The fitness industry is not really in the health promotion business.
It’s a kind of vicious circle if you think about it.
On the one hand, our goals are more related to how much we weight than with how healthy we are.
And on the other hand, the fitness industry is trying to sell us all these things that don’t work, just to keep us hooked and buying the next 10 miracle supplements or programs they’ll be selling tomorrow.
If everyone got fit from what the fitness industry is selling, then there would be no fitness industry left.
But to start from the beginning, part of it is our own way of viewing the issue.
We’ve been so brainwashed by the media for decades – and lately mostly by perfection on Instagram and Facebook, where everyone posts their best sides – that our goal has become that type of perfection. Even if it’s not real. Even if achieving only 50% of it comes with physical and mental health costs that we can’t even imagine, not to mention the actual impossibility to follow those extreme ways that will take us there.
It’s true that we’re living in a time when obesity is a major issue around the world. But as a food coach, I never ever had a client coming to me to ask me:
– Hey, Carmen, I want you to help me fix these triglycerides/blood glucose/blood pressure/inflammatory markers/insulin resistance issues I see in my blood tests.
Never. What I mostly get is:
– Make me drop a few kilos.
The good part is that I can choose to work with the clients who agree to reach this fat loss goal in the healthiest and most sustainable manner possible.
However, it’s clear that most people are concerned about body weight, how they look, instead of starting from the potential health problems that they can fix or prevent by eating better.
And, surprise!, by changing the way they eat in order to fix these issues, they will also, in most cases, lose weight, especially if they’re guided.
Now, coming back to the fitness industry, I think we’ve all noticed how it makes money. By launching new products or diets or programs that are just unsustainable for the long term.
Low diet adherence is one of the biggest threats when it comes to dieting because any diet will work as long as you have the willpower to follow it, but:
- that doesn’t mean it’s healthy
- you might not be ready to follow it on a long term
How does “keto for the next 20 years” sound? Scary, I know.
At one point you will break the diet, maybe start eating like you were eating before. Whatever normality was to you back then, that’s what you’ll return to. And get back the kilos, blood sugar and all, with some interest.
So what does the fitness industry do when you relapse?
“oooh, but it’s your fault. You didn’t follow through the 12th to 30th day of juice cleanse. You got out of our 700 calorie a day diet after three months. You ate a slice of bread?!! You couldn’t make it to the 7th HIIT training of the week. It’s your fault, you’re weak and you don’t have enough willpower to stick to our diet or program that really works”.
But of course you didn’t stick to it. They were asking you to eat like cavemen for the rest of your life, for God’s sake.
What the fitness companies do is use their own ineffectiveness to their advantage. So they keep people in the system, constantly hooked, to keep buying the new products they release, and, worst of all, believing that they’re not worth anything unless they look like fitness models.
Just like any other addictive product.
The more unsustainable a program or a diet is, the less likely we are to stick to it. So when it doesn’t work, all these companies that sold us something are completely blame free – the blame is on us because we didn’t stick to it. But almost nobody can stick to restrictive diets for long, so it’s really easy to catch them back with another miracle weight loss solution.
Studies show that people who successfully lose weight and keep it off are those with the highest adherence to a diet, for the longest period of time. No matter what type of diet they followed.
But, according to the same studies, what they have in common and helped them adhere to a new style of eating for long periods of time was getting support.
The structure and support a dietician or nutritionist can offer through the regular follow-ups actually work on a longer term and are way more effective than just giving someone diet advice and hoping they’ll follow it by themselves.
So the real issues I see here is about choosing the right goal (maybe fixing your insulin resistance will also help you lose weight), finding a style of eating that you can adhere to for as long as possible, and getting qualified support.
Otherwise, it might be smarter not to even enter this circle of buying, suffering, guilt, and yo-yo. Constantly throwing money on magical weight loss potions.
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