There is a very high noise-to-signal ratio in nutrition, which historically has been a paradise of cranks and cultists. As such, it is remarkably easy to incorporate social prejudices about personal responsibility, which usually means an imputation of personal inferiority. I think it would be wiser to be cautious. Is weight gain while aging truly a sign of degeneration of character? Or is it a side effect of slowing metabolism?
Stj, you make some really good points, and it's unfortunate that the fitness industry is in fact full of quacks and scammers.
However, there are a lot of knowledgeable people out there, and a lot of true information.
I remember this thing called Body For Life that started being advertised back in the late 90's, and I was a fat kid back then as I had been all my life. I decided to try it and I went down from 190lbs and a 38" waist to 173lbs and a 32" waist in around 3 months.
It was a lot of hard work and I learned the basics of what it takes to be fit. I wanted to build more muscle, so eventually I started reading more advanced training and dieting information. A really good site back then was called www.t-mag.com
, now I think it's called www.t-nation.com
I haven't been there in a while, but if you look at the archives from 2005 and earlier, you will find a treasure trove of information. I probably gained about 30lbs of muscle from 2000 to 2005, and went from 15" arms to 18" arms.
None of this is easy. You have to plan your workouts and your meals. You have to eat exactly what your body needs to do what you want. You have to supplement with good multivitamins, and some other useful stuff.
People who are truly obese hardly have a metabolism, and this is why they gain so easily. The main reason is because they don't strain their muscles at all, except for the weight they carry, which the body gets used to. I remember the first time I walked into a gym and I couldn't even do bench press with one 25lb wheel on each side. I was embarrased at being so weak, but I put up with it, and my best bench ended up being 4 reps of 315lbs.
The same for cardio. The first time I hopped on a cardio bike, I had to set it at its lowest setting, and even then I'd be dying after 5 mins of pedaling. I ended up being able to to 1hr at the highest setting, sweating buckets but with enough energy to continue.
I think only a very small percentage of people who are obese (I would be willing to bet less than 1%) would not be able to lose a significant amount of the weight they carry in a few months if they made the effort to do it, and found someone to help them (like the nearest meathead at the gym. They aren't a shredded 5% bodyfat just for showing up, it take knowledge and discipline even with good genetics to do that)