A year and a half ago, I embarked on what some would call my “weight loss journey”. I prefer to say I started taking the steps to change my lifestyle. Both are accurate descriptions.
Since then I have learned many things I never knew. I learned what a portion of food looks like. I learned how many calories are in particular types of food. Want to quiz me?
9 calories per gram of fat, 4 calories per gram of protein or carbohydrates.
That means a piece of something fatty that is the same size as something protein-y will have twice as many calories. Never knew that!
But why didn’t I know it? I’m a smart girl. I have a college education. If it interests you to know, I got a 1450 on my SATs (in 1995). I read. I read a lot! I paid attention in school. But how did I get to be 30 years old knowing so little about food and how my body works?
My mother never taught me. I’m going to guess she didn’t know much either, just based on the number of fad diets she tried herself.
What did they teach us in health class? I honestly have no memory of it whatsoever, except that it was taught by the gym teacher who was clearly more at home teaching kids to kick a soccer ball than explaining how digestion works.
Biology? I remember a lot about frogs and plants, not so much about human beings.
And the world around me? Well they just flat out lied to me. The Food and Diet Industry is not a benevolent supplier of dietary goodness, make no mistake about it. When I started to understand some basic things about food and diet marketing, I found myself becoming more and more astounded and furious.
On the other hand, it makes perfect sense. As a food manufacturer, your job is to sell as much food as possible and make the most money you can. Money, as we know, is a very powerful motivator. You are not in it to provide the most healthful foods to your customers. The most obvious business plan is to make your food as cheaply as possible and sell as much of it to as many people as you can. The same goes for the diet industry- their goal is not to help you lose weight. It’s to sell as many products as possible.
They try to trick you with words. Light, Healthy, Low Fat, Low Carb, Heart Friendly, Zero Calorie, No Fat, High Fiber, Natural… These words, when printed on a food label mean absolutely nothing. Some are outright untruths, like Zero Calorie, and others are just cover-ups, like something that is labeled “Low Fat” being high sugar. A huge mistake people make, not knowing any better, is to think you can eat all you want because it’s “NonFat”.
They try to trick you with exaggerated promises: “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days and never feel hungry!” “Drink this shake and you’ll look like this celebrity!”
We get so spun up in all the contradictory weight loss advice that tells you eating a certain brand of yogurt is the key or taking a pill is the key or putting a vibrating belt around your waist is the key, that we lose sight of the simple fact: generally, you get fat by eating too much. To get unfat, eat less. And to get a well shaped body, exercise.
But instead we scrutinize nutritional labels and lose sight of the big picture. Good trick: in the grocery store, the foods without nutritional information printed on them are usually the healthiest.
Does a manufacturer of a diet product want you to lose weight permanently? Not really. They want to make money. If you gain the weight back, you might buy the product again, because it “worked the last time” (before your gained the weight back.) PS, If you gain the weight back, the diet doesn’t work.
Let’s stop throwing our money away on this worthless junk that doesn’t work. If you have some cash burning a hole in your pocket, buy a gym membership or some exercise equipment or some new kitchen gadgets- because home cooking is the best way to control what you eat.
No meal replacement shakes.
No injections of pregnant women’s urine.
Let’s lose weight and get healthy for good.
Let’s do it for free!