Who’s feeling like they need to lose maybe half a stone? Me. And probably you too. On TV this week we have The Men Who Made Us Fat, reminding us (thanks) that we are larger than we used to be. Yesterday we were informed that ‘More than half of British women’s waists are ‘too big’’, by Nuffield Health, the health charity.
We all know that we have weight issues, and as a foodie this poses something of a quandary. What we eat is healthy right? All this cooking from scratch (most of the time) is good for us, right? Right. But the issues being raised now go beyond us as individuals and our dinner plates, and remind us that there are greater forces at work, that affect our choices and best intentions.
Bombarded by confectionery?
Think of your daily commute. Go through any train station at home time and survey the snack options: chocolate and crisps from vending machines is the majority of the choice. Stop in at the petrol station kiosk – a wall of confectionery will greet you amongst the petrol fumes. No wonder cyclists are fit, bike routes don’t have kerb side confectionery outlets – yet.
Being bombarded with high-sugar, high-fat foods is a fact of our lives, and god knows we all like a chocolate bar once in a while. But what to do when it begins to creep up on you? Well, no-diet diets are quietly taking hold. The concept was captured in the 2005 book of the same name, and has been broadly influential. The idea is not about following a prescriptive food plan, but rather gradually altering your habits to help out your waistline.
In my family, we’ve tentatively tested out a few tricks. Reducing the amount of bread we eat in a week is not going full-on Atkins, but will cut some carbs. Banning crisps from the house doesn’t mean never having them, they’re just not as easily accessible. Whilst we would balk at the constraints of a diet – changing our diet can mean just a few tweaks.
What could you drop? Happily drop? No-diet diets aren’t about denying ourselves the things that make our days a little more pleasurable; there’s a kid in the sweet shop in all of us.
So what are the tweaks you’re making, or considering making? Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon and for the rest of your life!
Other no-diet dieters:
Jay Rayner: Chickens will die for my Bikini Body
These people will be no-diet dieters by the end of the show:
Secret Eaters, Channel 4