Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

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Absnasm Thanks 43T. You made me and my life better. I'll miss you very much.

practice intuitive eating (read all 23 entries…)
The Very Low Calorie Diet that's so insane even professional marketers can't make it sound like a good idea.

Oh. My. God. Yesterday, leafing through the latest edition of Psychologies magazine, I came across an advert so bad that I laughed and laughed and laughed. It’s for a well-known VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet) – a particularly hardcore one. No “and a proper dinner” here – nope, every single meal, for a period of 14 weeks (8 if you have a penis, cos men can’t hack it), is replaced by a branded ultra-low calorie shake, soup or bar. You consume around 600 calories as day. Well, doesn’t that sound fun, varied and interesting? Not to mention safe. And oh yes, the programme will apparently help you to resolve your issues with food because you get to go to weekly group therapy run by a “counsellor”... with a BTEC qualification – forgive me if I’m wrong but isn’t that the qualification that the kids at school did if they weren’t smart enough to do GCSEs?

Anyway. Let’s have a look at the ad, shall we? An ad so full of contradictions it doesn’t know if it’s coming or going. The ad is in italics, my comments are not. And, reading this back after type-ranting for the best part of an hour, I may have gone slightly over the top. Please bear with me.

Have you ever tried to diet by just eating carefully? EVERY DAY you have to find THREE different meals that make you lose weight AND aren’t boring. It’s impossible.

OMG, three whole meals a day that aren’t boring? How do people do that?! It’s impossible! With all the variety of all the foods on the planet, how on earth is one expected to keep oneself interested in what one is eating? It’s… such… a… grind!

Actually, they’re right in saying it’s impossible to find foods that “make you lose weight”. No foods make you lose weight, because food isn’t there to “make you” lose weight (with the possible exception of celery which uses more calories to eat it than it actually contains, but you would have to eat a fuckton of it for the most negligible effect), it’s there to support your body and be enjoyed. I’ve a strong suspicion that they’ve shoehorned this erroneous and clumsy phrase in there as a mechanism to encourage the reader to place all the responsibility for weight loss on the external method they choose, which of course will chime rather well for the kind of people who use these VLCD-type programmes. Double reinforcement of “We are the experts”. None of that “be your own guru” nonsense here.

Also, it goes without saying that you need to eat three meals a day. That’s just what people do, right? That’s normal. Three. It’s the magic number. Yes, it is. It’s the magic number.

With temptation everywhere, how the fudge cake is anyone supposed to stick to a diet?

Yes, how, how?! Tell us how! You couldn’t be righter, there is so much delicious food in the world, I can’t possibly restrict myself to just eating a few choices, even though we’ve just established above that it’s impossible to find interesting food to eat. Wait, what? Which is it? Is there loads of interesting food, or is finding interesting food a thanklessly impossible task? I’m confused.

Oh, but I like your “common people” touch. You nearly swore! It’s hilarious! You’re just like me!

[Unnamed VLCD] sorts this. Very low calorie soups, shakes and bars. So every day you know what you’re going to eat.

Oh, thank God. Thank you so much for taking that choice away from me. I just didn’t know how I was going to stick to a diet, what with all the temptation of all the delicious food in the world (that it’s also impossible to make interesting). But now that I only get to eat powdered soups and shakes and weird chemically bars all that desire to eat different foods has just disappeared! It’s amazing!

Which makes everything super simple. And super do-able.

Super simple – I’ll say so. Ah, the comfort of sheer boredom. Also, I must say that removing all real actual food from my life is really helping me to sort out my issues with over-eating. I barely think about real, actual food at all. Like sandwiches and salads and peas and pasta and yogurt and beans and spices and cheese and lentils and green beans and apples and avocados and eggs and… Sorry, I drifted off. Must be lack of concentration from the very low calorie count. They didn’t warn me about that. Or the hair loss. And if on the offchance I do start craving Maltesers and Black Forest gateau, well, I can just hop onto one of the many websites that have sprung up with recipes showing me how to convert those powdery substances into approximations of the foods I used to binge on back in the day when I had an eating disorder! This one has methods for making chocolate fudge, chicken stuffing and popadoms, all from those weird chemical powders! So now I get to eat just the way I did in the olden days, just without actually eating any real food or enjoying it at all. Although technically I’m meant to be abstaining from food entirely, so I’m not completely sure where the recipes stand in the grand scheme of the programme, but hey, the point is massive quick weight loss from tiny calorie consumption rather than slowly, carefully unpicking and changing my attitudes towards myself, food, weight, other people, life and so on. Quick weight loss is what we all actually want, isn’t it? Perhaps I can just live on food packs for the rest of my life – if I’m slim everything in my life will be fixed and I won’t feel that drive to eat any more. Although, of course, there is the “therapy”, and the way my “counsellor” tips her head to one side and says “Mm-hmm” is really helping, too. The four months of training they sold her serves her well.

So you don’t have to be Super Woman.

No, that’s right! And the pressure to be Super Woman has in no way driven me to put myself under such tremendous stress by undertaking this massively risky diet. After all, when I’m slim, everything will be OK. I’ll be Super Woman. Slim fixes everything. If I can just gritted-teeth white knuckle it for 14 weeks without food then gradually reintroduce real foods. Like sandwiches and salads and peas and pasta and yogurt and beans and spices and cheese and lentils and green beans and apples and avocados and eggs and… droooool… Where am I? Oh yeah. Assuming that living on less than 600 calories a day hasn’t totally wrecked my metabolism… having said that, every time I’ve been on a diet before I’ve wound up finding weight goes back on easier and easier, so eating less than I need must do something nasty to my metabolism. Well, if I put weight on I can always go back on the VLCD for a bit again. I mean, I’m losing weight so fast, it must work.



calypte excited about 2014!


Absnasm Thanks 43T. You made me and my life better. I'll miss you very much.

Yeah, I know.

“Off on one” doesn’t even cover it. Feel free to skip if you can’t be arsed reading a novella.

calypte excited about 2014!

oh, I read it

I’m o.O’ing at the content. I mean… really?!! And so anti-Psychologies, too.

Absnasm Thanks 43T. You made me and my life better. I'll miss you very much.

Oh, well done!

I’m half expecting people to skip that one!

Yeah, really. Really and truly. And very anti-Psychologies, but I guess they pay the advertising fees just like everyone else. Weird that the ad doesn’t address the counselling part of the regime programme. I guess people aren’t interested in that, they just want the weight gone.

God almighty, but I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about this now. I need to put it in a bubble and let it go! Too much to do to waste my time thinking about this!

calypte excited about 2014!

just pat yourself on the back

for being intelligent enough to roll your eyes and stick your tongue out at such stupid ideas!!

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Absnasm Thanks 43T. You made me and my life better. I'll miss you very much.


I too was dumbfounded at the dumbness. For about 30 seconds, then all this came spilling forth from my brain. It was like mental vomiting.

naughtyminx78 is back to being me :)

High five...

...good on you Abs! I enjoyed reading it and it put a smile on my face.

I am so tempted to share it with a colleague of mine following such a plan. To be honest though I doubt she’d have the concentration to read it or the energy to respond ;-)

Absnasm Thanks 43T. You made me and my life better. I'll miss you very much.


She’d better get another food pack down her neck then, she’ll need those 150 calories to get herself to bed ;-)

I’ve been reading the reviews, they are so funny. All the positive ones are from people who’ve recently started on the programme, high on lack of calories and the mental boost of losing a stone a week. All the one-star “DON’T DO IT” reviews are from people two years later, four stone heavier than they started and with serious medical issues dating from the starvation they underwent. Someone even said they wound up with blurred vision from losing so much weight she’d lost fat from the part of her eyes which supported the muscles. Healthy!

(This comment was deleted.)

Gypsy is not really around much anymore...

Good grief

I can’t believe people really think ‘diets’ like that are a good idea! This should be illegal – what’s next?

Hey, sick of spending time and money on shopping for food that will make you lose weight? Forget it! Spend your money on drugs instead - 3 months on cocaine and you too will have the hollow cheeks and visible ribs you've only dreamed of... and you wont give a damn about food anymore!

And don’t you just love the way they simultaneously added the ‘common touch’ of an almost-swear while reminding people of what they crave for? Mmmmm…. fudge cake….


Absnasm Thanks 43T. You made me and my life better. I'll miss you very much.

It's disgraceful...

..and I think part of the reason they get away with it is because of the erroneous idea that fat is automatically unhealthy and thin is automatically healthy – even if your hair’s falling out and you’ve got gallstones. Slim at any price. Disgusting.

By the way, it costs about £70 a week for “foodpacks”. Mmm, make mine a foodpack popadom!

Absnasm has gotten 7 cheers on this entry.


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