I’m sure I’ve written about this before. In fact, I’m sure most bloggers with a health and fitness bent have attacked this topic. I’m just too lazy to check my own archives (although you totally should!) or link to other people.
On the weekend, I listened to my friends talking in absolutes:
To lose weight, you have to eat 1200 calories max
A serving of almonds is 6 and that’s all you can have all day
Yoghurt is so high in calories
Apples are sugar and sugar is bad for you
A 3 hour run burns 3000 calories
I could go on but you’ve heard it all before. Diet and fitness in absolutes; in black and white. People like things in black and white. They want to be told “do this and you’ll lose X amount of weight in X number of day”. Heck, I’d eat only 6 almonds a day if I’d shed these pesky 10 pounds.
But the problem is that we’re all different. A 3 hour run sounds like hell to me and would burn a different number of calories for me than it does for my friend, the marathon runner. She weighs a different weight and has a totally different fitness level. And 6 almonds is indeed a serving – that’s true – but nothing says you can’t have 2 servings a day if your plan allows for it.
And I curse The Biggest Loser for perpetuating this myth of the magical 1200 calories. That should be the minimum number of calories you eat, not the maximum. Your calorie level for weight loss depends on so many things – your gender, your age, your current weight, your activity level – and no single plan fits everyone. This is why people struggle to “diet” in my opinion. They’re trying to make a one-plan-fits-all fit them and it’s too little for their lifestyle. So they struggle through a week or two, feel deprived constantly and quit, feeling like a failure. Meanwhile, they’ve been setting themselves up for failure from the word GO.
People, life is NOT about absolutes. It’s not black and white. The only hard and fast “rule” in my health and fitness approach is to be healthy and fit. Be active, make healthy choices and then work out how that fits into who you are and how you live. Don’t get caught up in an absolute world and instead, set yourself up for success.