This is the time of year that I feel discouraged. Discouraged about the state of health & fitness and the majority of public perceptions about this. I've come to realize that these feelings hit me hard every year at this time .... it's my "January slump" except it's a summer slump. Most people experience this slump in the winter; less sun, less activity, looking forward to months of cold weather....it's enough to make anyone be down in the dumps. So what brings me down now? I think it's the let down, in March everyone is working on the latest diet or fitness fad. People who don't walk are beginning running programs, people with knee, back and neck issues sign up for cardio classes in droves. Everyone is doing it. It's fun, it brings old friends and family together. If 30 minutes of exercise is good then surely 2 hours is better! So what could be bad about that? After all it improves health. Or does it? Will that individual be turned against exercise forever? To me that individual who wins the "Biggest Loser" is really the biggest loser now set up for a lifetime of failure. But the public eats it up.
On Losing it with Jillian the father who had to give up his business due to health issues sits there and brags about 10 years of football and learning lots of "life lessons" from that. So here he is at 40 something a complete mess, a serious health risk. Why....because he held on to the diet and exercise concepts he had at 18 years old. He never did learn or grow. Now he's in the clutches of Jillian and will have a big weight loss and feel better but (and I guarantee this) within a year he'll be worse off having gained even more weight and now thinks that fitness and health involves extreme exercise and a starvation diet and may be turned away from ever trying again. Many think that surgery is their only option since they think they've tried everything and it didn't work. That is how the "Biggest Loser" or the "all or nothing" mentality hurts you.
Combine this with marketing and word-of-mouth advertising promoting various weight loss products, appetite suppressants and diets. Many are all natural or herbal, a few are FDA approved. Anyone who has followed the history of these products can see a sad pattern. Look at ephedrine and ma hung, it was in everything, it took years to get it off the market and now products that act like it are still in diet products. And people still buy them. Lose a few pounds feel all kinds of energy, step up activity levels; all or nothing. The biggest loser and so on. Weight is lost. All is well for 2 or maybe even 3 months then it all comes falling down. A plateau, followed by weight gain, combined with a true lack of energy, perhaps depression. Eat less, exercise more and get healthy? Sounds like common sense but actually while this can show some temporary results; in the long run it can lead to a lifetime of health issues. Added exercise calls for added eating of quality foods. The average trend follower will start to live on fruit, yogurt, and salad; Atkins, South Beach, Nutrisystem & Jenny all produce temporary short lived results. Participants lose lots of weight initially and then either get hurt, sick or hit a plateau or all of those! So it's over for another year, "ya know that old fat gene or whatever." Then again another year, another diet, another fad," just do it, go for it, rah, rah, it's fun!" How does this hurt you? After all you're getting healthy right? Well each time bone density goes down, body fat increases and health declines. The gap seems to be widening between those who can get healthy and those who just keep following the latest trends as another generation is born who will have a shorter lifespan than their parents. More opportunities for exercise are available than ever before yet health & fitness seems impossible without a complete overhaul of today's fitness concepts. This is discouraging!
With our societies focus on weight loss as being the guideline for health & fitness comes a HUGE conflict between diet, exercise and TRUE health & fitness. People flock to the latest fad looking for the answer. We're deluged with infomercials, ads, and documentaries promoting extreme exercise, starvation diets & gastric surgeries as successful options for health and fitness. Without a true healthy eating program and common sense exercise; the all or nothing mentality will lead to orthopedic injury, weight gain and further disappointments. And so goes the diet roller coaster.