No pain no gain.
Pain is weakness leaving your body.
What’s your excuse?
Have you seen these? The ubiquitous fitness themed motivational memes foisted upon us by corporations and Internet bloggers alike. You know what these all have in common? Aside from the fact that they typically aren’t associated with the funny cat videos that comprise roughly 94 percent of Internet traffic, they all do one thing: They make you feel more inadequate than your double cheeseburger with a side of shame already does.
No pain no gain? Well, that can’t be true. I gain weight all the time with very little discomfort.
Pain is weakness leaving your body? Thank goodness that’s all it is. I thought that was my Achilles rupturing.
What’s your excuse? Actually I have several. My general lack of motivation and my love of fried pastries to name two.
Well friends, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to suffer in order to look the way fashion magazines tell you that you’re supposed to look. It’s time to lick your wounds and relax. The answer to a better life is out there, you just need to have a few keys to guide you along the path of self-improvement. And by self-improvement I mean rock hard abs and weight loss that will make the world think you have a tapeworm.
Remember the old aphorism You are what you eat? Well, forget it. In today’s busy world who has time for “eating in moderation” or “being heart healthy”? I think that if there’s one thing that the health and wellness industry has proven time and time again is that miracle cures and gimmick diets work. Every. Single. Time. Not only are they logical and effective, but also completely safe.
The first step to health involves cleansing your system of toxins. Don’t worry about the specifics, like, “what is a toxin”? Or what exactly a “system” is. Just know that your insides are a veritable mishmash of noxious emanations that need to be forcibly extracted. Now, never mind the classic methods by which science deals with the byproducts of metabolism, that being the liver and kidney involved in the elimination of these compounds. No . There are only two viable ways to get rid of these harmful elements. You can either sweat them out or suck them out of your colon with a rubber hose.
Now obviously, one can’t just hop into a sauna and take a laxative. That would be crazy. There are a number of things you must do prior to the required sauna/laxative phase. The first step requires a simple 48-hour fast. The fasting phase, of course, being based on the known fact that in well-designed cross sectional studies the healthiest members of society are almost exclusively the homeless and exquisitely malnourished.
Once the obligatory toxin free days are completed, preferably while doing yoga or some sort of transcendental meditation, the next step is the juice cleanse. The cleanse itself is quite popular with celebrities, always one’s go-to source for all things medical, and typically involves fruit juices and cayenne pepper taken in large enough quantities to produce efficacy. Once your bowels are moving faster than a rat fleeing a sinking ship, your colon, much like your apartment, should be so clean that you could live in it.
The question then arises, “What do I eat once I’ve fully harnessed the health benefits of voluntary anorexia?” Well, that gets a bit more complicated. Given all the infomercials regarding the benefits of juicing, clearly solid food is the enemy. But if you simply must eat food that you can’t suck through a curly straw, there are options for you. First off we can start with what has long been one of the more popular diets out there, Atkins. Eating steak and wheels of cheese chased with a nice diet soda? Who knew that weight loss could be so tasty? Sure, you’ll smell like gouda, but just wait until you step on that scale and see the difference!
But please be forewarned, biochemists will argue that basic energy metabolism requires carbohydrates insofar as they allegedly play a vital role in keeping you alive. While it’s true that they may have a somewhat viable point, you have to ask yourself one question when faced with this sort of academic conspiracy: what’s in it for the biochemist? I’ll tell you what’s in it. Fame. Money. Women. Pure and simple. These people and their “degrees” devoting decades of their lives in poorly lit labs with only the heat of a Bunsen burner to keep them warm during those long winter nights while trying to finish one last experiment. It’s obvious! They’re doing it for the fast cars and loose women that go hand in hand with being a low-level university employee! Dr. Atkins on the other hand? Now there was a man who was in it for the betterment of mankind. There was no secondary gain there. Just pure altruism at work.
His idea, albeit co-opted from Alfred Pennington, was so simple, yet so brilliant. Cut out the carbs, eat more fat and protein. The science types will say that this, in theory, would limit the amount of insulin one produces and yields a ketogenic state inducing catabolism, and thus weight loss. Obviously Dr. Atkins had me at buffalo wing, but before you let the fancy words like “ketogenic” and “science” convince you, I have to admit that there have been accusations hurled at this sort of weight loss method. Some have claimed that a diet high in animal fat and cholesterol has been shown in most patient cohorts to correlate well with an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease. To them I say this, are you a communist? What didn’t you understand about “ketogenesis” and “science”? Ignore the pretentious white coats with their precious “facts.” Once we can comfortably cast aside their criticisms, we can get back to our self-righteous consumption of hamburger patties. Bunless, like God intended.
The Paleo diet has also gained traction in the recent past. The idea is sound. Basically, if a food product wasn’t around 10,000 years ago, don’t eat it. In other words, if it was good enough for the caveman, it’s good enough for you. Well, that makes sense to me. Is there something I need to sign? Neanderthals didn’t have heart disease you say? Java Man didn’t get colon cancer? What’s not to love about this? Granted, these primitive forebears of Homo sapiens had an average lifespan equal to that of a housecat and were too busy dying of cholera and being eaten by wooly mammoths to concern themselves with living long enough to have coronary disease, but still, the number speak for themselves.
Now, as for the theory that consuming carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in such a balance as to fall in line with known Mediterranean diets that, over time, have supposedly been shown to reduce heart disease, I think we can all agree that the jury is still out. Now I grant you, olives and hummus are delicious, but what else has the Mediterranean ever done aside from giving you a headache while you try to spell Mediterranean?
The bottom line is this: There will always be the conspiracy theorist who simply refuses to believe that muscle stimulator made from mylar balloons plugged into a wall socket will get you ripped while you finish off a bag of Doritos. There will always be the random crackpot who somehow feels that chocolate enemas are not the answer. To those of you who feel that the entire industry is simply a masterful scam designed extract money out of your wallet while leading you to believe that clean arteries and a rear end that could launch a thousand ships are 3 easy payments of $19.95 away, I say phooey. Kindly remove your tin foil hats and move along. Some of us are trying to get in shape.
Ali Kashkouli is an internal medicine physician.