Why are We in Such a Hurry to Lose Weight?

Jaw droppedI remain gobsmacked by a statistic I recently learned.

By this time of the year, north of 80 percent of people who — at the beginning of the year — said, “This time I mean it! This is the year I’m going to lose those extra pounds,” have given up. Done. Over. Wiped their hands and walked away.

The Centers for Disease Control says that, as of 2012, 69 percent of our population is overweight or obese, with almost half of those folks classified as “obese.” Those extra pounds underwrite a multitude of health conditions, both physical and emotional; and we all know about them. Therefore, one might think that the urgency to shed an expanded waistline could be enough incentive to stick with a program longer than six weeks.

One might think that. One would also be wrong.

The number one reason people quit their program is that they don’t feel they’re losing quickly enough. Granted, if they could slow down racing to the refrigerator long enough to realize that a slow weight loss is faster than a no weight loss, they might stick with it a tad longer. Yet, in all fairness, it’s difficult to remain cold sober logical about your progress when the scale won’t budge. “Get-thin-quickly” scam artists are partially to blame for the false expectations that drive the frustration, but they are actually symptoms of a deeper problem fostering the unrealistic drive to drop weight faster than a brick can fall from a six-foot wall.

So, why are we in such a hurry?

There are two factors at play.

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A List: Top 5 Ways to Fail at Everything

I am fascinated by lists.

man-looking-at-list

In college, my “go to” book was “The Book of Lists,” which was, um, well — basically a list of lists.

In today’s digital age, most are on-line. One site I found had the most popular “bucket list” ideas. Some of the trendiest objectives included visiting virtually every locale, jumping into a pool fully clothed, and — I kid you not — covering someone’s car in post-it notes. You scamp, you!

Techcrunch posts the most common Google searches. It contained “Ice Bucket Challenge”, “Ebola,” and “Flappy Bird” (a game). Sadly, the loss of “Robin Williams” generated the most searches.

Finally, Listverse, whose raison d’être is to make lists, presented its most popular of all time. Claiming spots in that prestigious ranking are “Top 15 Amazing Coincidences,” “Top 10 Amazing Facts About Dreams,” and the most popular list ever: “10 Fascinating Last Pictures Taken.”

Different times of year spawn season-appropriate lists. January might bring forth “Ten Tips to Getting Organized in the New Year.” In April, we’re informed of “Most Common Forgotten Tax Deductions.” June could give rise to “Top Wedding Ideas of Successful Brides.” (Of course, I don’t know what an “unsuccessful bride” would be.)

I want my own world-famous list. So, I thought of something no one else has done, which I now unveil: (insert fanfare please)

“Five Things You Can Do to Make Sure You Never Achieve Anything.”

In reverse order (because that makes it more exciting I guess):

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Dieter beware; it’s the Season

I was prompted to write this because I heard an advertisement proclaiming easy weight loss by simply putting drops on one’s tongue.

Snake-Oil-Diet

This always irks me because I hate it that so many people lie about weight loss; taking advantage of the desperate (and unthinking). The only drops one can put in one’s mouth to cause rapid weight loss would be super glue (and I’m not saying to do that of course). Yet, ‘tis the silly season; that yearly ritual where anyone with a megaphone can make false claims about how one can lose weight overnight, without adjusting any behaviors.

Why do so many buy into this time and time again?

Well, let’s start with some facts: According to surveys, the top New Year’s resolutions are: Number One, “spend more time with family and friends;” and number two is “get fit.” “Losing weight” rounds out the top three.

So, it’s obvious that it’s important to many people.

Paradoxically 80 percent of resolutions find their way into the trash heap by January 20, and 92 percent collapse before year’s end. Bottom line? Only eight percent of resolutions survive the year. Why the low success rate? The reality is that so many people are so desperate to shed that weight — and to do it quickly — that they put their brains into neutral, falling for schemes that they’d never accept if they slowed down long enough to think.

Putting on my consumer advocate hat, I therefore did some research to find out what to avoid, should you wish to be one of the successful eight percent instead of the sad 92. Webmd.com listed several diet types to avoid if you wish to successfully lose weight. [Read more…]

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Young Blood – A Trip to the Doctor’s Office

Don’t get me wrong. I really like my doctor.

doctor

Although I only get 15 minutes in his presence per appointment, I understand that’s not his fault. More importantly, during that quarter of an hour, he really has a great bedside manner, remaining attentive and focused; he even laughs at my jokes. Yet, it’s still a very short amount of time for me to catalog every concerning twitch, itch, or anomaly I discover on this aging body. Nonetheless, he listens patiently and responds to every apprehension and I have yet to catch him sighing nor checking his watch.

Like I said, I like my doctor.

So at first blush, it might seem contradictory when I state that I did everything I knew how to do to avoid my most recent appointment. No invasive tests were on the agenda. I did not even have to fast the night before; I had done that the previous week. This visit’s express purpose was merely getting the results of my standard blood tests I took the week previously.

I arrived for my appointment a little early; hoping to get it over with. I purposely did not wear blue jeans because I knew they weigh more than my black cotton pants and also knew that — per standard protocol — the first place to which I would be escorted was the scale. I’ve commented before that I would prefer they placed it somewhere more discreet as it feels like it’s in the lobby with a lighted placard announcing, “Now weighing in…” and then proclaims my weight to everyone in the entire building. It’s not doing that of course, or so I’m told. But, as they say, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” It still does appear that way to me.

“Please step on to the scale,” said the nurse.

“One moment,” I replied, “I don’t want to weigh while wearing this jacket.”

She smiled patiently while I placed my coat on the provided rack.

“Excellent; now you can hop on board.”

“I’m not done yet,” said I, whilst removing my shoes and unbuckling my belt.

“You know, you don’t really need to take those off,” she commented.

“Maybe others don’t, but I do. I’m a professional at this.”

I accented the action by emptying my pockets of my keys, spare change, phone, and even my pen. (I would have discarded the used napkin buried in the bottom of my pocket but I was starting to feel a bit too anal-retentive.)

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Getting Out of My Own Way

Of late, I’ve taken on yet another new assignment.

I’m “chat coaching,” a steep-learning-curve experience I assure you.

live-chat-keyboard

Should you be unfamiliar with chat coaching, I shall explain. I log into a website from my home computer, which is connected to a main server in cyberspace. On the other side of the void, should someone need guidance, they click on a button on their screen and their “call” is routed to me on my computer. He or she types. I reply via the same method. If you were asking, “Wouldn’t it be easier with a phone?” The answer is probably “yes.” However, that’s not how it works and I’ve agreed to the terms. To be honest, I’m actually growing to enjoy the procedure – short of the carpal tunnel issues for which I must be on guard.

In effect, this type of communication can be best analogized as a very slow moving conversation, especially since the policies require appropriate grammar, correct spelling, and avoiding emoticons and abbreviations (like “BTW” or “LOL”). The repercussions of having such time in between transactions allow one’s thoughts to drift, which lends itself to me making judgments — fair or otherwise — about who is on the other end, based entirely on how long it takes for a reply and what shows up when it happens.

With that as backstory, today someone logged in and began the conversation with the most ridiculously moronic questions.

“Really?” I thought, “Are you serious?”

Her query was so “beyond the pale,” that I first assumed I had snared a “troll.” (No, not the long-haired, full-bellied, naked toys of the seventies. Rather these are nasty individuals who enjoy annoying, frustrating, or insulting other people in cyberspace, merely because they can get away with it.)

Yet, with the passage of a few paragraphs of correspondence, I understood that the young woman on the other end wasn’t trolling, but was instead severely developmentally disabled. Obviously, her skill set allowed use of the system but her text was burdened with so many typos, it was near impossible to untangle, and the speed at which she replied would make a beginning typist feel like a thirty-year executive secretary. But most importantly, she couldn’t grasp even the simplest concepts.

[Read more…]

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