I’ve just watched the first episode of this programme and never has my book title “Stop Counting Calories & Start Losing Weight” seemed more appropriate.
First of all – don’t you just love Anna Richardson?! She is one of my fave presenters – so natural, so approachable, so ‘one of us’ and good on her for joining in and trying to get into a dress and being seen in her pyjamas etc. She is just fab. I just want to get hold of her though and explain all about calories and how they are just fuel and how a calorie is not a calorie and how we have misapplied the laws of the universe to the human body. She’s clearly very bright – so let’s go into this at whatever level is necessary until Anna stops believing that cutting calories is the way to lose weight. Start with the Minnesota experiment and we’ll go from there!
The second great thing about the programme is the 6 women chosen – genius idea to get 6 slimming friends. The chemistry between them is such fun to watch. I laughed out loud when Lissy got so hungry she said the dog was starting to look quite appetising. Not surprising though – what do we know about hunger?! The body will do anything to avoid it and anything to get you to eat. Poor Lissy put on 2lbs in 4 days, so has anyone seen her dog?!
Now for that 100 calorie supermarket – very visual, great idea, but who the heck cares about 100 calorie units?! We have got to STOP thinking eating less (let alone doing more) will do anything other than 1) make us hungry 2) slow down our metabolism (until you get to the point that you can’t lose weight on 1200 calories a day and then 1000 and then 800 etc) and 3) our body will use up lean tissue before fat if we create a calorie deficit.
As the Minnesota experiment proved and as we all found on our first ever calorie controlled diet, it will work, in the very short term and then the body quickly adapts, does those 3 things and works to get you back to ‘equilibrium’. Sadly it is most likely to put you back in equilibrium at your previous weight but needing fewer calories to stay there than you did before. Then you do Weight Watchers again and your equilibrium intake goes down again and then I get a pool of clients who can’t lose weight despite having starved themselves on 1000-1200 calories a day. Every now and again they give in, because they are so depressed at not losing weight and they ‘binge’ on a glass of wine and some crisps and beat themselves up! They should still lose weight on 1200 calories and a glass of wine and some crisps every single day according to this mad calorie theory, but they don’t!
Anna ended the first weigh in by saying “That’s proof – if you limit your calories, you do lose weight“. Well Lissy didn’t and the other women will find it won’t be long before they are still limiting calories and literally starving and no more weight loss occurs. Run the programme for 2 months, not 2 weeks and see what happens! (Actually the women have been trying to eat less for over 25 years and they haven’t managed to reach goal).
Other great learnings from the programme:
* Lucy Yates from the government agency “Consumer Focus” was good (never heard of the agency – great idea – but what are they actively doing to stop junk being thrust upon UK PLC?). She talked about what we know – all the supermarket promotions are on junk food, not health food. One of my facebook fans, Andrea Specchio, made a brilliant comment recently about the difference between processed food and real food – only processed food gets promoted! On this basis, it is obvious that only junk food makers are going to do BOGOF’s on products – as they are the only ones advertising in the first place!
* Anna said that the average woman needs c. 2000 calories a day and the women’s trolleys showed that they had been eating 2500 calories per day. If the calorie theory worked (it is supposed to work for more calories as well as fewer), each of these women would have put on 52lbs each and every year by eating 500 calories a day ‘too many’. Josie said she started going to the slimming club at 18 and was now 43 and had yet to reach goal! If she really had been eating 500 cals more than she needed to, she would be now be over 100 stone! I suspect she’s been having lower calorie days followed by “I’m hungry” higher calorie days but continuously eating the wrong things – mainly carbs!
* The chocolate addict bit was interesting – Felicity was eating 250 kilos of confectionery (not real chocolate) per year! Mars and Cadbury may actually notice a dip in sales if she manages to stay off the stuff!
* Finally the menu plans. Harcombe Diet followers will have immediately noticed that the diet was designed to induce cravings for every one of the three conditions that we know all about. An example day was given (and then you were directed to the web site for the full 14 day plan):
– Breakfast was a sausage sandwich and a piece of fruit (wheat, sugar, candida, food intolerance – you may get away with hypoglycaemia if the sausage helps stabilise blood sugar. In a cheap sausage there will be wheat, however).
– Lunch was 1 egg and sugary baked beans on toast (wheat, sugar, candida, food intolerance and likely blood sugar problems within 1-2 hours).
– Dinner was salmon pasta and wine with sorbet for dessert (more wheat, more sugar, more feeding candida & food intolerance & hypoglycaemia).
No snacks, no food unlimited. No wonder the dog looked appetising!
Don’t do it girls! Stop Counting Calories & Start Losing Weight!!