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Image by Annie Spratt


Food Fabulous

Notes from midlife

They've been lying to you

One of the hardest things you’ll have to come to terms with when you want to lose weight is that all those things you have been led to believe over the years are wrong. And, although it’s not your fault, you’ve likely been going about weight loss the wrong way.

I’m sorry to have to be the one to break it to you but the weight loss industry is based on bullsh1t science. Literally, they just made it up

As you read this pondering, ‘why would they do that?’ keep in mind that this diet business was worth $212.1 billion globally in 2018 alone and is expected to rise to a staggering $348.1billion by 2025. Vested interests anyone? That’s not based on people eating real food, but on buying slimming products and attending diet clubs and the like. There are so many companies literally plotting against you on this because it’s simply not in their interest for you to discover the real reason why your weight isn’t where you want it to be and, importantly, that you can fix this thing not only for yourself but totally free (well, not completely free because of course, you will have to buy some food to sustain yourself – just not their fake food that’s already mucking up your life).

It’s hardly surprising, then, that we find ourselves in a situation where, in the UK, 64% of people were classified as overweight or obese, a figure that is expected to mushroom (excuse the pun) to 90% by 2050.


Most people approach dieting with these things in mind: if you eat fewer calories than you expend, the weight loss will follow. So, if you eat less and exercise more, you’ll have the result you are looking for. And to achieve that, the advice has been to consume less fat (which is naturally higher in calories) and put in extra hours in the gym.

I’m guessing that little nugget has had you try every crazy diet under the sun. There are plenty of them. The one where you eat cabbage soup (not even sure how I survived that one), and there was a memorable one where I was allowed beetroot and chicken and ice cream (not sure where that concept came from). Perhaps you have tried meal replacement shakes, you’ve eaten like a caveman (that’s the paleo diet, in case you were wondering), you’ve chanced your arm with food combining or dieted based on your blood type or even on drinks made of maple syrup and lemon juice. There’s also a good chance you’ve been to one of the big slimming clubs where the theory is that weight loss in the company of others makes it easier and, for some people, the competitive element and encouragement is a draw.

You’ve probably tried to go low fat or no fat. Again, not your fault. The diet industry has had you believe that fat is the enemy of anyone who wants to lose weight. The brainwashing here is two-fold. Firstly, fat has more calories than carbs so, if you consider that calories in v calories out theory, it’s small wonder a pot of full-fat Greek yoghurt or a block of butter has you feeling on edge.

Then there’s that old chestnut that fat causes high cholesterol and is certain to have you on the path to cardiovascular disease. I’m going to be debunking these myths one by one so stay with me.

And how about this… There is even a precise figure that has been bandied about. You might have heard of it… If you consume 3,500 fewer calories per week (I’ve done the maths for you, that’s 500 a day – you’re welcome) you will definitely lose a pound of weight by the end of the week. What a disappointment, then, to discover that this is just made up. I like the word bandy in this context. The Collins Dictionary definition describes it as passing something (like gossip) about freely and carelessly. And that is exactly what has happened.


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