Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit, Personal Trainer Gains 70 pounds on purpose...? (read below)
I have my homepage set to Yahoo!... I came across this article as one of the top stories on the news ticker. A personal trainer has decided to make himself obese on purpose so that he can understand what it's like to be obese. As fitness professionals, what are your thoughts on this? Please read the short article to understand his position before answering. http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/why-a-personal-trainer-is-making-h...
after reading the article, I had really mixed emotions. I try to take the most positive angle and truly believe that the trainer has the best intentions to understand how it feels to be obese. And I also have no doubt that he will succeed in morphing himself back into his former trim physique.
We all know that diet and exercise will enable people lose weight and get fit. This trainer will prove that point, and I sincerely hope that he will not suffer any long-term effects from his experiment.
But what will be the point at the end of it? Will this be a self-congratulation of the "if I can do it, so can you"-kind?
People do not set out to make themselves obese. The factors of getting there are numerous, from family upbringing to emotions to lack of education. A 70 pound weight gain is usually the result of many years. I hated to see the comment in the article of "letting myself go like this". I did not like this phrase at all. It contains a judgment that I would not dare to render on an overweight person.
Overweight people rarely had a habit of regular exercise. As trainers, we may hear their stories how much they enjoyed PE - 40 years ago. It is a challenging job for us to re-acquaint them with their bodies' inate ability to move.
In summary: I applaud the best intentions of this trainer. No doubt, he means well. But I fear that this experiment will prove nothing new.
I would like to think that this trainer is doing this solely to inspire people to get and stay fit but I am having a difficult time in doing so.
As for putting on the weight to feel what it's like, I think he would have been better off getting a fat suit. He's right that he's never really going to know what it feels like to be obese and then have to struggle to get fit. But if I was training to be an addictions counselor, does that mean I have to take on an addiction to understand my clients better? It's flawed logic.
In as far as my own business is concerned, I do know what it's like to be fit and then fat and then continue to struggle to get fit despite many obstacles. While I can't say that I know what it's like to take up two seats on the bus, I can say I know what it's like not to be able to run across the street, kneel without pain, being frustrated with clothes shopping and dealing with mean things people say. Those experiences are just as valid as the ones he has had being fit all of his life.
Perhaps what this trainer really needs to do is spend more time with obese people, hear their stories, and be an advocate for their health. If he can't do that, then he might want to find another niche. And since he has been fit all of his life, maybe he would do better with clients that have a similar background who are training for something else.
That's just my two cents.
The NIH and the NHLBI evidence report on obesity (find it online) suggests that there exists at minimum a 40% genetic factor. Other scientists are suggesting that impulse control may be a brain wiring issue, or a not firing correctly problem.
It may be that obesity is not as much self determined as we once believed.
Thats like looking for a negative affect of tobacco and smoking a pack a day to see whats going to happen.
This was an experiment when it should have been an observation.
I'd be interested in knowing what this person actually learned. Compassion isn't easily learned, from what I've seen.