7 October 2016
I’m a word person, I enjoy scrabble, crosswords and if I see a word with a meaning I don’t know, I look it up. But there is one word in particular which I have come to dislike … DIETS!

Years ago the word diet was used to describe the kinds of food that a person, animal or community habitually ate. Nowadays this definition is used to describe any one of a number of restrictive eating regimes followed by people who have little or no control over their eating and have become overweight or obese. Did you know? We also now have to classify obese as a disease.

When I decided to pen a blog about this, the first thing I did was spend no more than 3 minutes on the internet looking for diets; these are some of the latest popular ones I noted:

The Cambridge diet

The Obsessive Corbuzier’s diet

The DoDo diet

The 5:2 diet

The 4:3 diet

The Dukan diet

The Alkaline diet

The Atkins diet

The South Beach diet

The Slimming World diet

The LighterLife diet

The Weight Watchers diet

The Rosemary Conley diet

The Detox diet

The Drop a Dress Size in 5 Days diet

The Harcombe diet

The Scarsdale diet

The Fast Beach diet

The Never Be Hungry diet

The Military diet

The Seasonal Summer diet

The Virgin diet (don’t ask me!)

The Plan diet

The Shred diet

The Body Reset diet

The 8 Hour diet

The Juice Master diet

The Gwyneth Paltrow diet

The Mediterranean diet

The Cabbage Soup diet

The Pagan diet

The Paleo diet

The Ice diet

Each of the above diets has its own book (with annual revisions) making the author an average of £8.00 a time. All came with the obligatory ‘Jemma from Sussex, who lost 180lbs in three days said “I’ve tried loads of diets over the past 47 years and could not shift those extra pounds until I found the Splodge diet, and now I’ve got the beach body I’ve always wanted”. Apologies if there is actually a girl named Jemma from Sussex who has lost 180lbs in three days, of course well done!

But it's much easier to be fit and healthy than participating in any of the above, I promise. Now I am not the leanest, meanest fighting machine around, but I’m still pretty fit and consider myself to be healthy at 60 years old, and I promise you I have never followed any form of restrictive diet in my life. The secret is ... sensible eating combined with exercise! It’s so simple and I’m surprised so many people haven’t caught on yet.

You don't need to be told by the government to eat fruit and veg, or listen to an academic (who’s probably overweight) that you should exercise. Men and women have been around on this earth for 6 – 7 million years, and they’ve been eating all of that time; we should have got the message by now. Even cave men who ate too much mammoth and sat around the cave all day would have become overweight and therefore a burden on society as they couldn’t go out and hunt.

It’s about time that people took responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, and for that of their children. It is not rocket science, it is not difficult, it is not a disease, it just takes a bit of effort. Everyone can do it!

And now for something completely different; some facts and figures from America:

  • $20 Billion: the annual revenue of the weight-loss industry including diet books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries.

  • 108 Million: the number of people on diets in the USA. Dieters typically make four or five attempts each year.

  • 85%: the percentage of customers consuming weight-loss products who are female.

  • 1 Hour: the amount of time spent on daily exercise by people who lost and kept off at least 30 pounds of excess weight for five years.

  • 220,000: the number of morbidly obese people who had bariatric surgery (which reduces the size of the stomach) at an average cost of $11,500 to $26,000.

  • $33,000: the amount of money celebrity endorsers, on average, earn per pound lost.

And from the UK:

  • £4 Million: the estimated spending by the government a year on tackling obesity.

  • £37 Million: the amount spent annually by the NHS on anti-obesity drugs.

  • 4000: weight loss surgery procedures done on the NHS every year, each costing between £5000 and £14,000.

  • 17 Years: the amount of time women spend during their lives trying to lose weight.

  • 9 times: the number of times an average woman loses her body weight during her life.

  • 90%: the percentage of women a study found had been on a diet.

  • Less than 1%: the percentage of women who managed to stick to a diet for a 12 month period.