Americans apparently spend $60 Billion annually trying to shed a few pounds and feel better about themselves. From Jenny Craig to GNC, we seem to be willing to fork out an increasingly insane amount of money every year to feed the weight-loss industry – an industry by the way, that is more than happy to be cashing in on our insatiable appetites for the promise of a fitter, leaner, younger self! Better watch out though! There is so much misinformation out there circulating about diet and consumables– I think it’s time for me to weigh in:)
Let’s first consider the type of food that we (and our children) are relentlessly sold…
Fast food first. Whilst there is no escape from the mass marketing of your favorite little drive through snack (Triple Whopper anyone? 2100 calories, 105g fat), at least you pretty much know what you are getting (…in addition to the coronary). We know it’s bad for us, but for the most part, we are not eating it every day.
Next up, the supermarket. The best advice is to stick to the perimeter, where they sell all the fresh veggies, chicken, fish and dairy that you need. Start roaming the inner lanes and you are bombarded with the less requisite sugary cereals, carbo-licious breads and pastas and most deceptively, swathes of processed products with low fat and fat free labeled packages. (I deliberately skipped mentioning ice cream because it’s a crucial part of any serious cyclists diet!)
It’s actually the low fat/fat free sector of the food business that bothers me most. These labels imply “more healthy” than their full fat counterparts but there is nothing healthy about these products at all. Since these “foods” have had their fat removed and would subsequently taste disgusting – they are reprocessed with gobs of high fructose corn syrup, sugar, artificial sweeteners and other unnatural flavor enhancing chemicals. Yuck!
Here’s the thing. Sugar is bad. Fat is not. So don’t be fooled. If it’s labeled low fat/fat free, it’s almost certainly worse for you than it’s regular counterpart so stick to the real thing!
There’s a bunch of other food marketing baloney out there too, terminology which also doesn’t necessarily guarantee a healthier product, including trans fat free, gluten free, carb-free and whole grain, so “caveat emptor” – read the label carefully, they are just trying to sell you stuff!
What about supplements?
So many pills, powders and potions…
And whilst I am sure some of them might help or enhance your efforts toward a healthier lifestyle – I am also convinced that most of the aisles of GNC are stuffed to the gills with pointless placebos and puffed up panaceas. I reckon a few florets of steamed broccoli include more nutritional value and health benefits than most of these products combined!
Dieting. Well it’s astonishing to me that so many people buy into so many systems, methodologies and programs, when the answer to this whole obesity conundrum (68% of Americans) couldn’t be simpler and barely takes a paragraph to resolve, let alone a page or a whole book!
Here goes, off the top of my head, no charge whatsoever:
Drink more water. Much more.
Eat loads of chicken, fish and fresh veggies.
Cut back on sugar, sodium and simple carbs (bread, white rice, cookies).
Slow down and only eat about a quarter of what they give you at The Cheesecake Factory.
So, what about exercise?
Well, my committed and fearless Spinning friends – I don’t have to tell YOU again about all the benefits of the best Cardio activity ever invented – you know it already and you can’t get enough!
But – I do love a good inspirational quote, so I’ll end this week’s newsletter with one of the very best quotes pertaining to exercise:
Talk about getting to the heart of the matter…brilliant stuff!