When it comes to our idea of a healthy weight, of a beautiful body, of a healthy diet, an effective diet, an easy diet or even feeling good about ourselves it is no surprise that we don’t know which way is up!
You see, we are bombarded daily by images, statements, adverts, stories, programmes and plans that get into our head, that mess with what I call the “Crazy Brain” and play havoc with what we think, feel and believe!
I describe this crazy brain because I have one and despite being someone who reads scientific research into health, nutrition and fitness, despite knowledge of the endocrinology, of insulin resistance, cellular functions, DNA expression, epigenomics and more, despite knowing better the media still bombard my crazy brain and it makes me feel and think in ways that are detrimental to my health but beneficial to the pockets of corporate billionaires and multi-billion dollar businesses!
“Damn you Crazy Brain!”
So what is this crazy brain?
The crazy brain is what I use to explain how the impact of media, of policy or popular advice can render us almost useless and unable to make unbiased and informed choices because the media literally mess with our heads and leave us confused, inferior, down and dismayed!
Just check out this photoshopped magazine front of a beautiful woman. Even before the photoshopping she is beautiful but for the magazine which is promoting weight loss, skinny pills, diets and this idea of beauty she has had her arm made so skinny it looks like it might actually snap, her waist has been narrowed, her face has been highlighted to enhance her beauty, her jaw line has been narrowed and even her back has been shrunk to become streamlined! Goodness, if this beautiful lady requires this much photoshop action to become acceptable for a magazine, a magazine that appears to promote health then what hope is there for the rest of us (and I actually include the model in the use of the word ‘us’ given that she needed to be enhanced in the first place).
You can certainly be forgiven for delving into this type of magazine and following the 50 ways to feel ‘your hottest’, following the diet plan or the celebrity tips and then when you don’t achieve the results advertised your crazy brain might kick in and despite you knowing that these photos are most likely photo enhanced that you are somehow to blame!
Just take a look at this, an easy diet plan with just 20 minutes of exercise and I can get a body as smooth, slim and sexy as this right. Well grab me that magazine and I am there. Yet again when I can’t quite get there my crazy brain tells me I am a failure, I fall off the wagon and my crazy brain says no worries start again on Monday – or given that its November which means its nearly Christmas I may as well just wait until New year right.
But again the media has duped me! I know this, really I do, but my crazy brain niggles in the background and makes me feel a little bit bad, I feel ‘fat’. “Britney has had kids why can’t i get my baby tummy back to how it was? Why can’t my legs be this slim? I want just 20 minutes a day to make this happen!” My crazy brain is getting in my way but the media are happy for this to happen because when next months issue is released with a new diet, a new plan, a new workout my crazy brain will be there buying it!
The media do all sorts, photoshop away the dimples, add in muscles, take out scars, they even use different people! You know what I mean the before and after photos that you think wow! “Thats amazing, I want this plan, I want this weight loss, I want to be the person!” What the creators of the article, plan, diet etc did not tell you was that the before and after person are different people.
I really love this social media post that depicts the levels of manipulation when it comes to before and after photos. Take a look at the post below, this photo is taken minutes apart but you would believe it was the results of a 30 day plan, 12 week programme or similar!
A simple change in underwear, standing taller some fake tan and sucking in the tummy and popping the arm gives you an instant 10b loss! Amazing! Mind you if my crazy brain is vulnerable this might be enough to make me buy the latest diet pill (actually I wouldn’t buy any diet pill but I know many many clients who have because of images like this).
Our crazy brain is the part of our brain that is vulnerable to the media, the media that make us think we are not normal because we have cellulite, because we don’t have a bikini bridge or a thigh gap, the media who bombard us with images of unrealistic men and women and ridicule and criticise people when they are not conforming to their photoshopped images!
The media like to manipulate our views on diet and health and to sell! Lets face it thats the aim, to sell! Let me share some examples of real situations that prove my theory about the susceptible nature of our crazy brain. I will say that once I discuss this theory with clients they have a ‘eureka moment’ and simply can not believe how susceptible they were.
By the time people get to us at FitER they have tried lots of diets. I tend to ask them what they eat and their lifestyle on the diets and this is where the crazy brain begins to show itself! Take a look at the list and see how many you say “its me too”.
- I eat a cereal bar for breakfast
- If I go off my diet I miss a few meals to compensate
- I fill my cupboard with the diet meals and snacks so I am ready to go
- I eat separate meals to my family
- I find diet foods expensive
- I eat low fat spreads, fat free cakes and healthy crisps
- I swap coke for diet
- I didn’t lose any weight so I did another diet
Do these foods look even like foods? I ask my clients why they they think that these products are healthy, good for them etc and they tell me about the reduced calories, the low fats, the advert on the TV that describes them as part of a diet, the diet is based on these foods and people lose weight! Everything they say is propagated by the media, by images, by claims. At this point I get my bag of tricks, I have 2 products that I bring out, purchased over 2 years ago that still look like they were opened yesterday! At this point I read the ingredients and ask them what the foods are, in this penny drop moment they realise that they are not eating a healthy diet, they are eating a product marketed by an industry thats main objective is money not health. I mean seriously who in their right mind would promote a “healthy product” like a low fat spread or healthy cake that does not even rot! Thats not food, thats fake chemical comprised ingredients formed to look and taste like food! But the media get to our crazy brain and tell us that if we want to lose weight we need these products, why eat fruit when you can have a ‘fruit bar’ instead (except it properly doesn’t have any fruit. Why drink fruit infused waters when you can have diet soda? Why cook your whole family nutrient rich foods when you can microwave a pre-bought weight loss meal whilst you cook something else for the family, surely you should all be eating the same, nutritious and healthy foods! I mean if the weight loss pre-bought option was so good you would feed it to your kids too right?
So the next time you pick up a magazine, see a food plan or see an advert ask yourself this. Would I feed these foods to my child? Would I like to live like this all the time, do you think thats a real image? That crazy brain is sitting there waiting for the next too good to be true programme, to believe the unrealistic claims and photos and desperately seek ‘perfection’.
Just take a moment and appreciate what you have in your life that is good and wonderful, remind yourself of how wonderful you are, believe that you are more than the crazy brain wanting to lose weight and get thinner and then make the choice to eat well, avoid processed products and eat healthy produce. At the end of the day if you are not happy or comfortable in your skin then do something about that but remember how long it took you to get where you are now and that the change won’t happen over night nor should it be all consuming and overtake your cupboards, meal times and life.
Happy living -X- S – X-
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