So some dudes at the University of Alabama released a study that claims to smash a bunch of weight loss myths. This should be a really cool article, but everyone has been quick to point out that many of the authors of this thing are so financially tied to weight loss companies they’re probably wearing Slim Fast t-shirts under their lab coats.
By far the most interesting myth to get debunked was that sex apparently isn’t the calorie-shredding marathon we all expect it to be. On average, sex lasts about six minutes, and burns as many calories as a brisk walk to the Taco Bell. I’m not going to make everything awkward by commenting on that statistic, but who admits to six-minute sex? Poll your local locker room and you’ll find that, on average, no sexual encounter lasts less than 48 minutes -- the approximate runtime of Crazy Town’s “The Gift of Game.” I don’t know what angle these research guys are playing, but I’m wary.
I guess also gym class isn’t actually super impactful for weight loss in kids, but whatever. Even before you know what calories were, you knew you weren’t burning them under that giant parachute thing your P.E teacher pulled out like twice a year. (I don’t have any kids, so I don’t know if that’s big news to some parents out there.)
The article does manage to do a very good job of illustrating my biggest issue with weight loss as a product, though.
Take snacking, for example. The report claims that the myth of snacking leads to weight gain could be incorrect, maybe, if that’s what your body’s into. Too often weight loss is sold to us like cars in a dealership: “Here, buy this one, it gets you where you are going" and the rest is just aesthetics. When in reality, it should be treated like eyeglass prescriptions. “This one might help you see slightly better, but it could make you so dizzy your brain will vomit for like three days straight.” Brains are weird. Bodies are weird. Diets and wellness plans only work when you figure out what the sweet spot of the body/brain venn diagram is. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to make a statement like “Snacking is bad for you.” It’s not so much a problem of misinformation as it is of non-applicable information.
Having done this for what seems like a goddamn lifetime, I think I’ve managed to come up with a few myths of my own, sort of.
This one is probably super obvious to smart people like you, but “diet” foods are usually anything but. “Lite” and “Diet” -- these two terms usually just mean they replaced the sugar with something you can’t pronounce that could possibly turn your guts into cement, or cancer, or "cemencer." Also, I don’t care what the wrapper says: If it looks like a candy bar, it’s probably a fucking candy bar. I’m looking at you, everything “Healthy Choice” has ever made. Losing weight is hard enough without your shittily-branded ice cream.
Who can you trust then? I have seen some pretty interesting successes from friends on the Weight Watchers program. I don’t think any of their successes have been massive, but if you’re looking to lose less than a really fat cat worth of weight, they seem like a good deal. The one that really blows me away though is Medifast. I have multiple friends and acquaintances who bought into these dudes' warlock ritual or whatever and have just melted into absolutely beautiful statuesque people. Medifast is actually my “tactical” option -- if everything else goes pear-shaped with my skinnying adventure, we’re going nuclear. However, it’s expensive as hell. This isn’t an advertisement for Medifast but if Medifast wants to hook me up, Medifast knows where to find me.
Obviously buying into some "point cult" or meal plan isn’t for everyone, and for those people I’ve got two secret shares for you: Before you snarf down that burrito, drink a big glass of water. Like, a big one. The bigger the better. It makes you full really fast, and therefore you don’t end up waddling out of the Chipotle in shame. I know this one is true because it’s what they have people with lap bands do.
Also, one of the strongest lessons I've learned is that the buddy system is crucial to losing weight. Accountability, support and even commiseration as you both drink rum and diets even though Oly is like two bucks a tallboy. A friend is so clutch, because weight loss is way hard alone.
I really hope none of this sounds like I’m trying to pretend like I am expert who has figured this shit out, because I very much am not that. I mean, I came up with like two tips. I’ve been doing this for over 20 months, and those are the only two things I’m sure about. Like I said, losing weight is fucking hard. Initially this blog felt like I was streetfighting my belly with a knife or something. Nowadays it just reads like hospice notes. I’m going to lose it, it's just moving slow...