In promoting an expensive vegan diet plan, the singer has described confronting her weight as every womans nightmare. She is irresponsibly stoking an evil diet culture but is also a victim of it
Beyoncs 2018 Coachella headline set was a feat of meticulous preparation. She conceived a show that would pay tribute to the culture of historically black colleges and universities. Having just given birth to twins, she worked for months on the exacting choreography and arrangements. And she went on a demanding vegan diet that also eschewed sugar, carbs, dairy and alcohol. Im hungry, she says in behind-the-scenes documentary Homecoming. This, were given to understand, is a cautionary tale she did not wake up like this. I definitely pushed myself further than I knew I could, she admits, and I learned a very valuable lesson: I will never, ever push myself that far again.
Except that Beyonc along with an exercise physiologist and founding CEO of a plant-based lifestyle solutions company named Marco Borges are now selling the diet she followed to prepare for her Coachella set. She has posted a video promoting the Beyoncs Kitchen meal plan to her YouTube channel. It opens with footage from day one of her Homecoming preparations, the sight of her feet on the scale, weight 79.3kgs (12st7lb). In voiceover, she admits: Every womans nightmare long way to go. Lets get it.
We see her dancing, doing battle ropes, sit-ups, intensive stretching and squatting in resistance bands. Borges tells her dancers about the power of vegetables. When youre eating plant-based, you will definitely have more energy. He gets a FaceTime call from Beyonc: Guess who fits in the One Woman costume! she says, twirling in a sequinned bodice that reveals her taut, hourglass figure. Thank you. Its a very big deal. Shes coming back. Im coming back.
For $14 a month, or $99 (79) a year, all this can be yours. Except it cant, because Beyonc is selling a lie. The performance of physical perfection is part of her job, and she has an expensive team of trainers, chefs and nannies to help her achieve it that isnt included in the subscription fee. This much we know. We also know that crash dieting seldom results in keeping weight off long-term, and that societys insistence on new mums losing post-baby weight is nonsense. But when looking for any shred of information that might help one lose weight, reason is easily overruled.
Aged nine, you can read Jacqueline Wilsons Girls in Love, about a teenager who worries she is overweight, and feel frustrated that Wilson doesnt give you the figures to measure yourself against. Age 12, you can feel soothed when Helen Fielding gives you that yardstick in Bridget Joness Diary. Later, you understand why Wilson redacted the figures, and realise what Jones considered fat was nothing of the sort. Even when you know from a lifetimes experience the consequences of restrictive eating, you can still have your interest piqued by meeting someone who claims a juice cleanse really worked for them. You can know that muscles need time to repair following exercise, yet still work out twice a day on consecutive days in the hope of shedding an extra ounce.
Beyonc is capitalising on this susceptibility. Its not the first time in 2006, she discussed the extreme liquid diet she went on to prepare for a role in Dreamgirls, and it was a dangerously easy concoction anyone could knock up at home. Her new meal plan is less accessible, but her profiting from the tools of crash dieting suggests a woman grossly out of touch: exploiting impressionable fans by hawking them an unmatchable ideal, a move at odds with our contemporary insistence on body positivity an ethos she has also stoked and the evils of diet culture.