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Kelly Brook just underlined the big problem with celebrity weight-loss DVDs

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Kayleigh Dray
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Kelly Brook has spoken out against “unrealistic” and “crazy” weight-loss DVDs.

In 2016, the fitness DVD market was valued at £200m in the US – and, just a year before that, eBay reported that sales of exercise and diet plan DVDs had increased by 150% in the weeks immediately following Christmas. 

However, things seem to be changing at last – and for the better. In fact, the official DVD chart shows that, as of yet, there’s not a single fitness DVD in the top 100.

Kelly Brook, for one, is incredibly pleased to hear it. In fact, the model has suggested that it’s high-time we turned our back on quick-fix weight-loss DVDs – and for good.

Sitting down to talk about the issue on ITV’s Loose Women, Brook reminded viewers that she herself released Strictly Come Dancing: The Workout with Kelly Brook and Flavia Cacace in 2008.

“I made a DVD with Flavia Cacace and it was all about learning how to dance,” she said. 

“It wasn’t about weight loss, but what I’ve seen in the press recently about these women doing these crazy crash diet plans, saying ‘Buy my DVD, you’re going to lose weight in like four weeks’… I just think it’s so unrealistic in terms of sustainability.”

Brook continued: “I think people just want a quick fix and they say to me, ‘What do you do?’

“I just say, ‘I train every day and I try to eat well, and then sometimes I don’t. And I use a few little filters on my app.’ I love a filter.

“But I don’t starve myself, and I don’t do anything drastic. I think you’ve just got to embrace your body shape.”

Striking a similar note, Holly Willoughby previously declined to answer any questions about her dietary or fitness habits during an interview with Prima.

“I actually avoid talking about my diet and exercise regime because I have interviewed so many people affected by eating disorders,” the 36-year-old told the magazine. “I know that some people in chat rooms can really fixate on other people’s diets. I just can’t contribute to that.”

When pressed for more information about her daily eating habits, Willoughby’s response was blunt and to the point.

“I love food,” she said. “It’s a celebration, something to be talked over, shopped for, cooked and enjoyed.”

Brook and Willoughby are not the first to speak out against the weight-loss industry: Jessica Barrett, who worked at a top-selling celebrity weekly magazine, recently wrote an exposé about celebrity fitness DVDs for iNews, pointing out that these workouts often leave out the fact that “these women often have personal trainers, money for food delivery services, not to mention schedules which allow for a daily workout”.

“While there are bona fide celebrity DVD workouts (Davina McCall, for example, has 11 highly praised programmes) the reality TV star’s DVDs are often a one off,” she explained.

“They’re offered the money, they take it and work-out and diet obsessively for months in order to get their paycheck. After that the weight-loss is often reversed within months.”

Barrettt added: “Someone taking inspiration from a celebrity’s weight loss and trying to be the healthiest they can be is only ever a good thing. But the conveyor belt of reality TV stars’ weight loss feels tired and unfair to those who buy into it.”

And, of course, it’s not just workout DVDs that profit from offering up a ‘quick fix’ solution: indeed, the problem is so prevalent that the British Dietetic Association (BDA) recently released a list of potentially harmful diets we’re likely to be exposed to in 2018.

“If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” warned spokesperson Sian Porter.

The regimes include the now ubiquitous Raw Vegan diet, the “Alkaline diet”, a range of supplements from Katie Price, the “Pioppi diet” and the “Ketogenic diet” – all of which involve restricting certain types of food.

Speaking about the issue to stylist.co.uk earlier this year, Eve Simmons, co-editor of Not Plant Based, a site designed to “alleviate food anxieties using medical experts and qualified dieticians”, said that she’s “constantly approached” by young women “desperately seeking recovery in a world which scares them off the food that they are trying to reconnect with”.

“Despite their commitment to recovery and how far they have come, it’s a constant battle to navigate their way through these toxic and, more often than not, inaccurate messages,” she revealed, adding that the ‘weight-loss industry’ is “potentially hugely damaging to everyone - not just those who suffer or may be vulnerable to developing an eating disorder.”

Of course, countless other women in the spotlight have done their best to remove themselves from the ongoing narrative around women’s bodies, including Pink, Lena Dunham and Mary Berry.

And, in her now iconic op-ed for the Huffington PostJennifer Aniston famously encouraged women everywhere to turn their backs on the warped standards of beauty perpetuated by the tabloids.

“The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing,” she wrote

“The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty.” 

With so many women in the public eye prepared to challenge body-shaming and the media’s obsession with weight, we can only hope that the narrative will be changed soon.

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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