Gimme Gimme Gimme the ANTI-Gimmick

by peggyvreeland
Peggy Vreeland

Peggy Vreeland of All About Balance, LLC & the Melting the Mirror Series

This is a guest post written by Peggy Vreeland, MSW of All About Balance, LLC as part of the Melting the Mirror Coaching Series.

This is the first of many future articles on the many aspects of health and fitness that are shared in my Melting the Mirror program. Let me first introduce myself. I am a 46 year old single mother of two adult children. I’ve been involved in the health and fitness industry for almost 20 years. You can find more information on my background at www.meltingthemirror.com. I believe you will find that I have a very uncommon view of fitness.

However, in today’s article, I’d like to focus a bit on some common views of fitness and share a little bit about how society can affect our own personal definition of fitness. I was talking with a client today who has been yo-yo dieting for the past 15 years. I’m not kidding, she was like the poster child for every gimmick and fad diet that’s been advertised. The results? She gained about 50 pounds over that span of time. One thing you will eventually learn about me, is that I’m not big on using the scale to measure progress (or lack of progress). I tend to gauge progress by how a person feels about herself, both physically and mentally. But when she described her experience, I couldn’t help but think about why we believe these promises, made by complete strangers. What really IS happening with the ‘gimmick’?

I think it happens from two sides. First, the industry, in order to survive, must make impressive promises and must have measurable results. Because we are a ‘quick fix‘ society, it must also provide those results in a relatively short amount of time. And so, the gimmick is born. “Lose Twenty Pounds in Twenty Days.” “Lose Three Inches off your Waistline in Three Weeks.” We are then flooded with images of bikini-clad women who probably, for many of us, look better in their “before” pictures than we have ever hoped to look. Their suntanned, airbrushed, makeup enhanced “after” pictures dazzle us, and (because we WANT to believe this is really possible for us), we jump on the bandwagon and start the starvation diet.

Then, (and here’s the REAL kicker), we actually attempt the diet. We go shopping with a long list of foods that we would never normally purchase, cook up a week’s worth of whatever the gimmick calls for (cabbage, anyone?), and vow to suffer through the next 6 weeks in hopes that we, too, can see the kinds of changes that were advertised. Unfortunately, these gimmicks simply aren’t anything any NORMAL person would do over the long haul; so, we either fail miserably, or (worse yet), we actually succeed in dropping a substantial amount of weight, either through virtual starvation, or through doing a ridiculous amount of exercise.

I would venture to say that the person who ‘failed’ is actually in a better place than the one who saw some amount of ‘success’ with these gimmicks. I will allow you to let that sink in for a bit, and in my next article, we will talk about why that is true.

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