While watching The Biggest Loser and Fat Chefs, I made a fairly obvious observation with not-so-obvious implications.  Although I’m sometimes not too excited about the extreme measures these shows use (like yelling at people while they do stationary bike intervals until they fall off from exhaustion).  Often, these people don’t know what their weight is until the trainer asks them to get on the scale.

Why on earth wouldn’t these people want to know what their weight is?  The truth hurts.  Sometimes, it hurts really bad.  We all mess up and have to pay for those failures/setbacks.  However, the worst thing we can possibly do is ignore the truth.  It is our compass in all things.  If truth becomes your enemy, then you’re on the wrong side of the war.

This obviously isn’t limited to only weight loss efforts.  It also makes me think of Restaurant Impossible (Ok.  We may watch too many Food Network shows…)  The owners of these restaurants often don’t know how much profit they’re making per each item sold or even for net sales each month.  What?!  It’s no surprise that some of them are hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt!  That’s no way to run a business.  You have to gather a ton of information and make educated decisions based on that information.  Blind guessing is just about the worst thing you could possibly do as a business owner.

This all comes down to one simple fact.  Reality is reality.  There’s no way around what is.  We can’t construct our own ideas of what should be and then expect the world to conform to them.  No matter how strongly someone desires for Bic Macs to be the new broccoli, it will never happen.  It is in conflict with reality.

The best thing we can do is understand what reality is.  The second-best thing we can do is to react to reality for what it is.  If you are fifty pounds overweight, you have to accept that fact and react accordingly.  If you’re still in denial of the fact that it’s a problem, then that is what will kill you in the end.  Literally.  Obesity is a major, controllable risk factor in heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  Those are also the primary killers in our modern, American society.

I’ve had to deal with this many times as well.  Just recently with my own muscle loss, I denied it at first.  “Oh, those bodyfat calipers must be off.  I’m getting stronger, so I’m keeping my muscle.”  Ha.  I might as well have added, “I have ascended above physiology.  I have created my own new reality!”  What I failed to acknowledge was the fact that strength and muscle mass typically grow together but not always.  People can be tremendously strong due to the neural adaptations that take place with lifting heavy weights less than 5 repetitions.  That’s why I was strong while my muscle mass withered away.  I failed to pay attention to the laws of physiology, and they put me in my place.  My own will is not above reality.

All of this makes me think of a book by Ayn Rand.  Whether or not you agree with her strong libertarian ideology, she had an excellent example of this in her book “Atlas Shrugged”.

In the book, Francisco asks Hank Rearden, “Who is the guiltiest man in this room?”  Hank doesn’t know the answer at the time, but he does know that the world is crashing down around them, and he knows why.  However, he chooses inaction rather than action.  Later in the book, Hank comes to realize that the guiltiest man in the room was himself because he was the only one who saw the truth.  Everyone around him was living a lie.  Out of all of them, he was the only one who saw the truth.  The others were being genuine to the illusion they lived in, but he was the guiltiest man because although he saw reality, he refused to accept it.

Seek the truth and accept it.  It’s hard to face, but you’ll have to face it one way or another.  You can either face it now, accept it, learn from it, and correct your life for the better or you can deny it and pay whatever penalty your delusion costs.  In the health and fitness field, this could be ten years of your life or ten years of your independent life.  That’s a high price to pay.  Find the areas of your life where you’re living in denial and correct them now.  The current cost of acting now is far less than the future penalty of inaction.

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