Review: Radical Self-love Bootcamp by Gala Darling

I’ve been a fan of Gala Darling for years.  When she announced that she was releasing an intensive,30-day online course focussing on radical self love, I was very excited.  I’m all for improving my relationship with myself, and I was eager to give this a try.

My jaw hit the floor when I saw the price: $100.  I couldn’t believe it.  When the bootcamp came on sale at Valentines Day, I snapped it up for just $50.  I immediately set to reading the daily lessons and applying myself to complete my homework.

Basically, the bootcamp is meant to be completed over the course of a month.  There’s a little bit of reading to do each day, and then a homework task to complete.   You also get access to the “Radical Self Love forum”, where you can discuss your progress and problems with other people who are completing the bootcamp.  The bootcamp is supposed to help you overcome ‘radical self-loathing”, which Gala defines as:

“It’s a creeping malaise. A feeling of despair & desperation. Hopelessness. Apathy. Not knowing what to do next. Wanting to improve your life but having no idea how to do that. Feeling disgusted by the way you look. Not wanting anyone to take a photo of you. Feeling like your insecurities are dictating your life. Feeling demotivated. Being “stuck”. Feeling lost. Loneliness. Thinking you have no options. Wanting to love yourself but feeling like you’re not worth it…”

Gala states that, among other things, the boot camp will:

“Get you feeling motivated, energised & excited again!

& most of all, inspire you to start living the life you’ve always wanted!”

It’s been a long while since I finished the bootcamp.  You might be wondering why I’ve waited so long to write a review.  The truth is, I’ve been a bit conflicted about whether to write it or not, because I was raised with the adage “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.  However, after much consideration, I decided it was important for me to write this review.  I think that people should be able to make an informed choice about the things they buy.  When I searched online for reviews of the bootcamp, I barely found any.  The only ones that are readily available are those that have been published by Gala herself, or by people who are close friends of hers.  I felt that it would be good for me to share my opinions so that people can think carefully before they buy this product.

To say that I was disappointed by the bootcamp would be a radical understatement.

For starters, readers were promised that the bootcamp would feature all new content.  As someone who has been reading Gala’s blog for four years now, I was excited about this prospect.  I totally understand that it can be difficult to come up with fresh content when you’ve been writing for years, but of late, I’ve found Gala’s site stale and repetitive.  I was looking forward to an injection of new material.  I was dismayed when I opened the PDF to find pages and pages of the same old tripe.  Re-hashed stories about Gala’s background and the obstacles of her youth, videos and articles about EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and advice about developing a self-love bible were rife.  There was very little new content and few  fresh ideas.

I was also disappointed with the quality of the content.  Self-love is a very tricky topic to cover.  Feeling crummy about oneself is something that most people go through at some stage.  Some people feel this more acutely than others.  There are a huge range of reasons for self-loathing, including depression, mental illnesses, low self-esteem, eating disorders and problems with body image. When you consider Gala’s definition of “radical self loathing”, many of the points she raises can be major symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression and eating disorders.  When you’re dealing with issues that are deeply rooted in people’s minds and hearts, you need to offer advice that’s a little more substantial than “Eat a cupcake and dance naked in front of the mirror” or “Masturbate!”  I felt that the advice in the bootcamp was simply too trivial and twee to deal with the issues of self-loathing and self-esteem that it purports to. To me, it was the equivalent of telling a depressed person to ‘just stop being sad’ or a person with a broken leg to “walk it off”.

I also felt that the bootcamp set unrealistic expectations.  Feelings of self-hatred and low-self esteem build up over time.  It’s unrealistic to expect a 30-day e-course to even begin to deal with these issues.  Gala spends a good chunk of the course talking about how she cured her eating disorder overnight with EFT.  I found this really offensive.  As someone who struggled with anorexia for most of her teen years, I can tell you that eating disorders do not go away overnight.  There’s no quick fix.  It takes years to get back on your feet, both physically and emotionally. It’s hard enough to have to deal with the reality of recovering from an eating disorder or mental illness.  It’s even more difficult when you have someone telling you how easy it was for them to overcome it, and how they fixed themselves overnight.  Telling a story like this to a person who is suffering not only makes them feel like a failure, but it gives them unrealistic expectations of what their recovery ‘should’ look like.

These things made me mad, but they weren’t the thing I found the most disturbing about the bootcamp.  There are serious issues at play when you talk about self-loathing and low self-esteem.  At no point in the bootcamp was there any suggestion that a person who was feeling overwhelmed by feelings of self-doubt and loathing should seek professional advice.  Gala talks about her experiences with depression and eating disorders, and gives the impression that she thinks that all you need to do to get over them is to buy a sparkly dress and a vibrator and write a page-full of affirmations.  She even discusses how unhelpful she found therapy in the past. I do understand that therapy isn’t for everyone. But if you’re giving people advice on how to overcome serious mental and emotional problems, I think you have an obligation to at least suggest that they look into counselling or professional advice if they feel overwhelmed.  Not to do so is just downright irresponsible.

I don’t feel as though I got my money’s worth for this bootcamp.  I felt that the content was recycled and poorly researched.  I feel ripped off, and I wouldn’t buy another of Gala’s products.  I feel really disappointed and angry with the way that the author dealt with serious issues, and I felt that the whole thing was rather condescending and opportunistic.

I would urge you to think very carefully before signing up for this e-course.  If you feel low or are searching for a way to overcome a mental illness or bout of malaise, here’s what I think you should do.  Use that $100 you would have spent on Gala’s bootcamp, and instead spend it on something that would actually help you to feel better.  If you think you might be depressed or struggling with mental illness, go to see a counsellor or therapist.  If your energy levels are low, see a nutritionist, a trainer or a doctor who can advise you on how to take better care of your body.  If you’re just in a bit of a slump, take yourself out on a date with your best friend.  Spend that money in a way that will actually get you on the road to recovery.  Because trust me, the Radical Self Love Bootcamp probably won’t do the trick.

Have you bought the Radical Self Love Bootcamp?  What did you think?

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28 thoughts on “Review: Radical Self-love Bootcamp by Gala Darling

  1. Hello!

    I greatly appreciate your review. I have been struggling with self-loathing, am currently on Zoloft, and have been to therapy. Both of which have been immensely helpful, but haven’t been able to get to the core of the issue, which is my self-hatred. It’s something that has ruined relationships, and my quality of life. I am trying hard to find and compile a list of things to help, that aren’t the aforementioned “buy yourself something nice!” or “stand in the mirror and say ‘I love my stretch marks!'”, which I find unrealistic. I also am on a shoe-string budget, and when I saw the $197 rate (it must have gone up?), I was going to skrimp and save if it would mean a good tool to use. Thank you so much for this honest review; I will be able to use the money towards things that will truly help my illness.

    • Hi there. I’m so sorry that you are struggling with depression. It is a horrible illness that is so difficult to live with. But it is totally possible to find ways to aid your healing and recovery. I definitely wouldn’t recommend shelling out so much money ($197! Woah, that’s crazy expensive) for something that isn’t likely to help with deep-seated problems like depression. The advice contained in the bootcamp is pretty superficial and might give you a boost if you’re having a down day, but isn’t going to help to unravel something as complicated as depression and self loathing.

      One thing that I found incredibly helpful when my depression was at its worst was to seek therapy. I was lucky enough to qualify for free therapy sessions at my local health care clinic and my sessions with my therapist were invaluable. I know therapy can be very expensive, but I would definitely recommend doing a bit of research to see if there are any free or discounted councelling services in your area.

      Additionally, if you are looking to do some reading about depression, I’ve written quite a bit about it on this blog. If you take a look through my archives, you’ll see that there are loads of posts about my own experiences and the things that I’ve found helpful. I also have a list of free resources which is full of great articles and tools for beating depression.

      And finally, if you’d like to talk about your experiences, please feel free to drop me an email. I’m not a therapist but I have depression and I’ve gone through some wild ups and downs. I’d be happy to listen to you if you need to vent and give you a safe place to express yourself. You are welcome to get in touch if you would like to.

  2. Thanks for your honest review! I was also curious about her course and wondered/thought, it must have something to be priced so high?… $100 is “cheap” if it can buy you true self esteem (especially for those of us that suffer from low self esteem and hope for a quick fix, and of course she seems to prey on this). I find that her site is full of a lot of links to other articles online, and the actual content that she produces is rather fluffy. Now I know to save my money!

    • I definitely don’t believe that this course is worth $100. SO much of the content is recycled and many of the chapters are lightweight. There are definitely things that you could spend your cash on that would give better results than this course.

  3. Wowzers. I’m on the fence about her but totally agree with all of this. I bought the blogging chapter on sale once. Total snooze fest. It was just really beginner with not a lot of practical advice. I just saw that she is “retiring” love and sequins and the chapters are half price. I dunno, I was thinking about giving one more chapter a go, but when I think about it, I dunno. I am glad this review is up because there are no reviews or comments on her site. Which is so…ugh.

    • I haven’t read her blog in over a year, so I had no idea that Love and Sequins is retiring. It’s kind of a shame, because there were a couple of chapters that I enjoyed, although there were others that really fell short. The fashion chapter was good, the friendship chapter was also good. I wouldn’t bother with any of the chapters about blogging, small businesses, travel or relationships though. And avoid the ‘manifesting’ chapter like the plague.

      Thanks so much for dropping by and for reading. Also, can I just say how much I adore the fact that you used the word “Wowzers”. Seriously.

      • Thanks! I’m glad you like my word choice. Following up: I actually don’t think that 100 bucks is that big a deal, I also don’t think that charging 12 bucks per chapter is bad either. From a business standpoint-it makes perfect sense, and she is clearly marketing to a certain demographic that has the cash for it. The problem that I do have is the content, if the content isn’t there, then what is the point? I also really hate that she has no comments, that’s part of why I go to blogs, to read and engage in comments. If I can’t do that, then there is no real point of my going to the site honestly. Which is why i just drop in every now and again.

        As far as the chapters go, you say no to the manifestation one? I was actually thinking that might be a cool one to read no? I think I will break down and buy the fashion one because she does seem to be really into that, and I’d be interested in what she has to say about that.

      • I don’t think that charging $100 for an online course is necessarily excessive: as long as the product is of a high enough quality to warrant this price. I really didn’t feel as though a lot of thought, effort or research had gone into the creation of the Bootcamp, and the content was weak and shallow, so I think that $100 is a massive overcharge. As for Love and Sequins, $12 a chapter is good value for some of the chapters. Some were meatier than others and had a lot more practical advice, while others were very wishy-washy.

        I really enjoyed the fashion chapter. In my opinion, it was by far the best of the lot. I’m not a fan of the whole idea of manifestation, as it doesn’t really synch up with my personal beliefs. But if it’s something that you’re interested in and you’d like to learn more about it, then you might enjoy reading Gala’s chapter about it.

  4. I also received broken links with the email. I contacted her through paypal for a refund and also asked that she remove the product from her site until the problem was corrected. No response yet.

    • It’s terrible that she never replied to you. I remember a couple of months ago, when Gala tweeted something about deleting a thousand unread emails that were clogging up her account. It made me wonder how many of those emails were from customers who were dissatisfied with her product. Oh well, I guess it’s pretty hard to read and respond to emails, and it’s not like that’s part of the job of being a blogger. Oh…wait a minute… It totally is.

  5. Thank you for this; although I received the email when I signed up the links did not work – and no responses to requests for help from gala.com. Finally, fed up I looked up reviews – and found this article. Luckily because I went through paypal I got my money back straight away.

    • I’m glad that you were able to get your money back. It’s really disappointing that you weren’t given any help when you were having problems accessing the content. Thanks for reading!

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  7. I really appreciate your posting this review. I was kind of suspicious when she posted on twitter or on her blog that she was “frantically” finishing up a “big project” right before the RSL launch…for $100, I would hope that she would try to spend more time on it! (She seemed to have cranked it out in a week?) I have the entire Love and Sequins bought at 50% off ($42) and still regret paying that much for a rambling, ampersand-ridden unedited mess.

    • The RSL Bootcamp did seem as though it was written and published in haste. Which is a crock, because when you’re working for yourself on a project of this type you set your own deadlines. There’s no need to be frantically trying to get all your ideas down and send it out into the world before it’s ready. Some days the work was literally, “Here’s a quote from the Dalai Lama. Read it and then consider what it means to you”. The content was poorly researched and most of it was just re-hashed from various posts that have already appeared on Gala’s blog.

      I did enjoy Love and Sequins. I found some chapters more helpful than others. One thing that did bug me with the podcast series was that I paid up-front to get all 12 instalments when Gala first announced the project. You were supposed to get one chapter a month. After the first three months, the period between chapters stretched out to six weeks or more, so it was more like 18 months before I received them all. In this case, Gala should have worked a little harder to get things finished on time!

      • I got the podcasts in the sale and I totally agree. She should have either made herself finish them and release them on time (I thought this was her full-time job?! What excuse does she have for not getting it done??) or else she should have completed all 12 podcasts over whatever time period she wanted and THEN released them when they were all finished, ready to send and that would guarantee they would be sent on time. This just really bugs me because she considers herself a “successful business woman” yet has no ethics or self-discipline. I also saw bits of the bootcamp and agree the quality is shocking. have a look at this article, it’s good: http://cartoonheart.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/please-love-yourself-for-free/. Btw, have you considered asking her for a refund? It would be worth a try.

      • Thanks so much for linking to this article. It was a really brilliant read and it summed up some of the other issues I had with the bootcamp (which I didn’t include in my review, because I didn’t want it to become too long).

        I’ve considered asking Gala for a refund, but I honestly don’t think that she’d give me one. However, I think I just might give it a go. After all, the bootcamp isn’t what she advertises it to be (all new content) and I didn’t feel any happier after completing it. In fact, I just felt worse about myself because I’d been hoodwinked into spending fifty clams on something so trite.

        It’s worth noting here that Gala actually got in touch with me moments after that review went live. She emailed me and was all “oh, I’m so sorry you weren’t happy with the bootcamp. Did you honestly give it your best shot though? Did you try EFT? It’s awesome!”. When I wrote back to her, calling her out on the false promises she’d made and the irresponsible nature of her advice, she never wrote back. Hmmm.

  8. I was just about to buy this when I thought I’d google reviews for it. So glad I found this! I really can’t afford the $100 at the moment but it sounded so great I reasoned it would be worth it. Pennies saved and now I don’t have to feel like an idiot for buying it – thanks!

    • I’m glad I saved you some cash (and allowed you to bypass the buyers remorse). I wish there had been some reviews about when I purchased this so I could have made an informed choice. Ah well, at least my silly purchase wasn’t in vain, because it’s helped you out!

  9. I read some Gala Darling for a while and bought a couple of chapters of her e-book…I also found the e-book a ridiculous price…$84 dollars, and not even in paper format? The first chapter I read taught me about EFT which I am grateful for, it doesn’t seem to work so well with emotional problems for me, but it’s great for physical problems for some reason. But that’s it. Most of her advice is really trivial. For people looking for real spiritual self help in an easier-to-swallow format than say, Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay etc, I find Gabrielle Bernstein to be really good. Some people are not a huge fan of her writing, but the exercises in her first book “Add more ~Ing to your life” are really something…very powerful if you keep at them for even a few weeks. Bernstein does the really overpriced online class thing too, but I bought her book for less than a tenner and it’s really made a change in my life. I have to say Gala seems like a bit of a lightweight in comparison, quirky and fun as she is.

  10. i really wish i would have had that review last year, when i bought the rslb for 100. i was at a terrible place (severe depression for years, bad breakup right at the time) so i was looking for help everywhere.
    i did enjoy the podcasts and would still recommend them (on her next sale probably) if you are not keen on “classic” self help like l. hays affirmations and so on but still would like some tips on how to look out for yourself. the radical self love promises too much and gives you basically nothing new, if you listened to all the podcasts.

    thanks for the review, i think its important to let people know what you think about a product.

    • I agree. I really enjoyed Gala’s podcast series, and I’d happily recommend them.
      I really regret shelling out 50 bucks for this. I’d be twice as mad if I’d paid a hundred. I really just wanted to give people an alternative perspective on the bootcamp, so that their expectations weren’t sky-high. I’m glad you enjoyed the review.

  11. Thank you very much for this! I had hemmed and hawed about this e-course. The price seemed ridiculous, but I just kept thinking “If she’s charging that much, there must really be something to this!” I know now that this is definitely NOT the product for me.

    • That’s part of the reason that I shelled out $50 for it. I reasoned that for that price, the bootcamp must be very content-heavy (particularly when Gala had only charged about $7 for each hour-long installment of her podcast series). Nope. The price really isn’t a good indicator of the depth or quality of the content. Save your pennies.

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