TUCSON PERSONAL TRAINING CENTER

Should I Trust The Food Documentary I Saw On Netflix?

Personal Training in Tucson - The Protocol Strength & Conditioning, Llc

By Jerry Trubman, Owner and Founder

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

Dr. Seuss

 

The intention of this post may have less to do with fitness or nutrition than one might think. It’s more about those pesky little things that bother me when I’m alone with my thoughts. Hope you enjoy…

If you’ve noticed, in recent years there has been an interesting new genre of TV shows and documentaries revolving around a certain subject: The Obesity Epidemic. Some are better than others, and some I’ve had an appreciation for… others not. They’re obviously trying to bring attention to a serious subject and, like many of my fitness industry friends, are trying to explore solutions. As much as these programs try to differentiate themselves, in the end they all seem to point to one big-picture solution:

Stop eating the fill-in-the-blank thing that the film’s creators have deemed ‘bad’.

So let’s take a look at some facts… we have more information and research about nutrition now than at any point in history, and weight loss is a $20 billion per year industry in the US.

Are Americans, as a whole, getting any healthier?

Are Americans, as a whole, getting leaner?

No.

As a matter of fact, those numbers look worse every year.

What if there is another epidemic behind the epidemic? What if obesity isn’t the problem but instead just a symptom of something bigger? If you were to Google “How do I lose weight?” you will get pages and pages of diets that attempt to resolve the surface issues of overeating and under-moving.

However, research by top doctors at the Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, and approved as the curriculum for Registered Dieticians by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the single largest meta-analysis of health and fitness ever conducted), show that conventional “eat less, exercise more” approaches are just not effective.

The studies have also shown that these diets (often short-term due to the fact most are unsustainable long-term) actually harm our health, damage us on a hormonal level, and lead to fat re-gain 95.4 percent of the time.

Even the medical establishment’s solution of gastric bypass surgery has some disappointing news. Again, we’re treating the symptom, but the dirty little secret never advertised is that even going through this fairly high-risk procedure still often doesn’t get the job done. According to the American Obesity Association 3- year study, 22% of patients who received the Adjustable Gastric Band or “Lapband” were able to lose and maintain enough weight loss long-term to no longer be considered obese.

Whaaahhh?!?

That means 78% of folks who went through this procedure still did not get the results they were hoping for? Well that just sucks now, doesn’t it? I’ve personally worked with several clients throughout my career who have had the procedure and never lost an ounce, and one even suffered after having some major complications. Quite unfortunate.

If none of this is the answer, then what is?

Playing the blame game, as entertaining as it may be for these silly little pseudo-scientific documentaries, still leaves us with the uncomfortable reality that there is still “THE problem”. I’ll admit this is still something that is evolving in my own mind, but I’d like to offer something to think about:

 

Happiness

 

What do you think? I mean, the highest selling prescription medications that aren’t treating symptoms of bad eating and lifestyle choices (or inability to perform in the bedroom), are treating people for depression. How much do Americans spend treating depression? It’s estimated to be between $44 and $55 billion. Yes, more than double what we spend on weight loss. Although Americans are just 4.34% of the world’s population, we consume a lion’s share of the anti-depressant medications (tried to find accurate data to give an exact number, but there were too many conflicting research studies).

Please also understand that anti-depression medication statistics are not the end-all-be-all since there are many other factors to be considered.   

This opens quite the large can, doesn’t it? There is an entire industry to discuss here so instead of trying to condense that down, let’s look at it on a more scientific level. Research has shown that depression is mainly caused by two things: unresolved childhood trauma and hormonal imbalance. The first is beyond the skill of the author to unravel here… and actually so is the second, which is why I would make the suggestion to seek out more qualified help than the kind you can get from reading a blog post written by an unqualified person (yes, I’m poking fun at myself here). It is my hope, however, that if you read this blog looking for diet and exercise advice and have never thought to consider this path as a viable option, perhaps this post opens a door for you.

In the western world, it’s very easy to get caught up in complicating our lives, which adds to unnecessary stress (cortisol). Sometimes you may just need to ask yourself, “In five years, will this thing that I’m fretting over really matter?” It’s amazing how stress becomes quite relative. I’ve worked with a number of military/DOHS folks (thank you for your service!) who have maintained their composure in the absolute worst circumstances imaginable… all while the ‘real housewives’ are completely losing their cool over their landscaping not being trimmed just right.

I suppose the big take-away message here is this: The answers are not as crystal clear as the silly food documentaries make them out to be, and it seems like each one that comes out is more ridiculous than the prior. If you’ve heard the social media rantings of the latest one, “What the Health” and you’re thinking about watching it, don’t.

…unless you enjoy hearing lies and pseudo-science polished up into a shiny little movie.

If you’re looking for crystal-clear answers to very complicated questions, ask an idiot. Idiots are always absolutely certain about every friggin’ thing.

It’s totally ok to let some uncomfortable thoughts and ideas… things you may not like… swirl around in your head for a little while before formulating an opinion, only to discover later that it’s complete and utter nonsense.

Hopefully that last sentence gets read by someone who is thinking about creating another one of these turds to put on Netflix… 

I realize also that many of these films fall into the category of ‘vegetarian propaganda’ disguised as a movie trying to make a point about healthy eating. Look… if you are someone who doesn’t eat meat for political reasons, that’s fine! Own it! There is nothing un-noble about defending the rights of all living things, and there is certainly nothing un-noble about trying to make a statement about the sad state of how most of the meat consumed in the U.S. is produced. I think most can agree that we need to make some changes to preserve the long-term viability here. This argument is far better than, “Look at how buff this vegan bodybuilder is!”  

I realize this post was a bit out of character for me and I promise this isn’t a trend, but if this made you think about some things that are outside-the-box, and how they relate to your overall well-being, I’m glad. I stumbled across this video while researching this subject and found it to be one of the most powerful twenty minutes I’ve ever spent listening to someone getting to the bottom of all this (I’ve actually watched it about twenty times trying to fully assimilate its contents). I highly recommend checking it out, click here.

 

Until next time,

Jerry Trubman is a coach, clinician, author, and blogger. He is also the owner and founder of The Protocol Strength & Conditioning, a fitness facility and coaching program designed to help ordinary people move better and become stronger. He has devoted himself to seeking out better answers, and distilling them into practical programs that produce great results. He provides workshops, clinics, and kettlebell certifications through the UK-based company Strength Matters, and writes the internationally-read blog, ‘The Healthy Addiction’. He lives in Tucson, Arizona USA with his wife, Marie and dog, Sadie.

 

*Sources: www.sharecare.com, John LaRosa of MarketData; National Weight Control Registry; American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.




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