Again on the “diets”…

Taking a quick break from NaNoWriMo to bring you a quick little spotlight.

Read this article debunking the Special K Challenge.

Let’s start with a little statement. It’s a statement that doctors everywhere will fight tooth and nail to ignore, and it is a statement that many women who have been harangued by insecurity that’s been pushed on them from every side need to hear:

Most diets don’t work.

If you don’t want to bother clicking on the link, I’ll sum up the article. Someone took a good look at the Special K challenge, which is a two-week diet that is supposed to bring about a quick weight loss. Except it’s seriously not healthy. Considering that an average woman’s basal metabolic rate – in other words, the calories needed to just stay alive and function – is about 1550, the Special K diet has a daily calorie limit of 829. Basically, about half of what’s considered healthy.

Adorable. So the good folks of Special K don’t consider that in trying their little “diet”, someone can seriously damage their health if the body enters starvation mode? When the body enters starvation, it slowly begins to destroy itself.  The weight loss will not happen, because when the body is shocked into starvation, it will cling to its fat to protect itself. Oh, and as a quirky little side effect, the body begins to destroy muscles and internal organs when in starvation. When you hear people on a diet complain how tired and weak they feel all the time, they’re already seriously malnourished, and their body is saying, loud and clear, “Stop this shit NOW and EAT FOOD.” They will not lose weight. They will, however, wreck their health.

Special K fails to mention the HFCS content of their cereals. Regardless of what the commercials say, “corn sugar” is not broken down the same way as cane sugar. Stop the lies already; the people’s health tells the tale much louder than any commercial can.

So in other words, the “Special K Challenge” consists of deliberately starving the body on a caloric basis, while the only allowed foods are those that contain a chemical that has been found time and again to completely wreck bio function.

And this is healthy how, exactly?

Oh yeah, I forgot, it doesn’t really mater how healthy someone is, but how thin they are. Which, honestly, is hogwash. Last time I checked, my talents as a writer and graphic designer have absolutely nothing to do with what size of clothes I wear. I can use Photoshop and MS Word in my pajamas, for all anyone gives a damn. I also know that if I’m craving a medium-rare steak for a week straight, then my iron has been low lately, and maybe I should pay the butcher a visit.

And the whole “calories in, calories out” crap? Fails to account for the simple fact that no two people have the same metabolism.  This is how you have people who can gain weight even if they’re eating nothing but salad, or people who consume inordinate amounts of junk food and never gain an ounce. Because metabolism, weight, and health are not the same across the board, which is another thing that doctors tend to ignore.

Really. The Weight Watchers and Atkins diet systems ares probably the more “sound” diets that I know of, but even they tend to restrict certain aspects of nutrition. The best way to diet is to follow the body’s lead and focus on nutrients, not on calories. Your body will thank you for the whole grain, the vitamin-laden vegetables, the complex sugars in fruits, the lean meat proteins, the whole milk, the “good fats” found in fish and nuts. It will not thank you for being deprived of any of the above for any length of time, and here’s a hint: sometimes what you crave tells you what you’re lacking. And even if you’re not a gym rat and your exercise is dodging commuters (which, trust me, is a contact sport), if your body gets enough of the nutrients into itself, it will be healthy. Which is a hell of a lot more beneficial than being thin will ever be.

And now if the media would quit bombarding women with messages like “How much will you gain when you lose?” and how being thin will make everything magically okay in their worlds, I would be quite a happy camper, but that’s really too much to ask. People profit off insecurities a little too much.



2 thoughts on “Again on the “diets”…

  1. Amen sista!

    Not every doctor washes over that though. I have been lucky enough to find a really good one. I was in his office and noticed one of those silly BMI charts and remarked that I am apparently obese. He looked at me and said ‘that chart is for poeple who sit on their ass all day, not you. Your have ideal bp, low resting heart rate, normal cholesterol, normal sugar. This is not for you’

    If I was to listen to any of this ‘diet’ advice, I wouldn’t be able to grag myself out of bed, let alone run or ride my bike daily. The best thing we cal do is toss out the notion of ‘one size fits all’ body image and realize that if we nourish our bodies, the spirit can soar. That is why I love my curves.

    1. Very well said!

      I thought I had a doctor like that, but I was quite disappointed when I actually had my BMR tested elsewhere and discovered that, having not taken my thyroid support meds for about a week, my metabolism was like a racehorse. And thyroxine pills have a little side effect: marked weight loss.

      Time to hunt for another one, because…really, I’ve cut the meds for two weeks now. I feel as fantastic as when I’m on them, and hey: my appetite is normal again.

      It took me a LONG time to get comfortable in my own skin, and frankly, extra padding be damned, I like who I am.

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