beauty

Why Jennifer Lopez's #BeTheGirl weight loss challenge is disappointing.

Image via Instagram (@jlo).

There’s a lot I admire about Jennifer Lopez. She’s a talented actress, singer, mother, jealousy-inducingly good dancer and now, apparently, she’s a weight loss guru.

While there’s no denying her talent in other areas, her latest venture, the #BeTheGirl weight loss challenge launched by her lifestyle brand BodyLab, has left us feeling a little confused and disappointed.

On the surface, it seems innocent enough. “Participants will commit to a 10-week program with Jennifer Lopez as their inspiration and motivator along with a team of experts,” the press release says.

RELATED: The 11 pieces of fitness advice you thought were true. They aren’t

“They will receive healthy and easy-to-make recipes, personalised fitness plans and expert nutritional advice from Jennifer Lopez and a team of hand-picked experts.”

“I’m asking the women of America to join me this Spring in the #BeTheGirl challenge so together we can work, motivate, and empower each other to be the best version of ourselves,” says Lopez in the statement.

It sounds reasonable enough (aside from the obvious exclusion of us Aussies – hello from down here!) . Fitness and nutritional experts have obviously been consulted, and who doesn’t want to look as good as J-Lo does?

But then there’s this.

“When I eat, you eat. When I sweat, you sweat. When I run, you run. Let’s kick-start a healthy lifestyle together with the BodyLab line of products, free App and online tools,” writes Lopez.

RELATED: How long does it really take to get “out of shape”?

I’m assuming she’s just trying to create a “we’re all part of a big, sparkly J-Lo team” kind of vibe, but it almost sounds like we have to physically wait around for a personal notification from Lopez giving us permission to eat. Which would be hard enough as is without considering the time difference. Again – hello, from Australia!

Look – I’m sorry J-Lo. You can tell me when to “Get On the Floor” and to “Dance Again”, but you will not tell me when to eat. Or sweat. Or run. (Post continues after gallery.)

Let me be clear: I think encouraging anyone to make “today the day to start a new journey” and be the best they can be is a good thing. But I have a little problem with the ways the challenge thinks I should achieve this.

Yes, exercise is important in staying healthy, as is a good, balanced diet. But urging women that “loving yourself more than anything on the menu”is what health is about? That makes it sound like food is my mortal enemy.

Food is more than fuel – it’s a social activity, a bonding opportunity and a chance to try new things. Being healthy isn’t about giving up everything you love.

RELATED: The body image advice I wish I could give my 20-year-old self.

As long as I’m happy and healthy, “my best me” isn’t necessarily the one that has abs to wear with my bikini.

Saying I should “start losing the extra pounds that will have nowhere to hide this summer” suggests that my body is something I should be looking to hide if it doesn’t look like Lopez’s.

ADVERTISEMENT

That I should be in some way shamed into action for fear of a summer spent in oversized coverups and not looking like a model.

Rachel Hollis's positive body image "bikiniphoto" went viral this year. Image via Instagram (@msrachelhollis)

There are some concerns over the actual content of the challenge too.It consists of three stages:

1. Repair and Reboot: "Which kickstarts the challenge with a detox and cleanse plus a fat burner contained in the 7-Day Ultra Fast Slim Kit."

2. Burn and Build: Which "stimulates fat burning and metabolism boosting with the Thermodynamic Total Burn, Thermodynamic Pre-Workout Extender and BodyLab TastyShake Complete Whey Protein Complex."

3. Endurance: "Helps participants to maintain their stamina through the Endurance Boosting Deep Tissue Oxygenator, which has been clinically shown to improve VO2 max (the established measure of fitness) and Advanced Joint Formula for Active Women "

RELATED: The concerning diet trick Kendall Jenner uses to prepare for runway shows

"A concern for me is the amount of supplements," says fitness expert and founder of Wellbeing Worldwide, Emma Esslemont.

"We don't need them. Fat burners and pre-workout shakes all sound fancy, but what happened to eating a healthy, nutritious diet? People who look for answers with a bunch of supplements are looking for a quick fix," she says.

"The whole VO2 max thing is also a little strange - that's a measure of how much oxygen your body can use during exercise. It's popular testing elite athletes and team sports, but personally not so relevant for someone who wants to make some positive health and fitness changes in their life," she says. (Post continues after gallery.)

While a 10-week fitness challenge, in a nutshell, sounds great, Esslemont believes the particulars of J-Lo's fitness challenge are probably not best suited to everyone.

"As far as I understand, the program is based on doing exactly 'what J-Lo does', which is all well and good if you are used to living an active lifestyle," she says.

"For those who don't regularly exercise this could easily be a case of too much too soon. The most successful weight loss and fitness programs are tailored to the individual."

RELATED: How to ease yourself back into exercise when you’ve seriously dropped the ball

While the allure of a body like J-Lo's is tempting to many, Esslemont says to remain wary.

"Secretly we may all want to look a little like Jennifer Lopez, but I think people need to be careful about feeding their bodies a whole bunch of fancy supplements just because she says to do so," she explains.

"If you're serious about making some positive changes and living a more healthy lifestyle you need to pick sustainable methods that will stick and that you will actually enjoy. Women need to think about whether this will really bring out the best version of themselves - weight loss and health shouldn't be a competition," she says.

As we've said before, you know what makes a bikini body? A bikini plus a body. Any body.

 What do you think of the fitness challenge? Would you try it?