...I'm picking on two MDA posts in one week! (and i made the mistake of reading comments again -- i know better than that)
It just goes to show how bloody CLUELESS male jocks can be, about women's fitness issues. Sorry, guys -- i know some wonderful men read here, and i hate tarring all of your gender with the same brush ... but some of the bros (who i'm sure do NOT visit my blog) just need to learn to say "i don't know; ask a female trainer." AND A LOT OF WOMEN NEED TO STOP SUCKING UP TO MALE FITNESS AUTHORITIES.
[sigh... It's amazing to me that there is STILL so much male-authority-worship by women, out there. Is it because Bro is so confident that he has the answers, and it gives them faith that he can help them? Or is it just the attraction that "successful" men wield over women with beta-husbands/boyfriends ... if they have any men in their lives at all?]
I don't even know where to START in my critique of today's Dear Mark article! ...Rather, yes i do know the first point i'll pick apart!!! It's the profound ignorance of thyroid issues in otherwise sensible individuals.
Does a woman have trouble losing weight and/or fat? Get her thyroid checked! Ignore the fact that her energy is fine, that she's not exhibiting the pre-testing-days symptoms like puffy face and eyes, swollen mucus membranes and tongue, inappropriate chilliness, bad digestion and so on. No, make her take a half-day off work to go to the doctor and talk him into ordering what might be a totally useless blood test (because a lot of them think the TSH is all you need)! And when the test comes back "normal" then go through the angst of "is it REALLY normal or is it old-paradigm normal".... I've come to the conclusion that the worst thing that ever happened to thyroid-troubled individuals is laboratory testing! It CREATED the problem of treating the numbers, not the patient.
There are a lot of reasons a woman might have a hard time losing weight, and unless she had trouble with it before, assuming a brand-new thyroid disfunction should be much further down the list than other hormonal possibilities. What about cortisol? All the exercising that the bro-sites recommend is quite simply evolutionarily ridiculous for a woman. A person who LIKES exercise will do a lot of it with no encouragement. Those of us who DISlike running around and getting all sweaty are not going to achieve good results from it. Maybe you've heard of people who claim to be allergic to their own perspiration -- thus expressed it sounds absurd, but if you know anything about histamine reactions you'll recognize the symptoms. Malaise after exercise is a real thing, and it doesn't get better by sucking it up and yanking on your boot-straps -- it gets worse, and raises stress-hormones as well. And raised stress-hormones will defeat the best efforts to lose weight.
"Maybe she's not eating enough!" We hear this a lot. Is there an actual RCT that shows this is possible, or is it just more made-up-because-it's-plausible-science? Honest -- if anyone knows of any solid DATA that this is sound, i'd love to know about it! So far, all i've heard are hypotheses and anecdotes.
When we start eating more nutrient-dense foods, we DO tend to eat less overall. But if the postulators are right, and we need to eat more, it puts us in the uncomfortable position of trying to eat more than we really want, which is reportedly as miserable as trying to eat less than our bodies demand. Before i make myself gorge on superfluous foodstuffs, i want to be damned sure it's going to do some good.
"Maybe she really needs to be carrying more weight! Women are healthier at higher BF%s than men! And besides, curves are GOOD!" ...IS THIS THE BEST YOU CAN DO? Yeah, SHE wants to lose more weight, but who gives a shit what SHE wants! She's just vain, wanting to look better in her clothes (or naked); and she's STOOPID cuz she's been looking at models in magazine and thinks they look good. ...That's disgusting. BAD advice.
Mark did NOT call her on the carpet for heavily indulging in "paleo baked goods," though it looked as though her husband (and commenters) were quick to point those out. If she WANTS to lose weight those need to be the first to go -- even if she is eating more nutritiously than she ever has before.
It was the second letter's response that put me over the edge, though -- five paragraphs of smart-ass idiocy. He thought he was being funny. The commenters (mostly male) thought he was very humorous. But the letter-writer wrote, "I am depressed by.... Is there anything i can do about it?" When a person feels bad enough to write that they are depressed, THE LAST FUCKING THING you should do is make a joke about it. The next last-fucking-thing-you-should-do is probably what he did -- say that it's probably hereditary but btw go get your thyroid checked, and make sure you get plenty of consistent exercise with sprints and heavy-lifting and burpees ... and also keep your stress down (see above)! And yadayada sleep and yadayada all the rest of the things i usually say....
"Maybe this" and "maybe that" is what women have been told for a goddam CENTURY, the last half of which i've personally heard it and tried it, and it's mostly bullshit. It's male-oriented science that is scaled down and back for us weaker vessels and physiology is physiology and the-first-law-of-thermodynamics and....
Listen: the male body and the female body are DIFFERENT. Hormones are important to how our bodies burn glucose and fat, and make muscle, and produce neurotransmitters and NO END of small but important metabolic processes. The differences are even huge between young female bodies and older ones.
Mark, if you don't KNOW how to solve the ladies' problems, falling back on generic conventional advice is not the best way to deal with the situation. Unless she's young and sheltered, you can bet your ass she's heard it all before, anyway. If you don't KNOW something that's been shown to be helpful, she's wasting precious time and energy chasing rainbows instead of looking for someone who CAN tell her something useful. No, if she's depressed ENOUGH, your pathetic jokes and platitudes may be the last straw, driving her to the sofa with a carton of ice cream.
And trust me, it doesn't HURT to say "I don't know" ... unless you're a beta-male.