No More Diets! We Need a Revolution!

20 07 2009

For some reason, don’t ask me why, I was watching The Bonnie Hunt Show today. She had on, as a guest, one of the trainers from the Bravo TV show Workout and she seemed shocked that he could be both a personal trainer and a chef. She indicated that those two professions were at opposite ends of some imaginary scale. In actuality, the two go hand-in-hand, as I believe the very best trainers sould always know how to prepare and serve healthy interesting meals, and a wide variety of them! I’m talking about breaking the stereotype of the trainer who tells you to never eat a carb and subsist on a diet of egg whites, protein shakes, and plain oatmeal. Not only is that gross, but it is NOT healthy! Oh sure, it might get you ‘lean’, ‘ripped’, ‘shredded’ and any other synonym for sinewy you can think of, but what’s the point in being any of those things if it’s at the expense of your health? The constant losing and gaining of weight that goes along with so many ‘bodybuilding’ style programs of fitness and nutrition is not only short-sighted and detrimental to your long-term health, but it creates and fosters a weird, unhealthy relationship with food.

If you’ve been following one of those plans for any extended period of time, chances are your life is a series of highs and lows; you starve yourself down to get to some arbitrary weight or level of ‘shreddedness’, and the whole time you’re craving all the foods you CANNOT eat. Then, after the goal is reached, it’s time to relax and enjoy all those foods you weren’t allowed to eat during your ‘cutting’ phase. This is generally called a ‘bulking’ phase, but let’s be honest with ourselves. During this phase you eat with wreckless abandon, yet you’re riddled with guilt for all the ‘bad’ stuff you’re eating, and a fear of the next ‘cutting’ phase where all of these sweets and treats will be persona non grata.

Does this not seem ridiculous and extreme to you? Granted, that may be what it takes to get to the top in the world of bodybuilding, if that’s your cup of tea, but I know so many ‘regular’ people who live their entire lives like this because, well, that’s been the prevailing wisdom in the bodybuilding industry for years. Unfortunately, somewhere around the peak of Arnold’s invasion of America, bodybuilding became fitness. If you wanted to be ‘fit’ those were the standards. As a consequence, people have forgotten all about balance. They’ve become more concerned with their body fat % than what’s going on inside their own bodies. More concerned with being ‘shredded’ than with living to see their grandkids get married.

This mentality also leads to a lot of deception in the fitness industry. Last month Alayna brought home a fitness magazine with a well-known female trainer on the cover, and of course she was ripped to the bone. Muscles everywhere! 8 pack in full effect! But you’re kidding yourself if you think that’s what she walks around like. She cut weight for that shoot, probably carb starved and did a host of other not-so-pleasant things in preparation for that magazine cover. Let’s even pretend that photoshop and lighting don’t come into play at all, and she legitimately got that ripped on her own, what does that prove? Does it set a reasonable expectation to her clients and all the people who pick up that magazine? And why aren’t we allowed to see her as she really is? What’s wrong with not being an unrealistic level of lean? As a result, Alayna and I have made a pledge to not cut weight or do any of those ridiculous things for photoshoots. What you see is what you get. Sometimes our bodies are running a little leaner than others but, for the most part, this is it. I can present to my own clients a much more realistic, attainable physique than the guy who spends 4 hours a day working out and never touches a carb. Who has time for that, and how can it be good for you long-term? The bottom line is, there are ALL kinds of ways to get your body fat ridiculously low, but why do that to yourself? Why continue to foster these unhealthy images?

So, no, I’m probably not the best guy to get you ultra-lean for that FitnessStar or other such competition, but what I can prepare you for is real life, a long life, and a life where you enjoy every bit of food that goes in your mouth without being racked with guilt. Over the next few weeks I’m going to lay out exactly how I do that, by sharing my own recipes with you guys. We are going to make delicious, healthy, colourful food – from soups and salads to baked goods and desserts – that will change how you think about ‘health food’ forever. Now here’s what we need from YOU:

Tell us your favourite meals/foods/comfort foods, etc. that you know are bad for you. We’ll take those suggestions and spend some serious hours in our test kitchen coming up with healthy EASY versions of those meals that you can enjoy guilt free! No more of these foods that you CANNOT have. No more diets. It’s time to enjoy the journey towards health, because that’s really all there is.

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