Post by Amy Freeman
I remember in the early 90’s watching my nana and pop switch from butter to margarine, whole to skim milk and where possible, full fat to low fat. The 80’s and 90’s was the start of what would become a processed food epidemic. As Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig were constantly being advertised on TV and in magazines, leading the ‘weight loss’ industry and the ‘microwave meal’ industry, woman were becoming more body conscious and diabetes was on the rise. It became a highly publicized and popular belief that calories in and calories out was all that mattered, low fat was the key and all carbohydrates were equal. Enter the diabetes and obesity epidemic!
The unfortunate thing is that the belief systems that were used for weight loss in the 80’s and 90’s are still held in high regard to this day. Trying to convince people that eating natural butter is BETTER than processed margarine is a daily battle. Trying to convince people that full fat milk or cream is BETTER for your insulin levels than low fat or skimmed milk is hard to land with a lot of people.
The reason ‘Paleo’/Whole Food nutrition (or clean eating as I call it) has been so successful, is that it is taking people back to eating a very similar diet to those that lived in our grandparents era. Home made food, unprocessed junk food, lots of fruit, veggies and meat, this style of eating is identical to how our wirery, fit and non diabetic ancestors lived. Even though I remember my nana’s baking yummy desserts, they didn’t eat it in copious amounts and binge till they burst on a Saturday night. They worked it into their active, busy lifestyles and treated food as fuel and NOT as bribery or reward on a daily basis.
When my nana passed away and we were going through her bookshelf I remember the copious amounts of nutrition books she had collected over the years. Amongst what must have been around 50 of them, there were soup diet books, detox books, vegetarian diet books, liver cleansing books and a number of diabetes books. I remember feeling really impressed and proud that my nana had been so conscientious about being informed of health and wellbeing.
The problem is that behind all these diet books is a person trying to make money. Telling people to eat natural foods with correct portions and live a balanced lifestyle isn’t going to make the authors of these nutrition books any money. Instead, what sells is ‘14 Day Detox’s’,‘Lose 10 Pounds in 5 Days’, ‘Do the Dukan Diet’ or ‘Do the Atkins Diet’. Around the time that these books started becoming popular, curvy models were out and skinny was in and magazines really started to promote size 0 as ideal.
The amount of clients, family members and friends that I have seen fall into the trap of going on one of these unrealistic diets and rebound back from it (me included), is ridiculous. Through this a lot of people have developed unhealthy relationships’ with food from being convinced that low fat/ low carb is the only way to lose weight and then go 4 months without so much as one lick of an ice cream only to then rebound and go the other way and live in a chocolate coma for a month. Both extremes are as bad as each other and each time your body goes through this cycle is going to make it harder the next time you try to lose weight.
Being perfect, eating only grilled chicken and veggies, not socializing in case you slip up, feeling guilt when you have 2 eggs instead of 4 egg whites and doing 2 hours of cardio a day is not maintainable. Unless you are going to compete as a figure athlete and you are close to competition, quiet frankly, its stupid and absolutely unnecessary. I give it around 3-4 months before burnout and 4-6 months before you put all that weight you lost back on and then some.
Making healthy choices, eating whole foods like our grandparents and having a balanced workout routine and doing it consistently for 6-12-18 plus months is going to get you results that you can maintain forever. Yes you will need to be patient, it wont happen overnight and there will be times where you get frustrated but weight loss and well being should be treated as a marathon, not a sprint. It will be worth it when you have reached your goal and can still enjoy your life without feeling deprived of food or guilty every time you have a treat.
Happy Training Kuwait
Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.
Image by akeelsworld