Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Regarding Diet – In realty TV?

I Don’t like reality TV.  Survivor and other such games pit people against each other in an effort to subvert, confuse and remove people from the show. What makes “My Diet is Better Than your” different?  It’s not about the contestants really, it’s about the results for the contestants.  The show determines this week’s winner by who has lost a larger percentage of body weight.  The concept of percentage is important.  It’s like a golf handicap.  A 230-pound woman would have a lot of trouble losing 15 pounds in one week.  But to a 365-pound man, that is only 4.1%.  For the 230-pound woman that same 4.1% is 9.45 pounds. So it evens the field based on what each person’s condition. Still a lot of weight, but to a severely obese person, that is a safe amount. They have fitness challenges they have to meet.  Part of the competition is these folks will have to complete a half marathon at the end of the season.  These fitness challenges are mini-tests to make sure they will be physically capable of completing that event safely.  The contestants are medically monitored every week to be sure that they are not starving themselves.  Some have already seen great reduction in glucose levels.  Blood pressure, BMI and other easements are taken to ensure all is done in a healthy manner.

This relatively new “Reality” series on ABC is actually worth watching if you’re interested in changing your eating habits. Though in no way is what they are doing scientific, it is truly a competition between life style choices. There is nothing real in this “reality”.  We have 5 contestants who are from a broad spectrum of society.  I’m not sure what most of them do, because it’s not important to the show. At least 3 of them have fulltime jobs, one may be a homemaker with a child.  The others have not chosen to share what they do so I’ll leave that off.

The concept is simple, and it’s centered around the programs the contestants chose. Here are the life-style plans in the same order presented on ABC’s Website for My Diet is better than Yours:

  • The Wellness Smackdown: A Vegan diet, in both content and philosophy.  Strictly vegan no dairy Includes meditation as well as moderate exercise. – Jovanka Ciares
  • The “No Diet Plan”: A Thought/Lifestyle approach to fitness.  Not so much about the food in particular but more about learning the better choices and making them.  Uses all sorts of tools including using blue colored plates because that is unappetizing, purple bed sheets to sleep better and putting on red clothing to motivate yourself to work out harder. – Jay Cardiello
  • Super Food Swap: The idea is to eat what you want, but healthier.  Making Mac and Cheese with Whole Grain Pasta and a cheese and cauliflower sauce reducing the calories. Exercise moderately.  – Dawn Jackson-Blatner
  • The cLEAN MOMMA(sic) Plan: Focuses on getting exercise all the time.  Coining the term “Taskercise” because every action can be turned in to an exercise routine, and eating healthier. Less about restrictive eating than focusing on better choices. Carolyn Barnes
  • The Wild Diet: Eat good organic and wild fed food.  Grain fed beef, wild fish, range free fowl.  Organic vegetables. The concept is based more on hunter-gatherer eating.  Exercise in short intense intervals, preferably outside in the sun, because sun is a nutrient too.  Drink your coffee, that’s OK - Do you like butter with that coffee? (I know I do) Don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it.  Generally, a low carb diet, but depending on your genetics you may need a little more carb, women do need more than carbs than men. – Able James Companion Book The Wild Diet
  • Strong, Safe and Sexy: A pescatarian (fish eater) food plan. Small amounts of dairy and eggs, if wild fed, are allowed.  But only wild caught aquatic/non-mammal creatures, sorry if you were looking for seal, otter and cetacean meat.  As with all of the coaches, this is based on a life-style change. – Jennifer Cassetta

So why am I writing this? It seems important to me to bring out good lifestyle plans. As many of you know I am morbidly obese.  Using the steps of Overeaters Anonymous and through a food plan, that I found out was very similar to the Wild Diet, I’ve lost 151 pounds.  I’ve not weight myself in a while.  So until I do, that is the last known true weight.  One of the joys of my new life is that food is no longer the obsession it used to be.  Eating bad food between meals has become a thing of the past.

There are a few good things about the show.

  1. All of the coaches are promoting a lifestyle change, not a weight loss method.  Even though the show tracks percentage of weight lost as a major criterion, everybody on the show is constantly reminding the contestants, they are not on a diet, they are learning a new way to eat and exercise. A lifestyle.  Unlike some of the other weight loss shows that are all about the pounds, the rules and goals are focused on permanent change. 
  2. Medically supervised.  Other shows have doctors, but it’s still all about the weight.  “My Diet..” is also emphasizing generally health by celebrating lowered blood pressure and glucose counts.  
  3. The coaches are stressing choices.  Even the weird ones.  As of week 4: 2 of the above coaches have been dismissed. The Strong Safe and Sexy Coach – Jennifer – is the new kid on the block. We will learn the new second coach this week(01/22/2016 episode 5)
  4. It is all about the positive.  So far… Some of the players have been encouraging each other on camera, not tearing each other down.  $50k is at stake, yet they seem to be coalescing more in to a team vs competitive.  Some of the contestants are very competitive, but none have gotten abusive. 

You will notice there are 6 coaches, and 5 players.  Two of the coaches have been let go.  Last week Carolyn Barnes was released, and to be honest was a bit of a bitch about it.  The previous Week Javanka Ciasres (Wellness Smackdown) was released and replaced with Jennifer Cassetta (Strong, Safe and Sexy). This coming week we learn who will replace Carolyn Barnes.

What I find interesting is that the real results will come from the coach that can inspire their player the best.  Javanka is gone because her player did not get the idea.  Carolyn is gone, not because her ideas were bad, but because she could not inspire the La’Tasha.

So I’m following this with the hope that real lifestyle change becomes the norm instead of loose weight then do it again.  America obesity has been on the rise since the advent of the food pyramid in 1959.  Every modification to that pyramid has been proven to be scientifically wrong.  So this little competition is using eating plans that are varied.  One of these plans may work for you.  Watch the show, see what looks good and do something.  I know Kurt (Player for Wild Diet) has inspired me to get back to my better eating habits.  I stopped weighing myself and I’m sure I’ve let some food back in that has slowed my weight loss.  But you know what, today is a new day.  Now is always the right time to eat like you mean it.

For me that means “Eating for the healthy purpose of nutrition” not to lose weight, but to be healthy.  The weight is a symptom of my compulsive disorder, not who I am.

Gregor - Back from the brink! From there and back again. A spiritual Hobbits journey.