“The only reason why you would not need to eat a food would be if you can’t afford it, you can’t find it, it makes you feel ill or you don’t like it.”
Well that is certainly music to our ears. So much of the information we are getting these days tells us what to avoid eating. Eating plans can be so restrictive we are told, to get the results we want, we need to make drastic changes in our lifestyles, which often causes us to “fall off the wagon” as they are not sustainable. The rise of the “Instagram influencer” has only exacerbated the pressure to become someone we want to look like by becoming someone we don’t really want to be.
Scott Baptie has a rather refreshing take on shedding the pounds. The Scottish sports nutritionist has developed his own weight loss guide, by the way of healthy habits, to achieving your goals rather than cutting out particular food groups or following popular diets. This is the subject of his book, 101 Ways to Lose Weight and Never Find it Again.
“It doesn’t tell people a load of things that they can’t do because I think that is what a lot of diets and eating approaches are focused around – the starting point is from a very negative perspective, whereas I’m telling people that they can eat anything they like,” explains Baptie. “It’s all about moderation, I think it’s important for people to realise how you actually lose weight. It all comes down to a calorie deficit, consume fewer calories than you burn.”
It wasn’t always from this advantage he was sitting: Baptie, as many of us have, had fallen into the dieting trap before before escaping to his happier, healthier lifestyle.
“I was lucky that I’ve come from a position where I’ve fallen victim to a lot of the myths and pseudo-scientific approaches – before I knew any better, I did the paleo diet and curbed gluten for no real reason because I read a blog about it – I can see why someone might do it because I fell for it all myself. It’s not really convincing someone that my approach is best, it’s just saying this is the evidence on this approach and this is why you might want to try it because it’s been shown to be more effective than approach B for example.”
Baptie’s approach focuses on habits to control food and exercise, hoping that by simplifying the solution it may lead to people becoming more sceptical of the health claims they are reading and detering them from fat burners, detoxes or any other claims that offer a quick but temporary fix to excess weight.
“I think people find the book a breath of fresh air because it’s also not a set diet – it’s focused on habits, it’s a healthy habit you continue to do even once you’ve reached your goal weight – it’s not all or nothing. The reason why it’s sustainable is it’s enjoyable. It’s for everyday people who want to lose weight.”
One particular tip that Baptie finds himself often having to defend is the use of diet soft drinks.
“There’s a lot of misunderstanding around diet fizzy drinks – Diet Coke, Diet Irn-Bru, Diet Fanta – it’s the sweetener in it and I don’t know why there is so much of a misunderstanding. The rumours are the sweetener in Diet Coke is carcinogenic or it tricks the body and causes you to gain weight and if you look at the research, normal consumption of it is perfectly fine, it’s safe. Also something that is pretty much zero calories, it’s impossible for you to gain weight from it because it comes down to physics and energy and calories in and calories out.
“People seem terrified of a fizzy Coke but they would have no qualms about sinking a pint at the weekends, it’s just bizarre. The poison is in the dose, that’s the whole thing people don’t seem to realise. There is cyanide and formaldehyde and so on in different fruits but it’s the quantity of it that’s the kicker.”
A couple of other tips from the book are where Baptie suggests to readers not to eat like his grandma, apparently a woman with a fast fork action. Baptie examines studies on eating speed, the importance of concentrating on every mouthful and your chew to swallow ratio.
“Another is to focus on the process, not the outcome. Did you meal prep? Did you have a balanced meal? Rather than checking the scales daily to see results. By doing that, focusing on those processes will lead to the outcome goal anyway, it’s changing the way you think about it.”
With a new home, a vegetable garden to create, podcasts to record and a baby on the way, life is certainly a busy one for this controversial Instagramer but as his book suggests he doesn’t leave his followers disappointed.
“I’ll openly post about having a McDonald’s purely because I fancied a McDonald’s or me and my mate having a pint because it’s a Friday night, we had a hard day and we fancy a pint. I like beer, wine and whiskey but a little rule I have is I don’t drink during the week, only at the weekend and never to excess which again is the whole balance and moderation so I’m fairly boring.”