Over the last few days I have been reading, with a growing sense of extreme sympathy, my housemate's account of having spent a few days at the New You Boot Camp.
Zara is a beauty writer, and thus she gets better freebies than I do (I'm a classical music writer). She gets free haircuts, more make up than she'll ever use, swanky spa treatments, Rapunzel-style hair extensions, and until now I've been quite envious. Not any more.
Zara has just spent a week somewhere that explicitly describes itself as a "military-style weight-loss camp" on a strictly-enforced diet, surrounded by other women who are also on a strictly-enforced diet. When I first heard that she was doing some sort of fitness camp I thought it sounded quite fun - I'm quite the fitness freak myself. But the more I've read her diary, the more horrified I've been.
Lots of exercise? Bring it on.
Healthy food? Yum.
Healthy food in very small portions? Hehe. That's funny. Where's the rest of my food?
5am starts? Eeeep...
No caffeine? WHAT???
5am starts with no caffeine? Oh HELL no!
Swimming in freezing cold water? I wanted my mummy just from reading about that.
It was the swimming in freezing cold water bit that made me realise that I was never, EVER doing ANYTHING like this, no matter how desperate I am to drop a dress size. It also made me wonder why on earth any woman would pay to have some burly guy in an army uniform yell at her and drag her out of bed at 5am to go for a dip in the North Sea in November. Was it perhaps some sort of self-punishment for not being thin? Over tea last night she told me: "I think a lot of it's to do with control. A lot of women have serious issues with food and exercise, and somewhere like this, all of the control is taken away from you. I think a lot of the women are paying for someone else to take responsibility as much as anything else."
Zara is now back from the camp and very much alive, although she doesn't look any thinner...but then again, she was very slim in the first place. I have gained a lot of respect for her, and also an appreciation of the fact that I get sent to concerts for work rather than boot camps.