The other day, I read an interesting article about Weight Watchers, and how the company is re-branding itself as a ‘health and wellness company’ after a significant drop in members. Apparently they’ve discovered that the word ‘diet’ now carries negative connotations, and it’s something that people don’t want anymore. According to Mindy Grossman, Chief Executive of WW, “healthy is the new skinny.”
I have issues with that comment; I appreciate the context in which it was said (you can read the full article here), but I don’t think healthy is the ‘new skinny,’ at all. Being healthy is something to be applauded; eating well, exercising, making sensible choices and looking after yourself are all habits that we should be practicing on a regular basis, and ones that we should be passing onto our children, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren.
Being skinny is not something that ever should have been desirable, because being skinny often means depriving your body of vital nutrients, denying yourself the mental well-being that comes with eating a varied and enjoyable diet. To be clear; we come in all shapes and sizes. Some people are naturally small in their frame, or have a high metabolism, but there’s a stark difference between being skinny, and being small but healthy.
I’m not surprised, though, to hear of Weight Watchers’ decline in members. As a weight loss programme, it works. There’s no denying that. But as a long-term, sustainable nutrition plan? That, sadly, is its downfall. A third of its members end up re-gaining the weight they lost, within 2 years. Why? Because no one has the time and commitment needed to stick with a plan that requires endless calculations, and one which denies you so much. On top of that, WW and many other ‘slimming’ type groups, don’t place nearly enough emphasis on EXERCISE. You turn up to group for 6 months, and lose 3 stone. Amazing! That’s a triumph and should be applauded. But is your body toned? Are you able to keep your metabolism firing so that you continue to burn calories and don’t plateau? Or are you cutting out more and more calories in a desperate attempt to get rid of those last 5lbs?
The only real, long-term solution to a healthy, happy, and fulfilling lifestyle, is to exercise regularly (5 times a week for a minimum of 30 mins each time), give time to your own mental health, and to practice portion control. There shouldn’t be restrictions or negative connotations surrounding any food or drink. If you go out for pizza, enjoy it! Just don’t go out for pizza on Friday, Brunch on Saturday, Lunch on Sunday and round it all off with a late-night McDonalds!
Fuel your body well; take pleasure in making and eating food made with fresh, wholesome ingredients. Not only does it taste so much better, but you’ll feel much better, too. Plug any gaps in your nutrition with a protein packed daily shake that gives all the vitamins, minerals, probiotics and prebiotics that your body needs. Eat sensible sized portions, and bear in mind that women need to eat less than men; kids need to eat less than adults. You’ll soon be sleeping better; have more energy; your skin will be brighter; you’ll feel happier and more confident, and that will have a knock on effect in all areas of your life.
When those treats roll around; a glass of wine with your friends, or a slice of your kid’s birthday cake; you’ll have it, and enjoy it, and then you’ll stop. Why? Because you’ll be feeling so good, that you won’t want to sabotage that wonderful feeling.
Disregard any food that says ‘low fat,’ or ‘low sugar,’ including sodas. All of those things are full of added ingredients to make up for the taste that sugar or fat usually delivers. Sweeten your food, or baking, by using maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar; natural sugars that your body can easily absorb. If you need to drink fizzy drinks, then drink the damn Coke; your body will process the sugar far easier than it will the chemicals that recreate the Coke taste in diet versions.
Get active! The world is a beautiful and amazing place; get out there and see it. Take a walk, run, or skip with your children! Go for a swim, take a fitness class (rumour has it that INSANITY LIVE is amazeballs), grab an at-home workout programme and do it when your kids are asleep, or in the morning before work…. Just. Do. Something.
As a nation, we sit far more than we ever used to. We drive our kids to school, drive to work, and sit at a desk. We drive home, sit down to watch TV, have dinner, watch more TV, and go to bed. And we wonder why the NHS spends so much on treating diabetes, obesity-related illnesses, and back, knee, and hip problems. You don’t need to be another statistic.
You don’t need to diet.
You need to make a lifestyle change.
The accountability that groups like Weight Watchers offer, is an amazing thing. The support, the camaraderie, the friendships… and you can get all of that with my BFit group as well. We focus on portion control, mental well-being, and fun fitness. We celebrate our triumphs, talk about our struggles, and lift each other up. Many of our group are surprised at just how much amazing food they can eat when following portion control, and how quickly and effortlessly it becomes a way of life.