Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Being in shape and a food snob does not make you better than other people.

Below, you can see a screen shot I took of the findings of a meta-analysis released last week, that looked at studies of all “named” diets. I highlighted the part that is most significant to the point I want to make in this entry.


Everywhere you look, people are telling you “this diet I sell is the only one that works, for these reasons. Everyone else has got it all wrong for all these reasons”. Well, the researchers wanted to find out which diet really was the best one, and if there was really all that much difference between one diet and another.

The result? As you see above. One diet is as good as another. People can be successful with any diet so long as total intake is not inappropriate. We knew that anyway, but now it has been verified and documented.

I am a bit disappointed that this study hasn’t caused much of a stir in the industry as far as I've been made aware. It is the best possible news for the people out there who have struggled with their weight, or with their relationship with food. Quite literally, this study has shown that everyone can be successful, by using whatever approach and whatever choice of foods best suits them… and this is the recommended approach, rather than trying to force everyone to “eat it, it’s good for you”.

This really takes all the usual talk about “discipline”, “will power” and so forth out of the equation. For reasons we can speculate on, this doesn’t sit so well with certain people. People who… I suppose they feel that their own results from training are proof that they’re a better and more virtuous person than everyone else. 

Bollocks.

At an advanced level of contest preparation, sure. People are going to need to stick to some tight and precise nutritional targets, and there will be days when it does come down to discipline in not giving in to a craving or the temptation of an indulgent food choice that is not a part of the plan. For people who's goal is simply to not be obese anymore, though? Come on.

Not everyone has such elite level goals, and why should they? For most people, it would be enough to be healthier and feel more confident in their appearance. Even at what might seem a quite advanced level of lean and athletic body composition, hitting somewhere within an appropriate range of total intake (with suitable macronutrient ratios) with reasonable consistency is all that's required.

It comes down more to organisation than anything else. Getting organised with a plan to meet your nutritional needs with the choices of foods that best suits you, on the schedule that best suits you. Willpower and discipline might be required if you needed to go hungry, to abstain from the foods you enjoy, or to force yourself to eat foods that you dislike. As we've established, none of that is actually required or helpful.

For the industry people and self appointed experts on the internet:

Have a look at this shit will ya?
#dickheads is more like it.
If your primary objective is really to help people, you’ll embrace these findings and work to enable people to achieve their goals via whatever choices best suit them. Otherwise, I put it to you that your real primary objective is in convincing everyone that they should be emulating your choices, your lifestyle, and validating your ego.

Honestly I feel like some of these “coaches” and other supposed authorities should just come clean and admit that they hate fat people and resent the notion that people can get results and achieve the goals they set for themselves, without proving that they “deserve” it by adopting some entirely irrational and bizarre level of food snobbery.
  
I suppose that when people think that being in athletic shape and "eating clean" makes them better than everyone else, it's hard to accept that it is actually meaningless. People are successful because they find an approach that works for them; that meets their energy requirements and suits them as an individual. If that means "eating clean", great... do what works for you and what makes you happy. It doesn't mean that it's the only way though, or that people don't deserve to be successful through other means. That's just ridiculous.