Quick Fixes Fix Nothing

by Christopher Sutton

“Quick fixes” are actually the reverse of what the name says. Think about it: The more you use quick fixes, the farther it sets you back.

It’s like trying to save money and work by putting duct tape on a massive leak in the hull of a ship. Ultimately you’ve just wasted more time. It’s not going to work, and the ship is going to sink anyway.

We’ve all done it

We’ve all done this. We’ve all tried to take shortcuts instead of doing what it takes to get the job done.

Another example of a quick fix is when your roof is leaking, so you go up and throw a tarp over it or just put a pot in the middle of the floor to catch the rain that’s dripping through. While that is an immediate fix, it’s also a quick fix. If you leave it like that and depend on that to get the job done, that hole will never fix itself. It will just keep getting worse, and there will be more damage and more money involved.

It’s the same thing with dental care. Once you have a cavity, you can’t undo the cavity. You can take aspirin to make the pain go away, but the problem will only get worse until you go to a dentist and get it fixed properly. Don’t try to do a quick fix because it’s only going to come around and catch you in the end.

Some people work harder to not do what’s right in front of them than to actually do it. For instance, from goal line to goal line is a hundred yards on a football field. You’ve heard the saying, “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” But some people will actually take a hard left, run seven miles to their left, then run seven miles back to get to that 100 yards. They’re covering the hundred yards but it’s taking them forever and they’re going the hard way. Do it right the first time and the job will get done.

What does all this have to do with getting in shape?

We’ve all been up late and seen the commercials that promote getting in shape overnight by doing nothing. It could be pills, or special packaged foods, or a fancy piece of equipment. They’re flashing before and after pictures. They’re dressing up the whole scene. Everybody is smiling and happy about the “amazing results.”

The commercial is great. Their marketing is great. They promise quick weight loss by doing little to nothing. You can eat whatever you want, just take these little pills or wrap this band around your waist the extra weight will magically melt away and all your problems will disappear.

If you look closely at the bottom of the screen it always says, “Combined with a sound nutritional program and a sound workout program.” But they don’t want to emphasize that because they know people don’t want to work hard. The promise of a quick fix is what sells.

There are books and gimmicks out there that promise you a six-pack of abs by working out 20 minutes a day, three days a week, while eating whatever you want. When I say “gimmicks,” I’m talking about the “next great thing,” like eating nothing but grapefruit and chicken and drinking orange juice five days a week. “Don’t work out. Just sit and meditate every Saturday.” (That can be called The Meditation Diet, and everyone’s going to be buying the book and going on the Meditation Diet.)

People are always trying to lose weight without doing anything, and it always comes back to bite them because that doesn’t work.

The real story

The late night infomercials will sell you a machine that they say will give you a 6-pack of abs by doing some weird crunch, strapping yourself into a machine for 10-15 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week. You don’t have to combine it with a cardio workout. You don’t have to combine it with eating correctly. It doesn’t say anything about your state of mind or your behavior at it pertains to working out. It just says, “Use our machine and you will look like this.”

We all know this is false. The person who is demonstrating the machine has trained for this commercial. He or she is on a workout routine, doing cardio strength training, they’re eating correctly. They’re probably even airbrushed. In short they are what we call a model or an actor. And they’re selling it to you.

The real scene they should show is someone waking up out of bed with their hair all messed up, walking into their spare bedroom, knocking the cat off of this machine, and trying to do a workout for five or ten minutes; then the phone rings and the kids cry and they give up. Meanwhile they’re making payments on the thing, and it ends up getting disassembled, stowed under the bed, and eventually sold at a garage sale three years later.

There is intense advertising and marketing for nutritional-based items such as frozen meals, nutritional bars, and special menus. “If you just eat this you’ll lose all the weight. You don’t have to work out, just buy our food or our drink or our organic guava this or fruit juice that, and it will cleanse your body.”

Do you know what you’re losing on one of these diets? Muscle. When the scale says you’ve lost weight, it’s because you’ve lost muscle mass. Once again, it’s a quick fix. You end up worse off than you were before you started because once you lose your muscle you’ve lost your metabolism, which is your ability to burn your own fat. Losing your metabolism will make you gain back all the weight you lost, and then some. This is what happens when you leave out the workout. You have to work out.

What about cleansing or detoxing. While this can help the body and you can lose some weight because of it, it does not get you in shape. Colonic cleansing for internal health is specifically for that, not for a super-fit body with strong pectoral muscles and triceps, a high cardio capacity, and longevity based on fitness. It’s just cleaning the inside of the body. But because people can attribute a certain amount of weight loss to it, people think that if they just drink juice or take this pill and do a cleanse, they can lose weight without breaking a sweat.

People will do anything to keep from breaking a sweat. And the harder they try to avoid it, the more behind the 8-ball they get, because they’re taking the long road. They’re running fifteen miles to go a hundred yards downfield. It’s not working.

Jumping on bandwagon gimmicks

A bandwagon gimmick is when you hear people talking about it during lunch or you see a commercial, and it’s the next big thing. It seems like everybody is doing it — for two or three weeks. Then it’s on to the next “great plan.”

Jumping from gimmick to gimmick and plan to plan is just as bad as not doing anything. If you’re not consistent with one thing, it won’t work. Once again, we’ve already determined that working out is 100 percent behavior. The title of this book could be Creating the Ultimate Mindset, because we’re trying to change the way you think.

If you rely on gimmicks, if you rely on the marketplace to shove something down your throat, that’s not going to work. If you choose a sound plan and follow it consistently, that is going to work. It always comes back to the fact that you do have to break a sweat. Good old-fashioned working out and eating right. Being consistent with that is the only thing ever proven to get your body in shape and keep it in shape. There’s nothing else that works. Nothing else that will have the same long-lasting fitness benefits.

But first we’ve got to change the way we think. We’ve got to get motivated, and we’ve got to get the job done.


Excerpted from the book Creating the Ultimate Body: The Truth about Being in Shape, What It Really Takes, and Where It Really Starts by Christopher Sutton. Copyright 2011.

For more information, please see the author’s website at www.fightforsuccess.com.