Why The Easy Way Out, Usually Isn’t

A lot of the time, difficult things just suck.

When you like the difficulty, we tend to call it “challenging,” but when you don’t like it, we just gripe about how much it sucks. Don’t like doing your taxes (and how doesn’t)? Then it’s just a pain.

Because of this, we tend to like the easy way out whenever we can find one.

However, when it comes to health and training, the easy way out usually isn’t.

What triggered this was a conversation I had earlier today. We were talking about weight loss and this woman commented, “I really think Weight Watchers is the way to go.”

Well, as someone who has lost over 50 lbs now without Weight Watchers, I tend to disagree. However, I think it might help to explain why as part of a broader discussion.

Look, I’m not going to argue that Weight Watchers can work. I’ve seen too many people who lost weight on it to think anything else. You really can lose weight on programs like it or Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig.

The problem is for what happens afterward.

You see, these programs are expensive. They’re expensive because they’re making it convenient. They do all the figuring for you. It calculates the macronutrients for you and then generally ships you the food. They’re something of an easy way out of obesity.

Then something happens.

Maybe you hit your goal and figure you’re done. Maybe you’re just getting broke and can’t really spend that kind of money. Whatever. Either way, you cut the program.

What almost always happens is that those folks eventually put the weight back on.

Yo-yo dieting is a bad thing, but these programs exist as an easy way out, but also to make you dependent on this program. Because you took that easy way out, you never built the tools you needed to function on your own.

By taking that easier path, by letting someone else do all the hard work, you’re suddenly unable to continue along because you lack the tools to do so. Nutrisystem sent you all your food and now you don’t know how to plan a meal. Weight Watchers helped you every step of the way with your food and you don’t know how to proceed. Whatever it was.

Anyway, you lack the background to move forward, all because you took that easy way out.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand it. This stuff can be kind of confusing, so when you have someone saying, “I can do it all for you for $X and look at all the celebrities we helped!” then it’s easy to get caught up in the idea.

I’ve written a couple of posts on basic nutrition and they’re simplistic as hell. They barely touch on the subject and I cut each off because they were running long for a blog post.

Training is no different, really.

Anyone can go online and pull up a training program, one based on what you’re supposedly wanting to accomplish, but that’s the easy way out in a lot of ways. It doesn’t really equip you for building your own programs as you proceed down the road.

Now, most folks who write about training try to do a good job explaining why you use a particular rep scheme or a certain number of sets or whatever. They may be wrong. They may suck at explaining anything, but they’re generally not spoonfeeding you training.

A notable exception seems to be Crossfit, though that seems to vary from affiliate to affiliate. Yet for a lot of them, you walk in and do the Workout of the Day (WOD), then go home until it’s time to go back and train. A lot of crossfitters I’ve talked to don’t really understand why they’re doing certain WODs and don’t really care to know.

In fact, that may be the biggest knock on Crossfit that’s not based on practitioners being idiots.

Still, you can see my point. There are those who just want everything handed to them. They want to swallow a pill and make the problem go away. They want plastic surgery. They want the easy way out.

But unless they have a foundation laid, guess what happens? That’s right. Just like with Nutrisystem or Weight Watchers, they creep back to where they were at the start.

Frankly, if someone’s desperate to lose weight, I’m going to tell them to avoid those programs like the plague. While it might be a start, what it’s not doing is educating you so that you don’t need those programs. They thrive on your dependency, especially since you’re going to put the weight back on if you walk away, which means they figure you’ll be back.

Instead, dig in and start reading. Start educating yourself. Hire assistance, if you feel you need it and can afford it, but pick people who will teach you how to do it right. Get help from people who will help you build the foundation. There are a lot of coaches and nutritionists who will do just that. Those are the people you need because they don’t give you the food, they give you the tools to do it right.

Do it that way and you’re a lot less likely to go back to square one.

Yet, it also means that if you do for some reason, you’ll know how to make that trip again. Believe me, that’s empowering in its own way.

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