I read an interesting thread this morning which managed to leave me aghast, frustrated, and laughing out loud at the sheer lunacy of some of the answers.
To set the scene, a lady in her early fifties had posted in a closed group for female entrepreneurs that I belong to, about how tricky she was finding it to lose weight and how she suffered from low energy levels. She said she ate mainly chicken, fish, and veggies, brown bread, and white rice. She doesn’t drink much, and has a low sugar intake. She doesn’t really enjoy exercise except swimming and dancing, and she smokes but not heavily. Her question to the group quite simply was “what am I doing wrong?”.
There were upwards of sixty answers to this question, and I read them all as I was curious to know what advice was given.
I was astounded by the responses. No-one had bothered to quantify her diet or her activities. Instead, the majority had gone for the ‘quick win’ option such as
“get your thyroid checked”or “get your bloods done”
One person even said
“Forget calories and exercise for the moment. Get your hormones checked!!! And I mean all of them!!!”
It seemed that most people wanted to blame something that was outside of their control for the situation they found themselves in. Maybe by removing the responsibility, they were able to reduce the guilt they felt about not looking after their own health.
It concerns me that there are so many people out there providing unqualified advice for others, largely based on something they have read on-line, or that it worked for a ‘friend of a friend’.
Our culture demands that we need to be available almost 24/7 for work and family simultaneously. The care we have for ourselves is limited at best, non-existent at worst, so it is understandable why so many of us will opt for a trip to the doctors in the hope that they will provide us with the ‘magic pill’, or we will try the latest quick fix diet in an attempt to shed those extra pounds.
With our high speed living, instant access to calorific food night and day, it is of no surprise we find ourselves living in an increasingly unhealthy world. The amount of conflicting information on health is a minefield and at times can be overwhelming. Who do you believe?
Like anything in life, if it’s worth having, you have to work for it. Quick fixes are exactly that – quick to fix and quick to come unstuck again as it doesn’t actually get to the root cause. Each time you try a new diet and it fails, you become a little more disheartened. If the GP says your hormones, thyroid etc are fine, then you have to look at yourself and what lifestyle changes you need to make.
If you are in a situation similar to the lady above, take a step back and really analyse your nutrition and exercise.
The simplest way, and the one I ask my clients to do, is to create a photo food diary. For one week photograph everything you eat and drink (and I mean everything!). It will add merely seconds on to your day, but provide you with a visual representation of what and how much you consume on a daily basis.
Look at your exercise levels. She really enjoyed dancing and swimming but how often? For how long? At what level of intensity?
Understanding these two elements will go a long way towards improving your health levels. There are of course other factors to consider such as stress, sleep patterns etc, but that is for another post!