Will a Major University Please Stand Up?

The dryer had stopped. iTunes was blaring. My coffee had gone cold. The phone rang. I was oblivious to it all. I was in “my happy place.” Others call it “being in the zone.” Do you ever get that? I get it when I’m engrossed in a design project. One that offers a bit of a challenge, a bit of creativity, a bit of fun, and a lot of brain power. When I get in this zone, the whole world fades away and it takes a lot to pull me out. Once, when I was in this zone my son came up to me at 11 at night asking if I was going to be cooking dinner that night or if he should just heat up something. I’m telling you, nothing, not even hunger distracts me. But this morning, while I was happily working away. I was yanked out of my happy place by a Sensa infomercial.
Great. That’s all I need! Don’t you find it frustrating that all these companies are making money off our desperate need to look like what other people have told us to look like? Maybe I’m angry because I was pulled out of my zone, but I really think I’m angry with my own weight. I’ve had a weight problem for most of my life. I’ve been on every diet from Jenny Craig, to Lindora, to Ultrametabolism. I have probably spent thousands on attempts to lose weight. Heck, I even tried some inane Celery Soup Diet until I nearly put myself in the hospital. In the end, it all comes down to me paying a lot of money to be told what I already know. Eat less, exercise more.
That’s the solution, easy enough. But nothing works and again I start some silly fad believing the ridiculous claims all over again. So I get mad. Mad at myself for being so stupid, mad at myself for not losing weight, mad at myself for not having the willpower to lose weight, then when I’m tired of being mad at myself I turn in outward. I get mad at Jack LaLane for starting the whole damn health craze; mad at the infomercials; mad at my friends for not telling me how bad I look. I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore! So, I quit. I decide there’s nothing I can do and forget about it. Until, someone takes a picture of me; my mother-in-law asks how my diet’s coming; I catch a glimpse of myself in a full-length mirror or reflection in a window; and the search for a solution begins all over again.

So there goes Sensa, blabbing on about having results from a “major university” to prove their claims. Have you every noticed that all of these programs say the results have been proven by a “major university” study?
Lipozene claims its  been “clinically proven in a recent major university double-blind study.” OptiGen says it developed its program based on a “clinical study conducted by a major university.” Isagenix claims its shakes were part of a “major university study.” Zenadrine says “one major university study…” NuLean says its weight loss cleanse was “tested at a major university.” Sheesh, even Sublimal Music claims “clinical data from a major university” has proven that their tapes help weight loss.
Yet, no matter how I search on Google, I’ve never been able to actually find any university study, let alone a “major university” study using a specific product. Don’t you think that if a major university had discovered the cure for obesity they’d let everyone know?
In fact, the only published study I could find online was not published by a “major university.” It was in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) and, though fascinating, was conducted by nutritional centers in various countries. Which basically concluded that it didn’t matter how much a woman paid for a weight loss program, its effectiveness was the same.”
Shouldn’t these companies be held accountable for their claims? Uh, isn’t that the Food and Drug Administration’s job? Before you claim anything don’t you have to show where you got the info? Even if you put the information in 3-pt script font. At least there’d be something to actually name the “major university.” I have the Lipozene (yep, fell for that too) informational paper and no where in it is there a reference about the university or where we can see the study. Over at Diet Fraud, who has its fingers on the pulse of the diet industry, they have yet to identify the major university studies.
I refuse, I absolutely refuse to plop another dime down on any product that makes such a claim without giving me the documentation to back it up. I’m pleading with my fellow weight-challenged friends to join me and just stop buying this stuff.
For an alternative, you can find a lot of free weight loss advice online. Calorie Count is a completely free solution for developing a healthy lifestyle. Run by it is a free solution with a lot of benefits: They have tons of articles about weight loss. Their program also includes an iphone app to record your calorie intake, exercise, and they have a support network program where you can enlist your friends’ help, either through Facebook or on their website.

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Watch Out for the SmartFlu

The reason you haven’t heard from me lately is I’ve had a terrible battle with the flu. Judging from the CDC‘s Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report, that’s probably not a surprise to you.

With most states and territories ranked as having “widespread” outbreaks, its highly likely that you’ve probably had it or, heaven forfend, will get it soon. Even my never-get-sick-but-when-I-do-watch-out-cause-I-transform-into-a-3-year-old-baby husband got it this year.
You can read all about the 2011 Flu season at the CDC, which describes it basically as a ho-hum, run-of-the-mill, seasonal outbreak. Its what they don’t tell you, that concerns me. I’m not talking about a conspiracy, rather I have it on personal experience, that there’s something very, very weird about the flu this season. Of course, I don’t blame them. They are only going by information given to them. The CDC gets its information from physicians who have no way of documenting this whole new mutation of flu.
You hear reports of viral mutations every so often on the news (i.e. bird flu, swine flu, Hong Kong or h5N1) in which strains of the flu develop immunity to flu shots. MIT researchers, in following the flu, say that the only way to prevent this strain from causing “disastrous consequences” is by identifying the sequence of mutations. I have some bad news.
The flu has mutated with some kind of artificial intelligence. Perhaps the virus picked it up from the traits of the many victims who are uninsured professionals with geek tendencies such as myself. These uninsured, intelligent individuals know that there’s no “cure” for the flu once you’ve got it and so there’s no reason for a doctor’s visit. All you can really do is drink plenty of fluids and wait it out.
This new flu, which I’ve named the SmartFlu, sent out the smartest ones in the bunch to infect those least likely to contact a physician thereby changing the rules of the CDC/MIT researchers’ game. You can’t track what you don’t know about.
None - This image is in the public domain and ...Image via WikipediaThese smart little devils, having artificial intelligence, also seem to have picked up the ability to determine the most opportune time to infect its victims. Just when you’ve signed a major contract, picked up a new client, started a class, cracked open a long-awaited book, and/or any other time-encompassing ventures, that’s when the SmartFlu strikes forcing you to throw all plans out the window and lie in a trance-like state while it has its way with you.
So, the next time you’re out hobnobbing around and run across a particularly brilliant individual, just think twice about shaking their hand.