Man it has been interesting lately. Those of you who’ve followed me for a while know already that this site was inspired by two things. One was a heap of spam targeting vulnerable people on tumblr and pinterest, using stolen before and after images and other unscrupulous means to promote scam diets.
The other thing was the direction certain industry networks I was a part of were heading in. Everyone was getting in on “elimination diets” and such things. Vicarious hypochrondria was the term I used to describe it previously. Just deciding that any potential client would have a whole host of food intolerances and conditions that need to be treated with a specialised, restrictive diet. And if they don’t have those conditions already, they’re certainly going to end up with them if they don’t “eat clean”. All the usual arguments about how “calories don’t matter” and moral judgements about people’s food choices as well.
To me, it just sounded like orthorexia. I kept getting told things like “this is the direction the industry is moving in, and you need to get on board or you’ll be left behind”. I thought to myself, I’d rather fucking go back to security work than add to the growing problem of eating disorders in the world… so I decided to build this site and give all the information away for free.
As it turns out… that was a catalyst for a new direction in my own career, and now I’m quite well known as an “anti-eating disorder” type of guy, which I’m quite happy about. There are a growing number of us now, but we’re still the exception to the rule. So much of the fitness industry (and I’d say ALL of the diet industry) is based on pro-e/d mentalities. Don’t eat a couple of days a week. If you eat enjoyable foods you’ll get fat. You need to hit the treadmill and burn off the guilt because you had a meal out with friends. Crap like that. Horrible, irresponsible garbage that is in no way true whatsoever.
Now the “leading fit pro” types that I had issues with back then where mostly from the UK. There are a few similar here in Australia, but the big time players they’re modeling themselves after are the boys in the United Kingdom. And to be fair… any discussions, debates or disagreements I had with them were for the most part pretty polite. Not always the same for their cult like followers, but anyway polite enough for me to feel like I’d be a bit of a c-unit to call them out, name and shame them on this site.
However as of late… I’m getting a lot of messages from trainers in the UK who went and spent a small fortune on these certification courses these guys were selling, on the basis of “if you don’t know this stuff you’re a shit PT, your clients won’t get results, they’ll get sick, and you’ll go out of business within 6 months”. Keep in mind I got told things like “if you really cared about your clients you’d set a better example by not eating bread” for example… so… it’s the same kind of guilt based marketing that the industry uses on the public, isn’t it? So… these ultra restrictive, puritan style diets are essential and as a PT or coach you need to be an inspiring role model that adheres to all these rules 100% and never gives in to temptation, or you’re a fraud and a bad person.
Bullshit. Ironically I should also add… restrictive diets aren’t good for people. Not emotionally, and not physicially. These scaremongers would be talking about “hormonal balance” and “gut health” for example… while the restrictive methods they ascribe to are actually the very things that will throw off your hormonal balance and your gut bacteria health. A varied diet of appropriate total energy intake is the best thing for health in these and any other areas.
So. I digress. Again.
Lately I’ve been getting a lot of enquiries from PTs in the UK, either for advice for themselves in recovering from the disorders they developed trying to live up to these ridiculous standards they’ve had put upon them, or in helping a new client who has come to them for help after being completely screwed up by one of these “highest paid PT in England” types.
So… in the weeks ahead there’ll be some guest posts detailing the horror stories people have lived through at the hands of these charlatans. And they ARE charlatans, since I’ve debated them and they do know that at the end of the day “a varied diet to meet your energy requirements with whatever choices of foods suit you” is all it takes to achieve your health, fitness and weight management goals. But still they use fear mongering, guilt, and pseudoscience to sell orthorexic nonsense that they know has fucked people up badly.
So… that aint good enough and they’re about to be held accountable for it.