I am so sick of diets. Diets that promise five kilo weight loss in the first week; that guarantee fat-free arms, rock-hard abs, and a tiny bum. Diets with weird fruit remedies, hailing from Africa, South America or Nepal.
The diet section at the bookstore is like a candy shop – just choose your flavour. No carbs; no sugar; no wheat; no fats. Eat paleo, or eat like the French, Mediterraneans or South Beach-ians. Go veggie, go vegan, go cleanse or go lemon detox.
I'm calling out every Australian to get real on a commitment to physical health and wellbeing.
Some are good and some are bad. But I am so sick of the fad diets that I decided to write a diet book this week to officially jump on the bandwagon and become a dietary hypocrite.
Why? I have a client - let's call him Rodney. Rodney is out on the town three to four nights per week. He wears a suit and a flashy watch, flashes new iGadgets each week, and drives an imported car. He chases girls. He drinks, and he eats whatever suits his tastebuds at the time. But it's beginning to catch up with him and, in his 30s, it's time for him to trim down.
Rodney trains hard (but not often enough) and has the frame and strength to lose serious weight – which won't happen until he changes his intake. Rodney's food and exercise diary? After a quick look at the Chinese food, booze, protein supplement drinks and energy drinks he consumes and the breakfast he habitually doesn't - counterbalanced by just a single weekly workout - my reply was: "Rodney, it's time to cut the crap."
Two weeks ago, he finally said: "Just tell me what to eat, and I'll follow it."
My reply: "But mate, I'm not a nutritionist … well, screw it. I'll write you a diet. Consider it done."
So here I am, writing the 'Cut the Crap' diet. It's time for Rodney - like many Australian men and women - to cut out the processed food and unhealthy takeaways, the video games, the boozey benders, the sugary drinks, and the time on the couch in front of the idiot box. It's time to cut the crap and get back to the basics of healthy food and healthy exercise. It's time for lifestyle change.
Last week in Fairfax, it was reported that in Britain, one-third of men aged 35 to 60 cannot look down and see their own genitals. That's so horrifyingly sad it's almost funny. Even sadder, the obesity rate for Australian men is nearly at a deadlock with those in England. Recent stats show British women are the fattest in Europe and according to the World Health Organisation, Australian women are even fatter.
So for the men and women who need a search-and-rescue crew just to find their own bits, for Rodney - shoot, for all of Australia - I created a diet that will work.
It has Seven Rules and includes Seven Healthy Days of Eating - a healthy eating plan approved by exercise physiologist and nutrtionist Kathleen Alleamue, author of What's Eating You?. Most importantly, it's a diet that encourages lifestyle behavioural change. It's a diet message that's anti-diet.
Ultimately, it's not a diet, for the simple reason that diets don't work. UCLA researchers believe people on diets are consistent predictors for future weight gain. Kathleen says: "Many fad diets don't work because they are not sustainable - it's a short-term visit to Dietland, and when you come back home, the weight piles on."
So what works? "There are no shortcuts – weight loss comes from a healthy diet, mixed with lifestyle change, and exercise," she says.
Ah yes. This formula worked in 1950, in 1980, in 2000 … and it still works today. And that's what the Cut the Crap diet is all about. The Seven Rules are simple, harsh, and direct. The Seven Healthy Days of Eating contain a shopping list and daily plan to follow in weeks one, two, and beyond; and this diet includes exercise. My first draft is unedited and unvarnished, and contains some motivational, even harsh language – just what Rodney and many other Australians need to hear.
Most Australians commit to their wife or husband, their children, their jobs, and to maintaining their household. Yet how many commit to their health and wellbeing? Rule No.4 of the Cut The Crap diet is "Commit to Your Body". I'm calling out every Australian to get real on a commitment to physical health and wellbeing. Without that, all other commitments can fall by the wayside when cancer, diabetes, and/or heart disease take hold.
Call it a book, call it an ePaper, call it whatever … I doubt this will fly off the shelves like 50 Shades, because losing weight isn't as easy as three payments of $49.95 and sitting in a swivel chair toning your abs as you watch TV. Losing weight and keeping it off long-term is challenging, but the rewards are a new, happier, and healthier life.
I've written cards and cheesy poetry to girlfriends. I've written the embarrassing love letter and occasional sweet words with notes attached to flowers to get me out of the doghouse. But I've never written a book for any one woman - let alone a man.
So Rodney, this book is for you. I hope you read it, cut out the crap, and change to a healthier lifestyle. With the overweight/obesity rate growing by the day, I hope other Australian men and women will also read and respond.
Have you dieted? What works, and what doesn't?