Chunky to Hunky

My journey to lose weight, get in shape and live a healthy lifestyle.

Observations: The real reason diets fail - Part 1

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Greed (grēd)

Adult definition:
a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed.  

Kids definition:
selfish desire for food, money, or possessions over and above one's needs

Merriam-Webster Online: Adult and Kids Dictionaries

Greed is the ultimate underlying source of why diets fail. Today, let's first explore the principles of greed and on a higher level, how it affects our health. We'll preview some of the tools used to support greed which suffocate your will power and make dieting and lifestyle changes often a vicious cycle of restarts and failures. In part 2 of the series we will cover these tools in more detail.

Remember the point I mentioned in the last article about our early settlers for the United States?  Their needs for living and survival were simple. Today, even though we have those same needs, we have introduced complexity and deluded ourselves into an entirely different mindset. This complexity makes it difficult to live healthy today.

Ingrained in our culture

Greed takes on many faces. Whether it is our own or that of big business, today our lives are built around the desire to want more. Some people try to resist it and others embrace it. When it comes to greed:

  • Our economy is fundamentally saturated with it: "Seek wealth! Instant gratification, SELF INDULGENCE! Work long hours with no downtime! Reward those who make money with no accountability! Produce product at any cost, cut corners and take unnecessary risks! Control accessibility to product to maximize margin!"
  • It is taught to our children: "Live large! Buy that house, desire the nice car, live this way, and think that way! Focus on shallow pursuits of life and be popular! You need the newest, biggest, best version!"  
  • We are conditioned to seek out convenience: "This product makes your life easier! That product will help you do things faster! No hard work needed!" 

When we buy into a philosophy supported by greedy thinking, we allow others to think for us and open ourselves to be influenced consciously or subconsciously to follow an unhealthy lifestyle. Whether it involves eating, laziness, stress management or poor life choices that could lead to depression, we are in a downward spiral from which we may not be able to recover. All of these things contribute to becoming fat and stumble us when we want to lose it!

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In the future everyone is fat!
Scene from the movie Wall-E

Preview into a couple of the tools that sabotage your efforts to live healthy

Marketing Machine

Marketing is one tool used by big business to persuade, entice, seduce and bring people from one state of mind into a different state to move someone to action and convert into a sale.

The marketing hype machine trains us that quicker is better, think less, live on the go, go large, and that effort is not needed or desirable because convenience is what one should want when it comes to living.  We are bombarded with this message daily on TV, ads, on the internet, on the road, almost everywhere we look. This translates into a mindset where it is no surprise that, while chasing these life pursuits, we either over indulge in food or stress/depress ourselves that we use food to attain a pleasure response creating an addiction to food the same way alcoholics use alcohol. 

All those behind the marketing hype machine, whether it is for big business, politics, media or religion have culturally shifted our priorities and focus to the point that it makes it all to easy to be unhealthy.  There is big money in getting us fat and then selling us on the concepts of how to lose it. Marketing is hard to avoid and sets us up to fail with dieting and lifestyle changes but is highly effective at draining our wallets. 

Passing the damage to the next generation: The work "ethic"

Why are our kids fat? Fast food replaces wholesome dinners because we are always on the go! We are too tired or too stressed from the rat race of a day that preparing that Hot Pocket or the quick macaroni & cheese dinner is easier!  Or perhaps we are too busy because the phone is ringing, text and email messages from work are piling up because we take our work home and the easy meal allows us to get back to the grind!  We are teaching our children that living an extremely busy lifestyle is desirable and eating like crap is acceptable so we can attain these other goals.  Who are we really feeding? We're feeding greedy companies, workplaces, or bosses that do not support work/life balance. Our pursuit of "success" is making our kids fat as well as ourselves.

The stress of working around the clock causes health and mental problems. Remember to balance work/life situations.  If you cannot accomplish your goals within a 40 hour work week then either you or management need help with better strategic planning, risk mitigation and time management. It's ok from time to time to put in that crazy 80 hour work week.  But what if it is the norm?  Then management is the failure and you're being foolish for agreeing to work those kinds of hours, hurting yourself and your families health. (I've done it in times past. This is what contributed to my obesity!)

Scott! You are speaking in a lot of generalizations here! Where's the beef?!

Other tools to be discussed in part 2

The last of it: Part 3: Conclusions and Accountability 

Addicted to food: The marketing monster on our bac...
Observations: The real reason diets fail - Overvie...

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Comments 2

Guest - Richard Hubbard on Thursday, 15 August 2013 12:22

The thing is, this greed thing is what keeps the companies that sell diet plans going. Once someone is off the diet plan, they will begin to gain weight again until they go back on the diet plan. Certain companies that sell food to go with their diets have set it up so that the customer can only succeed if they stick with buying their food. Money is the all important thing in this world and what drives companies to keep selling bad food.

The thing is, this greed thing is what keeps the companies that sell diet plans going. Once someone is off the diet plan, they will begin to gain weight again until they go back on the diet plan. Certain companies that sell food to go with their diets have set it up so that the customer can only succeed if they stick with buying their food. Money is the all important thing in this world and what drives companies to keep selling bad food.
Scott Sulkazi on Thursday, 15 August 2013 22:59

Exactly. I will be explaining a bit more about your point in my follow up to this post (Part 2). As well as the controls over availability and accessibility to diet specific products and how limited availability may cause people to fall off plan as well as the wagon entirely. I will also cover the curious issues of why it seems eating healthy is much more expensive than eating processed foods. We are in the peak of harvest season here in Connecticut yet it seems produce is extremely expensive... I understand costs can vary from growing season to growing season based on the crop... but it still seems quite a bit extreme as of late.

Exactly. I will be explaining a bit more about your point in my follow up to this post (Part 2). As well as the controls over availability and accessibility to diet specific products and how limited availability may cause people to fall off plan as well as the wagon entirely. I will also cover the curious issues of why it seems eating healthy is much more expensive than eating processed foods. We are in the peak of harvest season here in Connecticut yet it seems produce is extremely expensive... I understand costs can vary from growing season to growing season based on the crop... but it still seems quite a bit extreme as of late.
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