How to achieve the perfect spring break body

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Spring break is only a few weeks away, just in time to get the perfect body for hitting the beach and showing it off.

To help, I have created a simple three step program for how to get the perfect spring break body.

Step one, have a body.

Check? Good.

Step two, Go on spring break.

Done? Perfect.

Step three, mission complete.

You now have a perfect spring break body.

By no means am I saying this means we have the freedom to eat as many cookies as we want and not exercise. But unfortunately, what we believe the perfect body to be is rooted in dangerously deceptive traditions.

Let us start with one of the most commonly used measures of how we measure if someone has a “healthy” weight or not — the body mass index.

A Belgian mathematician Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet came up with the BMI scale in the 19th century. The troubling thing about this is that Quetelet wasn’t a medical doctor, he wasn’t a physician — he was a mathematician. In fact, the original intent behind the index was not to determine if someone was overweight or not, but to give a quick way for doctors (200 years ago) to determine the level of obesity in a population so that the government could appropriately allocate resources.

Anyone familiar with statistics would also be familiar with the phrase, “there are lies, damned lies and statistics.” The BMI index is a combination of all three.

The way BMI is calculated is by taking the weight of a person in kilograms, then dividing that by the height of a person, which has been squared. Why? There’s no real reason to square someone’s height in this instance. Unless of course, Quetelet was trying to rig his formula to fit existing data. Which is exactly what he was doing.

BMI can be useful in some contexts, like measuring a relative level of obesity in a general population, but relying on it alone cannot be used to determine if someone is healthy or not.

Let’s just say you are not happy with the amount of weight that seems to be hanging around your midsection. Believe me, I’m with you on that one. So, the best thing to do in that case would be to go on a diet right? Maybe you’ve turned to the television and decided to go with the advice of someone who purports to be a health expert. Dr. Mehmet Oz — better known by his stage name — Dr. Oz.

From peddling green coffee extract, Umckaloabo Root Extract, or garcinia cambogia, many may be led to believe that by eating the pills or potions Dr. Oz pedals on his show can lead you to get the perfect spring break bod.

While those may promise fast weight loss and shrinking your problem areas, they are nothing more than the snake oil of the 21st Century. An article in the Los Angeles Times found that, when compared with actual science, you know, the kind that goes through testing and is peer-reviewed, that less than one-third of the claims made on the show are factual.

OK so maybe don’t get your information from the Dr. Oz show — but cutting out fat should be good, right? Eating fat must then turn into fat in our bodies must mean that it turns into fat in our bodies. Well, not really. Not to mention that eating lots of fat has to be bad for our hearts — probably one of the reasons heart attacks are so common. Right? Wrong.

According to an interview published on the University of Utah Health website, sugar is the more likely culprit of heart problems. When we eat too much sugar, as most Americans do, our liver simply can’t process it. As a result, it is stored as fat.

What’s even worse is that, because we’ve bought into the low-fat diet fad, a lot of the mega-corporations have sucked the fat right out of our foods. But with the fat gone, we’re left with flavorless food. In order to add flavor back in, the corporations added something more addictive than cocaine, and lots of it — sugar.

With the fad diets from TV shows and conventional wisdom gone, one can often be left feeling helpless.

Now believe me, looking at the photos either on Instagram or in magazines of ripped, chiseled (usually photoshopped) people who seem to live at the gym can be extremely difficult — especially when it seems all you have to do is look at a hamburger and gain 20 pounds.

I won’t pretend that I haven’t been that person.

I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life. At the young age of only 14, I was obese. Chronically so. I was 190 pounds and was only 5 feet 6 inches tall.

It wasn’t healthy. Everyday I would wake up, and my joints would ache. I had trouble going up stairs more than one flight. I hated the way I looked in the mirror. But what was most damaging about all of that was the mocking and teasing I experienced.

Every time we had to go swimming for gym class, I dreaded taking off my shirt because I didn’t want people to see the fat on my body.

I’m not alone in this. Most Americans, according to a survey from the Centers for Disease Control, are conscious about their weight. This has led us to bounce from diet to diet, from workout plan to workout plan, with no success.

The question then becomes what to do about it.

When I was a little boy, my grandmother always told me that you never make a judgement on someone if it’s not something they can’t fix in five seconds. Bad haircut? Can’t be fixed in five seconds. Food on their face? Can be fixed in five seconds. Chronic misinformation over years about what to eat leading to someone being overweight? For sure cannot be fixed in five seconds.

As a society, we have to stop passing judgments on people for things that at that moment, they can do nothing to make the problem instantaneously better. We ought to encourage them to take charge of their life and live it however they darn well please. There are enough problems in our own lives that deserve our attention for us to be fixated on how much someone weighs.

So with the opportunity to hit the beach coming up soon, let’s all resolve that the perfect spring break body isn’t an ideal we should all be forced to conform to.

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