If you've been following my #ThrowbackThursday series on social media, you'll know what it's all about, but if not, here's the deal:
My Nanny was a hoarder of recipes. She had few recipe books, but mostly she cut out recipes from magazines, newspapers and food packages. And guess who got the box?
The box of recipes had been sitting in my Mam's house for years but I finally tackled it a few months back and found not only great recipes, but also lots of food and diet ads dating back as far as the 70's! I found it o interesting to read the language and messages of these ads and diets that I wanted to share them with you- and so the #TBT was born!
(Read back previous #TBTs on my Insta and Facebook pages).
This week's post is aptly timed as the weather warms up- it is a magazine "bikini diet"...
“Eat a fabulous choice of foods. Control your appetite. Eliminate cravings. What’s not to like?”
This diet is from a magazine dated June 2009, which claims you can lose 6lb in 21 days.
The diet is a version of the GI diet, where high GI carbs are avoided in favour of lower GI foods, including meat, fish, eggs, poultry, yogurt, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
I’ve made it clear that I don’t agree with dieting (read more here), so I want to highlight a few things in this magazine piece that still feature throughout diets.
“This is a lifestyle” -> because diets have gotten quite the bad name, companies and individuals have started using the phrase “lifestyle change” instead of diet. What does it mean? It is marketing, nothing has really changed, “lifestyle changes” are diets with better marketing.
“There are very few rules” -> annoyingly, followed by a list of rules…I’ve seen this tactic used by other diets, such as Slimming World. They say “you can eat as much X as you want, it is so easy!”, and then once they have you sucked in a bit, take away everything else. With this particular example, they say you can enjoy limitless amounts of “nutritious foods” and that “only really bad refined, processed carbs are excluded completely”. Now, let me be clear when I say THERE ARE NO BAD FOODS. Carbs are important for health, and almost all sources of carbs are processed in some way when we eat them. This is most definitely a rule and a stupid one at that.
“Eat 3 meals and you won’t need to snack” -> Diet culture seems to consistently try to convince us that we must not eat between meals, snacking is bad, snacking is the reason we can’t lose weight, all snacks are bad etc. I could not disagree more! I am a HUGE fan of snacking- snacking means we don’t get overly hungry between meals and eat past comfortable fullness, and snacks can be enjoyable and nutritious. Humans have a consistent need for energy throughout the day- we are not like a car that can last on the same fuel for days and weeks, we need a top up regularly.
“Fruit is high in carbs so avoid” -> Fruit may contain carbs, but it is also a great source of lots of micronutrients and fibre (and I’m sure plenty of you will agree that it’s pretty tasty too!). I also feel like avoiding fruit b/c of carbs is a bit ironic. People say things like “it has carbs, so I won’t eat it”, “it is processed/refined, so I won’t eat it” and then spend €€€ on agave syrup, protein powders and all kinds of supplements. Seems strange, right? Worrying about grams of carbs in a banana is such a waste of energy. Eat fruit if you enjoy it. Have a glass of juice if you enjoy it. (Spend all your money all protein powder if that’s your jam too, I guess!).
While this magazine diet is 10 years old, we still see similarly unhelpful diet plans in magazines and newspapers now.
Please don’t follow a diet from a magazine (or from Instagram!).
Please don’t cut out whole food groups.
Please don’t count carbs or calories or macros or anything else.
Please always remember that no foods are bad, and you are not bad for eating. EVER.
Lots of love,
Little O x