July 31, 2013 - Last week I was invited to cover a presentation in regards to weight management. I wasn't sure the invitee, Jessica Green, was trying to tell me something, or she wanted press for the event.
I'm still not sure.
At any rate, I packed up my writing utensils (Yes, plural. A good reporter always has extras), yellow legal pad, put a smile on my face and drove 45 minutes to the evening event at Canterbury Village in Orion Township.
Jessica, who owns Youthful Image out on Clarkston Road, invited a retired U.S. Marine to talk about his new passion -- telling folks about his weigh management program.
The marine turned health guru is John Whittaker. He's a muckity-muck up in the NuSkin company. He was raised in West Virginia and now lives in Florida. I only repeat that information, because of something he said.
"I keep my West Virginia accent to remind you'all of white trash," he drawled. "So, you know what it is."
He wasn't talking of himself, or anybody else for that matter, as white trash. The white trash he referred to was the nemesis of weight management: white sugar, white flower and high fructose syrups. I am not sure if high fructose syrups are white, but I'll take his word about it.
By the way, Nu Skin Enterprises, "is an American direct selling and multilevel marketing company which develops and sells personal care products and dietary supplements." They work in anti-aging products of which Jessica markets.
Whittaker was pretty interesting. After the corp, he opened a fitness shop and found himself reading as many diet books as he could. He wanted to answer potential questions presented by his customers.
"My library was full of diet books. And after reading 30 or 40 of them, I started to notice a pattern in all of them," he said. "They all start the same way, with the great lie. 'This diet is different.'"
All in all, he said, diets are about deprivation and they all work if you follow them to the letter.
"I only have one question. How long can you keep eating a half can of tuna? And, do I really need to read your book to tell me that eating that candy bar isn't as good for me as eating raw carrots?"
Here are some more factoids from Whittaker.
Dieting really is a new thing. And, as for most of history being over weight wasn't a problem. As most folks didn't have much to eat, if you were over weight it probably meant you were very successful. Your weight was a sign of your wealth.
The first diet wasn't called a diet, said he. "You weren't dieting, you were banting."
Banting was named after William Banting, an overweight English mortician. According to Wikipedia (so it must be true) Banting wrote of "all of his unsuccessful fasts, diets, spa and exercise regimes in his past, then described the dietary change which finally had worked for him, following the advice of a physician.
"His own diet was four meals per day, consisting of meat, greens, fruits, and dry wine. The emphasis was on avoiding sugar, saccharine matter, starch, beer, milk and butter. Banting's pamphlet was popular for years to come, and would be used as a model for modern diets."
How much weight gain is there out there, today? According to Whittaker, two-thirds of Americans are over weight; one third are obese (30 pounds or more over weight) and a quarter of those folks are pre-diabetic.
While Whittaker is promoting a line of shakes and supplements (I am not -- you can ask Jessica for more information), he still offers some pretty basic information.
"The key to any program is protein. Proteins have essential amino acids. Fat is okay, it has essential fatty acids. Sugar and flour are the culprits to avoid."
Then, of course, there is the need for exercise -- which was the topic of last week's column.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: email@example.com