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I think I have been so unprolific lately…

November 15, 2011

Because I have been busy with a bunch of projects, not the least of which was my first half iron man triathlon.

I have been reticent to share that here because there is a lot of story to it and I should share that as well, but more importantly, because I was actually afraid that I might have been becoming a fit person.  I know I am not, but still how am I to judge myself?  Would I even know? Judging by the fact that I was probably the only person in the race who consumed more calories DURING the race than they burned and that was just a fraction of the overall eating I did in Austin Texas (mmmm… steak….), I am quite confident after that experience, that I can still say, ‘I am not a fit person’.

The half iron man was grueling, to say the least.  It consisted of a 1.9 km swim, 90 km bike ride, all followed by a half marathon :21 km.  I had run a number of half marathons over the last few years, including one 2 weeks before the race, and I have swam 2 km + on at least 3 or 4 occasions, so I wasn’t worried abut either of those.  The bike was my concern.  I have never ridden 80 km, so 90 km with a half marathon afterwards, and all of this in 90+ degree weather had me quite worried.   I will tell you how it went in an upcoming post, but in the meantime, I will remove all of the suspense to tell you, I didn’t die during the event…

While I was training for the Triathlon, and since, I have been quietly watching the unrepentant scheming of of charlatans, trying to push absurd products that claim they will make us healthier.  I was silently looking on, busy running and swimming and getting ready for my event while product after product passed through my consciousness, entering from product boxes, ads, magazine covers, television commercials, internet sites.   I have no idea if anyone really needs to hear that products with absurd claims are ridiculous.  Is it possible to believe that ‘superfoods’ exist or that some exercises ‘explode’ fat cells…  I don’t know.  Judging from magazines, it is clear that people want to believe that these things exist (they don’t, just in case you were wondering).

If you take nothing else away from reading this blog, then take this:

There is no such thing as a super food, in the exact same way that there is no such thing as a super hero.  The super foods you read about are exactly as super as these people (you can see a news report here), when compared to imagined super heroes like superman or spider man.  I am not saying that these aren’t super people, but if you were falling off of a building you would very much rather have superman there than say, RazorHawk.  When you see any ad for a super food, remember, they are claiming to be selling you the superman of foods, when in reality, at best it is RazorHawk (worst case you get Knight Warrior).  Super foods may be good and healthy foods, but they don’t have any of the super powers that people would want you to believe that they have.  They don’t burn fat or fight cancer, they don’t detoxify your body or heal disease, they are just better balanced in their micronutrients to macronutrients.

To quote the real life super heroes, superfoods are like super heroes, ‘they just don’t have any special powers, obviously’.

So, this brings us to the first of several, ‘What were they thinking?!?!!?’ entries.  Starting with the new ‘Offensive Magazine of the Week’ cover.  It comes to us courtesy of First for Women, or for women First.  This may be a shortening of the real title of this magazines:  First for screwing with Women‘s body image.  This magazine not only offers ‘Energy Unleashed’, a story about a little known B vitamin that kills yeast to ____ tiredness, power up immunity and release fat.  That would be remarkable.  That would be absolutely astounding to think that all any of us would need to do to be healthy, have tons of energy and lose weight is just take our vitamins…  Wow… who knew.  But if that weren’t easy enough for you, they have Snacks that nix stress and Juice cures for pesky health problems… Yep.  Juice cures!  Don’t drink juice.  It does nothing good for you and almost always carries with it added, unnecessary sugar calories with no fibre to balance it.  They have the audacity to suggest that there are cures for health problems in juice mixes…  I cannot believe that they can print this crap.  I think that is an FDA violation.

Of course none of that caught my attention until I saw the photo afterwards.  What caught my eye was the Lose 43 pounds by Christmas offer.  43 pounds!!  There are only 7 weeks until Christmas (5 if you go by the date on the magazine) so to lose 43 pounds in that timeline you would need to lose over 6 pounds a week!  That means you would have to keep a 21,000 calorie deficit every week until Christmas.  If my math is anything close to correct, we are looking at a 3000 calorie deficit every day.  A 150 pound runner burns 2600 calories running a marathon… think about that…

According to Running & Marathons:

Elite Marathon Training

Elite marathoners typically run 100 to 150 miles per week. At 100 calories per mile, that’s about 10,000 to 15,000 calories or 3 to 4 pounds of fat per week. These runners of course, don’t lose 3 to 4 pounds a week because they, of necessity, have rather large appetites. It is however difficult to eat enough to gain weight while burning this many calories. Elite marathoners are usually quite slender.

Ordinary Runners Training for Marathons

An ordinary non-elite runner just wanting to finish a marathon or to beat last year’s time, does not run as much. A basic level for these runners might be 50 miles per week.

A 150 pound runner will burn an extra 5000 calories per week (700 per day) running this far. That’s just under a pound and a half of fat per week.

A sedentary person who suddenly starts running 50 miles per week without increasing his/her caloric intake would lose about 1.5 pounds per week.

Of course that won’t happen. A previously sedentary person should not start running at this level. If you are sedentary and want to start running to lose weight, start slowly. Start walking, gradually add running, and build by no more than 10% per week.

All of this says nothing of the insanity of suggesting that you can lose 43 pounds without for a second trying to determine what someone weighs before hand.  It may be possible to lose 43 pounds quickly if your hundreds of pounds overweight, but it becomes exceedingly harder when you only have 43 pounds to lose to get to your highschool weight.  It becomes impossible when you only have 5 to 10 pounds to lose.  The statement itself is absurd.  How can you suggest that someone can lose a set amount of weight in a set amount of time without knowing anything about them??  Why would anyone buy a magazine that is so clearly absurd??
All of this and I still haven’t gotten to the ‘Superfood’ claim.  They are claiming that there are superfoods that COLLAPSE FAT CELLS!  That actually sounds like a super power and we have already covered that.
This magazine is selling you Mr. Silent (I fear that he does not bring enough ‘silent’ to his character) and telling you it Superman.  That sounds like a crappy deal to me.  Thing is, these super heroes have their heart in the right place, this magazine doesn’t.
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