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What I hate about all the fitness sites [Mar. 6th, 2014|11:51 am]
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I have been an active member of Spark People for a couple years now. I like the point system, and that it's nicely all-inclusive for tracking fitness and food. I like the groups and support.

What I don't like about it, and other sites like it, is the emphasis on weightloss. On a regular basis I find myself encouraging people to not give up on their fitness goals. What almost always triggers their despair? The scale isn't moving.

Study after study has shown that permanent weightloss is achieved by only a small percentage of people who embark on a diet program. That, in fact, losing weight and then regaining it is not only bordering on inevitable, but that people often gain back as much as they lost and more. And that when they gain all that weight back, they don't regain the muscle mass they lost in their weightloss efforts, so they actually have a higher percentage of body fat than they did before.

The evidence is clear: dieting in the leading cause fatness. The more our society has been inundated with diet plans, the fatter we've gotten. And the unhealthier.

What does contribute to good health? Good eating habits, and physical activity. For some people, this will lead to weightloss. For others, it will not. And that's the part that these fitness sites don't emphasize. Calories in/calories out sounds great, but we aren't machines. Our metabolisms adjust, and we don't all process food with the same level of efficiency. Not everyone will react the same way.

So when people approach fitness with their only goal being to lose weight, they generally go through a short period of elation, and then fall into dejection when the scale stops moving. They think, "what's the point?"

The point is that you are healthier and fitter. Even if you aren't skinnier, you have improved, and can continue to improve, your fitness level. You will feel better, sleep better, and probably live longer. That is worth your effort.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: mikilt
2014-03-06 05:03 pm (UTC)

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I have found myself in despair mode because I "plateaued" and ceased to lose weight. I neglected the healthy eating and exercise habits I had once established and sure enough, the weight came back.

I recently got a full time job (Go me!) so I have less time to exercise, but healthy eating is not too hard and it tends to keep me at that plateau and not gain any more. I know that I am healthier for it, even if I am not losing any more weight.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-08 06:51 pm (UTC)

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Yes, exactly! The giving up good of habits because the only contemplated goal is unattainable is just so frustrating to see people do. Good for you coming back!
[User Picture]From: twoofdtm
2014-03-06 06:25 pm (UTC)

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Mine isn't the lack of numbers going down but the not bouncing back of my flesh and the lack of wanting to be naked in front of people. I'm almost shy in front of my lover and that's not necessarily the healthiest feeling to be having.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-08 06:52 pm (UTC)

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You are absolutely gorgeous. Body dysmorphia is another huge problem that I will write about someday soon. But believe me when I say that there are many of us who would be more than happy to see you naked.
;-)
[User Picture]From: custardfairy
2014-03-07 02:27 pm (UTC)

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Amen and hallelujah. Also, though there is still a lot of weight loss talk involved, I was pleasantly surprised by MyFitnessPal forums. People there (generally speaking) seem to encourage healthy goals and really despise fad diets and/or starvation approaches to weight loss. It's still about weight loss but I think it might show some kind of paradigm shift.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-07 03:18 pm (UTC)

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That's awesome to hear!
From: anonymousalex
2014-03-08 02:48 am (UTC)

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I was mulling this for a large part of the day, when something struck me: the thing about weight is that it's easily measurable. "Health" is kind of a nebulous concept, so while that might be the goal, the human tendency is to work toward what is quantifiable.

Not saying that's the only reason, but it is in the mix.

-Alex
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-08 06:49 pm (UTC)

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But encouraging people to work toward a quantifiable that is mostly quantifiable in its failure is a system that really needs to be talked about and changed.
From: anonymousalex
2014-03-09 04:53 am (UTC)

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In my head, that was an answer to the question "why do we continue to do this to ourselves?"

Of course, my thoughts on this are still in the formative stage. Can you tell?

-Alex
[User Picture]From: natalief
2014-03-08 12:02 pm (UTC)

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The evidence is clear: dieting in the leading cause fatness. The more our society has been inundated with diet plans, the fatter we've gotten. And the unhealthier.

Truth. Linking.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-08 06:47 pm (UTC)

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Thanks!
[User Picture]From: fjm
2014-03-08 12:49 pm (UTC)

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Agreed.

I am on a diet for Type 2, but a) it will never end, there is no "goal" and b) it's got nothing to do with fitness which I addressed many years ago (and which led to weight gain).

There is no real connection between weight and fitness and, what people also don't realise, no connection between fitness and health (I am fit, but for diagnosed reasons, not very healthy).

Edited at 2014-03-08 12:50 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-08 06:46 pm (UTC)

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People freak out, though, when you challenge their worldview in this topic. Every HAES blogger gets hate mail and death threats. Because TEHDEATHFAT is the worst thing in the world.