I read about this book in the paper yesterday and just had to check it out on Amazon.
The basic premise of the book is this: if you’re overweight, you need to cut the bullshit, admit to yourself that you’re fat, stop procrastinating and start running. Even if you absolutely hate it, force yourself to run daily.
When you don’t feel like running, stand in front of a mirror and berate yourself into going by calling yourself names and pinching at rolls of fat.
As for diet, don’t worry about that. Changing your diet is too hard and you’ll only set yourself up for failure if you try (which kinda flies in the face of the whole “just suck it up and do it because it’s good for you” approach, but anyway…)
And my favourite part – don’t bother trying to find activities you like. Running is the only exercise that’s challenging enough to result in weight loss.
So many things wrong with the above, I don’t know where to begin:
1. You can’t out exercise a bad diet and if you’re not keeping track of your food intake, it’s likely you’ll end up eating even more as a result of all that running. Telling overweight women that they don’t have to worry about making healthy dietary changes is just dumb.
2. There are many other activities that are arguably more effective for weight loss than running. Hours of steady state cardio is a very inefficient and, in many cases, ineffective way to lose fat. There’s a reason why many people gain weight while training for endurance events.
3. It’s pretty hard to commit an hour a day to an activity you hate (even if you adopt a tough love approach). Discouraging women from trying out a variety of activities until they find something they like or at least can tolerate seems counterproductive to the cause of getting women to incorporate fitness into their daily lives.
4. What about strength training?!?
5. The whole standing in front of the mirror and calling yourself a fat bitch seems a little cray-cray.
The only part I agree with is that a lot of people do need to suck it up and stop making excuses for not exercising. Sticking to a healthy lifestyle requires discipline and occasionally you have to stop being a baby and just accept that, no, you can’t have that slice of cake and, yes, you do have time to get to the gym.
Beyond that, I think following this woman’s advice is a recipe for disaster.
Running is not the holy grail of weight loss. No one exercise is. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now – the most effective workout is the one you’ll actually stick to. If you have to resort to negative self-talk to get yourself to run, maybe you should find another activity.
What are your thoughts on the approach Ruth Field is advocating?