Shows like “The Biggest Loser,” magazines like “Shape,” the vast majority of diet books and information that’s disseminated on the web and in the media place way too much emphasis on weight loss. For most folks losing weight should be viewed as the sometimes result of living a healthy lifestyle, not the reason for living a healthy lifestyle.
Despite what your personal trainer might tell you or what you might read in a fitness magazine, losing weight doesn’t represent the Holy Grail of healthy living. Losing weight by over-exercising and/or under-eating just for the sake of losing weight is just as much of a potential problem as is gaining weight from over-eating and not exercising.
People who constantly lose weight only to put it back on are less healthy and less fit than people who are perceived by the misinformed to be too heavy yet maintain their weight and exercise regularly. “The Biggest Loser” has done more to spread misinformation about what constitutes healthy living and responsible exercise than any book, magazine or other source of fitness information.
The popularity of the show doesn’t change the fact that, from a responsible professional standpoint, the methods used to get these captive, morbidly obese people to lose weight are questionable. And that’s being kind. The misguided emphasis on losing weight has spawned a billion dollar business and created an entire class of people who suffer from disordered eating, and as a direct result are less healthy.
For too long too many people have been told that they are too heavy, when the reality is that using weight as a barometer of health is foolhardy. People are afraid to eat foods that for generations – hell, eons – have been responsible for giving and sustaining life. Diet gurus looking to make money have demonized bread, rice, pasta, potatoes and other forms of carbohydrates that are vital for survival. There are people who won’t order croutons on their salad because they think that this tiny amount of carbs is unhealthy.
People who are constantly striving to lose that perceived extra 5 or 10 pounds have been bamboozled by misinformed, misguided personal trainers and nutritional advisors, and are wasting a lot of time and effort to win a Pyrrhic victory. Losing weight doesn’t equate to better fitness or being healthy, especially when this weight loss is achieved, and in many cases can only be achieved, by extremes with exercise and diet.
Emphasis on weight ignores the reality that genetics, and not a height and weight chart, are the major determining factor in what a person weighs and what they look like. You can no more change the color of someone’s eyes than you can change a person’s body structure. As more and more diet and exercise books are published, and more time and energy is devoted to the pursuit of being thinner and healthier, more people are heavier and unhealthier than ever before.
People need to step back and look at the current state of diet and exercise information and realize that we don’t need more people spreading more nonsense. It’s time for people to get back to basics and get in touch with themselves. Americans especially need to re-learn how to eat properly without input from meddling diet gurus who foist upon us expensive, externally regulated eating plans.
People need to reacquaint themselves with the concept of a balanced diet and not avoid foods or entire food groups as this misguided philosophy has lead us down a path of unhealthiness, not to the promised land of better health. Having someone tell you how to eat is as silly as having someone telling you how to breathe.
Get in touch with yourself, take control over what and when you eat and how often you exercise. Forget about how much you weigh and improve your fitness level.