It’s January, which means the TV is full of programmes and adverts promoting diets and dieting. My favourite is the WeightWatchers ad, which proclaims that people who follow their advice can say yes to everything. Of course with plenty of caveats, and somewhere along the line people on this kind of programme will have to say no to something, otherwise they’ll just over eat and not succeed. But i do find it interesting that WW chooses to lead with a message that is entirely hedonistic – have all the fun you want, and, presumably in the small print, fall back on a position that that is a form of enlightened hedonism – you can have fun, with caution.
My view is that this position, in the long run, isn’t going to benefit any one who goes to Weight Watchers. I read a news story recently about how research is identify links between sugar consumption and some cancers. Now it might not be obvious to everyone, but it’s long been known that sugar is deadly, it causes obesity and diabetes and is linked to heart disease, and a host of other disease, that, as a human being who reckons staying healthy is a good driver of tranquility, you don’t want to get. Having read the article on sugar’s link to cancer, I decided that enough was enough, and as far as possible I was going to cut refined sugar out of my diet. I am trying to cut it right back to perhaps one or two teaspoons a week, which is about fifty times what it needs to be, but about fifty times less than the average as well.
To make sure I can actually achieve this, I am constantly reminding myself of the kinds of pleasure that are part of this particular dichotomy. On the one hand, there’s the enjoyment from eating some kind of sweet and I put this against the pleasure of know that I’m doing something good for my health. putting my body in a position where it can be healthy for years to come: through not being overweight, through being able to move better, though potentially reducing my risk of developing seriously debilitating diseases (let’s face it, having eaten sugar for as long as I have, my chances are never going to be zero again). On top of that is the pleasure I derive from recognising the pleasure I’ll experience in future with a healthy body. And all that comes before I add in the crashing impact giving in and saying yes to something sweet would have on my tranquility.
Dieting and losing weight – I’m using visualisation techniques to make sure I stick with it – far better than point systems.