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Fat Camp 5

January 10, 2021

Fat Camp 5

So, fat camp for me is opening up after the Xmas excesses.

The results are good, there have been no wobbles in willpower but I’ve been thinking a lot about why mentally I could do it this time and not others.  If I could bottle that I’d make a fortune.

I’ve been particularly taken with “Curvy Bride’s Boutique” on TV during my recent fat camp, mainly because so often for the brides featured there are many issues going on and if you’ve been overweight you can fully sympathise.

One in particular was really upset, crying as she said something like, “I’m so unhappy with the size I am but it’s my fault, it must be. I’m the one who orders the takeaways, I’m the one who eats them.”

Hold the phone.

Now, I’m going to say something quite controversial here but I don’t think it is all our own fault.  We treat dieting as a regular activity but I’m going to suggest it isn’t so bear with me while I run this argument across you.

The key foods that make us put on weight are those that are a combination of fat and carbohydrate.  All the delicious foods in life (except wine, which is mainly carbs in the form of sugar) are combos of carbs and fat.  Pizza, chips, cake, biscuits, crisps, chocolate (sugar, which is a carb and fat), roast potatoes – I bet if you named your favourite food it would be a combination of fat and carbs.  Fat and carbs don’t exist together in a food from nature, only in man made foods.

Now, a while back I was in the car listening to Radio 4 (very intellectual over here), and I heard some chap suggest that the combination of fat and carbs act in exactly the same way as drugs do on the brain.  In other words, when you eat a food that combines fat and carbs the neural circuits in your brain light up the reward centre, more than even your favourite food, a massive portion or more energy-dense foods.

This research is borne out by a study from Yale University* (link at the end if you want to see what the data says), but basically, we shouldn’t be treating weight loss lightly and women – like that lovely bride on the programme – should know that, in many ways, she is battling an addiction to a carbohydrate and fat combo food.  You see, it’s not simple weight loss.

Now this is all very deep for what is essentially a light hearted blog on weight loss, but I wonder if we looked at diets as more like ‘recovery” programmes, supported them as such, understood that weight loss is much harder than it’s portrayed we might get somewhere.

However, I’m not saying this to give you a card to get out of trying.  Obesity is set to bankrupt the NHS by 2084.  The associated diseases, many of which are highly preventable if we are the right weight for our height, will overwhelm the NHS, burn doctors out and leave us with a system where only those able to pay will get treated – I kid you not.  UK doctors are now retiring at an average age of 59, the lowest age ever citing burnout.

There is no one fixed way that will make you lose weight.  I’ve deliberately not shared what I’m doing as it works for me, but may well not work for you.  What we do know is that if you take sugar (ALL sugar, including wine) out of your diet, eat many more vegetables and take out refined grains (white carbs such as pasta, rice, white bread etc) then we will lose weight and be massively healthier.

So, before you embark on the annual January foray into diet land just pause and have a moment of respect for yourself for what you are about to embark on.  Remember, while we may have all clapped for the NHS in the March 2020 Lockdown, you being the right weight for your height and build will be something the NHS applauds you for and is truly grateful about.

To that lovely sweet, sad bride who didn’t want to be the body shape she was, but blamed herself for the situation that’s not the whole story, nor is it for any of us.  Overeating is often our best attempt to cope with some of what life throws at us when we don’t have other options.  Remember, as Glennon Doyle, the writer of my book of the year, Untamed, says “we can do hard things” and losing a serious amount of weight is hard, but you’ve got this.

*Read the report here





2 Responses

Helen Adams
Helen Adams

February 01, 2021

Lovely blog Karen. As a former NHS Nurse I am now retired in my 50’s due to the burnout you described I do feel we have a duty and responsibility to be as healthy as we can. Handing over our health to a healthcare professional after a lifetime of unhealthy eating and drinking and a sedentary lifestyle isnt really acceptable any more and unsustainable.
Emotional support is essential and self care a priority for a healthy life.
I was heading into middle aged overweight menopausal misery myself.
Then I woke up and realised I had to make changes and be kind and loving to myself.
I’m not perfect but I ditched those high carb high fat foods which are so addictive and developed a new mindset.
I eat low human intervention foods now as nature intended. A colourful diet with lean fish and meat. A rainbow diet full of nutrients. I don’t weigh or measure or berate myself. Lots of yoghurt nuts and good fats too. We need fats like olive oil and nuts and coconut .
So sad that fats have been given a bad rep.
No more processed diet foods ever again. Not ever…no artificial anything. Food as nature intended .
Exercise in a way that you enjoy and that lifts your spirits…we are supposed to get a bit out of breath and put our bodies through a full range of movements. We were designed for this.
Small changes lead to big ones.
Never give up and dont be too hard on yourself. Be your own best friend and know you deserve to be your best healthy self. #selflove#selfcare


January 18, 2021

Have you read Zoe Harcombe’s approach? She researched the fat/carbs fatal combo a few years ago and developed a plan to retrain our approach to food. She calls it a diet to get into the searches but it isn’t’t, it is serious help to wean yourself off the fat/carbs combo and replace with fats and carbs but not at the same time! I found that by the time the January ‘zeal’ had worn off I was well on the way to an easy to manage way of eating that kept the weight down, stopped the guilt and has continued to work for over a year. Have a look, again it won’t suit everyone but as you have said, understanding what you are eating and how it affects you gets you a long way towards making a change. After all if diets worked we’d all be stick thin by now!

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