Eating for Life
About 62% of the UK population is overweight or obese.
Given that we are bombarded with advice on how much we should eat, what foods we should eat and how much exercise we should take this seems extraordinary.
The UK diet industry was worth over £23 bn last year and is expected to top £25 bn next year.
Add to this the information we are deluged with by government and media and we should be a nation of slim, fit healthy people with little heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia to name but a few of the conditions that excess weight contributes to.
Diets don't work
This is not a difficult conclusion to reach. People pay huge sums of money to be shown ways to eat less. They clearly want to lose weight, and when they fail to lose it or keep it off they spend more money!
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
There are two problems we must deal with:
- Much of the advice given is simply wrong
- The underlying problem is our approach to food
The Underlying Problem
In modern society, we eat not for nutrition and energy but for all the feelings we get from eating. The very act of eating stimulates the production of a variety of hormones that make us feel good. We crave these feelings so it is difficult to resist the temptation.
Eating is also a social activity. social activities also stimulate these hormones, further driving the desire to eat more. And it also provides a distraction from problems, relief from boredom and can dull feelings of anxiety and depression.
Amphetamines are so addictive because they stimulate the production of dopamine - one of these hormones - to hugely excessive levels. If you're addicted to them and your pusher/supplier keeps telling you that there is more available what would happen?
And this is precisely what the dieter is faced with - and what the diet industry does.
You probably know that our food is made up of protein, fat and carbohydrates and contains vitamins and minerals.
But do you know how much you need and what the balance should be?
You will probably have heard that a man requires 2500 calories per day and a woman, 2000. This is repeated on the NHS Choices website.
In reality, a 5ft 9inch man weighing 72Kg in a sedentary job requires around 1900 calories. A 5ft 6inch woman weighing 59Kg in a similar job requires less than 1500.
You can check your own calorie requirement on our calculator - Click Here
Incidentally, the page on which NHS Choices suggests 2500/2000 figures provides a link to the same type of calculator on this website which produces the same figures.
Finding the right balance of foods is equally difficult. Diet companies are more interested in selling meal replacements, their
Diets don't work!
If diets don't work and you need to lose weight; what do you do about it?
At one level the answer is simple, stop dieting, train yourself to eat when you are hungry and learn which foods have the greatest impact on your weight gain.
It only requires a small decrease in energy intake and the pounds will drop off. One less:
- Gingernut per day equals a loss of a pound in 10 weeks or 5 pounds in a year.
- Cut one slice of toast and marmalade per day and you'll lose a pound in 2 weeks - 25 pounds in a year.
If you want to find out how to do this without dieting, subscribe to our healthful eating guide below.