Former footballer, journalist and best selling author, Peter Fitzsimons, has waged a war on sugar.
In his new book, The Great Aussie Bloke Slim-Down, he argues that by cutting out the white stuff (as well as alcohol) he went from “fat to fit” in two years.
Last Sunday, 55-year-old Fitzsimons told 60 Minutes “This is the key: stop the sugar, stop the hunger,” and by doing so, the father of three lost 45 kilos – a third of his body weight.
His message is very purposefully tailored towards middle-aged men.
In a column for Fairfax he writes "Oi! You. Fatty Boomka. Yes, you. Don't look around at others. I am talking to you, bloke. And don't be offended at being called 'Fatty Boomka' either, precious, because I used to be you..."
Can you imagine if those words were penned by a woman? How intense the backlash would be? How we would fiercely defend the 'vulnerable' women who are susceptible to disordered eating?
But for Fitzsimons, the reception seems to have been universally positive.
In 2012, Sarah Wilson published a book titled "I Quit Sugar". At the time, something about it made me uncomfortable.
Several friends and acquaintances tried it, and almost as many 'failed'.
For them, it was unsustainable. Some thought it was setting a bad example for their children and others said it triggered cycles of disordered eating. Most just eventually shrugged their shoulders and learned that the best thing for them was "everything in moderation".
But, hang on a minute. Aren't these two individuals, neither with a degree in nutrition, neither with a medical background, espousing an identical message? Quit sugar. You'll lose weight, and it's good for your health.
Perhaps. But there is, however, one critical difference.
Today, I asked my dad how Peter Fitzsimons' book made him 'feel' about himself. I have never heard someone be quite so confused by a question.
We spoke about the "no sugar" message on this weeks episode of Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below.
He said he very much believed Fitzsimons' message, and that we should all eat less sugar - but the most interesting part of the conversation was when dad said a few years ago he was probably "carrying a little bit too much weight."
When would a woman ever refer to weight as extrinsic to herself?
A woman is 'fat'. A man carries it.
A woman is her body. A man has a body.
Dad didn't understand the question because his self esteem and self worth isn't indexed on the number he sees on a scale, or the image reflected back to him in the mirror.
For men, diet and exercise has far more of an association with 'health' than it does for women. If I were to quit sugar, I can say with absolute certainty it wouldn't be motivated by health concerns. I would do so in a quest for thinness.