Sunday, January 24, 2010

Don't be fooled by weight loss ad

In my local paper there was an ad for a half price fat and cellulite-losing program. The moment the word “cellulite” appears the red warning light was illuminated. Reading further, I saw the word “detox”, which triggered the scam alert siren. Then the ad said that on this program you will “burn 1200 Calories in 50 minutes whilst you relax fully clothed”.

First, let me say never, ever use the word “whilst” in print. Well, when have you ever said “whilst” in your life? Imagine saying “Would you please hold my jacket whilst I go to the bathroom?” People will think you are a right twit. And they are fully justified.

Second, do you know who has ever come close to burning 1200 Calories in 50 minutes clothed? I mean properly measured, not guesswork? Tour de France cyclists climbing the Alps. They have their backside out of the saddle, legs pumping, sucking in huge volumes of air, eyes bulging, aching for the finish line. Do they look relaxed to you? During an Alps sector they can burn 7740 Cals (32,400 kJ) over six hours.

Another example. Mike Stroud once burned 11,630 Cals (48,700 kJs) in a day, about 500 Cals an hour. This is the biggest daily calorie burn ever measured in the world. Want to know how he did it? By crossing Antartica pulling a 222 kg (480 lb) sled. I met Mike in Southampton, England for a chat. I now regret not asking him how relaxing he found the three month trekking experience. He did lose 25% of his body weight and he was fully clothed, so if you answer the ad and they rug you up and check your passport before putting you on a plane heading south, well, you were warned.

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