When it comes to weight loss, complicated sells - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

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When it comes to weight loss, complicated sells

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Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011 12:00 pm

On my way out of the book store the other day, I encountered a prominently positioned, large table stacked to the heavens with diet and weight loss books (it is the New Year after all). There were piles of "flat belly this" and "boost your metabolism that." You name it; every diet-craze topic was on that table somewhere.

A woman stood there, staring at all of it. She held a waded tissue and occasionally sniffed. She, like 66 percent of us, had some weight to lose.

I can't tell you why, but I felt compelled to remark on the craziness that was that pile of books. Maybe I hoped for a chuckle. "How can there be so dang many books on ONE subject?"

She didn't even look up - her expression flat. "Because there are so many reasons we are overweight." Then she wiped her nose.

I felt a visceral flash-fire surge to my brain. The urge to scream "No there aren't - there's ONE reason" almost made it across my lips. Luckily, the social side of my brain quashed the urge and hurried me out the door before a scene could ensue. I would have just wound up with a migraine and an angry stranger.

I stomped off to the car - half of me mad at the other half. I stewed over my unshared response. It nagged at me - and continues to do so. I take this opportunity to give voice to that part of me. Maybe it'll shut up.

Here's the deal: We want it complicated. Seriously, we do. Complicated means it's not our fault. The excuses feel valid. Simple means we need to look in the mirror, and that's probably going to hurt.

Our desire for complicated explanations and solutions is sturdily reinforced by the fitness and weight loss industry. If it's simple, you don't need their help - no pills, injections, crazy diet books, gadgets or DVD box sets. Complicated sells.

So there we have it: Consumers who want it complicated because the explanation doesn't hurt as badly, and an industry all too happy to oblige. It makes the money go round.

We've all heard variations on the principle "Simpler explanations are usually correct" or "Select the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions." It applies here, too. It really doesn't have to be complicated. The simpler of two things is usually the answer. You might be surprised at the results (and the money you'll save).

NSCA certified personal trainer Shannon Sorrels has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an MBA. Her company, Physix LLC, works with Valley individuals as well as groups to improve their overall fitness. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or visit www.azphysix.com.

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