My exact expression right now:
Photo courtesy of: Jenny Craigs recent Facebook Profile Picture
Throughout the course of my blogging career, I feel I have adequately broken down and exposed how stupid/incorrect/non-helpful several popular fitness trends are. Jogging is just plain awful and counteracts basically every positive health related factor of real exercise. P90X is more likely to break your bones than make them stronger. Treadmills can be used for good but are really just a tool to sell gym memberships in hopes that people use them forever and never get close to their health/life goals. So, what could possibly be left? Well, a lot. Fitness is a business. Business is only good when people remain overweight, unhappy with themselves, and are willing to fork over large sums of money over a long period of time. If everyone reached and sustained their fitness goals, they wouldn’t have to spend anymore money. What if I told you that 1.3 million people spend $5 billion dollars every year on all of the diet and fitness programs available in the United States and less than 1% of them have any kind of significant, long-term, positive results? You are probably calling me a liar right now. There is no way that much money is spent by that many people in the vast universe that is “pop-fitness programming” for it to simply and completely not work. Well, you are right. I am lying. Because 1.5 million people spend $5 billion dollars a year on JUST WEIGHT WATCHERS.
Weight Watchers: Keeping track of your points, one hundred-dollar bill at a time.
Taken from the expert analysts at Wikipedia:
Weight Watchers claims that “Research shows that people who attend Weight Watchers meetings lose three times more weight than [those who diet on their own].” Specifically, the results of the study were that the mean weight loss of Weight Watchers participants was 2.3 times more than (3.3 times as much as) the self-help group at one year, and essentially undefined at two years. Weight Watchers also claims that members who both use Weight Watchers’ Web-based eTools and attend meetings lose half again as much weight as those who only attend meetings, but it fails to cite a study to back up this claim, instead only referring to an unspecified “12 week study comparing people who were instructed to attend Weight Watchers meetings and use eTools to people who were instructed to attend Weight Watchers meetings alone”.
A clinical study involving Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers and The Zone diets, published in 2005, reported that among the Weight Watchers participants the average net weight loss in a one-year period was 3.0 kilograms (6.6 lb). However, the study only included two months of “maximum effort”, letting the participants decide their level of adherence for the following ten months. Weight Watchers was the third most effective diet in terms of weight loss, and those that continued to adhere to any of the diets significantly decreased cardiac risk factors. “
In summation: Weight Watchers works great when compared to how Weight Watchers works. Also, compared to other instant gratification starvation diets, its third best. Ok, maybe I am bein a little harsh. It does say, after all, that participants have a net weight loss of 6.6lbs per year and one study found that 20 out of 33 obese participants use the program for at least one year (http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/weight-watchers-diet). So, it would lead one to believe that all of these success stories we read about and see in Weight Watchers advertisements can’t be the only cases of the diet actually working. The Weight Watchers website cites, literally, hundreds of research articles suggesting and extremely high sustained success rate. Here is where I flip the asshole switch in my head and pose the question: “Where the hell are these people in real life?”
I am willing to bet that everyone reading this knows someone on or who has participated in the Weight Watchers program. Ask these people how successful the program was for them. Surely it will be hard to get in contact with them because their newly founded career as an international swimsuit model keeps them very busy but maybe you can leave a message with one of their assistant oil boys or the vice president of their bikini tying board of directors. Huh? They are exactly where they were when they started the program?
What exactly are these studies considering “successful?” Surely, this number must be astronomical and, once attained, the quality of life of the participant is then improved forever. In actuality, this number is usually 5% to 10% weight lost and maintained anywhere from 1 to 5 years. So, a 300lb person who engages in Weight Watchers wallet deflation plan and loses 5% of their bodyweight over the course of 5 years is considered a success. Why isn’t this now 275lb success story in the commercials? Because, as cold as this sounds, it is terrible marketing.
People don’t care about someone who went from 300 to 275. They want to hear about those people who went from an obese body size to a “normal” body size. Now, Weight Watchers commercials are inundated with these success stories! Also, they constantly refer to people reaching their “goal” weights. These people have exceedingly surpassed a “5% to 10%” reduction and must physically exist. Calculating the statistical probability of becoming one of these is nearly impossible… but this guy did it:
Basically, the possibility of reaching your goal weight and/or going from “obese” to “normal” with Weight Watchers is .002%. That is 2 out of every 1,000 participants. To put this into perspective:
The woman in the right of that picture is Erica Marshall. She was a veterinarian that specialized in race and show horses. While re-shoeing a horse recovering from an injury in a hyperbaric chamber, the horse unexpectedly kicked (horses do that) and one of its steel shoes hit the metal wall of the pressurized, oxygen saturated room. This caused a tiny spark that initiated an explosion that could reportedly be heard up to 30 miles away. Erica was killed instantly. A tri-state manhunt is still on for the horse.
The statistical probability of this happening to you is only slightly less than you being successful with Weight Watchers. Actually, using their formula for success, we will all be blown up by race horse induced small-scale nuclear explosions at some point in our lives.
I wish I could make one of these posts about things that are actually good for people. It would be pretty short. Actually here it is:
Comprehensive List of Dieting Trends That Are Good For You
Lean meat, nuts, veggies, limited fruit, a shit load of water, no sugar, no dairy, and tons of exercise. Eat just these things for the rest of your life in whatever daily
quantity you see fit. There. Obesity cured and “popular fitness” destroyed.
The things you want from your body will never be attained with a daily point system. The negative connotation around placing a maximum on yourself everyday is too emotionally draining to even think about. There is no maximum to what you can attain on a daily basis. A complicated point system is easier to market. It makes it seem like this is some thing that you NEED to know in order to lose weight. Lose weight. Weight loss. More negativity. How about, from this point on, instead of focusing on whatever the key marketing terms are in the commercials on TV (i.e. weight loss) focus on GAINING. Gain a higher quality of life. Gain a better physique. Gain a body that makes you stop being the person that points at their stomach and goes “I just need to lose this. I’m good everywhere else. I carry all of my fat right here.” Instead, go to the grocery store, attain some quality food, and start a program based on gaining some muscle on your body. No, you aren’t going to wake up one day and look like the current Mr. Olympia by accident. But, you may wake up one day and you will look like you actually eat right and work your ass off.
On a side note, the urge to go after people with revving chainsaws and an unrelenting, homicidal like focus when they ask, “How do I lose just this right here?” while pointing to whatever part of their body they think all of the fat in their body magically congregates is almost uncontrollable. Just wanted to reiterate that we need to get rid of that. Now, get off the internet and go do something awesome.
Sprint. Kill. Eat. Die In A Race Horse Induced Small Scale Nuclear Explosion.