Column: The Biggest Fitness/Health Scam

January 21, 2024 | 3 Comments

[Opinion column written by Hafid James]

Today’s biggest fitness and health scam isn’t a product, service or drug. But rather a belief – a mindset. The health and fitness industry is a billion dollar a year industry and like most industries they place profit over people. So how can they ensure a continual stream of revenue and profits? By building and reinforcing a system that implies your weight or “look ” determines your value.

This system has been present for decades and in other forms for centuries. Before weight or aesthetics it was your skin complexion. People would buy products for their skin or hair just to try and fit in this system. These products were deleterious but you’ll suffer to try and fit in. Sound familiar? Some even resort to operations like bleaching their skin or applying lead-based pigments to whiten the complexion. I can attest to this feeling myself. Through indirect and direct messaging I grew up feeling ugly and’ less than’ because I was one of the darkest in my class. It took me years to break out of this system that implied lighter equals better. Thankfully, we have made tremendous progress but the problem still exists as evidenced by the “Blue Eye Brown Eye” test given to children every few years. A large percentage of kids [white and black] still view ‘darker’ to be ruder, dumber or uglier.

That’s the problem with generational systems…they are extremely hard to break and if not broken can persist for centuries. Wherein racial systems are hard to break mainly because the powerful would have to relinquish dominance. The standard mandates that defines health, fitness and happiness will be hard to break because one would be requiring business and corporations to reduce or forgo their profits. Ask yourself, what leads to most corruption: money and power. I am certain some are thinking that a “look” does define health and fitness in the same way, not too long ago, that your skin tone defined intelligence and societal rank. To those I hope to challenge your perspective and have you think and approach your health differently.

The Biggest Fitness_Health Scam Bermuda January 2024

We have access to many products that can actually help us in our health/fitness journey. Unfortunately we also have waist trainers, sweat suits and gels. To anyone that uses or sells these types of products please explain scientifically how applied pressure or heat and sweating makes fat cells burn fat? If simply sweating and exercise burns fat than living in a humid tropical country [like Bermuda or other Caribbean islands] should prevent obesity, which unfortunately clearly is not the case. But please leave your scientific explanation in the comments below.

I know of some that use waist trainers knowing at best it will only distort their torso but they’re ok with that because they will achieve ‘the look’. I know some people that knew suit sweats merely induced water loss and would avoid drinking water. Why? Because it felt good seeing the weight go down even if it was only water weight and this temporary weight was fleeting. So you may briefly change your waist – hips ratio or your weight but has your health improved [physically or mentally]?

Variations of these products have been around since the 1940’s. They didn’t work then, they don’t work now but people are still buying these products searching for their personal value and sense of happiness in a look or weight these products simply cannot provide. All that is needed is an advertisement is a slim-waist model, who is already thin, for the consumer to shut off all logical reasoning for the fraudulent potential promise of achieving a ‘look’. There are new or updated products coming out all the time so I can’t discuss them all. But when you study the science the frauds easily stands out.

This system gets reinforced in the doctor’s office as well. I’m not in the office and I don’t know what is being said but many people/clients I talk with tell me “my doctor said I just have to lose the weight”. Or “I have to get my weight down”. This can put someone in a conflicted state and they will do anything, even go to extremes: an excessive amount of training, paying for sweat bands, fat burners or starving themselves to just lose the weight.

Or take one of the many drugs the pharmaceutical companies have been trying to perfect for decades. There are several very popular medications out now on the market but in another 2-5 years there will be a new one making millions if not billions yearly. However these drugs and most lifestyle illness drugs treat symptoms, not the cause of the symptoms. They are needed because if you don’t change your lifestyle they can help keep you alive but now we have a conundrum. These drugs can extend lives but now produce an over-reliance on something that doesn’t cure but merely treats or manages.

For me, being overweight is a physical symptom to a deeper problem. Yes it can cause other problems, like a tree branch forming other branches, but I believe it’s more of a correlation than a causation. Your body fat didn’t induce high blood sugars, but rather your lifestyle caused you to be overweight and diabetic. So by treating the root problem, the lifestyle, we can affect obesity and blood sugars. But if we just focus on weight we could still be missing the root cause of this problem and other lifestyle illnesses, which is usually an imbalance or deficiency of something.

This is why many adults are taking multiple drugs for multiple conditions. You are trimming branches but not dealing with the root issue. The mindset should be get healthy [holistically] to lose weight not lose weight to get healthy. We all know someone with a normal BMI and even athletes who have suffered from stroke, Alzheimer’s, hypertension, etc so there is more to health than just a look.

Part II coming soon.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Sherie G. says:

    You hit the nail right on the head, that touched home for me.
    This article is very inspiring on how we can change our perspective on how we look at losing weight and getting to the root of the problem and not just putting band-Aid on it. It is a lifestyle change.

  2. Shar Bennett says:

    Wow … awesome article Hafid ! I agree with you on the gels and heat applications to loose weight, because, if that were the case, I would be “skinny as hell” growing up in JA and living in Bermy ???? for many years. Great points!

  3. Jamelia Gay says:

    I love the message and the breakdown of the deeper issue. As a society, we have been conditioned to normalize the “quick fix” that we unfortunately still undervalue the importance of attaining and maintaining holistic health and wellbeing. Thank you, Mr. James for reinforcing healthier value systems.

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