By Marco Girgenti
As we begin another year, resolutions abound and many people are embarking on a new path to better health, but sadly, most of them have no idea what to do in order to be successful and consequently, they will fail. That is not me being negative, it is just a statistical truth that 95% of people who join a gym or commit to an exercise program abandon either within 6 weeks.
Today, I would like to focus on just one thing that is of key importance as you begin or continue your journey. As well, a brief update on the GetFitFaster.ca VIP and all access sites.
Numbers are inescapable. We use numbers to grade performance and intelligence from the moment we can read through to university, in total sales figures, in timing of sporting events, the speedometer of our vehicles, and so on. In fact, numbers define many things such as; profit/loss, victory/defeat, progress or stagnation and finally, the scale millions step on to see if they are losing or gaining weight. That number, perhaps most of all, hurts even more than the December credit card bill many are receiving, perhaps even as I write this.
Yesterday as Susan and I shopped, several companies had kiosks out with samples. As I reflected on that today, I realized that the majority of the vendors were all peddling “health” foods. This is no accident; again, given the time of year. One particular package that touted a point system value caught my eye; again, numbers. Now, I believe no company is perfect, there is good and not so good in every entity. However, when a company that models itself as a healthy weight loss solution crosses the line, all bets are off. If a company has the audacity to print something which is questionable at best, on a package to lure someone in, then that company can take the heat when it is challenged. After which, the real question becomes, who should be more ashamed: the company for doing it or the consumer for blindly believing it?
So let me say this about Weight Watchers, and if you have read “Starving to be Fat” and know anything of my background, then you know I am speaking from a position of a 160 lb. permanent personal weight loss experience; they do a great job of motivating people. The support groups are a good place for people to rally around each other and I have always believed that is a powerful tool. As well, they touch on B-Mod (behaviour modification), which is also a key component and the accountability piece (weigh in) can also be productive, or demoralizing, depending on the type of week one had. Having said that, the epic fail is in using a point system as opposed to a nutrition based system for weight loss. Want me to prove it?
Here it is; the shiny “Weight Watchers Granola Original” package I saw yesterday and in the ingredients list, pure poison; a hydrogenated oil, meaning a trans fat, meaning something even Weight Watchers says you should not consume, but there it is, right on the package. Know what else? This is not the only case and this is not the only weight loss company doing it.
THE EVIL NUMBERS
So, maybe your scale weight comes down, great, but increase in probability of disease goes up. Would you call that a “win?” In my opinion, points systems belong on coffee cards as rewards, or credit card rewards, not as a fix for weight loss. If you use up your points on cheesecake, does this mean you have been successful on your journey to better health? No, you just lost weight. Is that all you want? If it is, close this window now as I have nothing to offer that would appeal to you.
Susan says that most people want maximum results for minimum effort and these commercial diet programs cater to that market, I agree. I too, want things easy, but that is not the reality of the matter.
Am I “picking” on Weight Watchers? Okay, maybe a bit. However, I could just as easily give you similar examples of questionable, if not outright damaging ingredients from Jenny Craig and any other similar “just eat our food and follow our portions,” system.
What then is my point? There are several, but I have to bring this in for a landing.
IGNORANCE – If we lose that, we lose the fat and get healthy, these are two different things, let me be clear. Losing weight is not necessarily a sign of increased health. Many people who are fighting for their lives are losing weight. You could be losing weight on a program and be nutritionally starving. That is a whole other issue you will be hearing more about from me in the future.
I encourage you again to start reading labels. Know that calories are only a part of the overall weight equation. When it comes to so-called packaged “healthy food,” question EVERYTHING! Food packages are like people, all of the fancy lettering and shiny exterior is designed to appeal to you and draw you in. The real “stuff” comes out when you get to know through reading fine print, the “ingredients,” be these of a food, or of a person, so to speak. Don’t ever make the mistake of buying a new product without first reading the ingredients label!
We appreciate you and hope your year is off to a blessed and healthy start!
Susan and Marco