Sunday, 28 April 2013

Anne Diamond – A New You

Most Celebrity Fitness DVDs consist of a bunch of exercises with maybe a DVD extra at the end with a bit of healthy eating advice.

Anne Diamond’s A New You instead starts off with the food  and then tacks on a  few exercises afterwards. This was released by the Queen of TV-AM in 2003 following her appearance in Celebrity Big Brother the previous year when apparently her weight made headline news. Because tabloid editors are bastards.

Before the cardio or resistance workouts are even mentioned, we have half an hour of chatting about food. Anne’s personal fitness guru, Jason Vale, tells us what we can and can’t eat.
At the beginning of the DVD there is a weasel-worded disclaimer stating that although Vale may have specifically told you to avoid fizzy drinks while holding up a coke bottle with a sticker saying “Cola” over the label, this is in no way to be taken as us saying that there’s anything wrong with coke. Or any of the other products shown. And please don’t sue us.

From left to right, this is not diet coke, sunny delight or Tate & Lyle. As long as that's understood.

I appreciate that I’m in no position to criticise anybody else’s eating regime. My food pyramid is more of a food cube. I have no problem eating my recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables each day but I do compliment it with a passionate love of carbs and an evangelical enthusiasm for melting cheese over everything. I would melt cheese onto melted cheese if I thought the structural integrity would hold up. My idea of an interesting evening’s entertainment is to taste test Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s pretend snickers bars against genuine ones.
Hold my calls. This could take a while.

Never-the-less, I am a bit sceptical of some of Jason’s claims. White bread, he says, will only be eaten by cockroaches in emergency circumstances. “Call me picky,” he chuckles, “if it’s not good enough for cockroaches, it’s not good enough for me.”
Seriously, Jason, is that a valid scientific yardstick? What do cockroaches eat the rest of the time? And what constitutes an ‘emergency situation’ for a cockroach anyway? They always look like they’re losing their shit.
Don't panic!

He encourages to eat food in it’s a raw form as much as possible. “If you look at any animal in the wild, that’s all they eat,” he tells us. “They never cook anything.”
How the hell am I supposed to base my diet all animals ever? Cats manufacture their own vitamin C.  Rabbits eat their own shit. The Lisotrigona cacciae moth drinks human tears. I have no idea which of these to work into my current eating plan.

Party Time!

He also tells us that mice who drink diet cola become fat, that red meat will putrefy in your body and that that cow’s milk is basically glue which sticks to your bloodstream.
Everything Jason tells us seems to get contradicted immediately. Cheese is off the menu because it’s unnatural to have dairy once we’ve past breastfeeding age. Organic cheese, though, is OK. Roasted nuts should be avoided because the roasting process changes the molecular structure however roasting sweet potatoes is just fine.

All processed food is basically the devil’s work - we should aim to eat food in its natural state “as Mother Nature intended”. He then recommends that we eat live yogurt for its Acidophilus but says that the best way to get it is by taking it in tablet form. Nutritional supplements springing from the ground as they do.

After having my mind blown by Jason’s food regime (and everything I have told you is just the tip of the iceberg), we moved on to the rest of the DVD which consists of 3 workouts, some of Anne’s top tips and a Anne’s fashion advice (think Gok Wan but with less boob fondling and more relentless erosion of self-confidence. )

There are three sections – Cardio Blast, Resistance Training and Abdominal Blast – and each is only 10 minutes long.  I am lazy by nature and yet even I found myself thinking “Is that all?” about the amount of actual exercise included on this DVD. The manufacturers seemed to realise it was a bit lacking and have added a bonus workout as an extra. I am not sure why this doesn’t get included the main workout. There isn’t really any warm-up or cool-down and the workouts are a bit like Interval Training without the Interval. Or they’re all interval. I’m not entirely sure. You know how interval is, like, fast bit, not-fast bit, fast bit? This was just the fast bits. Interspersed with Anne twatting on about eating in restaurants or something.

Best Bit
During the food section, Jason dismisses the idea that organic is necessarily healthier by pointing out that you can get organic tobacco.

“You can get organic cocaine!” pipes up Anne knowledgeably. Clearly, she’s a woman who likes to ensure that her Class As are ethically sourced.
And always check for the Fair Trade sticker.

Worst Bit
Jason may hate fat people. I don’t know if this should act as hindrance to his working as a personal trainer to fat people. The Biggest Loser TV show was predicated on the idea that fat people are disgusting and ought to be humiliated into shifting some of their useless blubber.

It’s a bit weird. During the workouts, Jason shouts out things like “Remember why you’re here!” and “Don’t just stare at the telly! Work while you’re doing it!” as though he imagines that us viewers are just sitting on our roly-poly arses gaping at the screen and stuffing crisps into our mouths four at a time.
After the workouts, there is a section called “Staying Motivated” which uses visualisation techniques to try and keep us on the right path to Our New Us. Jason asks us to visualise ourselves at our current size in a swimsuit. He is really keen that we concentrate on every bulge and every fold of fat. Apparently I already disgust Jason. He is keen that I learn to disgust myself too.

I didn’t work up much of a sweat doing this. I seem to have worked up quite a bit of rage though. I’m not sure what that’s about.

Would I do this workout again?
No. Anne didn’t.

I don’t normally mention any post-workout weight gain for celebrities I review here. Well, I did for Michelle McManus and then I felt bad afterwards. It’s not my place to judge anybody on whether they are fat, thin or somewhere in between.
As the sainted Marky Mark Wahlberg said “Everybody’s beautiful, man”

However, I am making an exception for Anne because it turns out she is a serial releaser of fitness videos which just don’t work.

Anne Diamond released her first exercise video, 100% Healthy in 1997. She released her second - The Diamond Plan - in 2000. In the intervening years she had gained enough weight to stick a ‘before’ fat picture on the video box and exclaim in large letters that she had lost 4 stone.  By 2002 and her appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, she had gained it back and more. She lost 4 stone again for the release of A New You in 2003 and then piled the weight back on by the time she appeared in Celebrity Fit Club in 2006.

Perhaps some sort of EU standard could be put in place whereby celebrities aren’t allowed to say “If I can do it then so can you!” until they’ve managed to maintain their new size for a year. Keeping the weight off just until your fitness DVD hits the shops isn’t the same thing at all.

She hasn’t felt the need to release a workout DVD in a while. Her solution to her weight issues? Having a gastric band fitted. Because it turns out that sometimes there’s more to finding the New You than some Resistance Training, a spinach smoothie and a thin bloke telling you that you look shit in a bikini.

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