January can be so demoralising. After all the hype of Christmas, we are led into cold, damp January, bombarded by suggestions to cut back on food, drink and spending, while at the same time encouraging us to overspend on a holiday, using this to guilt trip us on to the next big diet sensation and getting us to buy new diet supplements we don’t want or need.
I have had a go at most diets over the years, and tried to work out what makes them fail. The fact is that if we consume more than our bodies need then we will get fat, and we need surprisingly little to survive and fuel our bodies. Why is it so difficult to do that?
Do I think getting all my meals delivered to me will encourage me to eat only them and nothing else? The last time I tried that the food was way too spicy for me, and it looked like some thing the dog may like. What about a club? nothing like shaming you into getting the weight off. However nice they are, there is no getting away from the fact that the diet industry is there to make money, do they really care about your 1lb loss? or the fact that it was your best mates birthday and you drank your body weight in fizz.( that might just be me!) I don’t think so ,but they are rubbing their hands together with all the subscriptions we pay and the cereal bars that are great for snacks. If you are new to diets I guess they have their place, I do think education is the key and knowledge is power.
At the heart of all diets is the idea you need to eat less, and they all have ways of making you do that, creating a points system so eating salad allows you more spending power for your glass of wine, eating only protein as in the ‘red days’ system so you are so full you don’t want anything else , or so much salad on a’ green day’ that you get bored way before you have had too many calories. I know that Slimming World no longer teaches this red/green approach in the same way as it did I when I went . Meal replacements make it easy to cut down on the thinking about it, if you like drinking a chemical laden drinks that is.
This year I have noticed a lot more of the advertising is trying a different approach to get you to part with your money, a more healthy lifestyle holistic approach, its the same really, just repackaged ,hoping you wont notice.
Every day a diet gets a new celebrity endorsement, some of them I find quite incredulous , I’m not a scientist, I can not claim to know the medical ins and outs of the grapefruit diet, the maple syrup diet or apple vinegar diet, but to me they just seem madness. I wonder how much their well toned body is down to the diet and how much is due to the personal trainer, the personal chef and having plenty of cash in their pocket.
The stone age diet and the paleo diet resonate more with me, no processed foods, getting back to how our ancestors ate,but not how they lived. The pictures of fat people in history are well off enough to be well fed- think Henry VIII, roman emperors etc. We do not do the sort of manual labor we did in the past, we sit in front of computers/televisions for hours at a time, getting the groceries delivered to our homes , we don’t even have to walk back from the shops anymore, and we don’t grow our own food, unless you count the grow bag of tomatoes I grew about 3 years ago .
Like wise I can buy into the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet, once upon a time a long time ago I’m quite sure our ancestors would hunt an animal and feast off of it-every bit of it- and then survive on nuts and berries until the next hunt delivered the next meal. it would have been essential to use the animal it killed to provide them with enough sustenance to continue to hunt ,otherwise our species would have died out long ago. Have we evolved since that time?
Apparently we need 2000 calories a day ,this is based on our need to stay alive, how many calories our bodies need every 24 hours. I would suggest that with our mainly sedentary lifestyles most of us do not need that many and that most people would underestimate the amount of calories they have every day as many of us find it difficult to equate size with calories- its always a surprise that chocolate bars have quite so many calories. When you combine lack of knowledge with the temptation that is all around us, it isn’t hard to see how it all goes wrong.Not forgetting, the minute you use preface any eating plan with the word diet you feel like you are automatically going on a regime that will stop you indulging things you like. Causing negative associations from the start, essentially setting you up to fail before you have begun.When you consider all this you realise why the big companies lay out their diets so all the guess work done for you .
Diet plans annoy me so much, apart from the strange mix of vegetables that I am now expected to buy, it’s usually day two when they see how strong you are by offering something nice , that you can make, that has to be cut into at least 5 more portions than you have family members, this treat does not reappear until week two, by which time its stale,(what a waste of money) or you’ve eaten it on day 3 because that is what you do with left overs.and when are you supposed to eat the other half of grapefruit they tell you to eat on day 5?
So what do we learn from this? you need to be knowledgeable, have plenty of cash, scientific and resilient, is there another way? eat less move more maybe?
Having got myself in a bit of a tizz over all this information I think I’ve made a decision which diet I should follow, I think I will try to be alkaline,gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian.
does that leave anything left to eat? maybe I should re think that.