Ringold's 'cheesey fries' post and the many contributions underneath it has had me thinking. It seems everytime I pick up a magazine in the hairdressers there's some article about someone (usually a woman) who followed some magic plan and lost half their body weight. Or someone (usually a man) who has abs to die for after using some piece of equipment for a month. Then I walk around a supermarket and see box after box of sugar and fat loaded rubbish, and start to wonder whether people have lost the ability to make sensible decisions about food and exercise, whether people are no longer able to cook, and why being thin is seen as a desirable objective in itself. Why 'fit' became a youth word for good looking, rather than healthy of heart and muscle.
I had dinner earlier in the week with my friend who is a NHS nutritionist and mused on some of the unrealistic dietary advice that she gives out (anyone fancy a handful of flax seeds as part of their lunch?). I look at the NHS BMI calculator and it tells me I am a bit overweight but then tells me I should lose the vast number of kilos that would put me in the middle of the 'healthy' range, rather than the handful that would take my BMI below 25.
So on the one hand we bombard people with quick fix this and quick fix that, and on the other we make unrealistic asks of people.
In my working life I have been involved in projects making small incremental changes, and ones trying to make bigger step changes. The former work, the latter usually don't. Similarly short term 'diets' almost always fail in the long run, as do many new fad exercise programmes.
This blog is a real success story of people who have made small, incremental changes and stuck with them, achieving big changes in their health over time. If I were a health professional I would be a huge advocate of C25k, even though it might take someone a couple of years to shift excess weight this way (even when combined with sensible diet). I look at myself. My BMI may still be stubbornly in the upper 20s but I have always eaten proper food, and by taking on regular exercise am pretty sure I have lowered my risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes etc.
Happy running, everyone.