Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Here we go again.. the Great British weight off


I am officially sick of hearing how “making a few changes” will make me thinner and healthier.

Yes, it’s  that time of year again, the diet and fitness industry is delivering the same old messages with gusto on every media outlet known to man.

Or at least that's how it seems.

Watch television at your peril, before flicking the switch brace yourself for an onslaught of diets, calorie-counted meals delivered to your door and celebrities who have found the “new thinner me”.

They are tempered only by smoking cures, exercise plans, DVDs, 12-week plans, two-week miracles cures, herbal remedies, pills  - you name it, someone will have come up with a weight-loss plan around it.


I sat aghast through an advert  which claimed a new pill will help you lose weight if combined with a calorie-controlled diet and exercise – you are having me on surely, are we really that thick?

New Year is when a nation rendered vulnerable to weight loss hype through two weeks of overindulgence becomes a ripe target.

We know there is a huge market for this nonsense, but every year I am astonished at just how easily people  get sucked in.

Yes we have all eaten a bit too much, yes we all feel a bit grotty, physically and mentally, and yes we could all do with having a look at what we eat and drink and doing a bit more exercise.

But it is shocking just how greedily the diet industry will prey on the calorie-worn and gullible.

Believe them all and you would cut out carbohydrates, fats, sugars, meats, green fruit, red fruit, all fruit, rice, bread, wheat dairy, eat only when sitting down, when standing up, three times a day, every three hours, never,  as much as you want but only from two lists, exercise every day, but no more then three times a week, for an hour, four minutes max, aerobically, anaerobically.....it’s endless.

There is an answer, a plan, a formula to fit every single age, body type, creed, colour and blood type – and they all claim to miraculously change your life.

Strange then that Britain is still hurtling towards an obesity crisis, and anyone who has lost weight through dieting will tell  you they eventually put it back on again.

Today there is another one out there “the 12-week body plan”.

It is being billed as the six-pack secret.

Ah, that’s why I don’t have a ripped and sculpted abdomen, this little nugget has been kept under wraps for the past two thousand years.

Only now are the long-hidden jewels of how to achieve the perfect body being revealed (see Men’s Fitness magazine).

Handy, because I do feel a little bloated after Christmas – so what do I have to do....

This regime tells me in 12 weeks I can have a brand new physique and a rock-hard six pack by changing what I eat and looking at how I exercise.

Really?, I wouldn’t have guessed that, but I have to buy the book to find out more –   I won’t bother, it will only clutter  my collection of tomes and manuals which promise to transform me into a pre-2000 Peter Andre.

Along my travels I have discovered a much simpler answer which doesn’t involve me shelling out for the guidebook and replacing everything in my kitchen cupboards.

It really is remarkably easy, and this is why I get so frustrated at glossy diet revelations which pop up like fat-free mushrooms again and again and again.

The very simple answer, I think, is eat when you are hungry, don’t when you are not, and do a bit of exercise.

That is it, no carb bans, no calories, no counting, weighing, meetings, charts, lists, points or sins.

It seems to be a little known secret but believe me it works. And for those who swear that is what they do but still pile it on – be honest with yourselves, do you really? You really leave half of what is on your plate if you are pleasantly full?

I also get frustrated because, having been big as a child and conscious of my weight ever since, I know how ripe for plucking people who are not confident with their bodies are to these predatory diet-peddlers.

And, after a little overindulgence, I probably fit into that category right now.

A little excess around the middle has left me tempted to reach for that Slimming World manual, or lock the cupboard marked carbohydrates.

I have  found myself thinking “that sounds interesting” as I see a skinny blonde woman on ITV jumping up and down throwing her old and oversized jeans in the air to reveal the skinny frame underneath.

But I know from old I am about to be drawn into a massive con.

The one thing that I have done consistently over the past 25 years to never put on anything more than a couple of pounds is to NOT diet.

Whenever I have, I have either put on weight, or found myself eating so erratically through confusion that I obsess about it to the point of misery.

The answer? The only thing I can suggest from years of studying health and fitness is  ignore anything that says it’s “healthy”, forget the diets and fitness plans that promise the impossible, and listen to your own body.

When it tells you to stop eating, stop, if you’re not hungry, resist.., that's it, as the Americans would say...period.


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