Are fad diets necessarily bad diets?
Merry January everyone!! Or as my brother once aptly called it ‘Janorexia’ (followed closely by ‘binge month’ Fe-brewery). For this is a time where we try to recover from the bizarre annual festival of attempting to somehow honour the birthday of a 2000 year-old bearded gentleman by shoving our food-holes full of vaguely edible selection boxes and half-price supermarket platters.
It’s a month you’re going to need if you like to celebrate Christmas like my family do, with an efficient four-step plan:
Step 1: Buy a kilo or two of non-descript cheese. (if buying Babybel or Cheesestrings, make sure you get the shop assistant to weigh out an exact kilo, before mashing it into an amorphous blob of dairy-product hell)
Step 2: Grab a fork.
Step 3: Go at it like one of the zombies from ‘28 Days Later’ trying to get into a survivors’ house, being careful that your sister doesn’t accidentally eat the back of your arm in the process.
Step 4: Remember that you’re a human being, with incredibly over-developed mental capacities, and let THE SHAME begin.
This is a time when most of us will be getting down to some serious half-arsed dieting, like the time I tried to swap the garlic sauce for my weekly large Dominoes’ with some peri-peri stuff I nicked from Nando’s (because remember, spicy=healthy).
It’s the reason Jo Swinson, The Minister for Women, urged that magazines should refrain from publishing New Year features on ‘fad dieting’, as it promotes low self-esteem, and an unnatural approach to weight loss following a period of overindulging.
This naturally provoked a flurry of articles either for or against Miss Swinson, each with their own opinion on how these diets affect women or health, or women’s health. Yet all of them somehow missed the real point.
Dieting is hard. Really, really hard. In order to properly lose weight, the only thing to do is to eat right and exercise regularly. That takes effort. Effort is like work. Which we all know is bad. And you don’t want to do bad things do you? Of course not, you’re a good a person! Go you!
This led me to thinking about just why dieting is such hard work (which subsequently led me to sitting, because standing is also work. Especially after a weekly Dominoes). And within a few hours of the obligatory ‘sweaty pizza nap’, I came upon the answer: sneaky fruit and veg.
Now, if you don’t know what I mean by that, I’m talking about the members of the apparently nutritious end of the food spectrum, the ones self-righteously looking down upon the perhaps more ‘beige’ section of the edible kaleidoscope, who are actually just masquerading as nourishing, while being in reality just as closely related to the beige brethren that they publicly despise. I’m talking bananas and potatoes.
First off, bananas. Look at you. You’re a carby fruit. A CARBY FRUIT. You’ve essentially failed at your sole purpose in life. You’re a bemusingly phallic oxymoron! You’re a traitor to your own kind. You’re doing exactly the opposite of what you should be doing, you silly yellow rebel. You’re the equivalent of a Berocca made out of lard and sedentary lifestyles!
Sure, they might be stuffed full of vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, folic acid, potassium and other lame stuff ‘that helps keep us alive’, but if I’m trying to burn off a kilo and a half of Babybel I’m going to need a hell of a lot less sneaky carbohydrates filling up my fruit-bowl thank you very much.
And don’t even get me started on potatoes. Sure, it might not exactly be a revelation that they aren’t the best thing for you in the world, but I think that sometimes we all forget that potatoes are technically vegetables, in the same class as peppers, cucumbers and other beacons of health. Yet potatoes are literally the King of Carbs. They’re like what Elvis was to Rock and Roll. I imagine potatoes strutting past boxes of cereal and gangs of assorted flatbreads, flicking their roots back and going ‘I started this shit’. And the fact that we each consume around 270 pounds worth of the tubers each year means that potatoes are single-handedly orchestrating Carbageddon!
So Jo Swinson, the reality is that we need the fad diets. We need Heat telling us how Natalie Cassidy shed the weight she gained again this year by eating only purple food. Because it’s not our fault. It’s that sneaky fruit and veg. Merry January everyone.