This isn’t about “ego and aesthetics” says Horton

Periodically, I watch Dr Oz episodes at bedtime but I have to stop. The last time I pressed play Elisabeth Hasselbeck was on dispensing information on food intolerances. This time Tony Horton was the featured guest. Perhaps you recognize the name from  the P90X videos; Tony Horton has a tremendous client roster as a personal trainer. What made me cringe wasn’t his exercise advice it was when he stepped into nutritonland. And cringe is in understatement. I got out of bed too worked up to sleep.
What irked me about Horton’s advice is something I’ve seen a lot lately. I would categorize it as the advice you want to hear, the advice you want to be true. However, when you get down to it, it’s really patronizing. The show opened with skinny minis popping out from behind their old enormous clothes. I thought for sure Horton would come out and play the role of expert in smaller-sizing but no. Dr Oz asked Horton why he was disappointed with dieters. First, Horton told Dr Oz, this is not about fitting into certain clothing.  Horton sighed and shrugged  and explained that most people were focused on looking good. Efforts should be focused on improving our quality of life. This “it’s on the inside that matters” guidance was followed less than 2 minutes later with Horton lifting up his shirt at Dr Oz’s request (a weird moment but it didn’t take that much convincing). And here’s the deal, eating well is about feeling good and sleeping better, “going” better and whole host of things that have nothing to do with aesthetics. But looks matter to most of us and no trainer or “guru” is going to get you or the rest of the world to take vanity (his or yours) off the menu. Plus, I’m sorry how can you look into a camera and tell us to shift the focus from our little black dresses with enough Botox to all the “Real” Housewives wrinkle free? Hmn. This is in the same “vein” as diets that “aren’t diets but food plans”. We go on diets to look (and feel) better and once we establish that we can move on. …
 Horton moved on to his specific food advice with his 90/10 concept. Who doesn’t like plans that hinge on cheat days? Horton revealed a table full of fruits and vegetables and salmon and nuts, the typical diet rainbow and then came his big reveal. If you eat these “clean” foods 90% of the time you can, drumroll please, have chocolate cake some of the time. The oohs and aahs filled the room, who would object to the chocolate cake system? Horton said, “people need to ne rewarded.” I’m not treat-averse. I’ve talked about treat training and how to integrate less-than-wholesome items into your diet. However, it can’t all be about the cake. What worries me about this reasoning is that you can’t be living 90% of your hours waiting for cake time. If you’re spending your days choking down kale and quinoa pining for your food reward, I’m sorry but it’s not going to work. Most people who keep their weight in a happy place enjoy how they are eating and keep their food choices interesting and pleasurable. It’s can be suffer and then celebrate because in the long run, who wants to suffer?
With all nutrition and diet advice, we have to separate what would be nice: if size didn’t matter or cake could be a regular part of our lives from the truth.
What diet advice drives you crazy? Are you familiar with Horton? Do you watch Dr Oz? Did you happen to see this show? And do you think it detracts from a message if experts flaunt their own bodies?


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