The Failure of the Health/Fitness/Obesity Industry

Aaaaarrrgggghhhhh……I am so frustrated.

Yesterday, I met with new client for the first time.

Over the past 30+ years, this woman has tried and failed to lose 20 pounds and get into “shape”

  • She has consulted with doctors and trainers and nutritionists and naturopaths.
  • She has bought books and magazines and dvds and subliminal audio programs.
  • She has starved herself of calories and fat and carbs.
  • She has run and jumped and stretched and lifted and sweated…a lot.
  • She has taken thousands of pills and potions.
  • She has rubbed on various creams and lotions.

In short, she has done just about everything that every popular health/fitness/weight-loss expert has told her to do.

  • And yet, she has never really come close to achieving her health & fitness goals.
  • And she blames herself.
  • And so do the experts.

They told her that their program was guaranteed to work…but only if she followed their instructions with perfect compliance.

So, when the program failed, it was because she broke the rules. It was her fault.

What a load of B.S.

  • They are supposed to be the experts.
  • They promise a solution.
  • She pays them large amounts of money for that solution.
  • And yet they take no responsibility for their part in the process

The nutritionist/dietitian gave her a meal plan, but never told her how to cope with the cravings and hunger pangs that came along with it.

The trainer billed her $120 per session but never taught her the hows and whys of an effective training program.

The weight loss doctor gave her a diet and some B12 injections and then yelled at her when she broke her 1000 calorie / no-carb diet.


So, why is it that after 30+ years of listening to the experts and spending thousands and thousands of dollars, this woman is still fatter and weaker and less healthy than she wants to be?


  • Is it all her fault?
  • Is it the fault of the experts?
  • A bit of both?

.And, is there a better way?


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  1. I am not surprised- the weightloss industry is just that- a business. The point of a business is to make money. If she loses the weight and keeps it off, she won’t come back and spend her money! But even though I am not surprised I am still saddened.
    We see so many strategies aimed at reducing obesity, but none seem to be working! Have you seen anything that have worked for many people?

  2. I’ve been not listening to the experts, instead trying to learn to trust my body. It took a lot of training, trial and error, and effort to break some bad habits, but I’m down from BMI 33 to about 26 and still dropping. It’s been slow but mostly steady, and now, since I’m close, it’s slower, and I often have to tweak and adjust. However, I don’t feel deprived, but I had to adjust my mind to live this lifestyle (regular exercise, reasonable eating) forever.

  3. I was sortuf in the same boat before I found your blog Doug! I had the same feelings also, that maybe it was just me and that I couldn’t achieve the weight loss. I had read everything I could about diet and so forth, but nothing ever seemed to work that well and everything conflicted. Eat carbs, don’t eat carbs, eat fat, don’t eat fat, calories don’t matter, calories are the only thing that matter, etc… I also had to finally admit that I can’t just exercise the weight off and eat whatever I want (but I tried!), it helps but diet is what sets weight loss in motion, and exercise is more of a limited throttle mechanism.

    What I have finally come to realize is its a little of everything, and if you apply a little of ALL the knowledge intelligently rather then sticking to one item, you can make it work. Also along the way changing things up will keep everything going. At least so far that seems good, I was nearly 230lbs when I found your blog and had barely dropped below that with the diets and exercise I was using, I am now down to 204lbs atm and moving towards my ~185lb goal at a good click. It may or may not be a straight shot to my weight, but even if I stall I know what to do to get it going again.

    Thanks again for being a beacon to help guide us Doug!


  4. For me – I “knew” all the right things to do. I knew what I should be eating, that I shouldn’t be sitting on the couch all day long, and that M&M’s weren’t dinner. But even with all my knowledge I still did all the wrong things.

    I bought the books, tried the programs, and purchased exercise equipment to no avail. It wasn’t until I decided in my own mind that I was going to change that it happened.

    Whose fault is it? Mine. Did the diet industry contribute to my obesity? Probably.

    Great post!

  5. Perhaps a bit of both, but it’s hard to say how much your client is at fault without knowing her full story. I do think the person needs to take some responsibility and really ask herself if she has the right mindset of if she is self-sabotaging. I definitely have to say that diet industry infuriates me most of the time. It is all about selling a product and that “product” is beauty, thinness, and perhaps and unreal ideal. The industry promises something they cannot possibly guarantee and its customers are left feeling inadequate a large percentage of the time. It’s a thought provoking question you ask in this post… and perhaps a bit of a paradox as well. Maybe one thing fuels the other… the diet industry plays off the woman’s insecurities and faults and just plain human-ness, and the woman plays off the fact that she knows the industry cannot give her what it promises, so she feels content to fail and blame something other than herself… Such a crazy cycle. If I had to place my blame, I blame the industry. It’s unnecessary. If a person wants to be healthy, they can achieve it with a support system and the right resources.

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