. . . Thursday April 7, 2005

Let Them Eat Profits

Here’s a nutty idea:

What if people who wanted to lose weight for whatever reason decided to burn slightly more calories than they take in?

To accept that as an option would be to stick a fork in one of the most absurd industries to emerge in the modern era. You can laugh all you want about the madness of the dot com boom, but even in that age of Kozmo, Webvan and online pet food, at least some of the stuff worked and an industry was built that has changed much about the way we live.

Can you say that about the diet industry?

Americans spent close to $50 billion on diet products and books last year. And guess what? We gained weight.

We guzzle down Slim Fast and munch on Subway sandwiches and carbless meals and move from Weight Watchers to Atkins to Jenny Craig to the South Beach Diet to Nurtisystem to the Zone and where to we end up? On the couch with a remote control in one hand and a bowl of Linguini Pesto in the other.

The only thing that gets any lighter is your wallet.

I’m not suggesting that it’s easy to lose weight. On a bad day, I could be considered a tad Gandolfini-esque (a bit husky but disturbingly hot) and no one is going to argue that’s it’s easy to lose weight while living in a fast food low impact super power (woe are us).

But can’t we be fat without being stupid?

Just think about the madness for a second.

Many American buy into the idea of eating a lot of Subway sandwiches as a way to lose weight. Sure, if you are 400 pounds and currently eat seven Big Macs a day then narrowing the intake to 5 Subways makes sense, but…

Every time a new craze comes out, we go for it. The most recent hype convinced us, after decades of swallowing the opposite message, that fat content in food products had nothing to do with, well, fat. The Atkins craze swept America with such fervor that companies in the carb business were hit and hit hard, and every brand from candy bars to salad dressings to pizzas had a low-carb version on the shelves. We even took into consideration side-of-the-package data as meaningless as net carbs.

And what was the net result. Drum roll please:

We’re fatter.

My pants may feel a little more tight and my second chin has grown a third, but I feel pretty healthy ever since I got those net carbs under control.

We are so desperate for dieting advice that we even take it (for a price both monetary and psychological) from other fat people like Dr. Phil.

Next time you feel the urge to drop a few bucks on a diet book, video or plan, do yourself a favor. Take the money, head to the nearest drive-thru and get yourself an obscenely large meal.

You may not lose weight, but at least you can retain some self-respect.

(Of course, you can always combine the blog revolution and some simple exercise and just run along with Matt.)

Concentration is important!