Understanding Paradigms in Fitness and Weight Loss
par·a·digm (pār’ə-dīm’, -dĭm’)
1. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.
One of the reason there is so much confusion in the world of health and nutrition is because people are confusing paradigms.
Fitness means so many different things to so many different people. To some people fitness refers to body weight, to others it refers to body fat or muscle mass, and to others it refers to eating foods that are chemical free, or pesticide free, or meat free, or carbohydrate free, and to others it refers to getting enough nutrients. Fitness is a word pregnant with so many meanings. Because of this, people can sell you on ‘fit’ diets that may not work for you.
So, when you are looking at fitness, know specifically what is important to you, what aspects of fitness interest you. Know the paradigm you are discussing before you seek out help and then make sure that the paradigm you are looking at matches your needs and wants. The only area I am offering help with is weight loss. Many diets offer weight loss through other paradigms, ie natural foods, or offer help in a world of other areas, ie, not only will you lose weight but you will have a better sex life or you will have more energy.
I strongly recommend that you don’t try to find ‘cure alls’ because so often they don’t cure anything. This is just my experience. More important than avoiding diets that try to solve all of your ills, is avoiding diets with conflicting beliefs. The most emblematic problem that you can run into with conflicting paradigms in weight loss is the nutrient deficient versus nutrient rich argument (which you can find here).
The bigger problem with this confusing issue is that when you are arguing about fitness with intelligent people whom you respect you can quite often find a tremendous amount of disagreement. It can be very frustrating, but when you understand and are clear about each others paradigms, you can at least understand why you disagree. For example, when I am talking fitness with a fit friend, I am referring primarily to weight loss. So I might say something like, flat breads are so bad for you. If the person I am talking to is in great shape and working out all the time, then flat breads might be exactly what he or she needs. We could argue about flat breads and be stating the same thing. Flat breads are very, very calorie dense. From my paradigm, weight loss, that is bad, from his or hers, that is good.
This is part of the reason that learning from fit people can be so bad for weight loss (one of the many reasons). If you are careful in understanding what you want and what basic principles are part of your thought processes, you are much more likely to find success in everything you do.