My feed and inbox were inundated with concerns about the “Biggest Loser” article published by The New York Times. On one hand, I think it’s great people are paying attention to the complexities of obesity and weight loss. On the other hand, I think there were a lot of problems and missing variables in the analysis of the study presented in the article. The result created a “gloom and doom” picture for people who are obese. It also puts the focus on resting metabolic rate (RMR) alone which as we see in research is not the only piece to this complex puzzle.
Obesity is Not a Blanket Term
The first thing most people did with this study is associate it with themselves. They worried (rightfully so) what this means for them. “Can I ever lose weight?” “Will I have to starve for the rest of my life?” “I was already scared I can’t do this, what now?”
We speak of obesity much like cancer. The truth is the root of why someone is obese (arguably rated as someone with a BMI >30) is as varied as human beings. There is no one road to excess growth in body fat nor is there one to losing it. Some would say (myself included) it is as simple as caloric surplus and deficit, but it is far more complex.
There is also a difference between obesity developed in childhood versus adulthood. For example, if you’re morbidly obese with family history it’s very different than becoming slightly obese later as an adult.
In short, reading the Biggest Loser study and thinking it directly applies to you or fearing poor results makes as much sense as thinking you’re going to get cancer because someone your age, somewhere, has cancer.
In this industry, you wouldn’t believe the jerks I can come into contact with. Real jerks (male or female) who love to sit on their superior high horse and lecture the virtues of their amazing being. Jerks who must be dealing with shoulder impingements because of the self-promoting glorification they give themselves. Forget basic narcissism and delusions of grandeur, we move into the true illness of Self-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (SOCD). Don’t get me wrong, I know the importance of self-promotion, but there is a fine line between the pride you have in your work, and just being a tool. My point is, it is easy to be high and mighty about your own anecdotal experiences. It is easy when you have never walked in the shoes of difficulty.
“I can find a job, why can’t they?”
“I can make money, why can’t they?”
“I can lose weight, why can’t they?”
“I can train everyday, why can’t they?”
America is big on the “If I can do it, you can do it!” motto. This is great when we are looking at it through rose colored glasses and transformation photos. This is great, when we are watching a documentary of the outlier making a life for themselves. This is not so great when it is coming from those looking down on you. Be is rippling abs or a congressmen, being in the position of defending your position is hard. More
This may not be the sexiest article, but it is an extremely important one you should take seriously. The problems I see people face because of lazy testing, paranoia and lack of testing are overwhelming. Take a few minutes and write a few things down for your next check-up.
If we look at the current trend of doctor visits, people fall into 3 categories.
1. They don’t go to the doctor.
2. They go to the doctor, but run through the motions.
3. They go to the doctor and demand medical attention for the money they are spending. More