Fear of fat….

Back in the 1980’s, which is thirty years ago now, when I was trying to lose the weight I’d gained during two pregnancies, I went to Weight Watchers, which was a very different beast than it is now. Less commercialism, no food in boxes and crunchy plastic, but huge meetings full of medium-plump women and a thin leader. We had sheets of paper with check boxes to assure that we ate just so many servings and no more. Three teaspoons of “salad oil” a day was all we were allowed.

It was embedded in the culture then. Fat was evil and made you fat. Oils were fats and to be avoided. 1200 calories a day (about) and not more. You could eat lots of vegetables and I did that, but I was hungry all the time. Just plan hungry. I took off most of the weight, but I didn’t get to the goal they wanted me to, quit going, and didn’t go back until about 2008 (more on that later). I gained weight slowly over the years, eating what was supposed to be a healthy diet: lean meats, fruits, veggies, breads, etc. Just avoid fats, right?

Well, sadly, it turns out that was terrible advice, and we–as a culture and as individuals–are just waking up to that. It turns out, when you do real research, that–as just one example–people who eat full-fat milk products weigh less than people who eat the same amount of non-fat milk products. Here’s an article for you. People who eat more nuts often lose weight spontaneously, as mentioned in passing in this article.

I signed up for a nutrition program for athletes during April (described here), and among other things, the advice came down: eat more nuts and avocados and whole milk yogurt, more green vegetables, and watch out for added sugars. I was worried about the fat in the nuts and the avocados and the yogurt… as anyone who lived through the “fear of fat” stage of bad dietary advice is. But I’m not hungry, and I’m slowly losing weight (very slowly), and I feel amazingly good.