As we are approaching the second quarter of 2019 the diet industry is preparing their second launch of the year: get ready for your bikini body! Incidentally, my body is as ready as it will ever be for a bikini as it wobbles and blobs along, doing its thing that a 46-years-old female body does.
Nevertheless, the diet industry has good reason to launch their beach body campaign: it is expected that this year in Western Europe alone we will spend €140 billion keeping the weight loss industry afloat. (www.statista.com)
Wow! That’s is a lot of money!
A quick look online and I could compile a list of 33 diets that promises you a beach ready body; from the Atkins diet to the ominous cotton ball diet. My personal craziest diet I have ever done was a juicing plan. I juiced myself to an irritable human being in two to three weeks, then launched straight into any kebab, cake and ice cream place while being on holiday. I cannot recommend you’d do the same, but I’d love to hear about any crazy diet you have attempted in the past or are on now, so feel free to leave a comment.
From the 1970s onward, we have become heavier, lazier and sicker. The WHO reckons that the global obesity rate has nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016.
The 1970s is also the decade that the supermarket made real inroads in our lives and while we were trying out those canned soups, sachets of mashed potatoes and ready available ice creams, those independent high street shops – that we long for nowadays – declined steadily and have overtime been replaced by take away /fast-food outlets and off licences for our alcohol consumption. We bought into the belief that a tin of tomato soup was the same thing as what we could make at home ourselves, but within a fraction of the time and price.
On top of that, women started working outside the house while men did not decrease their working hours, resulting in all of us working longer hours with less time to spend at home to look after ourselves. This has led to a booming convenience food industry of ready meals, ‘prepare it yourself meal kits’ and take-ways.
We have had a naive trust in food producing companies supplying us’ healthy’ produce. After all, they take the fat out for us and put the vitamins in, while making it super easy to dish up dinner after a hard day at work. Isn’t it? The label even promises us that it is now healthier than ever! Regrettably, an unforeseen side effect for many of us is significant weight gain.
So now we are spending billions of pounds, euros and dollars trying to get thin again and to be told what we can and cannot eat.
We are buying cookery books, but are cooking less. We are attending local weight loss groups, buy low fat margarine, skimmed milk and artificial sweeteners for in our coffee, but are heavier than a decade ago. We starve ourselves on juicing diets, water fasting diets and calorie counting apps and to top it all some of us eat indigestible cotton balls in order to loose some pounds.
Do you realise that when we are talking about diet, we usually talk about what we should not eat? Let’s look at two popular diet trends of today: the ketogenic diet and the wholefood plant-based diet (WFPB).
The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular diets doing the rounds. On a keto diet plan you get 70-75% of your calories from fat, 20-25% of your calories from protein and 5-10% from carbohydrates. In other words, you should eat a lot of fat (butter, olive oil, nuts, coconut oil), a lot of meat for protein (but not milk), propped up with vegetables and hardly any carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread, fruit, legumes, refined sugars).
The WFPB diet is perpendicular to the keto diet. You should not eat any animal protein (no meat/eggs/diary) and processed fats (including vegetable oil) and you should eat lots of unrefined carbohydrates (brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, millet) and lots of vegetables, legumes and fruit. Refined sugars like white flour and sugar are frowned upon.
At first glance the two diets seem to be polar opposites of each other,
but they have more in common than initially meets the eye.
At first glance the two diets seem to be polar opposites of each other, but funny enough they have more in common than initially meets the eye: they send you back into the kitchen to prepare your own food from scratch.
Out goes anything processed, in comes home prepared and cooked meals. Does it come in a packet with more than five ingredients than you cannot eat it. Do you have to forest it, clean it, cut it and cook it than it will be fine. Fruit juice, sugar, additives and fast food are shunned and banned. In comes the container for your home-made lunch and out goes your bought BLT sandwich or the ‘healthy’ fajitas meal kit you make for dinner and the ‘super’ noodles you prepare as a snack for your kids after school. Any snack you wish to have is going to be either fruit, nuts or crunchy vegetables washed, cut and shelled by yourself at home.
Et voilá, we may just have found the solution to our woes. Ditch the processed food and choose to prepare your meals from scratch. EVERY SINGLE MEAL! Yes, breakfast too. Opening a packet of cornflakes, pouring it in a bowl and drowning it in milk, is not preparing your meal from scratch.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t really know what is healthy anymore and instead of using our common sense we get taken away by marketing tactics and diet trends. Although I do hope not many of us will take the cotton ball diet seriously.
Yet, should we learn to slow down, prepare nutritious food, take time to eat together to enjoy our home cooked food and generally take care of our time and ourselves, weight loss might just be the positive by-product that we are looking for. It is for me.
And what should you do when you fancy a biscuit? You’d better get the flour, butter and sugar out of the cupboard and start baking.