Since May, Drew Manning has gained about 70 pounds on purpose.
Drew is a personal trainer and is on a mission he calls Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit. He’s spending 6 months eating junk and not exercising. After that, he’ll spend another 6 months trying to lose the weight he gained.
Drew explains that he wanted to experience for himself what it’s like to be “fat” & how tough the weight loss process is. As someone who’s been fit his whole life, it’s a completely different world for him. But while his intentions may be noble (or financially motivated - this is quite a story afterall) something about this just doesn’t sit right with me. Here are my thoughts…
1. I can see how this can be a little insulting to some. People struggle with weight loss, so having someone deliberately put themselves in this position is a little slap in the face-y.
2. The better shape you were in before, the easier it is to lose weight/get back in to shape. The reason why a lot of fit mom’s bounce back easily after they have a baby: the muscles don’t take nearly as long to tone and the weight doesn’t take as long to come off, even after a period of 6 months or more.
3. This is unhealthy. As interesting as the experiment is, the bottom line is gaining that much weight in that short an amount of time isn’t good for anyone. Considering he’s in the health & fitness industry, it seems a little counter-intuitive that he would ruin his health like this.
While it’s nice to try and step in someone else’s shoes, the experience of someone who’s been obese their whole life (who’s trying to lose weight) or of someone who’s struggled to lose weight for a long time is entirely different than someone who’s purposely gained the weight for an experiment. He can’t possibly know the psychological component, or the severity of the issues that the overweight and obese face when it comes to weight loss. Plus, he has advantages they don’t have: a history of healthy behavior, a body that’s used to exercise (not recently, but still) and a wealth of knowledge and tools at his disposal.
Still, there are a few components of his experiment that I found interesting. For one, he’s developped what he calls an ‘addiction’ to things like soda and high sugar foods: something that gives credence to those who claim it’s not as simple as just ‘eat right’ and ‘move more’. Addiction is real, and for most requires a different set of tools other than just will power.
Another interesting component is the emotional change. He describes a drop in self-esteem, a change in his mood (apparently it’s caused marital problems) and the loss in his ability to do things he took for granted before. Even if I don’t think he’s 100% right about his approach, it’s interesting to see someone who’s taken these things for granted have them taken away. Do I smell some personal growth here?
Here are excerpts from his interview with Fat Fighter TV
On The process: It’s been very tough physically, mentally and emotionally to let myself go like this. The first couple of months were the hardest. I felt like I was going through withdrawals, just like any other addiction. I was jealous seeing people running, going to the gym, and being in shape.
On his health: With a BP reading of 161/113 you can’t NOT be concerned. I haven’t felt in danger yet, but I still have 4 weeks left to go. People tell me all the time to stop now, but I look at it like this…..if others can live years with these unhealthy risk factors, like high BP, glucose levels, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, etc. then I can last another 4 weeks. Plus I want to show people how living a healthy lifestyle can change all of those risk factors.
On the junk food: Yes and no. To some extent, all of these foods that I’m eating (sugary cereals, granola bars, juices, white breads, white pastas, sodas, crackers, chips, frozen dinners, mac n cheese, etc.) taste delicious. But then I feel like crap later on and I get hungry again and crave those same foods.
On how he feels: I’m to the point where I feel lethargic and uncomfortable. I definitely feel “addicted” to these foods. In the beginning, I did not like soda, but now I can’t go a day without, otherwise I’ll get the headaches, bad mood, etc. Emotionally, it’s taken a toll on my confidence level, even in my marriage. I don’t like the way I look in public; nothing fits right; bending over to tie my shoes or clip my toe nails has become so difficult. I’ve definitely taken those things for granted.
On what he’s learned: I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is how intense and how real these food cravings are. I think a lot of people associate the word “addiction” with drugs and alcohol, but I do believe this addiction (to America’s processed foods) is real and very similar. I know I’ll never know exactly what it’s like for every person that’s overweight and I don’t claim to, but at least I understand better than I did before when I never had to struggle with this. I hope to learn a lot more in the second half of my journey, from fat 2 fit.
What are your thoughts? Valiant or meh?