Friday, July 31, 2015

Not Another Article Offering Weight Loss Advice

It never fails. As the winter turns into spring and summer begins to creep up on the horizon, the inevitable "Look your Best for Summer!" or "Lose those Winter Pounds" articles start to appear everywhere. These are in addition to the regularly run "How to Lose and Keep off the Weight" articles that fill up screen space on many media sites. Now I know why they exist and I really don't mind them overall but my problem with them is that they are usually posted by people who have never had a legitimate weight problem in their lives.

These articles offer the most basic of advice: get some exercise, eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water, cut down on your meat intake, add more fibre, blah blah blah. Great advice for those who don't have food issues but they don't address those of us who do and can't follow such simplistic advice. And it's not just these bloggers and such who spew such prattle, I hear it from my doctor, my pharmacist, co-workers, family and just about any other person who thinks they are offering pearls of wisdom because obviously I must not have gotten the memo. It's not that they are being disingenuous with their council, it's just that it's not very practical.

I don't think I know of anyone who has been battling weight issues all their lives who doesn't already know these things. In fact, I would dare say most of them probably know more about food, diets and exercise than the majority. And that is because we've been hearing about it all our lives. We've been on diets, many times popular fad diets, we've taken pills, joined gyms and hired trainers, read articles and other literature explaining how calories work and how to make lifestyle changes to ensure life long success, you name it we've done it. Sometimes I hear people around the office talk about trying to lose weight and what they're doing. Oftentimes, they'll repeat debunked myths like cleanses, spot training and different other types of diets that offer only short term solutions. Some of them aren't even fat! They're just consumed with bringing their body fat or weight down to some unrealistic level. Others you can tell are suffering from middle aged weight gain; they were slim during their younger years but are now finding that paunch catching up to them. I've seen some people I knew back in high school who were quite slim and attractive now ballooned up. I try not to be vindictive but sometimes it's really hard when you remember how rotten some of these people were back in the day. These people do not really understand the battle like we lifelong fatties do and therefore, maybe some of this simplistic advice is appropriate and helpful.

But for the rest of us, it just isn't. These health bloggers, I can't refer to them as weight loss experts, are generally fit and look like fitness models. None of them look like they've ever had an issue with food and weight gain so what's it to them to regurgitate a 1000 word article offering basic health advice? They work in the industry and it's easy. But what would happen if you pressed them on the issue? Could they offer something a little more helpful? I've read a few articles dealing with how to cope with cravings, eating out, vacation and so forth and it seems reasonable, for many. But when you have been fighting your weight all your life, it isn't that simple. There's a lot of guilt, resentment and anger to deal with. Those feelings of failure and inadequacy. You want to live like a regular person but you don't know how. It's not that you can't, you don't know how. And all those articles aren't going to change your thinking.

For people who don't understand the battle, they will never get it. It isn't as easy as just "eat less" or "get some exercise" or "eat smaller portions". We understand that. It's something else; something normal people will never get. I've said before that most people have coping mechanisms be it nail biting, drinking, smoking or overeating. Something drives that behaviour, something deep inside of you. Until that is dealt with, you may never see success.