For anyone to say, ‘To lose weight eat all you want,’ sounds completely mad. There are those juice diets and detox diets and starvation diets and all of them tell you to eat less. You know eating all you want makes you fat. You’ve looked in the mirror. It has. There is, of course, a trick to all this. You can eat as much as you like of the right kind of food and lose weight. If you eat the wrong food you can’t - or rather it is hard work.
A study has been carried out by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville - yes another study on obesity. They looked at the Amish people living in Ontario, Canada and found they ate a diet some of which was high in fat. But they had a low rate of obesity. How did they do it? They worked the land. The men reported 10 hours of vigorous activity, 43 hours of moderate activity and 12 hours walking per week. The women reported 3 hours vigorous activity, 39 hours of moderate activity and 6 hours walking per week. That is six times the amount of exercise the average person gets. Also the diet these farmers had, although not ideal, would have been a lot more healthy than the diet most city dwelling office workers eat.
To lose weight you can eat all you want of the right food. That is fruit and vegetables, wholemeal pasta and brown rice as the basics. You may not want to eat a lot of meat, but what you do eat should be low fat meat like chicken. If you eat beef make sure it is grass fed beef from a known source. Any meat you have as part of your diet should be as low fat as possible and organically grown to avoid the chemicals used in production of intensively farmed animals. Do not try to totally eliminate fat from your diet, most meat contains some fat and it is needed, but just make sure you eat it in moderation. For those who like fish most are good for you, particularly oily fish like mackerel. Do try and avoid tuna, not for health reasons but because they are being over fished and it would be sad if we contributed to their extinction.
What you should be avoiding is white processed food like white bread, white rice and white pasta. This is all highly processed, eat it and you will pile on the pounds. Granary bread is a lot better, but even that should be eaten in moderation. One thing you really must avoid is sugar. We all know sugar puts weight on and we feel good about leaving it out of tea and coffee. But what about fizzy drinks? They are the delight of kids and teenagers and we know all about the problem of child obesity. Fizzy drinks have the same effect on adults. Fizzy drinks are packed with sugar - not only do they make you fat they rot your teeth as well. Cut out fizzy drinks and drink water instead.
As we have said, eat as much as you like of the right kind of food. You may feel this is not quite what you hoped for, but the right food can taste as good as the wrong food and you won’t get fat eating it. Just one more thing. Don’t forget those Amish farmers. To lose weight you will need exercise as well as your healthy diet. I am not suggesting you plough 100 acres with a horse drawn plough before breakfast. Leave that to the experts. You just need half an hour’s exercise each day. This can be as simple as a brisk walk round the block or cycling to work or to the shops. Gardening is exercise and so is housework. Exercise does not need to involve expensive time consuming trips to the gym.
Those who say, ‘To lose weight eat all you want’ are correct if you do it the right way. It certainly beats feeling hungry.
See you soon,
15 May 2011
Photo. J. D. Gregory (Flickr)