Here we go again…and Oprah should know better, perhaps this is money first waistline second? First let us say we aren’t ‘hating’ on weight watchers, we find their advice and use of a support system well above 90% of the diet nonsense in the world of fitness. That said, this says more about how bad the nonsense is in fitness than how scientifically sound weight watchers is.
Let’s start with the real problem and believe it or not it isn’t eating! The problem of being overweight is that the physiological act of losing body fat is negative. The results may provide some positives but the process is one of negative effect to your health. To lose body fat you are starving and thus living off your fat stores…that’s why they shrink. Meanwhile you are often in a weakened state from a biological chemistry standpoint.
Yes you feel better and look better because you are literally shrinking all over, dieting means overall fluid loss. Eating less means less energy wasted on digestion which is a way underestimated energy hog. Your GI track gets a needed break (hence the popularity of cleansing and fasting) and you get a big bump from your system chemically-wise to deal with the lower amount of calories. You receive some ‘helpful for hunting’ chemicals which offer a sense that you are ok and can go on (hence the addictive and popular trend of dieting).
What we overlook is that fluid and body chemistry goes easily off kilter and most often lean mass is lost. The end result is a thinner, skinnier you however not a healthier you. Weight loss is a lot of fluid, fat AND muscle. Your metabolic rate (the everyday rate at which you use calories) is reduced and once you allow yourself to go back to at least maintenance calories your system immediately scrambles to put back on fat and lean mass. The problem is you don’t put back on lean mass but you do put back on the fat.
This could end up sounding like a W.W. bashing article but it isn’t. The fact remains that everyone we deal with has good things to say about them…but they are now overweight again. They blame themselves rather than dieting approach. Dieting just isn’t what the media has fooled us into believing. Reducing some types of food intake is a necessary evil when needing to shed excess fat stores BUT that is actually the easy part. The tough part is rebalancing everything else.
Long story short an influential lady like Oprah should know better than to promote a scheme with no long term proven record. Oprah famously had her own personal trainer and chef at her side yet couldn’t solve the fat riddle so she literally gave in and stopped fighting. Photoshop aside she did look happier so why now back in for millions except as a shallow business move? I suppose what bothers us about all this is you would think she would know better from experience that something must be wrong with the traditional ideas of dieting and burning off calories with activity. With every and all resources at her disposal in the past she failed yet now she is promoting weight watchers?
We can only hope that any campaigning stays away from the common extremes of either body shaming (subtle or literal) or the reverse over-reaction of promoting being overweight as if it is only an issue of looks and needs to be accepted. Neither approach embraces honest science and individuality.
The bottom line, in its simplest form: when you are overweight don’t eat or approach fitness like you want to be underweight. Any approach that is prescribed generically, as needing only minor modifications person to person, will not work. You will spend time, money and effort only to arrive back where you started or worse….and you will blame yourself.
Your diet is your nutrition, that which makes you strong and healthy not what shrivels you in every way…
Until next time be well,
Andrew and Tierney