BBC Documentary Exposes How Diets Make you Fat!

By David Faratian BA(Hons) Dchp AEPT

Over the past few weeks the BBC have been running a documentary series called ‘The Men Who Made Us Thin’ which explores the history and origins of our modern day obsession with dieting, counting calories, exercise, slimming pills and weight loss. In the programme journalist Jacques Peretti traces why so many people have found themselves seduced by years of dieting propoganda despite the fact that the problem never really existed up until the mid 50s when, as a result of misinformed statistics which the American governement commissioned, over half of America’s population were reclassified as overweight even though they weren’t at all. As Peretti explains “At the stroke of a pen normal healthy Americans had a weight problem” This redefinition of what might be termed ‘overweight’ was adopted by the medical establishments and even the government as a result the opportunity to ‘fix’ this problem developed, and of course, the result was that the dieting industry was born.

People who for no reason whatsoever were now ashamed of their bodies were turning in their millions toward solutions for this ‘problem’. People of all ages were now neurotic about their weight and wanted to do anything and everything to lose that weight as quickly as possible.

The promotion of shakes and systems which allowed you to monitor each and every calorie gave people the illusion that they had control over how much their bodies gained or lost weight. Very quickly these quick fix shakes which claimed to promote rapid weight loss were encouraging all kind of immitation brands to spring up ffor this invented weight problem.

Big business was about to cash in on the misery and despression and unhappiness of people, who up until that point in history, had been able to deal with their self image more realistically. In effect, the weight problems that even influences us today was invented, and the dieting industries were more than ready to offer the solution.

What followed however was shocking to say the least. Scientific studies began to show that there was an inverse relationship between dieting and weight loss. People who dramatically lost weight in the short term, actually caused the bodies natural metabolism to take action and protect it from any harm by conserving as much energy as possible, or in other words the metabolic rate of dieters slows down if starved or put into famine which causes it to actually gain weight.

The fact that Diets fail however was good news for the dieting industries, because they realised that as long as people were guaranteed to fail they would keep coming back to them time and time again for the solution and big business relies on repeat business.

Whether Slim Fast, Lipotrim, Rosemary Connoly, Weight Watchers, The Mars Bar Diet or Atkins, they all rely on the shame, depression and misery the overweight already feel about themselves, to stay in business. The pattern of behaviour this reliance on dieting products promotes is not only harmful but also dangerous. Through continuous dieting people are stressing the natural metabolic balance of the body and therefore long term negative health implications, through so called yo-yo dieting, are increased.

Surely the point with a diet is that you are trying to achieve a significant amount of weight loss, and more importantly, keep it off. The evidence however is that diets long term simply do not work. This evidence is borne out by the fact that statistically over a 5 year period ony 18% of an original Weight Watchers control group had achieved any sustained weight loss the other 84% had not only regained any weight lost but also increased their weight. On average, therefore more people regain and gain weight following a diet than if they had adopted other outlooks.

Why am I even writing about this programme, why do I care so passionately about this? The reason is simple. I don’t like or agree with the fact that concerns about weight loss exist only because of an invention of data which suddenly shifted all future benchmarks of what is acceptable or unacceptable weight. This in turn created the fertile ground for greed and big business who never really cared about the misery and unhappiness of the people they were claiming to help. Essentially the dieting industry should have died years ago leaving people to heal and recognise that actually they are fine as they are. Unfortunately things have come too far now and thanks to the internet and media and fashion, the genie is well and truly out of the bottle and unlikely to ever be put back where it belongs. As long as people are constantly comparing themselves with unrealistic ideals, in magazines, in films, on TV, then diets and the unreachable dream weight are here to stay.

So what’s the alternative. To my mind it’s all about balance and moderation. For that you need a change in attitude and perception. Learning to be relaxed around food and have neither guilt or resistance toward our everday fuel intake is what ultimately leads to a healthy balanced body. Dealing with our addictive thoughts around food without feeling stressed all the time reduces the perception of need . Once we can reconnect with the part of ourselves that knows intuitively what we need, no more, no less, then I believe that’s the most natural way to live. Let your body and mind guide you. This approach is possible for 85% of people. Once you unlock the sensible balanced subconscious which you have trusted to look after you so far then genuine, not invented weight loss is possible.

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