[Title source: Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (to wear Sunscreen)]

I’ve been searching for a monthly magazine for while now that is focused on healthy living and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. It needed to tell me of new exercises I could do, healthy things that I could eat, tips about healthy living and ways in which I could improve myself. I finally found this when I bought the June issue of Zest magazine. Even after flicking through quickly it I knew if was perfect for me.

Review of Zest Magazine

The first few pages are split into 5 areas: Fitness, Nutrition, Beauty, Self and Health and these areas are carried throughout the rest of the magazine. They provide great tips, ideas and stats that are easy to remember. After their woman of the month feature (a great positive role model) there is a section about a ‘total body plan’. This focuses on new exercises that anyone can do to tone up and small changes that you can make to your diet and body. All of the fitness advice in Zest caters to everyone and you can find something to help you whatever your fitness level.  And it’s not “in your face” advice, it’s little suggestions that you can choose from – perfect!

There is then a large Expert section in which the 5 areas touched on at the beginning are looked at in more focus. This is good as you can really learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle – it’s not just about eating well and exercising. It makes you realise that you have to take care off yourself a whole.

The food / healthy eating sections are great as they don’t suggest unachievable diets. There is a really effort to provide balanced diets and healthy recipes that will appeal to meat eaters and vegetarians alike.

There are a lot of products (clothes, make-up, gadgets, books, cookery courses, dvds) throughout the magazine in a range of prices.  Unlike some health magazines, the products offered aren’t stupidly expensive and things that you will never afford / need! Even if you are on a budget, you will be able to find something that you can afford and if you want to splash out, you can! All in all it’s a great magazine, packed full of brilliant advice and useful tips, and one that I can’t wait to buy again.

Beauty Magazines

I’m really pleased that I bought this magazine and do feel that it is money well spent as I will keep referring back to it. This is NOT the case though when I’ve bought the weekly glossy magazines such as Heat, Closer, Now etc. I only read them once then throw them away – disposable gossip. As the title says, these sort of magazines do make me feel “fat”. There is such a focus on the weight and image  of celebrities and pictures of someone looking “too fat” or ” shockingly skinny” or “badly-dressed” or” perfectly dressed” are splashed across the front cover. Turn inside and you will read the stories of how this celebrity is depressed / that one is looking fabulous at 40 / the other one had dropped 20 pounds in a week / the next is wearing an awful dress (what is she thinking?!) / and she is just perfect – model looks, legs up to her armpits and a great dress sense!

Why do the media focus so much on women’s weight and appearance??? No wonder there are go many people on destructive diets, trying to reach that elusive number on the scale. We are under so much pressure to look every second of the day that we think the celebrity look is the ideal. These glossy magazines don’t help us to realise that this is not the case. The celebrity is an odd creature who has a lot of people around them who are paid to make them look immaculate. If you saw them when they rolled out of bed they would not be a beautiful as they are in their photos!

These magazines obviously appeal to me / us as we love keeping up with the latest gossip from Celeb land! However I don’t feel fulfilled by them. I am not slating anyone who reads them though as I would be a hypocrite!I do occasionally buy them – if I’m flying, for beach reading or if I just want to relax – and they are great for a bit of light reading. But  I’ve made the decision that magazines like Zest are much better for me as I can actually learn from them and improve my lifestyle and knowledge of healthy living.

It will be interesting to know how you feel about this issue – do you feel that gossip magazines are bad for women’s self-esteem or just harmless fun? What magazines do you usually buy?