In the news today, the Food Standards Agency is launching a campaign to warn people against the dangers of taking the drug DNP to lose weight. This is an industrial chemical which speeds up metabolism and therefore the rate at which fat is burned. It is banned in the UK (but available illegally), is highly toxic and potentially lethal. AND PEOPLE STILL TAKE IT. Why do people’s brains and judgement desert them when it comes to weight loss? Is it so hard to treat your body properly and follow a healthy diet that people take dangerous risks like this or cling desperately to the claims made about absurd diets?
It seems that a lot of people who are overweight are in total denial of the fact that the only safe and long term solution is a change of eating habits. Even exercise can’t make up for bad eating.
For all but the most cynical and down to earth, what we believe is influenced to some extent by what we want to believe, but when it comes to weight loss people seem prepared to believe anything and try anything, EXCEPT the safe, healthy option advised by all responsible bodies involved in healthcare.
Sensible weight loss takes time, but you get there in the end, whereas when you chase magic solutions, you end up never getting there. Also, when you change your diet gradually, your body gets used to better food. I sometimes get called “strong-willed” for turning down things like desserts or chocolates. But the truth is, I just don’t want them. They taste too sweet and synthetic .
At the other end of the spectrum, I was reading the workout/diet schedule of a competitive female bodybuilder the other day. She has 7 meals a day and they’re all things like just egg whites or a plate of vegetables. I wondered if she actually enjoys her diet, or if she puts up with it because she is so dedicated. I don’t know if I could get used to a diet as strict as this and think it was more enjoyable than what I eat at the moment, but I do know that I wouldn’t swap my diet for one full of pizza, chips, chocolate etc. even if I could do so without becoming overweight. And if I did want to take up bodybuilding I would have to change my diet gradually, because I know I couldn’t go onto a diet like that overnight.
Even if you follow a crash diet and lose some actual bodyfat (not just water), what then? If you haven’t lost weight by healthy eating and got used to better eating habits, the weight will go back on. As the Nike slogan of a few years ago said: “There is no magic wand”.