As a Singapore Personal Trainer, I recently read a disturbing piece of news about a trend among people in Singapore. They want to be thin, not just healthy but really, really thin! This is a problem.
To get that thin you need to starve yourself. And the “method” of slimming these guys/gals use is not safe.
They eat about 1-2 meals per day and they eat food that is not nutritious. In addition they usually eat highly refined foods like instant noodles and bread.
That is a problem because it is not possible to get enough nutrients for health with that amount of food in your diet. You will not have enough vitamins, minerals and protein.
Because of this lack of nutrients, your liver will be weak, and you will not be able to detoxify the problems in our rather toxic environment – even smells like those from new furniture can be poisons. You need amino acids and other nutrients to help your liver.
You will also have suppressed immune system function. The more lean muscle mass you have the better your immune system will be. You often find that people who are very underweight are often sick, but people with good, healthy amounts of muscle mass are not sick.
There is a problem in society as well because of the use of BMI as a gauge of health. These “skinny” fans are actually “healthy” when we use BMI. But are they really? This fact is made worse now that there is an “Asian” BMI which encourages even lower body weights!
What’s the solution?
Here is what I suggest…
* No more BMI. Use body fat as a gauge of health. Men should aim for 10% and women for 16%.
* Encourage nutritious food. No calorie counting. Can your body count calories? Your body can only recognize nutrients. Give it enough nutritious food and it will say “I’m full, thanks!”. Give it large amounts of no-nutrition food and it says “I need more!” Even though you just ate 3000 calories of potato chips.
* No calorie counting
* Tell people who teach nutrition teachers to take off their shirts. Nutritionists are very influential, but there are way too many out of shape nutritionists.
No we don’t expect them to look like an Olympic gymnast, but they shouldn’t be obese or sickly thin right?
Lets look at a simple example about how calorie counting is not a practical way of deciding how much to eat.
An average person needs (according to the calorie counting gang) about 2000 calories per day to maintain weight. lets multiply that by 365 to get the number of calories needed per year. That is 730000.
Lets say I want to stay within 1kg of my current weight because I’m happy with my health and how I look. The calorie counting gang also believe that eating 3500 calories excess would lead to 1lb fat gain. so to gain 1kg I would need about 8000 calories.
That means that to stay within 1kg of my current weight I would, over the course of the 1 year, need to be accurate in my “calorie counting” to the accuracy of 8000/730000 that is an accuracy of… 1.1%.
That means each day I have to be accurate with my calorie counting to within about 22 calories. That is about 2grams of fat or 5 grams of carbohydrates/protein.
That is a ridiculous accuracy to expect to adhere to. And it gets even more ridiculous as we extend the 1 year period to 3 or even 10 years. What if I kept my weight constant for 10 years! I would have to be accurate to 2 calories per day!
No. Calorie counting is not important for general health. Because there are so many more things going on.
I always tell my clients that our body can adapt to more or less food. But it cannot adapt to crappy, refined foods.