Skip to content

Yes, but why?

July 8, 2009

In the comments of this post, Linda (who always has very sensible things to say and has been unfairly given a scowly face as her pic) said

People like to add complicated gimmicks because it makes the whole thing–weight loss–seem more easy. It isn’t. Even with gimmicks.

I think this is very true and also very baffling. Even for me, who has tried multiple gimmicky approaches to weight loss in my life, it doesn’t make sense. I felt a sense of….relief would be the best word when I finally understood the basics of weight loss. It put everything in perspective. Having a big meal plus dessert didn’t actually have the power to ‘ruin’ anything. Scale jumps should generally be ignored. Gaining weight and losing weight don’t happen overnight. Etc etc etc…

So why do people consistently go for gimmicks?

Advertisements
7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2009 9:22 am

    I’d like to say advertisement and the incredibly seductive push of the weight loss industry, but I think there’s some strange reaching at straws psychology going on, as well. Nobody wants to think that they just eat too much, or are too sedentary, it’s more comfortable to think there’s something wrong with your metabolism, or certain foods have some magic evil ability, and if you avoid them, or take these pills, you don’t have to actually change your lifestyle.

    I don’t understand this either.

    • July 10, 2009 2:32 pm

      I think you’re definitely right.

      But at the same time that people gravitate towards any idea that puts weight totally beyond their control, there is a lot of shame and self-hatred among people regarding their weight. So people are encouraged to pathologize all their eating behaviors while constantly looking for an outside cause for being fat that they can easily ‘fix.’ It’s confusing.

  2. July 9, 2009 1:08 pm

    I think Julie has a great point about people not wanting to believe that the fault is their own. I’d guess that especially applies to folks who have tried to lose weight – who have done the calorie counting, the carb counting, the exercise trackers, etc., and somehow continue (consciously or more likely unconsciously) to sabotage their own efforts.

    In other words, it’s easier to believe that there really is One Simple Rule than it is to believe that despite all your efforts, some part of you isn’t ready to change. It’s easier to look for an outside reason than to go spelunking through the inside of your head, looking for for the real reason.

    (Um. Not that I’d know anything about that. No siree, bob.)

  3. July 9, 2009 1:12 pm

    Oh! One more thing. Linda’s comment:
    People like to add complicated gimmicks because it makes the whole thing–weight loss–seem more easy. It isn’t. Even with gimmicks.
    We live in a culture that does its best to make EVERYTHING easy. Seriously, there are few, if any, medical conditions that don’t have pills you can take.*

    High cholesterol? Sure, you should change your diet, but if even if you don’t, we can lower your numbers with this nifty pill!

    Depressed? Take Prozac!

    High blood pressure? We have a pill for that, too!

    Can’t sleep? Swallow this!

    And so on. We’re conditioned to look for the miracle bullet, so we have a hard time believing that there REALLY ISN’T ONE. Just my .02.

    *And of course, some people genuinely do need medication, especially for things like severe depression. I’m not denying that; I’m just saying that in our culture, “take two of these and call me in the morning” seems to be our first resort, when maybe it should be our last, you know?

    • July 11, 2009 4:37 pm

      Yup. I’ve been reading that “Younger next year” book (which is good. although basically like “hey, attrice, here’s a bunch of stuff you agree with!” so of course I like it) and again it strikes me that we’ve come up with all these ingenious ways to make our lives easier and yet the simple things we could all to feel better often seem ‘too hard’ or ‘too much work.’ So we need to come up with more ingenious ideas to fix those problems.

      Of course, that mindset can easily tip into the “if everyone lived right, they would feel great and all disease would go away” crap that annoys me so much. That’s one thing I’m really liking about the book. It isn’t “do this and never die!” It’s “do this and have a better quality of life”! Which is so much more honest.

  4. brahnamin permalink
    July 18, 2009 11:11 pm

    Bigger Better Faster More.

    We want everything, and we want it NOW!

    And that whole mindset (reinforced by shows like Biggest Loser) discourages a lot of people trying to lose weight and get fit.

    My wife is one of them.

    I’m still trying to get her to focus on long-term achievements and short term goals rather than the other way around.

    Which is what most dieters do.

    Focus on the long term goal and obsess over short-term achievements (or lack thereof) that is. Which only leads to depression and ultimately losing hope and giving up.

    Our bodies don’t make macro changes in response to micro stimuli. They make micro changes that ultimately add up to macro changes, but only over the long haul.

    • July 22, 2009 10:57 am

      Our bodies don’t make macro changes in response to micro stimuli. They make micro changes that ultimately add up to macro changes, but only over the long haul.

      This.

      This should be repeated daily by anyone trying to lose weight. Especially for anyone trying to lose a fairly significant amount of weight.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: