Friday, June 14, 2013

Weight Loss For Idiots

I'm trying to organise my thoughts well enough to write some new articles. I have a couple of ideas for topics, and here's one of them.

I read a comment last night which I can't find right now... but a guy was some kind of exercise science student and he was saying the whole premise everything is based is that people are fat lazy idiots and if you simply tell them "here's how it's done" they won't have what it takes, so you have to keep inventing new "tricks" and fads and whatever else, and hope that at best there might be a slight benefit / marginal increase in health from the week or two that they adopt whatever the latest thing is.

So, that's quite offensive right? I mean.. the bloke was making an observation, he wasn't agreeing with it. It's an accurate assessment though.if you look at the products, methods and half baked nonsense the media, elements of the weight loss industry, and the mainstream fitness industry push on people.

Fad diets, meal replacements, burn more calories with this gadget, pill, or product... none of that garbage is going to get people into healthy shape.

The real story is pretty simple:
  • Eat the right amount for your healthy goal body type.
    Not too much and not too little, and try to include more nutrient dense, natural foods.
  • Train strategically and methodically for about an hour a day.
    Note the difference between this and "exercise to burn more calories". 
  • Get enough sleep, and manage your stress levels. 
That's all it really takes.

On the subject of nutrition... there are people out there who'll tell you it's not so simple as "just eat the right amount", but it actually is. Generally speaking, the people who push the low carb, no carb or "clean eating" (aka orthorexia, if you ask me) plans are not actually qualified nutritionists. They may be in shape, or they may have impressive qualifications in some other field... but actual nutritionists recommend a balanced diet sourced from all macronutrient groups, including some food that is just for enjoyment. There have been uncountable numbers of people throughout history (and still to this day) who have maintained a healthy weight range without avoiding carbs or adopting any of these other restrictive measures. Contrary to what these charlatans attest to, the evidence does NOT support a need for anything other than a moderate, flexible approach to nutrition.

So in actual fact it is a very simple equation, but apparently you can't sell the message "eat right and train hard"; you have to dress it up, offer some quicker fixes with fast temporary results and so on.

Is it really because people are stupid and lazy though?

Well... not necessarily. Not in my opinion anyway, but perhaps they are pessimistic. It doesn't help that there are so many advertisements and talk show segments on the TV suggesting that any amount of serious physical training is an unlikely and unreasonable expectation that aint nobody got time for. Instead it's "what if getting into shape could be as easy as sitting in a chair". For fuck's sake.

It doesn't help either, with so much conflicting disinformation about diet that people give up on that and say "it's all too complicated, I'll just starve myself instead".

I've written before about the measures that should be taken in order to address the obesity epidemic, including a code of conduct the tv and print media need to adopt. This should be legislated as well, to the effect that any segment or advertisement related to weight management must be along the lines of "to manage your weight, you must consume an appropriate range of calories and stay active. Here's our product which is one way to do this". Any of the usual "you can't do it unless these special conditions are met" type messages should be banned as being dangerous and damaging to people's health.

The underlying issue isn't even about nutrition, education or exercise. At the root of the problem is... I won't go so far as to say a mental health issue.... but... well look at it this way; These weight loss products and segments on tv treat people like lazy idiots. “oh no one is gonna actually do exercise, or eat sensibly… luckily here’s this thing that lets you lose weight just as easy as laying back on the sofa”. And people AREN’T all offended like “hey I might be a bit fat - but I'm not stupid” when they see that.

The issue behind the obesity crisis isn’t even anything that people usually talk about… the issue is, how are people so disempowered, so low on self belief that the idea of “eat an appropriate amount of your choice of foods + choose some serious but enjoyable form of exercise for about an hour a day” is out of the question. Like, that’s an entirely unreasonable thing to expect a full grown, otherwise intelligent & responsible adult to be able to do?

On a somewhat related note, here's a short video talking about the economic cost of obesity, and how financially disadvantaged people are more at risk.