Editorial of the article “Is this any way to lose weight.”

Anyone who writes or advises you on how to lose weight without addressing activity, rest and genetics is either trying to sell you something or clueless.

Gary Taubes is a real intelligent guy. He holds degrees in applied physics from Harvard, aerospace engineering from Stanford and journalism from Columbia University. He’s also written some books on eating. However, some of his claims make absolutely no sense at all in the context of total health. It reminds me of the surgeon who wanted to operate on my knee when the real problem was my flat-feet that were causing the stress. You can’t isolate one component of how our bodies work. Rest, movement, diet and genetics are what determine our physical health.

For example, he claims that there is “no compelling data that exercise has any effect on losing weight.” Intelligent guy but where’s the common sense? Weight alone is not as important as the type of weight, or body composition. Body fat is what we monitor now. That’s why BMI (Body Mass Index) is now referred to, as a Big Misunderstanding of Information! Show us the compelling evidence that exercise causes weight gain. Yes, exercise or movement can make us hungry but it can also make us tired. Should we not exercise because it makes us sleep better? In fact, there is compelling evidence that lack of sleep causes fat-gain. Besides, most people that need to lose weight have a variety of other lurking problems that can be completely reversed by exercise. Arthritis, heart disease, stress and on and on ….. In fact, in the January, 2011 issue of Newsweek there is an article entitled “Can you build a better brain” where the author states that a year of exercise can give a 70-year-old the connectivity of a 30-year-old improving memory, planning, dealing with ambiguity and multitasking. I guess we should sacrifice our mind so we won’t be hungry from exercise? Plus, the heart doesn’t get stronger from eating; it gets stronger from pumping blood to the muscles. Muscles create, or prevent movement. He states “the kiss of death is exercise?” I don’t think so. Do you really need a study to comprehend this? Don’t see too many cyclists, runners, gymnasts, swimmers, climbers, basketball players, tennis players, etc, that are overweight. Since Mr. Taubes wants to ignore how the body functions and its requirement of movement to maintain itself, I’ll address of few of the dietary comments both Gary and the other guru cited in the article, Dr. Eric Westman (director of Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke) claim to be experts in.

  1. You don’t have to use portion control. That’s right, sausage for breakfast, four hotdogs for lunch and a 24 oz-porterhouse for dinner. The next day just reverse it. Steak and eggs for breakfast, another four hotdogs for lunch and some Italian sausage for dinner. I’m salivating right now. It’s so ludicrous I can’t believe I’m writing it. First, I guarantee you won’t lose body fat or weight and I’ve eaten like this. It doesn’t lower my appetite at all. I don’t know about you, but the more I eat, the more I can eat. Once stuffed, I like to maintain it. What do the lap band and a gastric bypass have in common? They both make the stomach smaller. Eating all this meat won’t keep it small for long. What is ironic is that if you look at Doctor Westman’s typical menu listed in the article, the guy eats like a bird. Two eggs with juice and coffee for breakfast, a salad for lunch, an unce rib eye (good luck trying to find a steak that small in a restaurant unless you’re ordering a filet mignon) and gelatin for dinner! Appears like portion control to me. If this guy tries to do more than 40 minutes of activity in a day, he’s going to run out of gas!
  2. Say no to fruit because it’s got hidden sugars. Have you ever tried to eat six bananas, six apples or an entire watermelon? Why not? Because the body won’t take that much sugar. However, I’m sure you’ve eaten a whole pizza. I guess according to these experts, you’ll have to obtain all your vitamins, minerals and fiber from salami and butter.
  3. Don’t try to limit fat. Eat as much butter and lard as you want. Pack it on. They claim our hunger will go down automatically. No kidding. The gastric emptying time (the satiety effect) for fat is much longer; but how much fat can we eat? Try eating tabs of butter at one sitting. Yeck!
  4. Back when we were hunter-gatherers we ate meat as often as we could get it and no highly refined grains and sugars. Nice point, except that we were also moving (didn’t have to exercise) to catch the food or to not become the food. Don’t think anyone was watching TV or sitting around for hours a day on a computer or a vehicle. Not to mention we were probably dead by age twenty!

I’m not a big sugar fan and agree that high processed foods are somewhat “empty.” However, it’s the lack of movement and sleep along with the large portions that cause the weight gain in most people. It’s not just food. Again, addressing a person’s health without correlating it to their movement patterns, sleep, diet and genetics is very misleading, if not, just ludicrous. Advising people to eat as much as they want, is not the answer. Shame on these guys

Editorial for an article in the November issue of Men’s Journal entitled

I really enjoyed Daniel Duane’s article. He made some great points and delivered some great advice. Basically, you don’t need fancy stuff to get fit. We’re actually born with everything we need. I encourage you all to read it. However, again he’s no different than anyone else. He’s marketing his article and didn’t want to point the finger at the real culprit.

The real culprit is the public, consumer or in this case, the reader; not the gym, the trainer or the person selling you the membership. If the public takes no interest in their own health then they won’t know the difference between the right exercise to perform, whether the article Dan wrote had merit or whether a trainer was good or not.

Why is the consumer so disconnected that they have to be entertained for the lousy 45 minutes to an hour they spend in the gym? Do they watch TV when working, driving or having sex? Why is their health any less important? Why do they continue to buy the same “snake oil” promises over and over again? You can’t get in shape in just 15 minutes a day. In fact, you can’t do anything worthwhile in 15 minutes.

Dan doesn’t want to say it, but here’s why? Because in general, the consumer is lazy, overloaded with no time from all the bad decisions they’ve made, poor nutrition choices from lack of planning and again laziness, poor financial planning made worse from the excessive amount of children they shouldn’t have had, time wasted from watching useless TV like Dancing with the Stars, American Idol and any reality show in existence, plus, they’re being held with “kid gloves” by celebrity doctors (that in most part know less than a personal trainer and doctors go to school for 10 years, and, are just as intent on marketing themselves) that parking further away from the grocery store will help them get in shape. I can’t see how carrying Doritos or hotdogs a little further to the car is going to get you in shape. How much lower can they lower the bench mark for health and fitness?

In essence, for whatever reason, health and fitness is not the publics’ priority. There is nothing more important than your health. No matter what financial or family responsibilities you might have, a person’s health must be integrated into those responsibilities. If not, you’re lazy, an idiot or just in denial. These poorly planned life-choices are affecting the standard of living we currently have and the future of this country as a whole. My intentions are positive and being nice doesn’t seem to be getting us anywhere. Sorry to sound so callous but, sometimes “tough love” is necessary to kick some people in the rear end. Think of an alcoholic. Do you keep making excuses for them and applaud them when they’re just a little drunk? At some point you have to get tough and take the alcohol away. When you do, it ain’t going to be pretty.

Since it’s not politically correct to tell someone they’re lazy, unmotivated, uncreative and fairly dumb (enough statistics prove that unhealthy people have a lower IQ) the public will just keep buying the same crapola year after year. Until we stop making excuses, or rewarding mediocre decisions and results, it will never get better. Not everyone gets an A in school. You have to earn it.

It’s time we stop pointing the finger at equipment or fitness professionals. There are good doctors and bad doctors, good lawyers and bad lawyers. The consumer needs to learn the difference on how to choose between good equipment or a good trainer. The public needs to be held accountable for their own mediocrity. Daniel, by the way, 10% body fat for a male is not inhuman. Restraint is a sign of humanity. Stop eating so much.

It’s not up to you or I to force feed people information on their own well-being. It’s up the individual to watch, read and educate themselves regarding their own bodies and what works for them.

I’m sorry Daniel that you had bad experiences with your trainer, but if you had educated yourself a little prior to hiring them, you might have known the difference. In any event, it doesn’t take a lot of common sense to know that squatting on a ball will only help if you’re going to be in the circus. You wouldn’t want to shoot a cannon standing on a piece of ice would you?