By Jason Menard
With the announcement that Atkins Nutritionals has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S., yet another magic bullet has missed its mark. And yet we still haven’t learned that the solution for weight loss won’t come with a bang – rather it arrives, as always, with the tried and true whimper, grunt, and groan.
People have turned their backs on the Atkins revolution, just as they have with any number of fad diets that have dotted the landscape and are revealed off the covers of countless magazines. But instead of making the sensible decision to do what’s right, we’ll all stumble blindly to the next fad diet – justifying it as the right one!
The next big thing in diet is actually an older revelation – glycemic index – and many of us will be walking around with our GI calculators, anticipating insulin surges, and doing mathematical calculations to see what and how much we can eat. But instead of mental gymnastics, maybe we should get off our butts and engage in some physical gymnastics.
The problem is that we are a society driven by instant gratification – that’s how many of us got these extra pounds in the first place. If it tastes good we want to eat it, and hang the consequences. That is until our shirts fit us a little tighter and we have to move to the next notch on our belts.
Years of less-than-stellar eating habits brought me to a point in my life where I was less buff muscle man and more Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. My father’s emergency bypass and my own elevated triglyceride levels later, I completely changed my diet and dropped a small child within a couple of months.
I was one of the lucky ones in that, with minimal effort and sensible eating, I was able to drop 40 pounds in a very quick period of time. But that was a couple of years ago and that little extra padding I have around my waist persistently refuses to leave. While I haven’t gained from that day, I haven’t lost either, and there are still a few inches that could stand to disappear.
So why are they sticking around? Because I’m lazy. I go to the gym to do physio for a shoulder injury, but I don’t take the opportunity to exercise my gut as much as I should. I do cardio as a matter of course, but I don’t have the dedication it takes to make the full commitment that living a healthy lifestyle demands.
And I’m not alone in this. Look around you and you’ll see countless people that talk a good game about losing weight, but never end up getting off the bench.
Essentially, we all want it to be as easy to take off the pounds as it was to put them on. That’s why energy bars are so popular! If a Snickers satisfies, then a protein bar may take those pounds off the thighs. But what we forget is that the protein in those bars is intended to help build and repair muscle that’s been under stress from exercise. If the most we’re doing physically is lifting a remote, then that protein’s not just going to waste – it’s going to our waist!
We sit around begging science to come up with the one pill that will solve our weight management problems. We want our diet to be purged like a Catholic’s soul at confession — we want our dietary sins to be absolved instantaneously! That’s why we gobble conjugated linoleic acid supplements or turn to herbal treatments like TrimSpa and Herbal Magic – in the hopes that science can counteract the effects of that extra piece of cheesecake.
The thing is that science has already answered our call. It has proven that a sensible diet, combined with regular exercise is all the majority of us need to do to stay in shape.
And dieters are the worst offenders of all. How many times have you overheard a group of people complaining about how hard it is to stay on their diet. How many of these people are doomed to failure because they’re depriving themselves to the point where cheating on their diet isn’t just an option, it’s an inevitability.
Instead of being dumbbells, we need to lift a few. There is no magic bullet. There is no restrictive diet that’s going to magically melt away the pounds long-term on its own. The chips-and-dip diet is not around the corner, so we need to stop waiting for it to come (especially since most of us are too sedentary to get up and go look for it!).
We have to face the truth that just because we don’t like the answer that’s in front of us, doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. Instead of waiting for that magic bullet, it’s time to actually bite it and get on with our lives.
While Atkins may go bankrupt, we don’t have the luxury of letting our bodies to the same. The path to better health has been clearly laid out in front of us for years. There’s no magic to it – just honest exertion, sweat, and hard work. There’s nothing sexy about it. There’s no magic bullet. But maybe, just maybe, we can forget about the fads, take a step in the right direction, and stop shooting ourselves in the foot.
If we don’t do something about our worsening health and expanding waistlines, then our next step may just put us one foot in the grave.
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