicker than a Thermomix risotto. The Bachelor/ette is a polygamous dating show in which contestants are imprisoned in an overly decorated “bachelor mansion,” vying for the attention of The Bachelor through a series of heavily staged ‘dates’ (think helicopter flights, skydiving, crocodile wrestling) and increasingly humiliating ‘group dates’ (think lingerie football games, pillow fights, crocodile wrestling). Everyone in the mansion is permanently rat arsed drunk and either topless (the men) or dressed up for a beauty pageant (the women). Each week a contestant is sent home in a humiliating ‘rose ceremony’, until the Bachie chooses a winner.
The Bachelor is a shit show, a spray tanned train wreck. The only way to watch it and stay sane is to drink a lot whilst playing Bachie Bingo, or to read “Rosie’s recaps”, a witheringly funny satirical wrap up by author Rosie Waterland (who sadly no longer writes them, a decision which is no doubt a win for Rosie, who’s gone on to better things!!).
Last week I was asked by the hosts from the Shameless podcast to make a few comments about THIS Instagram post from Dasha Gaivoronski, a rejected Bachelor contestant from the infamous “Honey Badger” season (don’t ask). Dasha is – you guessed it – a PT from Adelaide, and has clearly completed her Internet Diploma on How to Spin Reality TV into a thriving Fitness Biz.
Your neck, Dasha. Your neck connects you to your body.
Dasha has over 370 THOUSAND followers, many of them young females, and she has no compunctions about telling impressionable girls that nothing ‘reconnects’ her with her body than STARVING IT FOR 3 DAYS. In spite of being utterly unqualified to give dietary advice (let alone starvation advice), Dasha apparently feels OK to gush on about the bullshit benefits of water fasting. “It promotes the autophagy,” she types confidently, following up this pearler with claims that starving herself reduces the risk of cancer, insulin sensitivity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Let’s just leave aside for a moment that none of these claims are backed up by credible human research. The casual way in which Dasha’s promoting a practice which is a) unnecessary and b) potentially extremely physically and psychologically dangerous to her followers is what really grinds my gears. Thankfully, some people commented expressing concern, but she dismissed them airily with comments like this:
People are like SO SENSITIVE why can’t I tell people not to eat without any criticism whatsoever???
The thing is, Dasha’s water starvation reconnection rejuvenation miracle cure isn’t a one off event. Her entire Instagram account is a clusterfuck of diets. You name it, Dasha’s on it: Intermittent Fasting (IF), Keto, no sugar, plus her entire Insta feed is peppered with ads for “Women’s Best” supplements and horrible looking protein shakes. This stuff is not for the faint hearted. Just glancing at it would trigger an eating disorder relapse in most of my clients. Dasha’s Insta account should come with a trigger warning. She is obsessed with weight and appearance – actually admitting that “HOW I FEEL totally depends on HOW I LOOK” in one of her posts. Statements like this need to raise red flags, not launch weight loss businesses.
When she was ousted from Bachie prison, Dasha posted about gaining weight during her time in the mansion. I suspect this was because she actually ate food during her stay, and her poor intermittently starved body was trying to claw its way back to a safe place. Not to be deterred, she immediately went on another diet and then proudly posted her weight loss again – alongside a strategic announcement of the launch of her “Transform in 30” fitness app. And then after all of this weight loss transformation, she apparently also feels the need to further transform herself by starving for 3 days.
I have had an absolute gutful of this tripe. Call me cynical, but the timing of this is immensely fishy. Please, oh please, do not buy products, and absolutely do not take ‘nutrition advice’ from this woman. Don’t even let her read your star sign.
But Dasha isn’t exactly breaking new ground here. Sam Wood, another PT and The Bachelor from season 3, also launched an online weight loss program after his love-quest finished. Where DID he find the time to write it, in between all of that polygamous dating!? It’s one of those programs which features a bewildering array of ‘experts’ for ‘mindset’, and recipes provided by nutritionists (and sponsored by I Quit Sugar – the world’s most depressing recipe book am I right?).
Not that it’s all been smooth sailing in the cut throat world of online weight loss. Sam’s currently being sued by his original business partners, and his program has been accused of nicking off with other people’s online weight loss program ‘recipes’ (not worth stealing, IMO). Is everyone in the industry permanently hangry?
Although he literally sells weight loss for a living, Sam likes to pretend to be body positive. But his website is full of before and after photos promising people radical body transformation, which is misleading as we know that most people who cough up for this type of program won’t lose anywhere near the amount of weight the testimonial people did. And they’ll put it straight back on again, thus completing the circle and guaranteeing a repeat customer.
Wood’s true colours were revealed in a particularly cruel article where he literally fat shamed one of the world’s funniest men, Will Ferrell, for his ‘dad bod’ It’s worrying how incredibly focused he is on appearance. News articles covering his wife’s post baby weight loss (because of course, what else would we talk about, right?) reveal Sam’s obsession. In this article, on one hand he claims that Snez doesn’t even weight herself, because BODY POSITIVE, and literally a few sentences later lets it slip that she’s still ‘a couple of kilo’s heavier’ than she was pre baby. What’s he doing, weighing her while she sleeps? He then explains that she’s ‘training hard’ because they’re getting married soon. Because of course the most important part of getting married is your body, right Sam? And don’t even get me started on this article where they talk about how they’re spending Christmas – working out & eating diet food! Talk about bah humbug!
But wait, there’s more! There’s yet another entrepreneur getting ready to jump on the Bachie Body Transformation Program bandwagon! Ali Oetjen, the most recent Bachelorette, has apparently morphed from real estate agent to a ‘healthy lifestyle motivator’ (?WTF?), and is launching another fucking online weight loss program. Don’t worry, she’s not doing it on her own – there’s a naturopath/nutritionist who’s presumably been paid to produce the recipes, and another PT who apparently specialises in positive body image AND weight loss AND body sculpting! Call me cynical (GO ON I DARE YOU), but I just want to weigh in here and say that anyone who apparently specialises in helping people with body image issues would think twice about accompanying that type of blurb with the following picture:
Ali Oetjen’s Legit #bodyimageexpert
If you’re into weights, that’s great, go for your life! But please, be aware that the entire point of body image work is to stop centring the appearance of the body, particularly the ‘cultural ideal body’. I mean, FFS.
Enough already! I am calling BULLSHIT on all of this fuckery. The Bachelor Body Transformation Battery Production Line needs to end. I believe that all future cast members of The Bachelor should be forced to sign contracts banning them from launching fitness, nutrition or ‘health and wellness’ businesses. No ex Bachelor contestant should be allowed to comment on diets or diet products. And all of the Bachie Insta accounts should come with a trigger warning!!
Who’s with me??