Why “No Pain, No Gain” is totally wrong for weight loss

I was watching this TV program, I can’t remember the name, but it was something like “I used to be fat” which caught my attention.  I hadn’t seen it before and normally don’t watch shows like that.  Mostly because the philosophy and approach the ‘trainer’ takes with these folks is crazy.  Personally I think ‘advisers’ would be a better term than ‘trainer’.

Unfortunately, I do know a little bit about pain having been in chronic pain for the last 24 years.  Only three days after I graduated high school, I had back surgery for a ruptured disc.  It didn’t help.  Not in the slightest.  In fact, an estimated 40% of all back surgeries don’t work.  The surgeon still gets paid.  The hospital still gets paid.  The physical therapist still get paid.  The ‘health’ insurance companies get paid.  And nearly half of ALL back surgeries are ineffective.

But that year, I was a senior in high school and was struggling to just walk from one class to another because of the pain. And because of that trauma, I really don’t remember much of my senior year.  Let alone having the opportunity to do normal things like dating or prom or playing sports.  I was just trying to stand up right and walk.

Now, 24 years later, I have had to live my life managing the pain the best I can.  I’ve spent most of that time searching for ways to alleviate the pain (chiropractic, physical therapy, pain killers, anti-inflammatories, herbs, vitamins, massage, osteopathy, diet, muscle relaxers, acupuncture, meditation, core-exercises, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc.).  And it has cost me a lot and not just financially.  But I also learned a lot too.

When I see ‘trainers’ yelling at their clients telling them to ‘push through the pain’?  What the hell is that?  That’s crazy.  Ignoring your body is not a great solution.  Telling these kids that they need to ‘clean up the way they talk to themselves?”.  That might be true, but replacing that with yelling at themselves internally is not a constructive strategy.  I’d rather do it with kindness, compassion, and positive reinforcement.  The drill sergeant routine for weight loss is absurd.

Making obese people exercise until they damn near drop is crazy.  Not to mention potentially dangerous.  And the real kicker is that they put these fat people on low-fat diets where they still have to work immensely hard to lose any weight.  It’s the old philosophy of just work harder to burn more calories.

For me, I actually wish I could exercise half as hard as these people do physically.  But, although I wish I could, I don’t have to.  For the record, I think the whole low fat thing is bullshit.  It might be appropriate for some people, but I don’t think fat is ‘bad’ for me and I don’t eat low fat.  And I am losing weight.

I’ve now lost 65 lbs in the last 6 months eating a low carb diet NOT a low fat diet.  And thankfully I don’t have a personal trainer yelling at me to lose weight or push through the pain.  I just simply walk in nature about 3-4 times per week (and generally have to take a day off after each walk to keep the inflammation down).  When I first started, I could only walk about 20 minutes.  But now, thankfully, I can go a good bit longer.

So I walk every other day.  That’s it.  And I’ve lost 65 lbs doing just that.  My clothes have gotten to the point where even my belt doesn’t hold up my pants anymore.  They are literally falling off.

That’s why this whole ‘no pain, no gain’ is bullshit.  I don’t think you have to be hard or critical with yourself to lose weight.  Maybe try being nice to yourself for a change and giving yourself permission to do the things that support your health and life in a positive way.  That’s what has worked for me.

One Response to “Why “No Pain, No Gain” is totally wrong for weight loss”

  1. avatar Ricki says:

    Being nice on Television seems to be old fashioned, the general public
    seem to enjoy overweight people being pushed till they cry,vomit and
    pass out. I aggree with you that exercise should be a long term pursuit and not a Tv nightmare.
    As for the lowfat diet its is demoralising, one or two pounds for a week of effort is not much reward, not to mention the cravings for
    sugar.
    And finally the Drill Sargent approach, its the last thing a overweight person who is probably unhappy needs.
    p.s I am very overweight but losing it on a low carb diet.

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