...Then why are you trying to emulate one?
Oh, because you have a preconceived idea about their optimal health and well-being, exhibited through their almost-superhuman performance! Because they're young and lean, and you think that if you do everything they do, you will magically transform into THEM. Same goes for the Beautiful People of both large and small screens.
Naturally, i'm not talking to most of the people who regularly read HERE -- it's more a cultural attitude i'm addressing ... or maybe an earlier version of myself. We hear success stories and we see doctored photographs, and we want to experience the success, too. Some part of us believes transformation is possible, despite behind-the-scenes exposes of the cheating that goes on, the manipulation, the statistics of weight-regain ... and despite all those Beautiful People who are Doing Everything Right who drop dead (or develop horrible diseases) at very young ages.
Thank the gods for the internet. Instead of taking for granted that the infomercials are telling the truth (or alternatively, that they aren't), we can google user-satisfaction of almost anything, nowadays. We'll learn that the oh-so-healthy vegetarian diet, which makes our favorite ethereal blonde so lean and lithe, is also giving her breast cancer or eating away her bones. We'll get the inside story of that mental-health fiasco, which is the steroid-abusing sports hero. We'll see, up close and personal since all our friends have a camera on their persons at all times, the deterioration of the brains, pancreases and other organs that happens when people take in thousands of calories of sugar every day, because they think it gives them "energy." (Boy howdy does it LITERALLY give them energy, ie "calories" -- but what they're looking for is "energy" defined more like "vitality"....)
Back in the day when the prevailing notion of one-size-fits-all seemed more reasonable, it might have paid to look into what those success-story people were doing, and have some confidence that it might work for us, too. What we failed to focus on, though, was that if XYZ really worked, we'd personally know someone for whom it worked! Someone LIKE US. We didn't. We all knew women who lost weight and looked great after a couple months of Weight Watchers, but who had reverted and looked worse at the one-year anniversary. We remember that we could CICO-diet-and-exercise our way into the dress we wanted to wear WHEN WE WERE THIRTY. Does that work now that we're fifty? ... [crickets]
No, more and more it's the early experience of William Banting that we see -- he worked his butt off, conventionally-dieting and exercising without any actual diminution of his butt. Then, some magical synchronicity happened, he met the right advisor and found the right protocol, and he was the right guy to tell the world about what happened. I was about to raise my "glass" to his memory, but found my coffee cup to be empty (brb)....
I really love his story -- for one thing, it points up that fact that obesity existed before HFCS, Doritos and Twinkies. It was a lot rarer, but it was definitely out there. Brillat-Savarin discussed it in the early nineteenth century: he observed that it was the potato-eaters, bread-lovers, beer-swillers and sweets-scarfers who suffered this "disease," not those on "high-fat diets," and they weren't the red-meat enthusiasts either, in the absence of the sugars and starches. The people who were fattening at an alarming rate weren't those who merely ate fried foods regularly; all you have to do is look at an old cookbook widely used in real life to see how very popular and prevalent fried foods were! "High fat" and "fried foods" became a problem in the TWENTIETH century, when the frying began to be done in industrial-seed-oil, and the potatoes cooked therein began to be widely accompanied with a Coke and a smile....
So, WHAT should we eat, ideally? It's illuminating to take a long honest look at oneself in a full-length mirror. Does your reflection more closely resemble an Olympic runner or before-photos of William Banting (or Queen Victoria)? Does a reasonable daily exercise regimen for you include more hours/miles of road-work, or tens-of-minutes of walking? How should YOU ideally fuel yourself?
I have a suspicion that a lot of people desire to fuel themselves for the lifestyle they WISH they had. They hanker after their lost youths, and seem to think that if they eat like a crossfitter, they'll somehow belong to the crossfit club. Nothing could be further from the truth. Aging bodies just don't perform like they used to -- I think it's a little easier for women to face this, because their changes are so much more obvious ... but men have similar problems. Most of us just don't have the carbohydrate TOLERANCE we once had! It's an hypothesis of mine that hot-flashes are the signpost for that phenomenon -- mid-life hormonal changes, in men and women both, screw with our ability to shunt carbohydrates toward energy-production and instead send them flying into our storage sites till the overabundance of glucose starts wreaking the DISEASES OF AGING -- arthritis, macular degeneration, CV diseases, cancer, dementia, and fibrosis-influenced organ failures.
I can tell when I've accidentally breached some personal carb-eating threshold -- I GET HOT FLASHES. Some people interpret these as signs their bodies are revving their metabolisms and they count it a good thing. I tend to think it's suspicious -- it doesn't feel wholesome! -- I suspect that the body is flashing a warning-signal, and that Rosedale's notion about running the human engine a little bit cool, a little bit lean, is probably wise.
Wooo's new hypothesis, that the endorphin system is crucial in weight-reduced individuals and that part of the problem of regain is related to previous tolerance of pathological states, makes a lot of sense to me. People with a LOT of weight to lose feel much better in the early stages of success, but subsequent deficiency of feel-good hormones preys on their systems, and they start doing ANYTHING that will provide relief from the lack of endorphin in their lives, "anything" often meaning carb-bingeing. Drugs, alcohol, sugar and starch increase beta-endorphin, according to her, and dopamine follows. People who are past the thrill that successful weight-loss initially brings NEED A NEW THRILL when life goes on pretty much like it did before, but without the endorphin-rush they used to get with the help of sugar.
We always think that when we get down to Size Whatever (or win the lottery, etc) ... THEN we'll be happy! People will flock to us admiringly, and we'll do all sorts of amazing things that we're too fat (or poor, or whatever) to do now. Truth is, things will probably go on largely as they did before, because people are stuck on their habits. People won't admire us, they'll think we're freaks for losing weight on a LC-real-foods diet. If they DO ask us how we did it, most of the time they'll reply, "i couldn't do THAT -- I couldn't possibly give up ____." They will very possibly take delight in trying to sabotage us. No, happiness can't be counted on to ARRIVE with some arbitrary goal achieved -- it's a state of mind we have to cultivate in ourselves, and the more of the philosophical understanding we have -- as well as the physiological understanding of the neurohormonal aspects -- the more successfully we can craft the answer.
Happiness -- we CAN grow that sucker! It probably involves finding our own personal new thrill.