January 10, 2012

Why are myths more believable?

I have to admit, this one freaks me out
a bit. I just read the science reports on
the hilarity of it all, but still....it would
sure blow major goats!
Why would we much rather believe that the end of the world is coming on 12/12/12, than take the time to learn the facts? Why do we (general we) jump to the conclusion that wild salmon is better for us and the environment, than take the time to read the research on why it might not be? Why, with all we know about exercise science, do we continue to do sit ups? Why?

I'll admit, there are certain facts in my life that are based upon faith only because there is no science supporting anything either way. I believe in life after death. I believe in ghosts (cause, to me, they go hand in hand). I believe in karma and I believe there is life in the universe (why would I think we are the only planet in the entire universe with life?).  However, when science can clearly state one way or the other, it becomes a puzzle why the general population lean towards the unfounded rather than the founded.

What we know about obesity is a great example. The literature states you can be fat and healthy; living without the fear of chronic disease if you eat a healthy diet and get some physical activity. However, general opinion suggests fat people are lazy, gluttonous, and need to "control" themselves more. It is also believed that overweight people eat more than the thin ones and this just isn't true. This isn't fact, this is judgement. Why? Why do we continue to judge, point and laugh, and even suggest obese people are less intelligent? To feel better about ourselves? I'm sure there is some truth there. Believe it or not, there have been "doctors" on TV suggesting that those who carry extra weight have brains that work less than the thin ones. Nice. Thanks for propagating the myth. Truly.

I read another article in our Times Colonist the other day that suggested "Fat people fall more often". I mean, really. Where does the money come from to fund such a piece of crap study. Do we truly need to know this. Is this really going to change the world or make us healthier or even motivate those people carrying extra weight to loose it 'cause they fear falling? I have to ask, how did they test this hypothesis? Did they (the brilliant minds of academia) come up from behind and give them a push? Were they followed around and noted when they stumbled or fell? And if so...were the observed offer a hand up by the observer?

The obesity "epidemic" is all about
shame and judgement without any
valid research to back it up. I mean, let's
face it, if fat wasn't bad there may be
no fitness or diet industry!
From fitness and nutrition to the apocalypse, we (in general) tend to believe facts that dramatize, pass judgement on others, or fit our own beliefs; there's no real fact involved at all. If you are going to move towards Real Life Health, you MUST learn (of course those that read this blog already practice this because my readers are smarter, healthier, better looking and have more friends...) to think critically about every health, fitness, nutrition, and well-being article or speaker or academic or health promoter you run into (or fall on....sorry, couldn't be helped). The rule of thumb for me is this; if the general population believes it to be true, there is a body of science that has suggested otherwise....now go find it. 

Finally, I just gotta say....if you are still doing sit ups, Google "trunk stability exercises"...do your back and hip flexors a favour and just say no to sit ups!

That's all I got.


  1. Kathi, you are a wonderful human p.s.a. against stupidity. Funny doctors who add injury to already difficult social situations by claiming fat people not only have slothful bodies, but slothful brains to boot. I mean we can take it on faith that metabolism has nothing to do with why some people can eat like gluttonous uncontrolled pigs at the feeding trough and never gain a pound, because it is due to their superior brains, not body chemistry at all!

    I never knew fatness could cause me to fall more. I guess some people just understand gravity better than most.

    I think part of the answer to why some people like myth over fact is ironically laziness... lazy thinking... So who is lazy after all.

    - Daniel

  2. Hey Daniel;

    Thanks for your post. I remember the days of being able to eat like a gluttonous uncontrolled pig at the feeding trough and never gain a pound....the good old days.

    I wouldn't go as far as using those words, but I certainly get your message. I really appreciate your comment, Daniel and your insights.