One Size Fits – not

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….

… Boring.

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.

What works for you?

And what hasn’t worked?

25 thoughts on “One Size Fits – not

  1. Moderation, eat less, do more. I feel guilty we were taken in by the avoid butter theory and I am not going to become a vegan. Most studies probably turn out to have been on 500 people living on an island.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The one that irritated the heck out of me was “red wine is good for you” followed by …… guess what ……. then it went back again to being good for you! We live in The Age of Unreason where we are preached at willy nilly about what’s good for us, what’s bad for us, what’s good for the country or bad, what’s good for the planet and the converse. Personally …. I’m sick of it. Roll on Friday 11.00pm!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love the local news items about centenarians when they’re asked what they attribute their longevity to, and they say something like ‘A glass of whisky at bedtime.’
      I’ll go with that one. Oh, and red wine with my red meat.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. So apposite. So many thoughts.
    At school I was ridiculed for untidiness, not being able to draw lines, etc. Very poor fine motor skills. Why? Turns out I have dyspraxia. PE? A joke. Definitely the one never chosen. Why? Very poor gross motor skills. Dyspraxia.
    Couldn’t follow instructions. But followed every rule. Why? At 68 diagnosed as autistic.
    BUT – I can knock up a storm in the kitchen with individual dishes, design unique garments without a pattern. I write poetry, create images in Photoshop Elements – all self-taught.
    My own learning style is to go it alone. Written tests and exams and I’m in my element. Oral tests? Forget it.
    Totally agree with you on all points. Especially not to be pigeon-holed or led by ‘popular’ theories.
    Thank you for a great, thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Even more annoying are the hats that are supposedly one size fits all. I have a large head, as do members of my family. One size definitely does not fit all! As for food, the only success I ever have is to avoid sugar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My daughter found that. She loved wearing my husband’s flat cap (dubbed an ‘old man’s hat’) but the one my son bought her for Christmas was too small. With food, my only success is when I avoid carbs generally;I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth. Just looking at an iced bun makes my teeth hurt, but I do love my bread and pasta… And potatoes and rice and cous cous…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Each to there own…I do not favour the gym under any circumstances I mean I love to dance just not madly in a gym whilst trying to avoid the mirrors…I love to walk and that works for me…I now enjoy everything I was told was bad for me …in moderation of course. I don’t eat breakfast just lunch/brunch and dinner…The keto diet scares me (all ) that fat…Just like when we were told no fats just low fat and more sugar…Just a healthy balanced diet with the odd treat is working me …Loved this post it made me smile….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The nurse teaching the cardio rehab class was preaching the value of exercise and eating well (and I am a long time advocate of both, at least for me). I responded with, “If diet and exercise prevented heart disease, I would not be here.”
    We are not blank slates all looking for the same answer, but that does not mean that smoking or excessive alcohol (or drug) abuse is good for anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you on that. I’d avoid anything habit-forming since I have zero will power (and have frequent alcohol breaks to check that I’m not forming that habit). I’ve never tried drugs and I don’t smoke.
      It’s probably too easy for me to condemn smoking, though, as I never got into it. It felt, in my teenage years, like inhaling the unbreathable and – after seeing how hard my husband found it to give up – I’m glad I didn’t persevere.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Isn’t that the truth? So many confusing and conflicting reports out there. My mom is losing weight by counting calories but I just don’t have time for that with homeschooling two kids so I am trying to reduce my carbs instead (failing horribly!). I just told another blogger that a few years ago I lost 30 pounds by cutting carbs, processed food and dairy. That was 30 pounds in three months. I’m trying the same approach now but I’m addicted to dairy and it isn’t working very well. I’m about 80 pounds over weight so I have to do something!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think some calories are more fattening than others – the maths doesn’t work if you count calories agains activity. Your body gets used to the lower lever of intake and adjusts (at least… mine does). On the other hand, once you lose weight you shouldn’t get so hungry because you don’t need so much food to keep your body going. It ought to pan out, but…
      I suspect exercise is the key for me – and I find it incredibly BORING when I have other things to get on with.
      Spending all day on the computer doesn’t help. Even doing the gardening or changing beds seems to make a difference for that day, so I try to break up the ‘working’ day – but it’s hard to drag yourself away sometimes.


    1. Only one kind suits me and that involves funky music and nobody watching (or sober enough to remember). Although I did go for Zumba until the instructor gave up her daytime classes. And there are always dogs to walk.


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