You've heard the saying before - and it's 100% accurate. Whether it be Obama's "Change" and "Hope" or the next diet fad, Americans seem to be turning to the quick, easy fix for all of their problems. Perhaps it's a generational thing, perhaps it's a changing American attitude - I'm not quite sure what it is, but it drives me insane, especially when it comes to health and wellness.
It seems that every time I turn on the TV, I see ads for the "Hollywood Cookie Diet (Snooki from Jersey Shore was on this - how did that turn out for her? Still fat? Yeah, I thought so)," or "Xenadrine," or "Hip Hop Abs." All of them promise the same thing: do as little work as possible, but achieve great results - guaranteed!!! Are we really that lazy? It takes people who are overweight and unhealthy YEARS to get that way - you don't wake up and suddenly weigh 150 lbs more than you did the previous day. Weight gain is caused by a caloric surplus. Every day, in order to gain weight, you have to consume more calories than you burn. You'd actually be surprised at what the human body burns during the day, just by doing nothing. So, let's say we have a 150lb male, age 25, 6'0''. This individual burns about 1745 cals a day AT REST(Basal Metabolic Rate, or, BMR). Now, if he never went to the gym and didn't exercise, his daily caloric need would be approximately 2100 cals a day (this is how many cals a day he could eat and maintain his weight). 2100 cals a day is quite a lot (although, not so much if you're eating junk food). So, everyday, this man would need to eat well over 2100 cals in order to start packing on fat. Overeating makes you fat, pure and simple. Depending on how many cals a day he eats, he'd have to eat in a caloric surplus for YEARS to gain 100 additional pounds.
My point? It takes you YEARS to get fat, it's going to take you YEARS to get thin. Any product, aerobic craze workout (ahem, Shake Weight), or colon cleanse (probably #1 on my shit list - no pun intended) that promises results in a matter of weeks or months is a complete SHAM. Sure, if you eat the Atkins Diet for 3 months, or do the HCG diet and eat 500 cals a day for 6 months, or do a colon cleanse where you're on a liquid diet and eating well below maintenance calories, you will lose weight. The math is simple: calories in will be < calories out, even by not going to the gym. And that's the selling point: these companies prey on people who have no interest in working hard. The result? 3 months of basically being anorexic will enable anyone to lose weight; that weight loss, pure and simple, is not sustainable. As SOON as you stop eating on the weird diet, or drinking your calories, what's going to happen? Shocker! You're going to gain weight. Then you're going to be disappointed and say that nothing works to help you lose weight. Sigh.
I recently saw an infomercial for Sensa, a product that promises rapid and dramatic weight loss results by merely sprinkling some bullshit fairy dust on top of your food. You can go out and have pizza and ice cream - as long as you sprinkle the Sensa crap on top of your crap food, you'll lose weight. Really? So you're going to sprinkle Sensa on everything for the rest of your life? C'mon, America, I'm going to beat you senseless.
I also see commercials for Hip Hop Abs all the time. I feel kinda the same way about the Zumba craze. Hip Hop Abs and Zumba burn calories, so, again, if you burn more than you eat, you're going to lose weight. And for the average fat American, an hour of Zumba is more than anything they've ever done. Just getting them off of the couch and doing jumping jacks for 20 minutes would make them lose weight. Now, what I like about HHA and Zumba are that they're fun, and that's going to make people stick to a program. But I think it should be part of a whole package of eating healthy, working out, and lifting weights. It should not be the only thing that people do to lose weight. What happens when you get bored with Zumba and stop going to classes? Oh, yep - you'll gain all your weight back.
The biggest problem area for Americans is, and always will be, diet. In my opinion, diet is 80% or MORE of the weight loss/physique game. This is why products like Sensa or Xenadrine are so successful. They relay the message that it's ok to eat shit - their products will work despite a doo doo diet. Again, unsustainable. I hate to break it to you, America, but if you want to fit into your skinny jeans, you gotta eat skinny food. This means skipping the grande caramel macchiato with whipped cream in the morning (330 calories, btw) and subbing it for plain coffee with sugar free caramel syrup. It means skipping the Big Mac and fries for a 93% lean ground turkey burger and a plain baked potato. And it means ditching the full fat ice cream for a serving of Greek Yogurt. Is that as fun? Not really. Is it worth it? Is it sustainable? Yes. And, the healthy options taste good, too.
This problem will not go away anytime soon, I realize this. But that's because we're some of the laziest freakin' people I've ever seen. America is going to continue to get fatter and fatter, and bullshit companies are going to continue to profit off of them. The moral of this story: eat right, workout like an ATHLETE, and you'll have the body you want. No BS, no fairy dust, no magic shoes. Just sweat and grit.