because, well… it’s been just over a year now since I wrote it, and you’re never really done learning. Sometimes I think people are afraid to change, modify or fine tune their approaches… because that would imply that they were “wrong” previously.
What is wisdom? It has little to do with beliefs. These change year by year from person to person. Only one who does not dare give up beliefs because he has no wisdom will insist that others believe as he does. Cleverness learns something, but wisdom gives up some certainty every day.
With all that said… my beliefs about training and eating have evolved a little, but they haven’t trained dramatically.
It’s interesting to me reading back on the Does Bread Make You Fat post, for example. I can remember at the time I was getting pressured a lot from within my industry networks to get on the “no grains” bandwagon, with all these people trying to convince me of all the many horrible conditions that come from eating grains, which apparently everyone who eats grains suffers from. These conditions of course make it impossible to manage your weight, and if you do eat grains, you do have these conditions. Or so they’d tell me.
The problem here of course is that personally I love my cereal, I love my french toast, and my body weight always corresponds quite accurately to what you’d predict from whatever calorie targets I’m hitting. I can remember being told I should cut out grains anyway “to set a better example to my clients” which I found a most offensive suggestion. So, the idea that “everyone needs to eliminate grains from their diet” is clearly nonsense, but I was prepared to accept the possibility that perhaps these people were on to something with the idea that intolerance to certain common foods may be more widespread than previously realised, and resulting in the increasing incidence of over weight and obesity that we are all too aware of these days.
I mean… I would and frequently do criticise people for using the faulty logic “I can’t eat grains due to my medical condition, therefore they’re bad for everyone whether they realise it or not”. For me to take the position “well I eat them and I’m just fine, therefore no one else has a problem with them either” would be just as foolish. Therefore if you’ve read that entry as well as my sample IIFYM meal plan, you’ll see I’ve taken all of that into consideration.
These days I’m even less convinced than I was then. Getting a little more educated on the subject, I’ve seen that the source of these concerns is with alarmist publications based on highly dubious science… or perhaps I should say “drawing a highly dubious conclusion from the science”. Certainly there ARE people out there who need a specialised diet to manage a diagnosed medical condition, and even some who may notice significantly improved results and well being by avoiding certain ingredients despite not having a diagnosed condition. To suggest that a majority of people need to be aware of and act on an assumption of having these conditions though is nothing more than the advocation of hypochondria.
A lot of money has been made in convincing well meaning PTs that they need to know how to proscribe specialised diets to treat these conditions, and that the advice from actual dietitians shouldn’t be followed. I still see people promoting this nonsense but even many of the ones I had words with back around the time I created this site have moved on to more moderate and flexible approaches. I am in no doubt that a major influence in this is the dramatic increase in cases of eating disorders within the industry, as a direct result of trying to adhere to impossible standards of “clean eating” in order to set a good enough example to others. Exactly as I argued was likely to happen.
The vast majority of people simply need to consume a more appropriate total amount calories, from whatever sources they choose. Increasing I am starting to appreciate that a disconnect or faulty perception of the amount of food is often the real problem people have with trying to lose weight. Obviously we have the main problem I’m trying to tackle through this site, which is that people are lead to believe that what is required is too difficult, too restrictive and too unpleasant, and they don’t have whatever it takes to make it work. As a result, they might feel they have no reason to pay any mind to what and how much they eat, since they’re convinced they “can’t lose weight” no matter what.
Anyway, from the feedback I’ve received in the past year or so, I’ve done a decent job addressing this. It’s only one possible source of people’s problems though and hopefully I’ll continue to get a better understanding and be better able to offer advice in addressing the other issues people might have, such as this perception disconnect that some people have about just how much they are really eating.
Here’s a real eye-opener of a video regarding that “disconnect” I’ve been talking about. Anyone reading this who feels they’re hitting an appropriate target for sustainable weight loss without success should probably take a look.