According to Statistics Canada, in 2014 (the most recent year for which we have data), over 20% of Canadians were obese, while 40% of men and 27.5% of women were classified as overweight. More than ever, people are fighting a losing battle against fat. This is not only tough on their health but hard on their self-esteem. Many people are self-conscious about their weight or have even come to hate their bodies. They blame themselves for being overweight and feel like failures, but the truth is that in all but the most extreme cases, they are failing not due to a lack of self-discipline, but due to a lack of knowledge.
You’ve Been Lied To
There’s been a lot of dietary disinformation spread over the years, sometimes due to ignorance and sometimes due to outright lies told in the interest of profit-mongering*. Starting back in the 50’s the sugar industry began adopting the same underhanded tactics as the tobacco industry to protect their market share, going so far as to pay an ‘expert’ with no morals to publish articles aimed at convincing people that dietary fat was making them fat and that sugar was harmless. Then they spent more money to discredit real experts who were trying to tell people that sugar was making them fat (along with causing a host of other health problems).
*No telling how long this link will work as this is probably posted without permission, but here is an excellent documentary on the lies of the sugar industry: Sugar Coated
At the same time, the government had schools teach us about the four food groups in an effort to help Canadians eat healthy but they didn’t understand that one of those food groups is bad for you at any age, and another should not be consumed after the age of 25. In their efforts to help, and in their ignorance, they were setting people up to fail. We’re still teaching the four food groups today – and with other changes to our diet that have crept in over the years the diet most of us are eating today is almost engineered to make us fat.
Almost Everything You’ve Been Taught is Wrong
The truth is that almost everything about what I call ‘the standard North American diet’ is wrong. I honestly couldn’t engineer a better formula for being overweight. Everything about the way most of us are eating is making us fat, and it’s getting worse all the time!
Add to this other pieces of misinformation that are commonly believed and winning the battle of the bulge becomes nearly impossible. For example, you’ve been given the message so often that exercise goes hand in hand with weight loss that you likely believe it’s impossible to lose weight without dedicating yourself to a lifetime of running, cycling, swimming and working out in gyms. This is completely wrong! While exercise done properly can greatly speed weight loss, done incorrectly it can actually make the problem worse. More importantly though, people need to understand that exercise, while highly beneficial for your overall health, is not necessary for losing weight.
My 16-year-old daughter is a perfect example. She was a little chubby throughout much of her childhood. She loved her junk food. When she was 14 she wanted to come to the gym with me and did – for about 2 months. She quit because she discovered she hates exercising! Fortunately for her, she doesn’t need to. This was also the age where I was able to start teaching her about how to eat the right foods, in the right quantities, at the right time of day. My daughter now has a great figure, with a tiny waist, while her lifestyle is more sedentary than most adults. She’s an artist and bookworm who loves to spend most of her time curled up in her room with her drawing supplies and her books. And yet, she looks great and is very healthy. How? Simply because she’s learned how to eat. And so can you.
I’m Not Telling You Not To Exercise!
I’m a fitness nut and have reaped the benefits of regular, intense exercise throughout my life and probably the most fervent believer in the benefits of exercise you will ever meet. So to be perfectly clear, I’m not telling you not to exercise! But I do want you to understand the truth – that your weight is a product of your diet. If you are overweight, it is because you are eating the wrong foods, in the wrong quantities, at the wrong time of day.
To learn how to eat right, lose the weight and keep it off for good, read the other fat loss posts on our site.