The Diet Chronicles

Kingdom of the Weight Loss Fraud

Diets, we’ve all been there, some to increase our weight, but most, to reduce those unwanted kilos.

Am I just a puppet dancing the weight loss zumba like so many others; jumping on and off the ever circling merry go round called, dieting. Am I ultimately damaging my body, taking off kilos for a week or more only to add even more once normal eating is resumed.

Is it time for me to stop and analyse the cost of buying special foods, or the latest detox formula, paying to join weight loss programs, or paying to join on line chat rooms where I can discuss my weight problem with other likeminded dieters? Who is the winner, not me?

Like most of us, I have fallen into the yo-yo dieting syndrome: losing weight this week only to gain more next week. My self- confidence plummets; my weight bounces around like a tennis ball on a string, coming back to land twice as hard on my backside, hips and anywhere else it decides. My pockets are emptied and my wardrobe is crowded with fat clothes, skinny clothes and my old favourites. If that isn’t enough, my pantry is full of food I should eat, but would prefer not to, food with no taste but fewer calories, powdered food whose job is to curb my hunger or food out of a packet to replace real food.

My next question, which I’m sure we’ve all asked ourselves, is, should I be eating low fat, low glycaemic, high protein, no carbohydrates, no fat, no sugar. Do I need to exercise, run, walk, jog, go to the gym, join a gym, buy a vibro machine and shake the fat off? Is there anyone out there who has a simple meal plan with minimal exercise which will ultimately result in weight loss? I think not, no gain for the weight loss experts; no pain for the weight loss tragic is followed by zero weight loss.

So what have I tried? The same as most people, the Lemon Detox diet, the Cabbage Soup diet, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Lite’n easy, NutriSystems, Bodytrim and Meal Replacement diets. What haven’t I tried, the Baby Food diet, the Zone diet, the South Beach diet, the Five-Factor diet.

How many of us, I ask, have been to see a dietician only to be given a diet that is so unbelievably complicated it doesn’t even come home, relegated to the nearest bin on the way back to the car. How can a stranger tell me what to eat when they don’t ask for a list of preferred foods? Money up front, a list of foods I haven’t heard of and don’t know where to find in the supermarket and now I’m not only demoralized, I’m angry.

Someone suggests a personal trainer. They’ll come to the house, scope out the neighbourhood for the best walking paths, see what exercise equipment I have. They may even offer to check out my pantry and make some suggestions about how I can eat better.

I search the yellow pages and internet looking for a suitable candidate. Someone who will listen to me, understand me, be firm, but with some compassion. She comes to the house, has me walking and running in the local park some days, water aerobics another, bike riding still others. Unfortunately with the weight I’m carrying, and the tiny meals she has suggested, I soon find these exercise regimes exhausting and the little energy I do have drains away before my day has started.

Energy thief I call her and try to negotiate. I have a life to live and a business to run. I need some energy to get me through the day; I plead my case. But like the machines in the gym, she doesn’t hear or listen.

Television, the source of all useless information, diet food and weight loss secrets just some of the many. Too much sugar will make me fat according to one famous diet guru. Take a tour of the supermarket, on line, and learn what not to buy.

Clean out the pantry; throw out all the sauces, especially tomato and BBQ, get rid of all cereals except Weetbix, dump all low fat foods, chuck out the lollies, cakes and biscuits. If only, I think, most of them went with the last diet.

Eat cactus powder and I won’t feel hungry says another. Take hoodia, but only from South Africa and I won’t feel those hunger pains, says another. Take a spoonful of ‘super slim’ half hour before eating and it will curb my hunger. Never mind about the stomach cramps and the run to the toilet ten times a day, at least I don’t feel hungry. More money spent and more potions and powders to fill my pantry in place of good wholesome food.

Desperate, I Google diets and find; Great, this blog is dedicated to the consumer, me, of any type of diet pill, weight loss program, book or device. It is an open forum for people wanting to see what existing customers think about various products and services available. But wait there’s more, advertisements of all kinds off to one side. Credibility, nil; its weight I want to lose, not time as I negotiate my way around the Miracle Slim Wrap, the Famous Slim Shot or the Flexi Belt – electronic or worse still, teeth whitening. What this has to do with weight loss defies belief.

Every day I’m reminded that obesity is the killer disease; heart attack, diabetes, cancers of all kinds, stroke, high blood pressure, all caused by overweight. Every day my knees tell me I’m overweight, my doctor tells me I’m unhealthy, my friends look down their slim and sporty noses at me and I try again.

More money spent, more diet food bought and my selfconfidence takes another battering.

This time I’ve decided to try the lemon detox diet. But after ten days of no food, just fluids, I’m feeling fatigued, my metabolism has gone on holidays, my digestive system is failing and my weight has increased.

Then a friend sends me an email, ‘I saw this on television, cabbage soup diet, thought you might like to give it a try,’ he writes. A week later I’m left with a bloated stomach, a killer of a headache and the scales definitely going the wrong way.

So what’s next I ask? I’ve done Weight Watchers and it doesn’t work because it is a diet. There is a cost to join, a cost to buy their special food and a cost to my health. They can’t teach me to eat right and live healthy when I have to have a pantry full of their products. It’s all about the mighty dollar and making lots of it.

It’s not about my health or weight loss. The ones making the money are those seated at the top of the tree or is it a pyramid. I tried Jenny Craig and Nutrisystems. Again it’s all about the money. Maximum effort, minimum choices and yes they do have counsellor support, but like so many services today, they steered me towards on-line support.

To achieve weight loss with both of these programs I have to eat their prepared nutritional meals. What if I don’t like them? Why can’t I cook my own food? What’s wrong with the way I cook? If I never meet my counsellor how can they know what food I like, what exercise I can do, how strong is my body, what personal problems I have that encourage me to open the fridge in the middle of the night.

Then came Body Trim. This one spoke to me; a lover of all things meat and an exercise phobia as large as my weight problem. Yes, I agreed, I had no will power; I came from a ‘big boned’ family all of whom suffered the same weight problem. Hundreds of dollars later I’m still overweight, I still have the same overweight family and I’m still ‘big boned.’

They all have the same mantra, ‘we are not a diet,’ ‘we’ll teach you about a healthy lifestyle,’ ‘we are more than just a diet,’ but you have to pay first.

I wasn’t always overweight, what changed? My life became busier, my focus shifted so I no longer thought about the amount of food I ate. I love my food, I’m a good cook, I eat well, just too much. This is the wash up at the end of all the diets I have attempted.

Where to from here? Recreate will power; wake up from that trance, become conscious of my actions; will power, the unbroken intention, in this case, of losing weight.

No diet is sustainable, not without great expense or the constant expensive assistance of a real life counsellor. Not all of us can afford this luxury or necessarily want to.

Along the way of life I’ve stopped walking, preferring to drive the couple of hundred metres to the shop. I park close to the front entrance rather than down the back of the car park. I’m always in a hurry.

To all those folk out there who’ve tried them all and still failed to lose those unwanted kilos, often gaining extra, it’s time. Throw out the diets, the diet food, the diet books and the exercise equipment, go back to basics. It won’t cost you a month’s wage, you have to eat anyway, the footpath is free; recreate you will power.

I’m going to start walking again, reduce the size of the plate I eat from, be conscious of what I’m eating, be present, clear out my negative emotions in connection with my weight and watch the kilos fall off. I will park way down the back of the car park; I will walk or ride my new bike to the local shop and clean out my pantry of all those unwanted and unsatisfying diet foods.

Come join me and it won’t cost you a cent except for the new wardrobe you’ll need. Let’s get off the merry go round, stop the yo-yoing and most important, stop participating in the million dollar dieting sham.

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