Weight loss is tricky. You count calories, you bust your ass in the gym, you ritualistically slaughter a goat as a sacrifice to the God of fitness, and for what? The chance to be a hungrier, sweatier, more goat blood stained version of the person you are now. Sure, the scales might be teetering ever so slightly in the downward direction; a few pounds drop off over the long miserable weeks, but nothing quite as dramatic as testimonials for the Gut-Fucker 4000 ab machine would have you believe.
Even the most determined dieter will find their willpower wavering. You donate every bit of energy you have into a demanding fitness regimen that serves only to trickle away the pounds; nothing like the veritable jet stream of flab promised to melt off of you by countless instructional DVD’s.
But there has to be something to it, right? The industry leaders couldn’t have gotten rich peddling bullshit, there has to be some truth behind the testimonials?
Well, sit down. There’s something I need to tell you.
5. Infomercials Aren’t Even Sorta Honest.
We’ve all seen and made fun of those fake testimonial pictures that get shared around Facebook:
But the shocking thing is that those pictures may be the most accurate depiction of how this industry actually works. You see, the geniuses behind these inventions have such faith in their products that the models in their infomercials aren’t following a single goddamn step of their program. An exposé article published on Cracked.com revealed some of the disturbing truths from behind the scenes of one such informercial. As it turns out, the rapid results promised in those testimonials comes from weeks of malnutrition, painstaking workouts, psychological manipulation, dehydration and a healthy dose of unknown chemicals.
But that’s not all, the pretty people holding their baggy pants from their past life as an obese person had a weight problem as much as Genghis Khan had a boner problem. The models used by these companies would have only needed to lose around 20lbs to reach their weight in the super sexy “After” photos. The “Before” photos are a result of tummy pushing, not washing and wearing an expression of a recently orphaned Edwardian child. Why all the dishonesty? Well, it has something to do with the fact that…
4. Effortless Weight Loss Doesn’t Exist
It’d be impossible to count the amount of products out there that promise some kind of effortless weight loss. It’s like a bullshit badge of honour slapped proudly on to the boxes of our favourite –albeit totally ineffective– pudge pillaging contraptions. I’ve previously highlighted the dangers of diet pills and their promises of a quick and easy flab eviction, but it appears that the manufacturers of the Ass-Blaster Pro and other such products are no more scrupulous when it comes to lying straight to your face.
No doubt, a piece of shitty exercise equipment isn’t likely to be as hazardous to your health as the cocktail of chemicals the diet pill companies are happy to watch you scarf down, presumably whilst laughing and masturbating in a big pile of your money. But make no mistake, the intent behind both lies is the same; to part you from your hard earned cash by promising you that the only thing standing between you and your ideal weight is the fact that you haven’t bought their product. All it takes is $49.95 and you’re as good as thin, it’s that easy.
Hopefully you’ll see their claims as the jar of pickled centaur dicks they truly are, but many people fall victim to the glossy ads and testimonials that seek to brainwash you into believing that their wares will somehow hotwire your body, bypassing the millions of years worth of work evolution has put in to prevent you from losing the fat you have reserved inside of you.
“Nobody wants to exercise; it hurts! Why suffer through the turmoil of crunches and push-ups when the 18-in-1 Moob-Zapper+ works out for me while I eat spaghetti! And they promised an “effortless, pain-free workout!”
The fact of the matter is fighting against your biological defence mechanisms is unpleasant at best, and no amount of fancy new toys is going to change that. That ache you feel when you exercise is because of tiny tears in your muscles that develop when they’re put under strain, so if that Moob-Zapper+ doesn’t result in a similar sensation then I’m afraid you just wasted $49.95. If you want to save some money and burn some fat; here’s some good news: push ups are free. But fat isn’t all that terrible, and you might not know that because of the fact that…
3. The Image Of Health We’re Sold Is Dangerously Wrong.
So you’ve done it! With a steely determination and a strict self-imposed workout schedule you’ve sculpted the perfect body from the mound of blubber that once stared gormlessly from the other side of the mirror all those months ago. You weren’t content with simply fitting comfortably through doorways, and much like the glistening Adonis that instructs the Deltoid-Masturbator DVD, you’ve developed the discipline to ensure you remain at the peak levels of health and fitness. You’ve banished all but a small percentage of your body fat and your pecs are so bulbous they’re obstructing your vision. Congratulations, you’ve made it!
As it turns out, that shimmering specimen might be just as, if not more unhealthy than the Homer Simpsons of the world. No doubt, people may generally consider Mr. Universe up there to be the bigger slice of eye candy, but from a health perspective the walking statues among us could be at a greater risk of some serious death-inducing ailments. That’s because cutting out all but a small percentage of your body fat has proven to be –what the scientists call- incredibly fucking dangerous.
“But how can that be? I thought fat was the enemy?”
Well, your body doesn’t tend to hold on to things that it doesn’t have a use for; fat is actually an incredibly useful component when it comes to maintaining a healthy meat vehicle for your brain to tool around in.
That’s right, there’s a chance you were healthier back in the days when you considered birthday cake to be breakfast. While you may appear the human embodiment of virility, you’re likely to be setting yourself up for run-ins with organ shrinkage, abnormalities of the immune system, heart damage and worst of all: a withering boner. That’s not to say you should quit trying to be healthy and revert back to a life of gluttony and sloth; a lifestyle that results in excessive amounts of body fat is also a big contributor to premature deadness. The sweet spot is likely to lie somewhere in the middle of the two. Muscles and definition are fine, but make sure your body has enough fat to work with, keeping your body fat at a healthy percentage will help delay your trip to that big white weight room in the sky for a little while longer.
So why does the fitness industry push these unhealthy images onto us? Well, it’s probably because…
2. We Have No Idea What Healthy Is Supposed To Look Like.
“Okay, I’m not obese, I’m certainly not what anybody would consider to be disturbingly ripped either. So I’m good, right? I’m the healthy in-between?”
It’s certainly possible that you fit somewhere into that healthy medium, but that’s not to say that a flabby guy who weighs 100lb more than you is any less fit and healthy. It’s another case that shows that the image of fitness we’re being sold is cartoonishly misleading, because now we live in a society where in the minds of most people, thinness equates to fitness, and that just isn’t the case. Now of course, this doesn’t apply to every obese person in the world; a sedentary lifestyle fuelled by nutritionally worthless – yet totally addictive- garbage isn’t going to result in anything short of a tragic waste of a person’s health and wellbeing. But the lab coat guys behind these studies have found that, “The key is being “metabolically fit”, meaning no high blood pressure, cholesterol or raised blood sugar, and exercising.”
Being overweight isn’t particularly dangerous in itself unless, I dunno… you get stuck somewhere that’s on fire. But the danger associated with it comes more from living the kind of lifestyle that isn’t conducive to metabolic fitness. Of the obese people that took part in the study, almost half were declared to be metabolically fit, and it just so happened to be the guys that ate right and exercised regularly. Those that fell into that bracket we’re expected to have a risk of death/serious illness level on par with those who were at a normal weight.
It’s not the fact your body is capable of storing fat that is killing you; it’s a feature that’s kept us alive throughout millions of years of painstaking evolution. No, what’s killing you is overloading on sugar, salt and fat, and living a life where exercise consists of getting up to change the channel when you can’t find the remote.
1. What We Think Of As A Healthy Diet Usually Isn’t.
So we’ve established so far that maintaining good health isn’t about rippling abs or biceps so big you can’t wipe your ass, and that just because a person is on the heavier side doesn’t mean we should be tarring them all with the same shitty brush. So the key to good health must be a combination of regular exercise and a nutritious diet. Simple, right?
Well, yeah. That’s a good start, but the diet part of that equation is more complicated than we realise.
Food targeted specifically toward dieters is particularly deceptive. The “Fat Free” varieties sold by unscrupulous — and frankly, smelly– food companies are able to taste just as good as their full fat counter parts because of a scientific work-around they’ve developed called “Being a bunch of sneaky bastards.”
To keep their addiction train on its tracks, they’ll happily lower the fat content of their standard meals, but simultaneously jack up the quantity of sugar and salt. So the Fat Free lasagne you just scarfed down has done precisely shit to help you shed those pounds. But hey, they’re happy to tell you that its fat free!
“Ok, so I’ll just stick to Fruit Juice, it comes straight off of trees, how bad can that be?”
As it turns out, pretty terrible. Fruit is an incredibly important part of a healthy lifestyle, but we’ve just sorta… forgotten how to eat it. The “Juice Craze” of the last few years would have us believe that fruit was an amazing magical produce that you could never consume too much of. I mean, its fruit! It’s all those desert island assholes eat, and Tom Hanks looked amazing in Cast Away!
But what people forget about Tom Hanks’ island, or the hunter gatherer days is the fact that fruit was scarce, it wasn’t grown plentifully in orchards. It wasn’t available all day, every day. When we ate it in the caveman days we weren’t blending it together in some antioxidant clusterfuck and guzzling down a whole day’s supply inside 10 minutes.
That half a litre of specially pressed apples with an infusion of jizzberries you just whipped up for breakfast contains a metric fuck-tonne of sugar. Your body is only going to use what it needs at that particular moment, the rest is converted into fatty acids and distributed to all those flabby, dangly places where your fat reserves like to chill.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that weight-gain would be the worst possible outcome; a wide scale British Medical Association study of nurses working in a hospital has shown that fruit juice drinkers were at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who ate whole fruit. A risk that was cut by 7% if they switched to the whole fruit team.
It’s hard to declare smoothies the devil because despite the misinformation surrounding them, they may have a few saving graces. Not everybody likes to eat fruit, and all that chewing bullshit is for suckers! If people find smoothies to be more palatable, should we be scaring somebody who otherwise wouldn’t so much as sniff an orange away from something that would allow them to reap the nutritional benefits? Even if the levels of sugar they’d be consuming would be higher than most soft drinks?
Its hard to say. Although not every scientist is in agreement, the problem seems to stem from the delivery method and the timing of consumption.
You simply weren’t built to take in all that fruit in such a small amount of time, so if whole fruit isn’t your thing, it might be better to drink smoothies or juices in small amounts spread over the duration of the day to stop any excess sugar from piling onto your waistline.
Looking back at fitness and diet fads over the decades, it’s clear to see that every time we think we’ve nailed the secret to success, further research reveals just how full of shit we are. There’s every chance that in ten years’ time, we’ll look back on all this crap I just wrote and react in the same way we do now when we see those old-timey advertisements that boast the health benefits of cigarettes.
The truth is that we haven’t conclusively figured very much of this health and fitness stuff out yet. We only really know what has worked so far, the health implications of fad diets and workout plans haven’t been fully explored over a long period of time. Vanity seems to overrule our survival instincts, which causes us to only be concerned about our health when it fits hand in hand with what looks good. Many of us are perfectly happy to continue down a dangerous road so long as we don’t come down with a case of ugly. Tragically, the leading reason people give for their refusal to quit smoking is because they fear packing on the pounds. For some, the prospect of a mere 5lb gain is enough to rule out quitting entirely. If that wasn’t bad enough, some even took up the habit to help them stay trim.
We have a long journey ahead of us when it comes to determining just what the hell we’re supposed to be doing here, but lately we’ve seen new generations come around to the idea that their health should be a priority. With health conscious consumers steering industry demands, our chances of figuring this stuff out become a little better, but for now, maybe treat the next “O.M.G GUYS I LOST 120 lbs IN A DAY!” diet with a healthy dose of scepticism.
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