There’s a post title that should grab me some curious readers and for sure will get me found in search engines! With every blog post I write, I purposefully and carefully choose a title I hope will draw readers. That’s the whole point of the title. If you’re reading, the title’s done its job. But this blog post is NOT about what weight loss methods work or don’t work. I won’t be discussing the possible merits of integrating chocolate into your diet. This blog post is about the media.
Today’s media envelops us. Its sheer overwhelming presence has required it to become extremely noisy as its countless participants vie for our attention. As a result, the media will attempt to reach you with what you’re most likely to respond to. What we read or hear may not be an outright lie, but it’s very likely to be the thinnest of truths. Among the shocking transformations and stunning testimonials, lurk the fine print and carefully-worded phrases. It’s up to you to find them, understand what they really mean, and put them in perspective. That diet “chocolate” you’re allowed to eat has a weird sugar alcohols taste. You’re gasping for breath a few minutes into that hour-long “calorie furnace” workout DVD. Those “delicious gourmet meals” are indistinguishable from off-brand frozen dinners. But some people will kill their cravings with that weird chocolate. Some people will get themselves through that whole DVD workout, every day consistently for months. Some people will love the convenience of those meal plan dinners. Yes, there really are people who burn 500 calories in 30 minutes of exercise. They’re called “professional athletes.”
The weight loss claims we see in advertising have become so pervasive and cliche that I wonder why they still work on so many people. It’s because we want to believe, even after we fail, time and time again.
We’re not only exposed to marketing, we’re surrounded by news. We may not assume the same caveats apply, but they do. Many people would very much like to believe that their weight is not an indicator of their health. We’ve all heard that claim. And for some people it will be accurate. It was for me. Past tense. I was fat and seemingly healthy by the numbers until I was 44 years old when my blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure all started going haywire. I began wheezing when I laid down in bed and I needed daily pain medication for my over-burdened joints. Was my weight an indicator of my health status? Undeniably. To have persisted in trying to believe otherwise would have literally put my life at risk.
Does a diet drop weight if you can’t follow it? Does a workout program burn fat if you can’t perform the exercises? Do the findings of a study matter if they don’t describe your body and your health? Ultimately, you will be faced with the consequences of your beliefs, assumptions, and choices.
I could write a blog post with the title “Study Shows Weight Not an Indicator of Health” and I’d probably get some good traffic. My take on the study won’t be what some people will want to read. My top title to date included the name “Ruby Gettinger.” A lot of people are looking for information about her but my post was no fan letter. What we’re exposed to and what we think about will not constitute the lasting lessons of our lives. Experience is our greatest teacher. Where are you focusing your attention?