This Is An Apology to the Weight Loss Industry
This is a guest post from Matt Peacock, who designed the programme I follow. I asked him if he’d write something that gave a little bit more insight into who he is and what he does – because obviously ’tis all well and good me gushing about his awesomeness here, but, you know… It’s not quite the same, really, is it?
We’ve been utterly, completely amazed by the response we’ve had to this blog over the last few months, with you guys proving to be a never-ending source of downright awesomeness. But we’ve also noticed a few unscrupulous individuals trying to cash in – and that’s just not cool. Not at all. So with that in mind… Over to Matt.
This is an apology to the weight loss industry.
I wish to offer my sincerest regrets for any confusion that individuals – particularly in the leisure sports industry – may have when reading this blog. This blog is about health and wellbeing. It isn’t about amateur sports or part-time athletes – it is about making real differences to real people’s lives.
This industry can be a pretty closed group, looking to self-serve and perpetuate myths that unfortunately offer unrealistic expectations to the most vulnerable in society – those individuals who recognise they are unhappy about their shape or their health. The fitness industry is flooded with get-thin-quick fixes and dubious ‘pyramid style’ marketing techniques to claw money away from susceptible people who are desperate to learn how to make themselves feel better.
Over the years I’ve personally met a lot of fitness professionals who aren’t interested in really “helping” people – for them it’s a vanity project, selling crazy (and often downright unsafe) ideas to people who are just desperate for change. These people, to my mind, are what’s wrong with the fitness industry – and it’s important that we recognise these people for the sham artists that they are.
I started working in health and fitness quite late in my working life after successful careers in IT, Legal & Regulatory, Broadcasting and Business Consultancy. With this in mind, I’ve got a pretty objective view of the industry. In my previous jobs, what helped me the most to achieve was my honesty, congruence and my ability to really listen to what people were telling me; skills which have helped in the various counselling courses I have studied and the peoples’ lives I have helped change. Perhaps that’s why I was recognised at the recent Sports Awards 2012 for Contribution to Physical Activity.
But I was recently asked a question by a special friend who asked: ‘Matt, why do you do this? Why health and fitness?’
And you know what? I paused and reflected on it.
As a child I was quite poorly and spent a lot of time in and out of hospital. I wore a calliper for nearly a year, and one of my earliest memories was looking up from my hospital bed to see my distraught mother crying and a priest preparing me for death. I also saw my mother struggling with her weight, trying every single diet available in the hope of being thin – and when I was a young man, my father died. It’s not these sad events that make me do what I do – on reflection, it’s simply that some of these things could have been prevented, or at the very least made easier.
My father didn’t die because he was ignorant of the health implications of his lifestyle – he just didn’t know any better.
So to answer the question… Why do I do this?
I do it because the programme Katie and I have developed together is not revolutionary – it uses established, peer reviewed health advice which is promoted and accessible from health bodies like the NHS, British Nutrition Foundation, The British Heart foundation and follows ACSM (American College for Sports Medicine) guidelines. At no point have Katie and I been paid for the work and time invested in this blog, aside from the minimal advertising which doesn’t quite cover the hosting costs – we contribute our spare hours on top our studies (my bachelor’s degree and teaching diploma, and Katie’s PhD) – and we’ve also got day jobs to balance on top of that.
We’re both so inspired by the comments and emails we receive which helps us assess the differences we make in people’s lives – and that’s why, true to the spirit that information should be free, we’re going to publish the full exercise programme in the next week, and the meal plan before the year is out.
I truly believe the difference between success and failure, happiness and sadness is not necessarily the access to knowledge or materials – it is the support of people who really care, who are passionate and knowledgeable about what they believe in: that is what makes the difference. That’s not just about us – that’s about using the Facebook page, and the comments areas, to support each other. We can all do that together.
We really do hope this blog really can help you to make changes to lead a healthier, more balanced life – and find happiness along the way. It’s not a quick fix, it’s a lifestyle change – but it’s something you can do yourself. For you.
So once again, my sincerest apologies to the weight loss industry – but this is about life, and about all-round wellbeing. Both things no amount of money can buy, and no-one else can ever, ever give you. We both hope this blog can help you to achieve that – and that we’re able to make a difference. The weight loss industry can be a dangerous place, but as Katie says – it’s not just about weight loss. And don’t let anyone tell you any different.