1200 Calories – Abject and Utter Bulls%#*


The above-linked article is brilliant. It’s also informative. If you’re a woman who is trying to get fit or lose weight, read it. Actually, everyone should read it because it does an amazing job of dissecting the ways in which the media, and even fitness and health-centered media, that should know a lot better, are flat out lying to women.

To me, there’s a certain amount of ethical horror that so many magazines, popular websites and TV shoes continue to repeat the mantra that women, regardless of age, height, weight, fitness or activity level should just eat 1200 calories and voila! Physical perfection beckons. I mentioned to the missus this recently when I read a couple of quotes from this article to her that, intellectually, I know that the mission of Dr. Oz isn’t to give health advice, it’s to get people to tune in consistently so they see the ads that bracket each segment of his show. Likewise, the purpose of any consumer magazine isn’t really to produce quality, well researched information, but rather to generate interest so that while you’re reading you’ll see the ads.

Still, the people who produce this stuff are still human beings, and, one hopes, they have a conscience and a moral center to their own lives that makes them want to produce a show or magazine or website that doesn’t actively do harm to the people who consume their product.

Of course the other part of the problem is the audience. People do not like to hear that reaching their goals will be difficult. {Insert Name of Useless Celebrity Here} lost 30 pounds in three weeks, therefore I must do likewise. What a load of malarky. It took me 5 years to lose 60+ pounds and keep it off. In those 5 years I had to relearn how to eat, learn to stop sabotaging myself, and find a fitness regimen I enjoyed enough to stick with it. Oh, and the first 75% of that weight was easy. The final 25% is what took all the time and effort. So, Sugar Buns, if you’re thinking you’re only interested in improving your life if you can do it in a month, then just don’t bother.

You, frankly, are not serious about this.

Yeah, the audience is a huge part of the problem. If I run a magazine I have to sell ad space. To sell ad space I need to draw people to my magazine on the news stand, and to do that I need to greet my potential readers with messages that appeal to their preconceived notions of how things are. A banner headline on the cover that says, “Lose Those Stubborn 30 Pounds In 3 Years” is going to generate exactly zero readers, which will cost me my job.

It’s a conundrum. The two biggest myths of female fitness – that lifting actual weights will make you bulky and that 1200 calories is a reasonable amount of food to eat – are entrenched in the American psyche. Entrenched in a steaming, fetid trench of BS.

Digging them out and planting honest information that can actually help people is going to take a very big shovel… or a lot of us with tiny ones.

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