I’ve been working with a young lady recently who wanted to lose a little weight. She knew she’d been eating really unhealthily and she wanted to make some changes. Initially she tried herself, cutting back a bit on the obvious things: takeaways, Irn bru, that sort of thing. To replace the junk food she had been eating she took to the supermarket shelves to try to make healthier choices. Therein lies the problem – dazzled by the array of products promising weight loss, health benefits and detoxification – she was swayed. She spent a small fortune and lo and behold the products made no difference whatsoever to either her weight or her well being.
Fortunately, she came to me and bit by bit we’ve detangled the myths that she believed. Myths that are promoted by womens’ magazines, by product advertising AND by older women she spoke to at work for example. The myths usually involve dieting, fasting, low-fat products or some sort of faddy juice cleanse. People really believe that nonsense unfortunately and what’s worse, they’re passing those myths onto our young ladies.
Here’s the thing. Weigh loss diet’s don’t work. Show me the Slimmer of the year 5 years later. Virtually all crash or calorie restricted dieters will regain at least some of the weight but most will regain more! The body does not like dieting, it will resist and fight every attempt to lose weight, it will drive you to indulge cravings and binge. Your body works by homeostasis – the biological mechanism to keep the status quo.
Another thing. Fat is not what is making you fat. Sugar is what is making you fat. If you believe otherwise you’ve been duped by the sugar manufacturers who funded much of the low fat research In fact, HIGHER fat diets are likely to help you lose weight. I’m not talking Atkins Diet here but the Mediterranean diet – high in olive and fish oils.
The lady I have been working with has made significant changes. She has learned how to label check, to check low-fat products for added sugar and to avoid completely products with added sugars. She’s learned that her body treats processed white carbohydrates like sugar so she’s switched to wholemeal. She’s started planning her meals, taking 10 minutes to make healthy, colourful lunches and then taking a picture to share with a work colleague which is a really effective motivation tool. Get a pal to make changes with you and keep each other motivated – save the slimming club fees! Social support is important so her family are supporting her and she’s relearning how to live a healthier life. She’s focusing upon health choices not weight loss. She knows that by making these changes that weight loss will happen gradually and safely and it’s a marathon not a sprint. Plus, any weight she does lose she will be more likely to keep off as she is working with her body and not against it. She has treats at the weekend and she is likely to be building good habits for her lifetime.
Don’t be that person who passes myths onto our young people. Don’t foist your insecurities about your body or your ignorance about what’s really in our food onto the next generation. It’s hard enough for them in this global, digital world without giving them bad food habits for life.
Check the labels – make informed choices!