Spicks & Specks’ Adam Richard
give his lowdown on diets
Five of the Best normally steers clear of the D word. Dieting just doesn’t fit in with our mantra of food and fun. But Spicks and Specks star Adam Richard (above) reckons wannabe dieters deserve proper reviews of diet companies… just like diners get guidance from restaurant critics. And the comedy veteran has tried almost all of them, so he’s a self-professed expert to deliver the pros and cons.
“Before I list my top five weight loss plans, let me make it very clear that I am still fat,” Adam admits. “There is no ‘trick’ to losing weight. In most cases, it is purely psychological, and you need to work on the emotional reasons you overeat, or under-exercise. I can hear you sitting there saying, ‘I don’t have any emotional reasons, and I’m still fat’ and that, my friend, is the worst emotional reason for being overweight denial. None of these is a cure-all, but some are easier than others.”
The grand-mamma of the weight loss business. They’ve been around so long, Betty from Mad Men even had a crack at it when she was Woah! Fat Betty, Bam-a-lam. Their latest innovation is the Pro Points system, which makes counting calories blindingly easy. The balance of carbohydrate, protein and fibre in any particular food item is distilled into a (hopefully) single digit number. Ladies get about 49 points a day to eat (I got sixty, because I’m a big strong man) but you can increase your points allowance with exercise! I want a cake I’m going for an hour-long walk. Easy maths. Fresh fruit and veggies are an absolute zero, so if you are craving a snack, you won’t dent your points balance with an apple or a carrot. The recipes on their website and in their cookbooks are delicious and satisfying and easy. As exhaustive as their database of food items is, there is always something in a food court you can’t find on the app. I used to use a basic rule of thumb a Big Mac was 13 points, so I’d just put down anything I didn’t know as 13 points. Here’s a scary stat two-minute Mee Goreng noodles are nearly 20 points. That’s a third of your daily allowance. Stay away! If you need encouragement, the weekly meetings are a great opportunity to talk to other people struggling to get on top of things. Downside is a hefty monthly subscription fee, and the online support staff are simply awful – the main reason I quit the program; my many queries and complaints were met with either silence, or an irrelevant cut-and-paste email.
The 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT) by Michelle Bridges is entirely online, and unlike Weight Watchers, which lets you eat what you like and exercise as much or as little as
you like, 12WBT tells you what to eat, and when, and exactly which exercises to do. Michelle fronts up a slew of videos that not only tell you how to do the exercises, but she also tries to leap those mental hurdles that are keeping you on the couch. She has a unique ability to make you feel like you can do anything, and if you are looking for positivity and motivation, Michelle Bridges is the woman for you. My only problem with the program was the fact that all of the recipes, while delicious and satisfying, were designed for 2 (or more) people. Nobody wants to come on a diet with you, no matter how delicious the food, so you either end up eating double portions, or attempting to halve a recipe (which never works, because you always forget to halve one ingredient, and it’s invariably the one that tastes like kak).
I always pooh-poohed Lite ‘n’ Easy because it seemed like the diet for the laziest of people those who couldn’t be bothered either cooking or going to the shops. It’s true, you do get an entire week’s food delivered to your door, and it is, for the most part, quite tasty. You will lose weight almost immediately, because there’s no licking of beaters or tasting sauce to make sure it’s seasoned. It’s not great over the long term, because you become resentful of the prescriptive snacks. There is plenty of variety in the food, but after a month or so, it starts to feel like a groundhog day diet. “Oh really? Those seaweed rice crackers with salsa again? Ugh.” Having said that, this was the diet that I lost the most weight on. I was, at the time, training 10 or so hours a week in a swimming pool, doing a reality TV diving competition, so the weight might move a little slower if you’re sitting down playing Halo for ten hours a week. You’ll need to motivate yourself to do your own exercise, but as for eating plans, this is the easiest. If anything, it should teach you about portion sizes. One piece of toast, a thimble of muesli, things we don’t even notice we’re eating too much of.
2. Personal Training
It’s one thing to join the gym, and then have that heinous guilt every time your direct debit shows up in your bank account, and you realise you haven’t been there for yet another month. It’s madness. Booking in with a personal trainer means you have an appointment at the gym. Like an appointment for a hairdresser or the dentist. If you don’t like your trainer, don’t worry, there are probably about fifty others at your local gym, or a gym near your work, or at the local park! They’re everywhere at the moment. If the cost is putting you off, I want you to imagine how much it will cost you for elective knee surgery, or how long you will have to wait, after your joints give out under all the weight you’re carrying. Not to mention how much time you’ll have to have off work for major heart surgery. Then how much will you be out of pocket? As you get to know your trainer, you may be able to work out a bulk discount – buy up a stack of sessions, book in at the same time once or twice a week, and you can’t cancel.
There is no diet or exercise regime and no way you can lose weight downstairs unless you don’t lose weight upstairs. The major reason we are all overweight is not the seductive power of a fast food chain, nor is it because we’re a nation of lazy fatty boombahs. It’s because we all need help upstairs. Extreme obesity and anorexia are not so different from one another. We feel sorry for people who are anorexic or bulimic, believing them to be in the grip of a terrible disease, but as soon as we see someone who is obscenely fat, we sneer. We think “why doesn’t she just do something about it? Why is she going into KFC?!” The sooner we realise that eating beyond the point of satiety is a mental illness, the sooner we will be able to cure our poor nation of its crippling obesity epidemic. Remember I told you earlier about the Weight Watchers points plan? You only get fifty points a day. Do you know how much a glass of wine is? 6 points. One bottle of wine, in strictly caloric terms, is more than your allowance for dinner. We are not only a nation of over-eaters, we are a nation that over-indulges in alcohol. Why is that? Go and see a doctor or a psychologist and find out. If you’re worried about the expense, see your GP, tell them you’re eating and drinking too much, and ask for a referral, so that Medicare can help you out. It’s that easy. Once you deal with upstairs, downstairs should follow. You need to fix your head before you can even think of dealing with your arse.
Want more of Adam?
Adam is also returning to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for his first solo show since 2007. In Gaypocalypse, Adam answers all the big questions… Are there boatloads of gay zombies trying to enter Australia illegally? Will gay marriage be the end of civilization as we know it?