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Abs this, abs that… come on!!…

September 7, 2009

In survey after survey, men and women say a lean, muscular abdomen is the ultimate symbol of sex appeal. And in study after study, researchers found that getting a firm, flat stomach is the single most significant step you can take to stay healthy for life. It’s simple: To look better, to feel better, to live better, The Abs Diet is for you! –David Zinczenko Author of the Abs Diet

I have no idea if David Zincezenko kicked off the Abs diet craze, but it isn’t too important if he did or he didn’t, because clearly the market had already decided that it wanted ‘abs’ diets.  I love this quote from David Zincenko.  What it is saying to me is, people really want great abs, and although they take tremendous dedication and work, I will sell them a book that promises them flat abs (as well as longer life, freedom from back pain, and a better sex life).

Good thing we didn’t find big thighs so attractive, or we would be inundated with Thigh Diets and Thigh exercise machines (recall the thighmaster?).  Ironically, researchers have not found that ‘flat abs are the single most significant step you can take to stay healthy for life’ (waist to hip ration may be a significant indicator of mortality, but you do not need flat abs to have abs smaller than you waist size), but strong thighs may very well be:

Men and women whose thighs were less than 24 inches in circumference were more likely to die during those 12 years, they found.

Those with the thinnest thighs — less than 18 inches — were more than twice likely to have died within 12 years, they reported in the study, published here.

*A side note here, but I just measured my thigh and so did everyone in my office, and 24 inch thighs seem huge!  How do they build people in Denmark?  I won the office comparative size challenge with 23 inches and I just completed an Olympic Triathlon yesterday.*

What I am getting at here, is flat abs are just a gimmick.  You can get them, but you know what, you can’t run before you can walk.  It really is that simple.  If you are in great shape, with a low healthy body fat percentage, you can probably make the jump to flat abs, but first you have to get to a low healthy body fat percentage.  This is true for all of the ab crap out there.

Don’t get an ab specific machine or use an flat ab diet or try a miracle flat ab cleanse.  If you are overweight, you need to deal with that first.  You will never get flat abs until you get your body fat percentage down to athletic levels first.  Then it will take a lot of ab exercise to build them up to make them showy, while reducing your body fat even more.

I don’t think I will ever have flat abs again (since my teen years), but I am close.  I am very fit, and I could make the decision to push my fitness levels a little further and be considerably more careful in what I eat and I could get flat abs.  I have to make the decision to be that diligent, should I choose to have flat abs, but before I was ever in that position, I had to make some better decisions with my eating, and come up with activities and methods to become active and most of all, enjoy it.  I now have the power to make the sacrifices that will lead to flat abs, but I may find that just being fit and enjoying the food and drink I can now have is enough for me, although I may still dream of six pack abs.

So, don’t let yourself be suckered in by people who will take advantage of your dreams.  People will prey on your dreams.  It makes me very angry to see that people do, and it makes me very sad to see them getting rich doing it.  I will continue to try to be a voice of reason regarding healthy weight loss, but use your common sense (remember, I am trying to sell a product as well, my book).  Never automatically trust someone who is trying to sell you something.  Use extra care in determining if they are being honest first, and if what they are saying is true second .  Those two things are not necessarily connected but ifsomeone isn’t being honest, the odds of them telling the truth are radically diminished.  As well, if people are telling you it is easy, or saying just what you want to hear, please be doubly or triply skeptical.

There is nothing easy about weight loss, and flat abs are even harder.  I can help you with the weight loss, and many reputable sources out there can as well.  One thing that they will all tell you is that you need to eat a more healthy food and exercise.  You need to move your body for at least an hour at a time, running, hiking, climbing, cross country skiing, biking or swimming.  You need to use a road, a trail, a pool, a treadmill, an elliptical machine, a bike or a rowing machine.  You can also add weights to this program as you become more active.  The truth is that simple, but obviously how you incorporate those things into your life is the difficulty and that is never very simple.  This is what I address in my book.  Think about what the problem is.  It isn’t that you don’t know what to do, it is learning how to include that in your life and still be the person you are, with the values and sense of fun that you currently have.

We all know what we should be doing: exercising and eating healthy.  I have heard it a million times and I believed it every time.  That said, I have heard a lot of very good advice in my life and haven’t acted on much of it.  Not because I didn’t think it was good advice, most of the time I can recognize good advice when I hear  it.  No, it was because I didn’t know how to incorporate it, or it just didn’t fit with my life.  Good advice is unfortunately relatively useless as a force to move people.  It is more like a seed that can, under the right circumstances grow to a force that can move you

Typically the right conditions are very much akin to fertile soil and a sunny, well watered location.  First, are you ready for the advice?  Are you at a spot in your life where you need change and are willing to work to make change?  Second, is the advice self-sustainable?  Change is hard in life.  Really hard.  Almost everything is easier than change.  The difference between impossible change and possible change is how self-sustainable the change is.  You can imagine the process as trying to cross a desert.  If along the way you can go from oasis to oasis, then you are likely to make the trip, even if it is very difficult.  Without the oasis you just simply aren’t going to survive.

I am pointing out that a change needs to be self sustaining to be achieved, but this isn’t quite true.  Odds are pretty good though, you alone will need to sustain your change, given that you haven’t changed yet.  Whatever it is that you are changing has to give back enough on a regular enough basis, to keep you with it. or others have to help you to sustain these changes.  For example, the Biggest Loser TV show is a classic example of others sustaining the changes for the people changing their lives.  Trainers, dietitians, doctors, and a TV audience all help sustain these peoples changes.  You can find supports to help sustain yours as well.  There is nothing wrong with outside sources, family, trainers, doctors, etc helping you sustain your change.  This is up to you though.

-Chapter 6 You Are Not A Fit Person

Think about this, do you want to keep giving your money to people who are telling you what you want to hear, but don’t care at all if they help you?  Just think about it.

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