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6 - Special K + Size Zero

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

Box of original Special K

The growing obsession with how I looked was a sign of the times. By the mid-2000s, the size of your waist (for women at least) was the only thing that seemed to matter…🤷

It was an era of dieting. From the Atkins diet, where you survived on processed meats and cheese 🤔 to the Special K diet where you ate a two bowls of cereal a day (size of bowl not specified)… 👀

Do you remember the woman in the advert? Wearing the red swimsuit? All I had to do was eat two bowls of Special K. Wow. So simple. 👌

Sign me up!

“Dad, I need 3 boxes of Special K on the shopping list every week please. And about 5 litres of that extra-skimmed, skimmed milk.” 😋

Special K was coming out of my ears I was eating so much of it. 😅 And when it wasn’t - I had a trusty can of Diet Coke - because I was probably just thirsty 👀

The supermodels of the 1990s had been living this way for 10+ years. It was only now were these diets were hitting the mainstream media. 🗞

Pictures of Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan in low-rise jeans were in every Heat magazine, whilst Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were getting smaller in each music video they released 😧

And I’m not blaming these celebrities - it’s just how things were back them. Everyone was talking about your size. Your health didn’t matter. Tyra Banks was referring to UK size 10 as ‘plus size’ on Britain’s Next Top Model and ‘Size Zero’ (that’s a UK size 4) became a thing to aspire to 🥺

Comparison was rife. And being told you’d lost weight, felt like you were winning at life 🏆

I was completely preoccupied. Everything else became trivial and my life became a counting game 🧮

Food was measured. Exercise was calculated. And I was vehemently focused on my jean top button comfortably closing in a size 8 😔

I look back now, holding a heavy-heart for my 15-16 year old self. I was wearing myself down - not just physically but mentally 💭

Things were no longer second-nature. In fact, I was second-guessing every single thing. 😕

And no amount of diets or size 8 Topshop purchases would have helped these thoughts that were manifesting…

However, growing up in Birmingham, there was nothing more exciting than the New Bullring Shopping Centre about to open.

And at 16, I got a job in the best retail spot going 🙌

Perfect timing, right? 😬



Check out "If You Survived the Early 2000s Without Body Issues, Congratulations" by Michelle Konstantinovsky

... and "Former Vogue editor: The truth about size zero" by Kirstie Clements

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