Why do we think we know about weight loss?

11 Nov

The one thing that came through loud and clear on Andrew’s now epic post ‘The Weight Loss Trail Starts Here’ is that people have some pretty strong opinions about what needs to be done in order to lose weight.  In fact, it seemed everyone had confidence in their own knowledge of what weight loss entails – and the opinions varied wildly.

Metabolism counts! Metabolism is moot – its all about calories in/calories out! No no – Long Slow Distance is the way… but I prefer sprinting.  Crossfit is enough (crossfit is not enough). Crossfit+cycling.  Supplements! Biosignatures…FASTING! Get a pet so that you’ll be forced to maintain your exercise pattern as the pet needs walking etc. the list goes on.

It makes sense.  There is a very large and profitable weight loss industry designed to make us feel empowered with the knowledge that we know what needs to be done to lose weight – buy their product!  There is also an equally powerful ‘food and lethargy’ industry that makes people fat in the first place.  They exist in perfect harmony – making more money for each other at every turn.  There isn’t any real incentive to ‘cure’ obesity or help people actually maintain their weightloss, far more money can be made from people perpetually losing and gaining weight.


Reading our strong opinions (supplied for the most part by extremely fit athletes) – I couldn’t help but start wondering… how many people here have actually had to lose a substantial amount of weight?  And of those who have – how much do we actually know? To help illustrate this point – I thought I’d make a lovely flow chart that actually documents how much most people know about weight loss.

Upon reading it – Kate, Andrew and I all put ourselves in the ‘know something’ category (and kate, bless her, initially branded herself a yo-yo dieter! Which I assure you, she is not).  But it just shows when we begin talking about weight loss everyone seems to have an opinion, and how we evaluate ourselves isn’t always how others see us.  But when it comes to real knowledge and/or evidence around weight loss (ie: studies that aren’t just as easily contradicted by other scientific studies) there is a real deficit.  I put my faith in tried and true personal experience – but even this varies from one individual to another.


6 thoughts on “Why do we think we know about weight loss?

  1. cheers ben! I now want to make flow charts for everything.
    I was actually inspired by this: http://www.buzzfeed.com/sly/am-i-wearing-pants
    If only all women in London used it…

    ps – don’t listen to people talking smack about thick bands! A 100kg person using a green band is hauling way more weight than a 60kg person using a blue band… we all start somewhere.

  2. This is a good article my friend sent me on the relationship between weight and performance. Is cycling specific but the principles will be familiar to a lot of endurance heads


    Seems to suggest a difference on optimum proportions etc between “elite” and “non elite”.

    Maybe different requirements etc for those who see crossfit as their main sport

    Disclaimer: This is not me advising anyone or criticising. Article for interest only. 🙂

  3. Ha, love the am I wearing pants flow chart. I got caught out with this situation when I was a wee nipper. Decided to be loose – only to fall out of a tree and break my collar bone very badly. Thr trip to the hospital was embarrasing as they decided that I needed to be put on a ward in bed, slightly embarrasing conversation with the nurse involving me fessing up that I wasnt wearing any pants?! I was only about 10 or 11 and the memory still leaves me cold…

    Thanks for the moral support on the bands!


  4. just to be clear – its a north american flow chart, so ‘pants’ in this case refers to trousers… however the wee nipper story was very entertaining and i can see psychological scars from here.

  5. @brie and trousers/pants clarification. Yesterday my work colleague was talking to a Canadian in our building who regularly plays football for the collective team. Said Canadian had injured his knee, and was explaining why he hadn’t turned up to the fixtures recently. Whilst a deluge of local businessmen were walking past, he directed my friend’s eyes downwards and said ‘Look for yourself, you can see it swollen through my pants’. Classic.

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