Saturday, 21 April 2012

Musings from the pub.

I was sat in the pub on a Friday night, which is an unusual thing for me these days but it was a TweetUp, a chance to meet and greet friends you have on Twitter, so I popped along as I've not had a night out in a while and whilst I was there the group I was in started talking about diet and exercise, the usual chat of what kind of exercises that we tend to do, I mentioned that I was using MyFitnessPal to log my food intake and my exercise output, which has really helped me to make better choices about what I put in my mouth.

One of the people I was chatting to Neina, is one of those lucky people who never has to worry about putting on any weight, they've always been thin and never have to worry about what they eat, she mentioned they having a Sister who has been using a "nutritionist" (for that read an app they downloaded) and it told them that they should be eating 1,400 calories a day, they'd also been exercising as well and they were wondering why they never lost any weight, which caused this Neina to feel like sighing loudly and hitting them upside the head with a clue by four. Her Sister didn't even realise that by eating a low number of calories and then exercising her body was only taking in around 1,000/1,100 calories which is half the amount an adult Woman needs just to live and that her body was probably in starvation mode and holding onto those calories since it had no idea where the next ones might come from.

Once she'd explained to her Sister what was happening, the Sister started to understand why she wasn't losing weight and that she would change her dietary intake accordingly. I suppose it goes to show that without a proper understanding of how the body works, people can end up doing all kinds of bizarre "diets" that don't really work and end up causing the dieter to gain more weight, once they've stopped sticking to it.

We also talked "cheat days" and although its a very popular term is a rather bizarre way of thinking, since there is nobody you're actually cheating against, if you eat that chocolate cake, or those nachos, who's going to win, well nobody is going to win, as its not a contest or exam you're taking part in. If you actively deny yourself something, telling yourself that's a "bad food", what will happen is you start craving the very thing you're trying to avoid, then when you do give in, you'll probably end up eating way more than you intended to. Which sort of happened to me at Easter with the chocolate eggs, though I put that down to only wanting to eat chocolate on that one day.

It can also send you into a guilt spiral, where because you've just eaten three burgers from the local burger joint, that you were craving, you then feel guilty for having eaten them, so then get a bit depressed you've "broken your diet" so you then go and get something else that's probably unhealthy to eat, to comfort yourself for not sticking to your plan, which in turn brings you down so on and so forth.

Neina also made a very good point that your body has no idea, what you're putting into your mouth, it could be a piece of toast, or a piece of cake, all your body knows is that you've fed it energy, it doesn't give a damn where the energy comes from, so whether you eat 500 calories worth of biscuits, or you eat 500 calories worth of steak and chips/fries all the body knows is here's 500 calories, let's use them accordingly, aside from the steak being better due to the other nutrients it contains, energy is just energy.

So let's all eat what we like but in moderation, take those three chocolate biscuits from the tin, then put the tin away, so you don't eat more of them just because they're in front of you and everybody repeat after me


 Once you remember that, you can have that chocolate or enjoy that side of chips.