Who’d be a YoYo?

Apparently, millions of us!

The Men Who Made Us Thin  is the latest BBC documentary by Jacques Peretti – who did The Men Who Made Us Fat series. (Watch on YOUTUBE at the named link)

photo via creative commons by rjp zimpenfish
photo via creative commons by rjp zimpenfish

My brief summary, however, would go something like this:

The university of Minnesota’s research showed that the amount lost by dieting and kept off over 2 – 5 years averages 1kg (2.2lbs) with one to two-thirds actually putting more back on. This appalling failure-rate shocked even the researchers!

Peretti shows that the ‘average healthy weights’ were originally set in the 1940s by an insurance analyst  – not a medical one, and that this gave no lee-way for age or build – and ‘made’ lots of average weight people into ‘overweight’ – thus driving a route towards the emerging diet industry.

A GOOD TIP – avoid any diet that claims huge losses in a short time! It is a recipe for disaster and yoyo dieting – and is a sure sign of a fad diet.

Findings by Dr Hirsch, as long ago as fifty years, showed that ‘diets’, especially calorie restrictive diets, don’t work in the long term – a  fact has been totally ignored. So much so that the fact that ANY diet will work in the short term, meaning that people will lose weight – put it back on .. then return to the diet ‘solution’ again, is a business model that works.

Weight Watchers own figures say that 2 years after reaching goal weight only 20% are still there and after 5 years only 16%. I have a ‘blog friend’ who has lost weight this way and kept it off! So I suspect she took the sensible eating to heart and had enough will-power to be her own support group. I have other friends who have lost a LOT of weight with this, put it back on, lost a lot with it, put it back on … yoyoing.

The former Finance director of Weight Watchers admitted that the business model of a weight loss system that WORKED would be a failure – that Weight Watchers (and by implication all the other supported weight loss programmes) is one whereby people lose weight.. go on to regain over time … come back to lose etc (on the basis of ‘well, I lost weight with it before’)

The fact that almost all the major ‘diet’ companies are now owned and run by FOOD manufacturers speak volumes – for them it is win: win. They win when you eat, they win when you ‘diet’ using their systems and their specialist foods. It’s almost hilarious!

Peretti also looks at the Atkins diet.  I read all about this one.. and used it – modifying it a bit as I really did not think that his early weeks of NO vegetables was a good idea -ever. It worked, mainly because it was high protein and lower-carb than the conventional way of eating. However, it was not very sustainable, it meant eating in a totally different way to those around you. It was difficult and pricey to do for a whole family. The Dukan diet is very similar.

Much as nowadays, I really like the look of the Paleo diet … lots of aspects make sense. I can see how well this would work for single people, but for families.. hmm? Life doesn’t quite work like that.

What I do know – about both of these diets, is that the emphasis on LOWER CARBS is right, and the emphasis on avoiding insulin spikes is right. What seems to be missing is sustainability for everyday family life and everyday family shopping.

Here’s my plug – the book I am working on gives guidelines to help you eat a lower amount of carbohydrates and better fats and proteins to keep you feeling full and satisfied, without being prescriptive. It is designed by a busy family woman for real life, making it ultimately more sustainable and it doesn’t ban any one food completely. It is using these guidelines as an everyday, easy to follow, way of eating that can suit everyone in the family, that means this way of eating can be followed easily for life, whereas a ‘diet’ just can’t.

This works alongside the less-than-15-mins-a-day workout, which you do at home, to build lean muscle. Something about this combination seems to reset your body-weight distribution and loss patterns to those of your younger self.

What are your experiences of ‘diets’, good, bad or indifferent?

Have you ever found one that is easily sustainable in the long term?

Do share, you know I love to hear from you.

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