Thursday, June 19, 2014

Just for the record though, on paleo and clean eating and so forth

Different things will work for different people. On a psychological level. Something like a paleo diet for example, if it results in a total calorie intake more suited to maintain your goal body condition and fuel your activity level, you'll be successful. Of course, that's not guaranteed... and if your progress does stall you're going to have to figure out whether you're still at an excessive intake or whether you are in fact at an insufficient intake to allow continued progress.

The issue with these diets though, is that they're rarely promoted in terms of "here's a healthy diet based on sensible choices that should result in a suitable intake without the need to track calories". They're promoted in terms of fear mongering about the foods that are excluded from the diet, and there's also an implication of moral or intellectual superiority over those who still indulge in more... well, more indulgent choices that aren't considered "clean" or whatever.

So. Some people are good at following a strict diet and will do just fine with this approach. But they are not "better" than other people who require a more flexible approach. Results come simply from appropriate intake relative to the type and amount of activity you participate in, not from some karmic system where you're rewarded with a "good body" for being a good person who eats good food, while all the shit people eating shit food get nothing. Right?

It should be enough to say "I like doing it this way, and it works for me", without needing to feel that it is also the ONLY way to do things, or the moral judgement as if anyone who does it another way is cheating the system somehow and doesn't really deserve whatever success they've managed to claw out for themselves.

The other issue here is that while it is possible and perhaps you could argue it is quite likely to achieve a suitable total intake on these more strict diets without tracking calories, it is far from a guaranteed outcome. This can be very problematic. As an example, an insufficient total intake will prevent further progress just as an excessive total intake will. A person who has stopped seeing results from training due to an insufficient total intake, but is lead to believe that their lack of progress is due to failing to adhere to the strict requirements of their dieting protocol 100% of the time, because they're "not a good enough person with willpower and dedication" is... well... you guys know I do a lot of work with eating disorder recovery, right? This is where a lot of the trouble starts.

So the issue is with the idea that nothing else will work, and 100% adherence is required. The issue is with the idea that achieving a suitable energy balance is not important, and the (entirely imaginary) moral quality of your food choices is. The issue is that some people have more trouble than others in sticking to a strict plan, and some people have issues with food and simply cannot eat the way they are told to. Those people then are effectively... no, they're quite literally told that there is no hope for them and they don't deserve good health or happiness.

BTW the 100% adherence idea is "orthorexia" and pushing it upon other, vulnerable people who just want to be healthy and happy and confident in their appearance makes you a shit human being. The people I described with limited food choices may or may not be effected by "Avoidant / Restrictive Food Intake Disorder". Consider this before your next ignorant "why can't they just grow up and eat clean real food" rant on facebook, dickheads.

I can not emphasise this point enough. The very simple truth is that your weight is determined by total calorie intake. For those who deny this, how do you explain why there are so many successful IIFYMers and Flexible Dieters out there? Certainly many people have also failed to achieve or maintain results via calorie counting, but this is due to either having inappropriate targets or simply by losing motivation. Even with an Avoidant / Restrictive Intake problem, you can certainly try to make the best choices that are acceptable to you, and include those in a plan to meet your total energy requirements.

Everyone has the same potential to succeed providing they follow the approach that is best suited to them as an individual. If a more strict approach choosing unprocessed, clean, paleo, whole foods works for you then by all means go for it. But it doesn't make you better than anyone else.

Not being a cunt, and being happy to see other people succeed even if they do so with a different approach to your own is what will make you a better person.