As a member of the a couple of online health forums, it has become increasingly clear to me that people are still, despite intuition and intelligence, looking for a quick fix to weight loss. One forum in particular, that for some reason I find completely fascinating, is filled with, among other things, posts of success stories. Women, and men alike, who have worked hard, eaten well, made changes to portion sizes, contents on their meals and added exercise to the equation. People who have lost the last 10 kilos they have been trying to shift for years, to people who have lost 30, 40 or maybe even 50 kilograms over a sustained period of time. Time and time again, I see the comments on the before and after photos. Generally full of messages of congratulations, sprinkled with a bit of hope and feelings of inspiration from people who desperately want to see the same results. And then, usually after a good handful of congratulatory messages have been posted comes the questions. How did you do it? What do you eat? How much do you work out? And the one that always seems to surprise me, no matter how many times I see it; What is your secret?
There is a desperation in that final comment. It is like there is a deep and really raw hope this this person has found the key to success and will be able to pass it on to change the weight loss game forever. However, from my observations in the very least, it appears the answers, from the success stories, are more than not always the same. Eat more nutritious, healthy and balanced foods, exercise more, and believe that you can do it.
Now I am not claiming that it is that easy. Clearly it isn’t because if it was the weight loss industry wouldn’t be what it was, and I wouldn’t have spent the last few years trying to work out how to lose weight. But they seem to be the 3 underlying comments made by the people who have been successful in their attempts to lose weight.
It never seems to satisfy though. People are like. Oh. Is that it? Everyone wants a quick fix. A magic pill that you pop twice a day for 4 weeks to undo what can sometimes be a lifetime of harm that we have unleashed on our bodies. But you see, what gets me in this questionable cycle is that things like that do seem to exist. Isagenix has a hit rate of people loosing significant amounts of weight in a quick time period. Sure you have to give up eating most of the time, and drink shakes that are full of god knows what, but its quick and it seems to work* Optifast tends to work on the same premise, although is often the doctors choice for pre-bariatric surgery patients. Perhaps that tells us that at least medial professionals in the weight loss surgery field acknowledge its legitimacy. Unlike Isagenix which seems to be the total personification of the pyramid scheme. I am sure there are pills and appetite suppressants and all sorts of other things we can engage in too. God knows the weight loss industry is a multi jagillion dollar industry [yes, that is the technical term] Of course the other obvious one here is a restrictive diet, where you cut out whole food groups** you tend to drop weight quick as hell, but all you want to eat bread, or crackers, or bloody potatoes. In my experience it is just not sustainable, and realistically does more mental harm than good.
The thing that all of these options have in common is that they require a significant sacrifice, just like making a decision to eat a bit healthier and go to the gym. But people seem far more ready to invest in these quick fix solutions because they are made sexy and to look as though they are going to answer all your questions than dig in and actually do the work that is required and be patient enough to see results over a longer period of time.
Then, of course there are always a couple of people who comment something along the lines of I wish I had your determination. I remember reading about a conversation that included something along the lines of how about you replace your wishbone with a backbone. It made me laugh. But I never forgot it. We make choices every single day. Choices that have the ability to shape the future direction of a goal, or a dream. And trust me I get it, every time I faced with a burger or a salad, there are days that the burger wins. But one burger doesn’t mean that I have failed. One burger doesn’t mean that should have another 18 burgers. One burger does not define me. And I think that’s the difference. If people could understand that it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. It doesn’t have to be salad every meal of the day, and low calorie flavourless bland nothingness. Food is delicious, it is amazing and so it bloody should be. But its about knowing what you are putting in, and also know what you are putting out in terms of exercise.
This whole weight loss forum thing leaves me with a dilemma. Is it just a place for people to bitch and moan, or look for the answer to be quick, simple and easy without having to stop any of their current behaviours or add in any new ones? Or does it act as an inspiring community of people banding together towards a common Goal. I dunno. But what I do know, is that there is no quick fix, so if that is what people are looking for they should just quit while they are ahead. I don’t want to be an asshole here. And I certainly don’t want to tell you how to live your life, that aint no ones business but yours… but seriously, the idea that this weight loss thing should have an easy and quick answer? It’s Entitled, and impatient. Its bullshit. I am not without blame here. I have done it. Duh. But I have realised that a balanced and logical person shouldn’t be surprised to know that undoing 20 plus years of harm to my body isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s probably not even going to happen in the next 12 months.
*From watching the few people that I know that have used it. I have never and will never consume isagenix products.
** Been there, done that, got the teeshirt. Never again people. Never. Again.