Healthy Attitudes are SO important when making changes that last. As you know, I have tried every diet under the sun. And let me tell you: they all work. For as long as I stick to them. I mean, let’s face it, weight loss isn’t rocket science. And, likewise, weight gain doesn’t require a doctorate to understand either.
So why do Weightwatcher clients return again and again? – In fact, 84% of people following Weightwatchers return again having lost the weight and then put it back on again (Source). I have been watching a program called my 600IB Life, about mainly bedbound individuals who undergo weight-loss surgery as their last chance method to lose weight. For these individuals weight-loss surgery is even more unsuccessful, with less than a 5% chance of working in the long term. These are appalling figures! I mean, you wouldn’t take your car to a garage which only had a success rate of 16% or even worse 5%. No, that would be madness! So why do we accept such low rates of success when dealing with our health?
Healthy Attitudes: Seeing the Reality
Weight loss groups are all based on just that – weight loss. But I’m not sure healthy eating is the same as weight loss. Weight loss provides its own parameters of success and failure, and weight loss isn’t necessarily the result of healthy eating. Just because somebody eats less calories than they burn off (and thus sees a loss) doesn’t mean those calories are healthy ones. Potentially I could eat five Mars Bars a day and lose weight….. not healthily, of course, but a loss nonetheless.
Maybe it’s just me, but anytime I joined any weight loss club, I would always find ways of cheating the system. Ultimately, though, the only person I was cheating was myself. Yes, I could stay within my points or calories or syns for the day, but if I could squeeze in one more chocolate bar I would 🙂
I am educated enough to understand that vegetables are good and sugar is bad. But I am also honest enough to say that whilst vegetables taste good, sugar inevitably tastes better. Except now it doesn’t. So what’s changed?
Healthy Attitudes: The One Diet Mantra Which Stands the Test of Time
A few months ago I learnt something which was to forever change the way I viewed food. I learnt the difference between Real Food and Food-Like Products. ‘You mean you didn’t know?!’ I hear you all screaming. Well, maybe intellectually I did….possibly. Or maybe I was in denial. It does seem rather common sensical now I come to think on it. But really? No.
I simply don’t view all food as the same anymore. Before I put anything in my mouth, I ask the question ‘what does it contain?’. In general broccoli contains….well, broccoli. A Twix, on the other hand, contains: Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Wheat Flour (17%), Palm Fat, Cocoa Butter, Skimmed Condensed Milk, Cocoa Mass, Skimmed Milk Powder, Lactose, Milk Fat, Whey Powder (from Milk), Fat Reduced Cocoa, Salt, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Raising Agent (E500), Natural Vanilla Extract
It is particularly worrying when the ingredients are actually numbers. Do I want to eat a number? If the powers to be can’t even be bothered to name it, then I’m fairly certain it doesn’t belong in my mouth!
Let’s look at an example….
Take the next two products. One is a real food, and one is a food-like product:
- Wheat flour, palm fat, salt, firming agents (potassium carbonate, sodium carbonate) water, maltodextrin, wheat flour, vegetables potassium chloride, flavour enhancers (monosodium glutamate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate), flavourings, sugar, skimmed milk powder, palm fat, salt, yeast powder, herbs, acid (citric acid), mushroom juice concentrate, water, soybeans, wheat, salt, molasses, sugar, acid (acetic acid). May contain egg, celery and mustard
Can you guess which is which? Of course you can! But here’s a harder question. Can you tell, just by looking at the ingredients, what the food-like product actually is? And even harder….can you tell what flavour the food-like product is meant to be?
I’ll tell you. It’s a chicken and vegetable flavoured pot noodle. No chicken in it at all, mind you. My point here isn’t to guilt everyone into only eating broccoli and grapes. It is, instead, to try to explain how my own unhealthy attitudes towards all things ‘edible’ have changed to Healthy Attitudes differentiating between food and food-like items.
Healthy Attitudes: Dos and Don’ts
I have made two rules for myself. Firstly, I always know what I am choosing or not choosing to eat (ie I look at the ingredients list – or better still choose food which doesn’t require an ingredients list). And I never say never. Have I given up food-like products? No. Have I given up anything? No. No. And no!
Here’s the thing: Food-like products have lost their appeal entirely. Over ninety five percent of all I eat is fresh real food. I am simply not interested in the non-real food. Instead, I fill myself up on fresh fruit and veg, nuts, seeds, avocadoes, dried fruit, oats, rice and all sorts of other grain….basically real food with only one ingredient in them. I believe I must be ingesting more calories now than before and I certainly have a higher fat diet now than before. And yet slowly, slowly the weight is slipping off me.
Do I count calories? No…Points? No….Syns? No. Nothing. I eat when I am hungry and I stop when I feel full. I eat a primarily plant based diet, full of real foods and practically no food-like products. Oh, and I drink mainly water. Do I crave? No, nothing. Certainly not chocolate or diet coke (my two weaknesses). Something has changed massively. I believe the cravings have disappeared because my body is finally getting all the nutrition it needs.
Healthy Attitudes: Conclusion
For the first time in my dietary history, success or failure is not based on the weight I have lost or gained. Instead it is based on the fact that I no longer think of food 24 hours a day and more importantly it is no longer an emotional crutch for me.
It is based on every healthy choice I make. It is based on watching my family become more healthy. It is based on the fact that my children read the ingredients and self-regulate. And it is based on the incredible feeling we all have as a family as we do something important for our health and we do it together.
I believe the weight of each individual in the family will settle where-ever it feels most comfortable at. It is no longer a major consideration in our lives. Health is so much more than the numbers we see on a scale.