- Peta Glaister
CN: Weight loss and dieting, some gendered language.
Originally posted on the Evolutio blog.
Located in Richmond, Evolutio is a world class supplier of fine Physiotherapy, Remedial Massage and Elite Rehab.
I’ve been out of the private training scene for a month or two now and I while I don’t feel like that’s enough time to properly collect my thoughts on this subject, I’ve started. And it’s a deep, fraught, emotional rabbit hole.
When you’re in the fitness industry there is a question that comes up more often than any other.
"How do I lose weight?"
Whenever I felt it coming I freeze.
Then I back away mumbling something about not being the person to ask because I’m only qualified in training, not nutrition.
It never fails to break my heart, as well as put me into a mild panic. Why? The question is simple enough and the answer has always been the same, so why so uncomfortable? Because 99 times out of 100 it came from someone of a healthy, normal weight. Who was nearly always a woman. Who has spent their entire life being manipulated and marketed into a horrible web of lies about the one thing that belongs to them and no other person or corporation.
So this article is for the woman who is an expert in her field but still asked me how to lose weight. This is for the person who can deadlift a small motorcycle but still asked me how to lose weight. This is for the woman whose partner looks at her as if the sun shone directly out of her arse but still asked me how to lose weight. This is for the man who raised great leaders of the next generation but still asked me how to lose weight. This is for the person who never stops lifting everyone around them up but still asked me how to lose weight. This is for the people who would have a shot at being content if they could just stop asking how to lose weight.
It’s my attempt at putting into words everything I wish I had said to each of those clients and friends, and to my younger self. It’s a conversation I never actually had because it was easier to tell myself it wasn’t my problem and I didn’t have enough time to get into it.
But in not being part of the solution I was definitely part of the problem. I’m sorry. I let you down by not saying it when you asked.
This is what I think you should know.
Protein is not as important as you may think it is, it’s just easy to sell. There is nothing bad about carbohydrates. Fat is good for you, but there is no evidence it should constitute the biggest or the tiniest part of your calorie intake. Ketones are bullshit, or as close to bullshit as to be indistinguishable from it. In the absence of medical test results showing otherwise, your insulin response/thyroid/cortisol/adrenal glands/gut biome are probably not making you fat. Sugar isn’t either, but it may be making you unhappy.
Anyone who tells you otherwise has a vested interest in either robbing you of your money or your joy.
Healthy is not always lean and lean is not always healthy. The normal body fat range is somewhere in 10-30%, with variations for sex/ gender assigned at birth (the low end of the range for AMAB bodies and the higher end for AFAB bodies. As well as slightly lower for athletes, slightly higher with age). Not a lot of the Instagram #fitspo set would be inside that, and many appear to be well below it. Looking a certain way personally is not a qualification for involving yourself in other people’s health, and giving out diet advice with no training or education in nutrition can be dangerous. Medical and allied health practitioners would call this practising outside your scope and it is a very serious, potentially criminal, breach of ethics.
The ways we measure and track body composition are shady, at best. The body varies, sometimes significantly, from day to day. Splitting measurements down into single centimetres or kilograms is an exercise in deceit - that fine a fluctuation can come from nowhere and does not necessarily reflect actual change. In contrast, your perception of your body can turn on a dime. Weight, bio-impedance and circumference measurements give a rough idea, but are actually an inaccurate and misleading way of analysing composition. They are, how