THE FACTS (not fads) ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS
AUTHOR HOR AND MEDIA PERSONALITYERSONALITY PETER FITZSIMONS HAS LOSTOST MORE THAN 40KG 0KG IN TWO YEARS.. NOW HE’S SHARINGG HIS ADVICE WITH TUBBY MEN ACROSS AUSTRALIA
Imet this Australian biker once, who, dinkum, could have stabbed Adolf Hitler, and didn’t.
For you see, the great cyclist Edgar “Dunc” Gray was an Olympic gold medallist at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932 in the 1000-metre time trial, and so highly regarded by his fellow athletes and officials of the Australian Olympic team that in 1936 he was accorded the supreme honour of carrying Australia’s flag at the Berlin Olympics.
Which is why, at Berlin’s Olympiastadion on August 1, 1936, for one frozen moment in time, he looked at the pointy end of the spear-like staff that the Australian flag was attached to, looked at Adolf Hitler swanning past just metres away, and in a moment of madness thought that he would probably be doing a very good thing if he just bloody well drove the spear into Hitler’s heart and be done with it.
The Australian Olympic team had had jack of Germany by this time, and were beginning to realise what a fascist state close up really looked like. From the moment they’d arrived for theth Games, there seemed to be just a bad feeling in the air, with more N Nazi flags displayed everywhere than thereth were Olympic flags, armed sold soldiers omnipresent, and the knowl knowledge that the newly constructedconstruct Olympic village they werewe staying in was going to b be officers’ barracks after th they left.
What’s more, the Aus Australian team couldn’t help but noticen that the German people generally gave the seriou serious impression of being rightrigh into this cove Hitler, who all of Europe and the world was talking about. You’d never believe it if you hadn’t seen it with your own eyes, but when the Ge Germans met each other in the street,stree instead of shaking hands oro giving a Teutonic version o of “How ya going?” they would throwthro their arm out and yell “Heil Hitler!”Hitl and all that sort of malarkey.
Sure, the Australian OlympicOly team got into it, too, after a while, and started shouting at eac each other “Hail Mary!” as they passed each other in the corridor… or ev even “Haile Selassie!” in referenc reference to the emperor of Ethiopia the then in the news for leading the re resistance
to an invasion of his country by the absurd little Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, but the whole thing was a worry all right.
And of course, Gray didn’t jab Hitler, something he was still regretting in his Kiama home a good 60 years later when I interviewed him, just before he died. But something else he said to me that day has always stayed with me.
Back in the early 1930s, he had a seminal conversation.
“I particularly remember,” he reminisced, “a journalist by the name of Harry Gordon told me something very important. He asked me once if I ever weighed myself when I was in good form, and I said ‘No.’ He said, ‘Well, you might find that it will be useful to find out what weight you are, and then try to keep to it, to stop yourself going fat.’ And you know he was right. The weight and everything go together, see, and if you weigh right, you’ll go right. It made a huge difference to me, knowing that.” Do you get it? This was a bloke who had already won Olympic bronze, had countless Australian titles and was experienced in all matters to do with preparation to ride fast. And yet, even at the age of 25, as one of the fastest cyclists in the world, he hadn’t yet grasped a fact that you and I take for granted, as bleeding bloody obvious. Not because he was obtuse, but because the bleeding bloody obvious to us in the 21st century hadn’t yet been worked out in the early 1930s, or at least not widely understood at that time.
And I reckon there are many parallels in getting your weight under control. Because I have got interested in the whole thing and have read up on it, and talked to experts, there are things I now get that I had absolutely no clue of before. As a small example, before Test matches with the Wallabies, I drank as little water as possible for three days in the ludicrous belief that being a kilo or two lighter because of it would be more beneficial than the damage done by having no water in what was effectively my body’s radiator. Before the last Test I played in Australia, I stayed in a super-hot bath that morning, on the reckoning it would soothe my muscles and have me fresh for the match. (It didn’t.)
Now, in this field of basic health, with so many claims and counter claims, surely it is useful to have things we can hang on to? For just as “fashion changes but style is eternal”, these are facts that are just that – facts – which don’t change as health fads come and go.
Here is my list of things in the realm of health and fitness that should be more widely grasped by you and me and our tubby brethren, but aren’t… It really is about the sugar. Twentyfive years ago before a Test against the All Blacks, [the coach] Bob Dwyer talked to us for 45 minutes about how he wanted us to play, most particularly the back line. I really concentrated, but could only get five per cent, at best, of what he was on about. Afterwards, I asked the captain Nick Farr-jones if he understood. “Ninety-eight per cent of it,” said Nick, “was run straight, draw your man and set up the bloke outside you.” BINGO! The essence of it was simple and the rest was just needless complications. In this case, I got it. In the case of our diet I frankly think, so shoot me, much the same can be said about sugar. If you cut the sugar out of what you put in your mouth, then just about everything else will sort itself out. In terms of losing weight, 80 per cent of it is to do with what you eat, and just 20 per cent the exercise you do. You have got to burn up more pies than you eat. And while you can knock off a pie in seconds – watch me – it can take an hour of exercise to burn it off. Yes, you must exercise, on principle. But, first up, you need to get on top of what you put in your mouth. This is why they say the best exercise you will ever do is to slowly… with your forwards flexed and your shoulders straight… lower your fork… and now, with both hands on the table… push your chair back. You’ve had enough. Your claims that the reason you are overweight is because you have a slow metabolism are nonsense. Oh come on, you know you have either used that excuse, or heard it, dozens of times! It don’t wash, mate. Yes, people have a differing speed of metabolism, but here is the truth: the difference between quick and slow metabolisms is roughly equivalent to the kilojoules in a glass of milk, so don’t act like you’ve been hard done by.
The one thing that legitimate nutritional scientists do not debate is this truth: if you burn more energy than you consume, your body has no other option than to cannibalise itself for energy – and you lose weight. We all underestimate what we eat. Now you may think you are tough on yourself, your own worst critic etc, but there is one area you and I are both very forgiving: how much we eat. And it’s not just us, it’s everyone. Study after study shows that if you keep a food diary for a few weeks, you will be reasonably good at estimating what you actually shovelled down your throat during the day. Otherwise, you are as accurate as Blind Freddie, or Fat Freddie. When it comes to monitoring how much you eat, you are about as reliable as an Italian train schedule. As Dr Rosemary Stanton says, if everyone in Australia ate only what they claim in surveys, we’d have no fat people. That’s one of the reasons your new diet is failing. Here is the next reason… Diets don’t work. Or at least they just about never work! Reports really do vary, but it’s somewhere between one per cent and five per cent of those who go on a diet that actually manage to keep off the weight they lost in a 12-month period. So stop the nonsense. I repeat: don’t go on a diet – change your diet. The Great Aussie Bloke Slim-down