For years, we were told to cut our risk of heart disease by avoiding fatty foods like meat, cheese and cream.
When researchers then decided fat wasn’t all bad… that natural fat such as nuts and fish could actually protect against heart disease, I was angry for the lost decades.
(Although I never did buy the spiel that margarine was healthier than butter after reading an article on how it was made. I won’t put you off your toast, but butter is made by taking some cream and shaking it about a bit.)
That’s not the only advice the gurus contradict each other about.
Dieters are often told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But some experts tell us to skip breakfast if we want to lose weight.
Similarly, those who aspire to healthy eating should…
- eat less fat,
- eat less carbs,
- eat less meat,
- eat less dairy,
- eat less often,
- eat less.
And on that theme, should we…
- fast to beat diabetes,
- exercise to beat diabetes,
- lose weight to beat diabetes. (What if you’re not overweight? My husband isn’t.)
We are simultaneously advised that…
- moderate exercise should be taken daily,
- short high intensity spurts are best,
- eating before a workout can increase your metabolism,
- exercise has more effect if taken before breakfast. (What breakfast?)
Arthritis? Try glucosamine, chondroitin, vitamin D, omega 3, curcumin, green-lipped mussel extract (irrelevant fact: I couldn’t buy these tablets in New Zealand, where green-lipped mussels come from) – oh, and don’t forget exercise.
Can’t sleep at night? Try meditation, mindfulness, magnesium, mathematics, (I sleep more soundly when I’ve been writing a story) – and, of course, exercise.
Can you tell, I’m not a lover of exercise?
I enjoy walking the dogs. And I can still dance all night if the music’s right (not that that the opportunity arises these days) but running, jogging, working out….
One size doesn’t fit all.
One solution may help many reach their goal, but it won’t work for everyone.
We are different.
We are born different.
We are raised differently. We live in different places and encounter different experiences.
We like different things.
Our physical makeup differs, from our genes outwards. Our minds process things differently.
When I was at school we learned maths the boring way. New Maths came and went in the UK, and by the time I undertook teacher training, maths teaching involved investigations, puzzles and magic. (Did you know that there are imaginary numbers that don’t exist, and electricians use them to make things work?)
Children are more likely to learn when maths is approached from different directions to suit different ways of learning.
Not only maths. Reading with my children through primary school, it was clear that the youngest wasn’t learning in the same way the others had. Instead of recognising words, she was working out each sound. To help, I would point out certain sound ‘rules’ that are usually taught later (like the sound of ‘a’ changing when there’s an ‘e’ at the end) and she applied them to learn to read.
Back then, our education authority didn’t test for dyslexia. (When we came away from a private assessment at age 15, she told me, “I’m glad I’m dyslexic. I thought I was thick.”.)
There are different kinds of dyslexia, just as there are different kinds of type 2 diabetes and different reasons for obesity. One word doesn’t fit every diagnosis. It would be helpful if more recognition were given to this in news reports and public health diktats.
How often have you heard those words “I’ve tried everything” (…to lose weight …to understand calculus …to lower my blood sugar)?
Don’t despair. You are not a hopeless case. Somewhere out there will be an approach that works for you.
Good luck with your voyage of discovery.