pssst…let me tell you a little secret

Diets don’t work.

I didn’t charge you a dime for that hugely valuable piece of information. You’re welcome.

Long time readers know that I first ranted about the total bullshit of the diet industry here.  Then I continued to vent here.

I know I have bitched about this topic in a handful of other posts but, as Sweet Brown would say,


What got me all riled up on this topic yet again is this great blog post I read on Fit, Feminist, and (almost) Fifty, titled, Diets don’t work but they do make us suffer.  This is a short post, but one filled with great links to more substantive writing on this topic.

The piece that I found most interesting was the reference to the CBC radio interview with Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, author of The Diet Fix.

The interview is approximately 20 minutes in length, and packed with valuable information. If you have the time and the interest, I encourage you to listen here:

The Current interview with Dr. Yoni Freedhoff.

The most fascinating thing for me was the idea of determining your “best weight” as an alternative to the one-size-fits-all BMI measures. Best weight, as described by Freedhoff, is “whatever weight a person reaches when they’re living the healthiest life they truly enjoy.”

This is very, very interesting to me because I first explored the topic of Fat-can-mean-Fit and Thin-doesn’t-always-mean-Healthy in this post, and then dug a little deeper in this one. It made me reconsider preconceived notions about body shape equating to overall health.

GAH! This is a lot of linking! And I know people general don’t bother to click on the links…so…

Instead let me just remind you that promises of miracle weight loss have been around for a very long time.


Bile Beans. Mmm…can I get my hands on some of those??

How about this one?


Yes! Tapeworms! That’s what I need!

You too can lose weight without starving yourself.

diet ad

Hey – it’s GUARANTEED!!

Or how about you just put on a piece of clothing to do the job for you?

There’s this one:

rubber gear

Rubber! It’s not just for S&M activity anymore!

Or the ever fashionable Sauna Suit:


Sweat your fat away, ladies!

Feel free to try any one of these winning options.

– Or –

Click thru to some of the links above and get the facts on why diets and ‘quick fix’s never work.

– Or –

If you’re still too lazy to click on the links [Oooooh, judgmental much, Nanc? Why yes, evidently I am.], then just review my handy-dandy list, The 5 Steps to Proven Weight Loss, a step-by-step guide from your sweaty BFF, Nancy.

5 Steps to Proven Weight Loss

  1. Don’t eat crap.
  2. Do watch your portion sizes. You’re not eating for two. Or three.
  3. Do move. Exercise is your friend.
  4. Do get 7-8 hours of quality sleep on most nights.
  5. Don’t stress over everything. AKA Don’t sweat the small stuff. [But DO sweat. Sweat is your friend. AKA see #3.]

You’re welcome.

Keep moving,

xoxo nancy

85 thoughts on “pssst…let me tell you a little secret

    • It’s not rocket science. 🙂 It’s just such a shame that people continue to spend tons of money on (not to mention torture themselves with) all those fads and diets — for no results. Makes me sad. No silver bullet people.

  1. Couldn’t have said it better myself. There are no secrets. The biggest issue, I think, are portion sizes. In Spain, they are half of what you’d be served up in the UK, Germany and the US, and you’d be hard-pushed to spot fat people in the street here. A coincidence? I don’t think so. Spanish women in their 50’s frequently have girlish figures. In fact, I’m still often surprised when a svelte lady turns around and she’s in her mid-50’s and not in her 20’s, as I’d have guessed from the rear view. Spanish women dress well, too, and they have the most fabulous hair, all of which helps 😉

    • Portion sizes are a huge problem (no pun intended) in the US, with Canada quickly adopting that madness (although we’re still not quite as bad here). I agree 100% on that. I think the other big, big problem is the quality of the food we eat these days (or lack thereof). Everything is processed. Everything is GMO’d to death. This stuff is making us fat AND sick. No one can convince me otherwise. When I say “Don’t eat crap” in Step 1 — I’m referring to the non-food processed crap we shovel into our mouths.

      Any of the travelling I’ve done to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, etc, I’ve eaten like a King (Queen), but it was all natural food. Breads, meat (Bless the Spanish and their love of the pig!), wine, cheese and sweets. But they were all real foods. And you’re right, very few obese people in those countries. The other added piece that many of those places have in common? They are not car-centric cultures. Those people MOVE. They walk everyday. I’m convinced it’s the combination of eating real, natural food plus moving /walking that keeps them looking fit and fabulous.

  2. I think that second post of yours about fat = fit etc was the first one I ever commented on. I was thinking about that and about the first one about heavier instructors during my paranoia phase just before I went on my gym instructor course this weekend!

    I worry about being one of those instructors / PTs who has to prove themselves to every class / client! but it is ok…I am working on it 😀

    In other news…you are so right about diets, they really really don’t work! The suffering thing is interesting because that is what I keep telling people, you have to do something that is sustainable…a healthy lifestyle / diet that you can only stick to for 3 months before returning to eating all the chocolate and pizza in the world is not really going to help!

    • You’re right Sam! That post was the one that brought us together. Yay!

      First off, you aren’t nearly as heavy as the BodyPump instructor I mentioned in that post. You will not be judged in that way. Plus, you are so strong and so capable. Your confidence will continue to grow and you will be wicked awesome in your role as a PT. Of this I’m sure.

      Hey – did you get a chance to listen to the radio interview? If not, I really recommend it. This concept of “best weight” he describes is really fascinating. And he totally dispels the validity of BMI on an individual basis. (It was designed to look at populations of people, not individuals.)

      • I am hoping that is true, the bit about the confidence 😀 It seems to be working as I go along 😀

        I didn’t listen to the interview yet (headphones are banned at my work), I will do later though, as the Idea of Best Weight sounds good! I have always had doubts about BMI as it seems unrealistic and was based around observations made by an insurance man rather than a nutritionist / health expert as far as I understand it!

      • I will do 🙂

        I watched a BBC documentary about the origins of the height/weight charts and the ridiculousness of all the diet industry crap and the height weight charts and healthy ranges which the BMI was based on was invented by a guy in an insurance office who noticed a correlation between certain height weight combinations and insurance claims!

      • I know…it was exactly then that the diet craze in america and therefore the rest of the world started, something like half the population were suddenly deemed overweight when they were (probably) not

  3. It always astounds me how much money is spent on diet-related materials when diets have consistently been show to fail. People can save money and follow your five steps instead. The results will be more fruitful. 🙂

    • And this coming from a medical doctor! YES!!! I feel so validated now! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Seriously though… I’d love to better understand the psychology that allows someone to believe THEY will be different by buying (and consuming) that shake, that pill, that bar, in the face of the millions who failed doing that same thing. Fascinating.

      • Almost always, deprivation or too much restriction will fail. Yes, some things need to be avoided if one loses control over them–best not to have them at all. But otherwise choosing a wide variety of healthy foods (and most of us know by now what those are) and decreasing portion sizes while upping our activity is what works. Allowing an occasional treat is of course, important. Unfortunately, society and the food industry make this mindset very difficult to stick to, a topic that is of particular interest to me. I don’t believe we as individuals hold all the blame.

      • That’s a great point on society + good industry role in all of this, Carrie. You’re right, as individuals we don’t carry the full burden of the problem, but we are the ones who pay the price.

  4. Well, I didn’t click the links because I’m lazy and looking for quick fixes but I do LOVE your 5 steps!! As soon as spring break is over…and I am counting down the days…I am incorporating the sweat part, that is the main one I’m missing. 😀

  5. My wife started being conscious of what and how much she ate, and took up hula hooping. She is much happier with her body and self now.
    (She was happy before, but just wanted to do it for herself. we had a bunch of conversations about body image and external pressure while she was doing it, and fortunately, none of that affected her decision in what she did.)

  6. I love a good rant, as you know. 🙂 I saw a t-shirt in Dublin when I was home – it said ‘I’m in shape. Round is a shape.’ 🙂
    Do those sauna suits come in leopard?

  7. My personal rant has to do with marketing to women and society judgements of women’s bodies! How can we ( or young people) escape the constant barrage!! So unfair and pervasive 😦 I am still effected ( and I’m healthy and in shape)!!

  8. and don’t we love to suffer? We diet and diet, and then gain all the weight back and more, and then find some new diet that will keep all that weight off permanently, until one day… either we quit dieting, or change our lives.

  9. I’m so gross over this topic. After the latest “annual physical” our thin, model-like GP suggested to both me and my hubby to adjust our diet a little bit. We did as told. My hubby has lost 8 pounds and counting, in three weeks. I lost 0 (ZZERRO). And I’m moving much more. Now I’m thinking of bringing the pastas back – with delicious creamy sauces. Seriously. But first I’ll check all the links. Maybe there’s a miracle diet waiting for me?

    • Bahahahahaha! You made me laugh out loud with that last sentence/question!

      I think you should eat what you want, within reason, providing you expend and equivalent amount of calories through exercise.

      I would rather be 10-15 pounds “overweight”, but happy and healthy than be at my “ideal weight” according to the generic charts and miserable because I feel I’ve deprived myself. 🙂

      • Happy my “cry for miracles” made you laugh. I fully agree with your point, just need to get hubby down from the cloud 🙂

      • Men lose weight faster/easier than women. It’s a proven fact. Many years ago when hubby and I have up carbs we both lost tons of weight, but him way faster than me. The fact that I was a raging bitch for lack of bread made me eventually give that nonsense deprivation out. 🙂

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  11. Where can I get those tape worms? Crazy! We try to eat real and do a lot of walking, but that doesn’t stop me from getting caught up in buying the latest diet book. I should know better… magic pill….bummer!

  12. Great post Nancy! I so-so-so agree with the statement that our best weight is “whatever weight a person reaches when they’re living the healthiest life they truly enjoy.” And yes, your 5 Steps to Proven Weight Loss is all I needed! ~Kathy

  13. I had to scroll really far in order to leave a comment – that was awesome!
    I am making a lifestyle change, and am down 45 lbs (I was down almost 50, but then I gave up smoking and gained a few!). The biggest eye opener was the amount of calories I was consuming without realizing it! I dropped 30 lbs with portion control alone! Learning how much food I was eating was eye-opening! 🙂 Now I’ve added in some exercise so that I sweat every day, and I’m loving it!

  14. I do admire how you’ve made peace with sweat! LOL! I do know that I need more exercise. I am a yoga enthusiast and I practice regularly, but I could really use a more strenuous physical regimen. I know that would help with those creeping pounds. And yes, diets don’t work. I do agree!

    • I know yoga can be crazy hard, depending on the variety. And hot yoga definitely makes you sweat! 🙂

      I think the truck to adopting a more consistent physical regimen is finding something you don’t hate doing. 🙂 Funny as that may sound.

      I can say with honesty I don’t love. 99% of the exercise I do, but I only hate a tiny portion. 🙂

  15. Ok, so I didn’t click on the links. The word diet is so misconstrued to mean drastically restrictive eating these days. Diet is what you eat, not how much. You either have a good diet or a poor diet. It’s a shame it has to be said but thanks to the food industry praying on our wallets and, well, just stupidity and gluttony, it does. Your five point plan is all you need. There is just one flaw in it. Too many people don’t actually know what crap food is. Are you sensing any exasperation with my fat countrymen here?

  16. So many great points Nancy! I love the “best weight” concept and agree wholeheartedly that foods full of ingredients that you can’t pronounce should be avoided at all costs. I’m fighting the urge to google sanitized tapeworms right now because I’m afraid of the ads that start showing up on screen… 🙂

    • I think it’s human nature to always hope that there will be a silver bullet, miracle cure available. (I considered investigating the sanitized tapeworm too; so much less disturbing than the bile beams…) 🙂

  17. Water. I don’t drink enough of it. I also need to go to rehab for my Diet Dr. Pepper addiction. It’s so bad. I think the idea of whatever weight you are happiest at really needs to catch on. I would also say the weight where you have the most energy and can participate fully in your life.

    • Good catch! I totally gapped on not including Drink a lot of Water on that list!! (Which is crazy, because I drink gallons a day – or so it seems.)

      I’m so grateful I never took to the carbonated soda drinks (or Pop, as we refer to them in Toronto). Just not my bag, but I do get that people are fully addicted to them.

      Totally agree on the ‘most energy and can participate fully in your life” comment re: best weight. That is exactly what I’m striving for more than a specific number on the scale.

      My goal –> Less jiggly bits, no medication, clothes fit better/fall nicer and tons of energy + good mood.

  18. Love the phrase, ‘Fat can mean fit and thin doesn’t always mean healthy.’ That would be a great thing to tattoo backward on to most teenage girls’ foreheads so they could see it first thing in the morning when they wake up and look in the mirror.
    Great post with some AWESOME links!

    • Thanks Shelley. It’s such a shame so many really smart women struggle with this so much. It’s like intellectually we know that diets don’t work, and yet for some bizarre, inexplicable reason, we glom on to the latest one that’s sure to be “100% EFFECTIVE!!”. Makes me sad.

  19. Excellent advice, Nancy. I’d add drink lots of water to your list. The points you made are sustainable and don’t include a lot of deprivation.

    • Yes, I can’t believe I left drink loads of water from the list, because it’s so second nature to me, I guess. I try to drink half my weight, in ounces, every day. That’s the # they told us to aim for when I did my week at BLR.

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