Monday 9 January 2012

The D-Word

Ninety percent of what is written about diets is total bollocks. If you want to lose weight then you've got to eat less and exercise more. This diet tweeted to me recently is a case in point, miracle foods pah! I laugh at miracle foods, I pour scorn on your pseudo-scientific bollocks and I certainly ain't going to pay over the odds for them. For one thing one of the few immediate benefits of a diet is that you save money on food.

Tips for the friends and family of fat people...

1) If you think that a fat person goes through life blissfully unaware of their weight - think again. Every time we don't fit into a seat, get short of breath going up some stairs, get called a fat cunt by a random stranger is a reminder. Every little public humiliation at turnstiles, narrow doorways and mirrors reminds us that we are fat(1). Do not feel you have to remind us every time you see us how much porkier we've got, we know, and if you keep doing it we're going to start avoiding you (just like we do mirrors).

2) If you really want to help ask your fat friend what help they need and then give it. The only way to lose weight is to make a sustained change in lifestyle, you cannot force someone to do that you can only help at the margins. If you feel the words "we need to make an intervention" appearing on your lips I cordially invite you to put a sensitive part of your anatomy in a mangle and turn the handle.

Tips for fat people.

Note I'm talking to fat people here not you smug bastards with your "oh I've got a roll of fat on my belly I've just put so much weight". The basic resting state for a first world human being is plump live with it.

1) You're going to have to change what you eat - sorry.

2) Lose weight for yourself not for other people. Use whatever method works for you over the long term.

3) As far as I know the best way to lose weight is to keep a daily food diary (see psychological tricks).

4) Eat some fruit and some vegetables every day, avoid chocolate and sweets.

5) I really mean it about the chocolate and sweets.

6) Weigh yourself once a week and make sure you record it accurately but don't feel you have to share this information (see 7)

7) It is much easier to lie to other people than it is to yourself (think about it). It's always tempting to hive off the responsibility for keeping yourself on the straight and narrow to a friend or family member. Then you lie to them about your weight and... I don't need to tell you what happens you've probably done this already - probably more than once.

8) Some people put on weight easier than other people. What can I say? Life's unfair. Other people's eating habits are not your responsibility (unless you're a parent of course).

Psychological Tricks

1) Blame, guilt, shame - none of these are helpful.

2) Decide roughly what kind of weight would suit you, be honest about it. I'm currently 186 kg and for me anything under 120 kg would be gravy. Now I may change my mind when I get there but merely being fat rather than unable to fly economy class in an airplane is my current goal.

3) Do it for yourself - tell everyone else to shut the fuck up.

4) Find the worst offender - ie: chocolate, cake, deep fried Mars Bars - and stop eating it.

5) I don't count calories on fruit or vegetables because I don't eat enough of them as it is. That gives me one less thing to worry about and an incentive to eat healthily.

6) The food diary is for you and you alone. If people try to step in and regulate your diary tell them to fuck off. Your body, your decisions, your diet.

In Summery

These women would be considered too porky for a lead TV role!
1. Do not measure yourself by the people you see on the TV, they are professionals who are paid to sustain an arduous and ultimately unhealthy lifestyle in order to create the illusion that the normal state for a human being is just this side of famished. Think of it as stunt work, it looks impressive but you wouldn't want to try it at home.

2. There are health problems associated with being fat, Type 2 diabetes, an increased risk of this that and the other and you become more attractive to members of the big cat family(2). If you are fat than you will probably face some of these problems and you need to factor that into your decision. However nobody I know has ever scared themselves thin.

3. It's unfair but the food industry is working really hard to make you as fat as possible. Most of easily available tasty stuff is hideously fatty, sugary and god-knows-what-elsey. I hope this will change one day but until it does you should behave as if the food industry has embarked on a conspiracy to make you morbidly obese. They haven't of course, you're far to insignificant for that, but the behavioural outcome is the same.

4. Eat less overall. Eat fruit and vegetables. Avoid chocolate and sweets.

5. Do some exercise - even if it's just half an hour's walk each day.

6. Did I mention that you need to eat less food? Right - moving on.

7. Find what works for you - stick to it.

8. Do not try to hive off responsibility for monitoring your food or weight to other people. You're going to have to be doing this for the rest of your life so you have to take responsibility for it yourself. Besides are you a grown up or not?

9. Human beings live complicated interconnected lives and we cannot control a great deal of what happens to us but sure as fuck most of us can control what gets put in our mouth. Take control of your life, if you want to be fatter eat more, if you want to be less fat then eat less.

10. Everybody knows all this really - it's just a bugger to put into practise.

(1) By the way if none of this applies to you - you're either not fat or are living in such an enviable state of cosmic bliss that I wouldn't want you to change on my behalf.
(2) As food dummy.


Unknown said...

All very refreshingly sensible stuff. I'm one of the plump, currently trying to shed weight in a hurry for a play in March (I'm playing an Englishman chained to a radiator in Lebanon and plump doesn't quite seem right).

Setting goals, getting more exercise, fruit and veg, cutting out as much of the processed rubbish as possible, I'm doing all of that, but my main problem is that I have a huge blind spot for the deleterious effect of beer on any health kick.

It sounds so draconian even to think it, but I just don't think it's possible for someone with my metabolism to lose weight while imbibing a modest amount of fermented sugar each week.

pbristow said...

Some good sensible stuff there, though I think some people might misread a couple of bits as "victim blaming".

I'm afraid I'm one of the Western World's few incurably skinny folk: A high metabolic rate means I have to keep shovelling in calories and fibre just to stop my trousers falling down and my digestive tract deflating to the point where it then can't cope whenever some more food *does* come along. =:o{

This is nobody's fault, and there's no magic cure; it's just how things are, and I just have to manage my daily intake of food to work around it (or accept that if I enjoy a "day off", then I'll be paying for it over the next couple of days).

And the same is true of people who have the opposite problem, of course.

The sooner we all stop blaming ourselves and each other for our bodies' inconvenient default settings, the sooner we can each relax into a management routine that lets us get on with enjoying the rest of our lives.