I’ve taken it upon myself to finally, after 43 years on this planet, get into shape (or something resembling shape). I took advantage of a free consultation at the gym where I’ve already been going to get a “fitness analysis” from one of the trainers. That’s when the frustration began. Firstly, I’m going to doubt his actual qualifications to give nutrition advice based on the fact that he used plenty of hyperbole in excoriating many foods that I have always thought were just fine in moderation. Much of his advice sounded like it came off the pages of Natural News, Food Babe, and Mercola.
Let me pause for a moment to state what, exactly, my fitness goals are. I am tall with a big belly. I am not looking to run a marathon (if you ever see me running, it would be wise to try and keep up) nor swim the English Channel. I am trying to get to weight where I am not going to drop dead before I retire. I am looking to reduce the size of belly so that people will quit standing under it in the rain. I’m looking to be reasonably healthy and happy with the way I look, that’s all. Nothing more, nothing less.
He trotted out the old “Diet soda is worse for you than regular soda” which is bullshit. The study most often cited was so badly done that it only controlled for one variable. It turns out that the subjects’ diets were self-reported, which means that they could not be verified. Yvette D’entremont, The SciBabe, wrote an excellent article about why diet soda isn’t killing anyone.
He made plenty of other claims which I tried to verify online, such as “gluten is bad for you”, “dairy is poison”, and “peanuts are harmful”, all of which, upon a Google search, the conflicting blog posts even among so-called nutrition experts was enough to drive me into a deep state of frustration. I walked away from that consultation feeling like I was either going to be eating nothing but kale salad and drinking kombucha, or I was going to starve myself to death.
There is so much misinformation, disinformation, misguided advice, bullshit for the sake of selling products, and just plain snake oil that, as I write this, I am genuinely feeling like I am go to break down and cry (ever see a 6-foot 7-inch, 43 year old ugly cry? You don’t want to). I’m angry and frustrated and I just want to scream. I just want to know what I can eat and what I should avoid without the scare tactics or sales pitches to go with them. Is that too much to ask?
In the end, I figured that I would cut well back on breads and sugars and step away from dairy. Why? Not because they’re deadly or poison or Hitler or whatever, but because thinking about my diet, these are the things that I’ve eaten way too much of for way too long. It couldn’t hurt to give up most of it and increase my fruits and vegetables and quit eating out so much. However, if my friends want to go out to a burger restaurant, not fast food, mind you, but a decent place that has really good burgers, I’m ordering like a normal person and eating that bun, because I’m a human being goddammit. I will keep you updated as to how I am progressing over time.