Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why You Will Never Lose Weight

Today's topical Tuesday blog springs from an article in the health section of MSNBC's online news. Why am I always picking on MSNBC? Because I'm on that website at least once a day, and their articles often crack me up, for reasons I'm about to spell out.

According to the most recent pointless, federally sponsored health study to make the news, flabby older women aren’t going to lose their flab if they don’t work out enough and don’t cut calories.

Duh. (But at least you now know where your federal tax dollars are going.)

It takes an hour of moderate exercise a day for women of a certain age to maintain their weight without dieting, according to the study’s lead author, Dr. I-Min Lee. I’m not sure where Lee is, or why the doctor is there, but I guess that’s not important. What is important is that approximately 87% of the 34,079 women who participated in the 13-year study couldn’t maintain their weight. These poor, mass-increasing mamas were around 54 on average when the study began, which means they were around 67 when it ended, and over 13 years, they gained an average of 6 pounds.

That’s right. Just 6 pounds. And these ladies are in their 60s. But we’re not giving them any slack for suffering the slight increase in weight that is a result of natural aging. Oh, and did I mention that only women were included in the study? So we don’t find out what happens to the average weight of men between the ages of 54 and 67. (Please ignore the paunch under the tee-shirt just like you should ignore the small man behind the curtain.) Well, I suppose I should consider this choice to study only women “fair.” It’s only the weight of women that matters, right? No one cares if men are fat, right? (Except for their poor wives!)

Please don’t make any judgments based on your visits to Grandma and Grandpa. What you see with your own eyes isn’t sufficient to form an intelligent opinion. That requires science… pointless science in this case…since it is pretty obvious that if you don’t work out enough to work off the excess calories you eat, you’ll get fat. I think we all know that, right?

Actually, we don’t. MSNBC offers links to its related health content. These three articles are titled (and I quote):

  1. “Interval training can cut exercise hours sharply.” Good. Now those old ladies don’t have to work out more than an hour a day after all.
  2. “Is exercise worth your time? Genes tell.” Good. Now those old ladies don’t have to waste time working out if their DNA says not to bother.
  3. “Too much exercise can lead to overuse injuries.” Bad. Now those old ladies who are working out enough to maintain their weight are doomed to get injured, which will result in their being laid up in bed, which will result in their gaining weight.
It seems to me—simple-minded lay person that I am—that all these studies and experts are negating what Dr. I-Min Lee’s study just proved. But I guess that’s just me. John Foreyt, a behavioral medicine expert from Baylor, disagrees with me. He says that the study “reinforces in a nice, clear way the idea of how difficult it is to maintain a healthy weight in our society.” I’m so glad it didn’t reinforce the truth in a muddy, confusing way, and heaven forbid, in a mean, vindictive way. I hate mean, vindictive studies. Our federal tax dollars should never be used for them.

All these conflicting studies just go to show the real reason you will never lose weight: because you will never know what to do if you listen to the results of the studies. And you probably do listen to them. So you’re doomed. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Now, I’m not nearly 54 yet, so I don’t have to worry about the results of this study for several years. But I don’t think this study applies to me anyway. If I can’t keep off the flab when I’m older, I already know the reason: my addiction to Cheeze-Its. When will someone fund a study about these delicious crackers? Only time will tell.

Copyright © 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

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