I’ve decided to throw my hat into the ring and make a comment on weight loss, since it is once more dominating the Sunday Supplements, TV, Internet et al.
The first thing people ask me when I tell them that I have lost a substantial amount of weight and kept it off for over 30 years is – “What’s Your Secret? How Did You Do It?” Well, here’s my secret – it’s quite radical – Eat Less And Move More!!
Sorry to disappoint; there’s no magic bullet, pill or formula, other than determination and an honest evaluation of current lifestyle, including food choices. The latest food ‘baddie’ in the media spotlight is sugar, and there’s no denying that too much of it leads to addiction, weight gain and eventual health problems.
I would argue that it was easier for me to shed my excess weight back in the early 1980’s, as there were very few ‘diet’ foods available, that didn’t look or taste like cardboard, which meant that I had to buy fresh and cook from scratch – I knew what was going into my meals and my body. I’ll admit that I had a few false starts by falling into the ‘quick fix’ trap of meal replacement drinks, but when I found myself having a little biscuit to accompany my drink, I quickly came to the realisation that ‘real’ food was the answer!
Over the years, we’ve seen a burgeoning market in convenience ‘health’ foods hitting the market in response to the messages that ‘Low Fat’ and ‘Low Calorie’ is the answer. Add in the advent of microwave cooking, and boom – meals in minutes. Great. But not really!
Sugars, Trans fats, additives and preservatives are the price paid for that instant ‘healthy’ low fat meal we picked up at the local supermarket. It appears that we’ve opened a Pandora’s Box that we won’t be able to close that easily – the lure of ‘quick and healthy’ labelled foods sitting on the shelves gives the buyer the false hope of easy access to a healthier food choice, and the mighty machine that is the diet industry has taken full advantage of this. Despite many and various TV chef’s attempts to teach us how to eat and cook fresher and healthier, somehow it’s lost on a large percentage of the population.
Despite easily accessed information about healthy eating and lifestyle choices, we are the fattest nation in Europe, with the biggest proportion of children and adults being classed as clinically obese. We are also malnourished – a strange paradox! It can only be due to what we are – or not – eating.
The first thing we discuss with our weight loss clients is how many fresh meals they cook and eat themselves. We get them to mentally go around their local store, filling their basket. We then analyse the items they have bought and why, and suggest healthier alternatives. The other big question we ask is portion size – without exception, most people will be eating bigger portions than they need.
Thirty-odd years on, my weight is still stable. I enjoy a varied diet, along with the odd biscuit or pudding (sugar!) and glass of wine about 3 times a week. But they are treats, not consumed on a daily basis. I believe that a ‘fad’ diet is a recipe for disaster, and won’t result in long-term weight loss. So eat, drink and be merry – in moderation!