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SheSaid spoke to Tony Findlay who has been a professional fitness trainer for the past 15 years and former business owner of PERSONAL BEST Fitness Studio in Sydney on why he thinks diets suck! Tony has written diet and supplement protocols and provided personal advice to athletes as well as weekend warriors and having competed in the 2000 Hawaii Ironman triathlon has the practical experience to be able to advise individuals on sports nutrition as well. His desire for self change has made his lessons learnt a powerful source of knowledge that he shares in his up-coming book “DIETS SUCK -Don’t get ready for Summer, Get ready for LIFE”.

Why do you think diets suck?

The answer to that is in the asking. Most people I’ve met (male or female) hate the idea of dieting and wholeheartedly agree that DIETS DO SUCK! The idea that I have to eat a certain way BUT don’t know why seems set for failure. If someone sets you a plan of how to eat, they should be able to show you how it has worked for them. If someone tells you to eat a certain way and they are not in the shape you seek, you have to wonder how good their plan is. I mean if doesn’t work for them, just how good is this plan. Most people have an unrealistic expectation of themselves, and how committed they are to change. Change involves making sacrifices, not eating the same way they have been or changing their eating ways, training regularly (but only 3 hours per week to compliment a sound eating plan), and limiting alcohol. So if you aren’t willing to commit to all of these changes you won’t achieve the desired result.

Have you personally tried diets and realised they haven’t worked for you?

I’ve always been interested in how eating plans or diets work, having tried all plans that I have set clients. If I couldn’t do it or see a change then there is no benefit for them. It is hard to have a practical standpoint to say if or if not the plan will work. I am definitely NOT a “diet-basher” but more a “body mechanic” who believes in living the life that he prescribes. I guess my point for diets is that if we know that carbs supply us energy, and our activity levels are less than they used to be, why are we eating like athletes? More importantly, if fat as an energy source is worth 9cals/gram, and by using it we will have over twice the energy available, why do we load up our “fuel tanks” with carbs that have only 4cals/gram worth of energy? To me it seems that commonsense nutrition isn’t prescribed. As a nation we are the second fattest people on earth – only just behind the USA on per head of population. Our children are also the second fattest in the world. Why is it that we get athletes who are far more active then the consumer to promote foods that are designed to make us healthy?

What is your advice to girls who want to lose weight then?

Let me start this by saying: we are assuming that these girls have no pre-existing condition (diabetes etc) that could be impacted on or are getting any medical advice for health reasons. First off they need to understand the basics of nutrition and how they can affect their result with choices that they make. They need to do the following 5 steps:

  1. Drink more water – minimum of 10 to 12 cups per day (not counting when they are exercising)
  2. Eat carbohydrates at optimal times, which will stabilise insulin and subsequently energy levels.
  3. Limit fat consumption to 20 to 30g per day of “good” fats like avocado/nuts/salmon or mackerel/low fat milk and yoghurts.
  4. Exercise at least three times per week with intensity combining both cardiovascular and lean muscle training.
  5. Increase protein to meet your exercising and recovery demands. (See next page for suggestions)