I’ve noticed over the last decade that weight loss products, regiments, trainers and companies have exploded in North America. I had to wonder why exactly that is. People are more over weight today then they were 40 years ago, which I believe is a much more complicated issue than it’s commonly presented. In order to understand why this industry has expanded so much, we must look at the people who put their money into these companies.
We are getting fatter. This is something we all know collectively and there are many causes for it. We eat more heavily processed foods, more fried and breaded foods and tend to eat more than we need. Jobs are becoming more and more office based, decreasing daily activity an enormous amount and our leisure time, which we once would have used to play outdoors, take part in sports or walk through the neighbourhood have changed to become sitting at home in front of one screen or another.
All of that leads to a heavier and less healthy community.
Now let’s look at how health is portrayed. Thankfully in the last couple years health has taken a turn from simply being very thin to being strong. Muscle tone and activity have become a status symbol in their own way, and they are not achieved by sedentary lifestyles. We see fitness models all over the internet, on magazine covers, in movies and especially on Instagram. They portray a glamourized side of fitness with links and sponsors to help “you” get the same results.
This massive amount of low cost marketing is part of the explosion in the industry. Low cost marketing online has changed the way companies reach and get clients.
Let’s move onto the next reason these companies have gained such traction. It comes with the cost of food. To purchase the required amount of food in meats, produce and fresh foods is far more expensive than buying calorie dense processed foods.
Diet supplement companies can then swoop in with products that cost less than the cost of fresh foods that promise weight loss in very short amounts of time. It’s enticing to think that by replacing your grocery bill with a few products “you too can lose 40 pounds in one month”. These dangerous products and claims sound too good to be true, but they are very effective. People want results without forcing lifestyle change.
That being said, there are some very good companies out there that do provide good quality products and programs designed for long term weight loss and their clients health is their highest priority. I would also like to say that supplements and weight loss products are not necessarily bad for you, though please do your research before starting a new program to ensure the company does provide a well balanced diet designed for safe and healthy weight loss.
If it doesn’t cost too much and it promises results, of course the product will be purchased. Another reason for the expanse of the industry.
Now let’s look at gym memberships. Remember above when we talked about we as people used to have a more active lifestyle but have become very sedentary? Gyms know that, and they love it. People may be willing to work out for an hour three times a week when they won’t go out for a daily walk or play sports. For people who don’t work in physical jobs they often don’t have the time to get exercise in during their day, so a gym is the perfect solution. Go to the gym so they can still watch their favourite show instead of playing sports or doing longer duration activities.
Sedentary lifestyles and an addiction to our screens has built the empire of “fitness facilities.”
In conclusion, we have become lazy people, committed to consuming content and foods that don’t feed our needs.
If every person ate fresh foods, walked every day, had a sport they played and ate fair portions of food, we would not have an obesity epidemic. That being said, it’s not easy to change our ways and the content created for our eyes is designed to keep you watching and consuming. We have become so good at creating addicting substances and content then blaming the addicts for being addicted. The screens every where are not good for us and we know that, but good luck living your life without one. Our work, our homes our automobiles all rely on that technology.
To end this all, the dieting industry has expanded because the industries that feed us and give us our leisure activities have made it so incredibly easy for them to grow that it’s nearly impossible that they wouldn’t.
If you have any comments or ideas please put them down below. I’d love to hear your thoughts about all this.