In a world saturated in health-food bloggers, pictures of women in skin-tight active wear and the never-ending war against sugar ringing in your ears, it’s a safe bet to say that a huge chunk of our population chose “get fit & lose weight” as their New Year resolution.
Guilty as charged, I am one of the great followers of a resolution to change my body, promising to commit to a certain number of nights running up and down the street, breaking my back to form the perfect six-pack and squatting until my buns can’t take it anymore.
I cleared out the fridge, filled it with fresh fruit and vegetables and stashed the alcohol away in the highest cupboard and out of reach. Finally, I downloaded the world’s number one 12-week fitness programme and geared myself up for the summer body I had been promised in the online promotion that I was sucked into.
I am not alone here either; I know there are thousands of you out there who have gone through the exact same steps, wishing the fat away with the goodwill of a New Year’s Resolution. You are ready, you are prepared “” but have you really just set yourself up for failure?
There is a huge problem in the world of “wellness” at the moment and it’s affecting many who are struggling to lose weight. We are surrounded with the “eat like me, look like me” message of thousands of so-called wellness experts who carry absolutely no qualification but the ability to take “selfies” and arrange their food to look so pretty it’s almost inedible.
They are encouraging us to exercise in a certain way and eat a certain way, but with what scientific proof? And, is it working? Are they just creating an environment that is purely based on misinformation, without considering the overall picture of what it means to be healthy?
From the safety of their phones, hundreds of women are giving un-qualified advice to thousands, even millions, of followers, encouraging them in their friendly, informal tone to avoid bread and milk and stock up instead on cold-pressed green juices. They make dark references to the many ways in which today’s food industry is making us all sick and include many, many photos to confirm the efficacy of their recommendations.
There is this huge emphasis on the alleged ramifications of eating wheat, gluten and dairy “” but as most dieticians will tell you, every person deals with these differently, and so following someone else’s diet is not necessarily good for your health.
One diet plan I received went a little like this:
Start the day with a green smoothie almond milk, coconut water, avocado, cucumber, kale, LSA, CHIA and Greek yoghurt.
Lunch is generally a quinoa or brown rice salad with nuts and seeds along with a little chicken or tuna.
Another almond milk smoothie keeps you going until your nightly gym visit and you finish the day with sushi or a piece of salmon and brown rice.
Yep, all in all it’s a very healthy day. Numerous nutritional boxes have been ticked, you have swapped your dairy for almond and coconut milk and plenty of nuts, grains and seeds have ensured you have received your good fats.
Did you get the part where there was no dairy? No gluten?
But it doesn’t stop there “” what about fitness too? There are many “experts” out there selling off their trademark 12-week challenges, marketing the heck out of what they claim to be a life-saving programme for those looking to lose weight.
The only problem is, for many people, with just a piece of paper to motivate you for 30 minutes, you would have to have a big sack of willpower to get through the workouts each day “” or at least a wedding dress to fit into.
There is no follow-up on progress, no one to push you along, just another dollar in the pocket of some thin-as-feck Instagram chick who can now call herself a millionaire thanks to the suckers who believed their body could look “like this!”
International Fitness Academy Director Rhys Davies said most qualified personal trainers who work one-on-one with clients can help them improve their overall health, which includes a combination of diet, mind set and exercise.
“Losing weight is as much about changing the mind as it is about the changing the body, and improving your health. You really can’t do one without the other, not if you’re looking to maintain it,” Rhys said.
“One of the biggest problems we are seeing today is the misinformation of diet verse exercise, with many people not combining the two in a programme that works to their benefits.
“For maximum results, diet should compliment the amount of exercise and obviously eating healthy is a must, but this doesn’t mean you have to cut out everything besides green vegetables and chicken.”
In conclusion: there is no denying that how we eat is important less sugar, more vegetables it is perfectly sensible. But this sort of advice is often served up with a hefty side-dish of misinformation and a lack of information on the right kind of exercise that is right for you and how much you should be doing.
Remember, balance is key. After all, being obsessive about healthy eating and exercise isn’t actually all that healthy.