For years and years we have been told that if we eat a certain way and move a certain way, we will lose weight and be healthy. Period. And that usually works…for a while. Until it doesn’t. There are many theories that attempt to explain this problem.
Let me preface this discussion by stating the following: I believe that the Paleo Diet is the best method of eating out there for me. It covers all the issues: Weight loss, hormone regulation, chronic disease protection, improved sleep, etc. The food is, for the most part, very satisfying. It has a lot of really great benefits. But I have found success through this way of eating to be difficult and often temporary. This is not due to a flaw in the science of the program. It has to do with a flaw in the way that
I we think about getting healthy.
This happens to the majority of people who try to “get healthy”. What do we mean when we say that we want to “get healthy”? We mean “I want to lose weight and be skinny! I want to be the size _____ that I was in high school/college/before I had the baby…” That’s what we want. But here is the secret that no one ever tells you: You will never get there if that is all you are thinking about.
You need to have a better reason than that. What reason? I can’t tell you that. It’s different for everyone. (I think that I may have found mine…more on that in future posts…)
But, it’s not your fault that you fail for this reason. Remember how I just told you that you will never get there if that is all you are thinking about? Here’s the kicker: This whole game is set up to ensure that being skinny is all you are thinking about!!! The way that diet and fitness products are marketed and sold to you is mostly responsible for your unhealthy attitude towards adopting a healthy lifestyle.
I find it glib and insulting when I am lectured on this concept by people in the diet and fitness industry, or the Dieting Industrial Complex (DIC), as I call it. I find it particularly insulting when it comes from people who run gyms – especially CrossFit gyms. I also hate it when people who have never had a significant weight problem try to pull this bullshit. “How the fuck would you know?” I want to scream at them! There is a big emotional difference between a person who is carrying 5 or 10 extra pounds, versus someone who is carrying 100 extra pounds. There is also a big difference between a person who suffers from disordered eating and a person who doesn’t.
Think about it. This is an industry whose very survival is dependent upon people never believing that they are good enough, no matter how thin they are. How the hell else would these people continue to make money selling fitness and weight loss products that are basically the same tired old information repackaged to look like it’s new and revolutionary? They wouldn’t be able to because this stuff is not ”revolutionary”. And if you think it is, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. We’ve known fruits and vegetables are better for us than crème brulee for a long time now. And we’ve known that grains contribute to weight gain and disease for a century and a half. These concepts are not new.
The people that have found their real, true and lasting motivation for getting healthy are going to be fine. They will go on the program, solve their problem over time and you will never hear from them again. Their problem has been solved. It’s the people who are always wanting…always searching…those are your real customers. Those who seem to stay fat no matter what they do. Call it a lack of motivation all you want to, but you, Mr. or Ms. Health & Fitness Professional – you don’t want to solve these people’s problem any more that Big Pharma wants us all to “get well”. You may think you do, but you really don’t. Like Big Pharma, your industry wants to manage their illness. The illness of “never believing they are good enough” and “willingness to try anything you tell them to.” Why else would they buy your next book? Or join your “new and improved” gym? Let’s call a spade a spade. It’s the people that “just want to look hot” and don’t really care about adrenal fatigue that are funding your party. This $45 Billion industry is being kept afloat with their money, not the people who adopt the program for life on the first attempt. It’s these ”frivolous” people who just want to be skinny that you constantly shake your finger at that make people like you millionaires.
The reason that I keep failing at the paleo diet…is built into the paleo diet. If one of your main selling points is that your program will help people “lose weight fast” and then they try it and they don’t lose weight fast, they are going to quit. The program is not doing what it promised.
The reason I quit CrossFit is because I was led to believe that it would get me ripped very quickly. Four weeks, chronic exhaustion, a heel injury, one post-workout vomiting session and $250 later when I was sick, in pain, poorer and NOT ripped…I quit. As any sane person would. I did not get what was promised.
When you market a product by promising – or merely implying – that it will get rid of weight fast and half (or more) of the people on your program don’t lose weight fast and quit, who’s really to blame here? Them…or you? Promising fast, insane results is how you move product. ”Eat real food, be more active, and the weight will slowly, slowly go away over time if you just relax and don’t think about it so much…” – that doesn’t sell DVDs. And you think the solution to the quitting and lack of success problem is to endlessly chastise the quitters while continuing to make the unrealistic promises? You should feel lucky that the 68.8% of people who are overweight or obese don’t ban together and lynch your ass in the parking lot!
Listen carefully, Dieting Industrial Complex: If you want people to stop quitting after failing to experience EXTREME results, then stop promising EXTREME results in order to sell your product. It’s really that simple.