Monthly Archives: January 2007

Men’s Health article "Find Her Online"

Below is an article from Men’s Health magazine,
along with some of my comments.

Make yourself irresistible on Internet
dating sites without lying — and get
stunning results.

by Lisa Jones
June 2005
pp. 150 & 152


Second question: Are you online?

If yes to both, skip to where I tell you how to spend less
time pecking away at your keyboard and more time getting
some e-booty, or a meaningful relationship — whatever
your goal is.

If yes to number one and no to number two — you’re a
single guy who’s not looking online — let’s chat. I know
what you’re thinking. When I put my L-search on broadband
a few months ago, I felt very late to the party. And I
thought I would hate it. But after giving it a go, I
solemnly say, if you’re offline, if you’re single, and
if you want to hook up, it’s time to upload your kisser
and your brand of smooth for the millions of ladies online
to check out.

Be aware: The e-flashing pond is more competitive
than ever. [1] On most sites, men outnumber women.
On, the guy-girl ratio is 60:40. On others,
it’s worse: 70:30. [2] That’s why you need this guide.
“Any guy who’s complaining about being single, and who
at this late date does not have an online profile as
part of his diversified dating portfolio, should stop
complaining”, says Lynn Harris, a journalist who helps
online daters perfect their profiles at
“Having a profile online is like having another credit
card in your wallet; it’s there as backup.” [3]

[1] (Virgo) This sounds backwards to me. Wouldn’t it
be *less* competitive for men now than it used to
be in the early days of the internet, 10-15 years
ago, when a much higher percentage of the people
online were male?

[2] (Virgo) I was under the impression that it was
a lot worse than this for men. Heck, I’d think
that the I.T. and computer science people who
frequent these groups would feel that a ratio
of 70:30 isn’t all that bad, given what they’re
used to, so the fact that they still complain about
the ratio suggests to me that the 60:40 and
70:30 figures might be a little sugar-coated.
I’m guessing that by including *all* age groups
in this figure, it misrepresents how things actually
are for guys in their 20’s and for women over 50.

[3] (Virgo) Am I missing something? If anything, I would
think the competitiveness of online dating for men
makes it less important for a guy to have an online
profile, not more important. Actually, I think there
are other reasons for what Lynn Harris said, and the
author should have started a new paragraph with Lynn’s
comments, since Lynn’s comments don’t fit all that
well with her paragraph’s topic sentence: “The e-flashing
pond is more competitive than ever.”

It’s just another way to meet women. My brother (jokingly)
calls his online pool of ladies his “stable”. As in, “I have
a few new ladies in my stable this week”. I think you should
start building one. I’ll help.


Women don’t respond to messages without photos. We’re
shallow. We’re suspicious. We think you’re ugly and have
a wife. On, profiles with photos get up to 10
times more responses than those without. Make sure the
photo is taken up close and in focus — no sunglasses,
no hats. Would it kill you to smile?

One man I went out with had a profile shot of himself
at the wheel of a sailboat: superhot. Normally I don’t
recommend props, and normally I’d be suspicious of a
show-off. But this worked. [4]

What I won’t respond to is a photo of a shirtless
man — even if you’re on the beach; even if you have
Men’s Health abs. It is never a good idea. In the
female mind, hottest is the man who appears not to
realize he’s attractive. The shirtless man thinks
he’s hot, and that instantly makes him unhot. [5]

[4] (Virgo) I think “suspicious of a show-off” is a
good comment, but I also think the sailboat guy
is almost over the top in this regard. The only
similar thing I can think of that would be more
obviously showing off a guy’s wealth and exciting
lifestyle would be if the guy had a profile shot
of himself at the controls of an airplane. I think
the guy’s appearance, and not his sailboat prop,
is what “worked” for her (unless the author is
not being honest with her feelings about props).

[5] (Virgo) I agree with the shirtless issue, but I’d
revise the author’s reason a little. It’s not bad
because he thinks he’s hot. Having confidence is
hardly a turn-off for women. It’s bad because it’s
juvenile and because many women are going to feel
insulted by his implication that his having a nice
chest would be important to them (even if it really
is, although I don’t think it would be for most women).


It’s like freshman camp:
Show, don’t tell. Saying you’re funny has no meaning
if nothing in your profile makes me laugh. Saying
you’re adventurous isn’t nearly as interesting as
describing your kite-boarding weekend. [6]

Do a cliché check. Even if you _are_ a good listener
who likes museums, sunsets, and walks in the park,
don’t say so. Cheese like this gave personals a bad

Spelling counts. Not because we’re picky bitches. But
when we see misspellings, we think, “How badly does
this guy want to meet someone?” says Harris, who is
also the cocreator of “Maybe
that’s not fair. But that’s all we have to go on.” [7]

[6] (Virgo) I think “intelligent”, “athletic”, “have
lots of money”, “sensitive”, etc. are each easy to
get across without saying it _and_ your point would
better made. That’s assuming the adjectives are true,
of course. If I was looking for someone and I was
picky, I’d probably skip over the people who *say*
they have the qualities I’m looking for and only
consider the people who *show* the qualities I’m
looking for. And if I wasn’t picky, it wouldn’t matter,
so “showing” comes out as the optimal strategy.

[7] (Virgo) This is a no-brainer to me. Since spelling
counts in almost everything else you write — business
reports, office memos, letters to another company
proposing a business proposition, legal briefs,
advertising statements, minutes of a meeting,
travel expenditure reports, etc., misspellings
in an ad show that you rank almost everything
else you do as more important.


My friend Matt (whom I used to date) sheepishly told me
he had started online dating. Of course, I stalked him

Yikes! The handsome face I know was in his photo — but
he was holding a baby. (Bad move. It’s cloying, and makes
a woman wonder whose baby it is.) And his answer to the
question “What’s your favorite on-screen sex scene?”
involved gay porn. (It was a joke, but the humor didn’t
translate.) I called him, I advised him. He changed the
answer, he changed the photo. He immediately received
messages from five new women. (And that’s the power of
my advice, boys.)

Before going public, ask a lady friend (the kind
would like to date [8]) to look at your profile. Or
hire someone: At, an expert
can tune up your profile or write it for you.

[8] (Virgo) It seems to me that this would be a good
use of someone who LJBF’ed you, whether we’re
talking about a guy or a girl.


I have this theory about dating, and it’s especially
true online. When you go after a woman you’re truly
interested in — instead of just any random girl —
you’re more likely to get her. You come across as
enthusiastic and genuine. When you first start e-dating,
there’s an eBay effect: You want everything you see.
But if you’re writing generic messages to hundreds of
women, they won’t respond.

“Women are actually quite sophisticated online daters
today”, says Trish McDermott, who was part of the
founding team of, where 15 million people
are members. “The know when they’re getting spammed —
when a guy is just playing the numbers game.”


Winks are for wusses. (It’s a half-assed message that
says my profile caught your eye.) I’m not so crazy
about the IM option, either. Send me an actual e-mail.
In the subject line, most guys write “Hi” or “Hey” [9],
so at least add my user name. Or write something like
“Caring is creepy”, because my profile says I like the
Garden State soundtrack. Then I’ll feel like you get me.

It doesn’t matter much what you say in your message.
[10] Make a connection based on something you noticed
in my profile. Say that of all the women you saw online,
I’m the one who stood out. If you show genuine interest
in me and I like what I see, you’ll keep my attention,
and I’ll respond.

[9] (Virgo) Is anyone really this stupid? (This is a
rhetorical question.) Surely I’m not the only
person who gets at least half a dozen spam
messages a day with these subjects. The only
things I can think of that would be worse to use
in the subject line are “Important business
proposition” and “MicroSoft Patch”.

[10] (Virgo) This goes against my instincts. I’d
think that you’d want to be very careful with
what you write, as well as not write too much
or write too little, in order to stand out from
all the other guys writing her. Also, if it was
obvious from my profile that I was what she’s
looking for, I’d figure she would have already
written to me, so I’d be working under the
assumption that it wasn’t obvious to her.
(These considerations are only about first
impressions from the profiles themselves, not
how well two people might actually fit together.)


If we’ve e-mailed a few times, it’s a safe bet to
invite me out for coffee or a drink, or ask for my
phone number. If you wait too long, I might lose
interest or start building expectations. “Too many
online exchanges and we start creating fantasy women
and men in our minds”, says McDermott, “and then they
don’t live up to the fantasy”.


I’ll assume you’re a weirdo/psycho/probable rapist
until you demonstrate otherwise. [11] Don’t be
offended. Women still have safety concerns. Let
me take the lead in revealing personal information,
like where I live. Otherwise, once we’re on a date
and have exchanged last names, consider it regular
dating, and work your magic, normal-style.

Very important: If you’re just looking for sex,
make sure you’re targeting women who are clearly
doing the same. On most sites, you can specify
whether you’re looking for play or intimate
encounters, friendship, dating, or a serious
relationship [12]. E-mailing a woman who’s in the
serious relationship category when you’re listed
in intimate encounters is a waste of time — and,
really, it’s rude and creepy. Shout-out to the
guys who want to “play”: No, I will not meet you
on the 6 train. I will not meet you anywhere.

[11] (Virgo) This is analogous to something I could
have said in my comments about spelling earlier
(see [7]). If you present yourself as an illiterate
who can’t earn more than the minimum wage, then
I would figure that most women are going to assume
this about you, even if you claimed you’re in a
mid-level management position making $55 thousand
a year. Related to this is something I posted back
on May 8 (see [13]).

[12] (Virgo) O-K, now I’m going to show my lack
of knowledge about online dating (I’ve been
married since January 1991), but I wouldn’t
have thought there would be enough women who’d
openly admit to wanting only an “encounter” to
make this a workable category.

[13] Excerpt from a May 8, 2005 post of mine:


She seems O-K to me. But what’s up with this comment
that she made?

## I dnt hav any stamps so if you do and u like me i
## will give u my upmost attention and respond straight away 🙂


I wish there was a way to stick one of those “Bind Date”
(the TV show) bubble comments after this, something like:

Obvious Guy Says: “A good way to keep every guy who’s
literate enough to have a job earning over minimum wage
from contacting you is to write like you’re not.”

Men’s health magazine ranks Houston as nation’s fattest city


Men’s health magazine ranks Houston as nation”s fattest city
HOUSTON, Texas (AP) –When it comes to flab, Houston is No. 1.

For the second consecutive year, Men’s Fitness magazine gave the title of
fattest to the nation’s fourth-largest city.

The magazine considers air and water quality, television viewing habits,
obesity rates, availability of parks and open space, climate and nutrition
when assigning ranks.

Later this month, Houston plans to launch a get-fit effort inspired by
cheesesteak-loving Philadelphia, which implemented a citywide fitness
campaign after the magazine named it the flab capital in 1999.

In response, health clubs offered discounts, businesses sponsored
lunch-hour workouts and restaurants presented leaner dishes. Philadelphia
dropped to No. 3 last year, and this year is No. 4 on the list.

Chicago ranked No. 2, followed by Detroit.

Houston isn’t the only Texas city battling the bulge. Dallas weighs in at
No. 5; San Antonio at No. 7, and Fort Worth rounds out Texas in the top 10
at No. 8.

Only one Texas city, Austin, is among the magazine’s top 25 fittest cities
at No. 16. The magazine ranked Colorado Springs the nation’s fittest city,
followed by Denver, San Diego, Seattle and San Francisco.

The magazine’s February “fattest city” issue appears on newsstands Monday.

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Workout frequency for older guys

I’m 54 yrs old, 5’10” and 175 lbs. Been doing a routine for
1-1/2 years of upper body exercises (bench press, dips, bicep
curls, flies, shoulder presses) followed by cardio (2 mile run).
Altho I’m in good shape (i.e. – I bench 180 lbs x 10 x 4 sets), I
don’t see as much muscle growth (bulk) as I’d like. At my age,
could it be that following this routine 3X per week is too much
for me with insufficient recovery time, or should I stick with
this frequency and just reduce my expectations about how much
muscle development I can expect at my age?

You’re talking to a young pup here (only 53), but remember, we don’t have the
hormones squirting around like we did in the early days. To take advantage of
the hormones. I’d think you’d be better off doing some moves involving the
lower body, where at least 60 % of your mass is. Total body or split? Your
call. I personally go for full body, take the bar off the floor, x3-4, press
it, and then squat the heck out of it. But thats just my way I work out at
least 4X week in this way, but you have to watch volume and intensity. If those
creep up, then cut back to 2Xweekly. I know this is vague (at best), but you
really have to feel it out for yourself.

I suggest a 2 day split. Mon & Thur upper body, Tues & Fri lower body.
Also the cardio immediately following your workout could be negating the
workout. Do the cardio on the days you don’t lift.

I don’t think you should blame your age. I started at 67 and, not knowing
any better, worked thirty different exercises three times a week, then
cycled for a hour. ( In the gym for four to five hours each time). Not
knowing I should not recover, I did. Not knowing I should not expect much
muscle, I got them Many people remarked on my noticeable change in
physique. And I was on a weight-loss diet at the time.
Ironically, I did not intend bulk — I wanted to be in shape for Olympic
Weightlifting. But the bulk came anyway.
Now, at 75, I have just gone back to body-building ( after years doing
mostly specific OL exercises), and a two hour workout will wipe me out, and
I seem to be less able to work a long stretch after only a day’s rest. But
it’s only been a couple of weeks –
I am still not convinced about the need for longer recovery at an advanced
age. Where do you stop? I have seen some people suggest as little as once a
week for “older” lifters. So perhaps once a month is better. And if you
never work out at all you will achieve perfection.
Maybe you are not physically designed for bulk. Strength and bulk don’t
necessarily go together: few Olympic Lifters look like strong men, but they
do lift heavy.

Govt health service the best in the world

There are some things because of economies of scale that only
a govt can do best -war , education , health , pensions .
Britain spends the least on health just 7% of GDP and yet all health
care is free and medicines subsidized . One can go to any general
practioner and get seen immediately and be prescribed the latest
medicines and be admitted to hospital free if necessary .

A combination of fee per patient per year -about $20 and help
with 70% of office expenses means that family doctors can see 50
patients a day each and do visits at home without complaining .
Education also is all free and govt pensions have the best returns
as there are not so many middle men needed.

In America in contrast one serious illness can wipe out a
lifetime of savings and medical insurance is expensive to buy..

People in Britain are becoming so healthy the average lifespan is set
to rise to 100, according to a senior government doctor. Life
expectancy has risen more than 30 years this century, with men now
living to 74.4 years on average and women to 79.6.
Life expectancy is rising at about two years every decade, and Dr Pat
Troop, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said there was no reason for
it to stop increasing. ‘It will continue until we come to the natural
life expectancy of us as an organism, which is probably around 95 to
100 years,’ she told The Observer. ‘People who don’t have disease live
into their nineties or to 100, so there is still scope for

The rise has been driven by better nutrition, better housing and
improvements in medical care, eliminating the risks of many diseases.
In the first half of this century, life expectancy rose sharply
because of a dramatic reduction in infant mortality, but it is now
being pushed up by old people carrying on for much longer than they
used to.

In the Seventies, a 65-year-old man could expect to live to 77,
whereas now he could expect to live to 81. The government actuary
suggested recently that centenarians in Britain would rise from 13,000
now to 100,000 by 2066.

Although people have sharply cut the amount of fat and red meat they
eat, and increased consumption of fruit, further advances are needed.
‘What we have to ensure now is that people eat more vegetables,’ said
Troop. People are also more sedentary.’

Geneticist Chris Morris, of the Institute for the Health of the
Elderly at Newcastle, thinks life expectancy of women could reach 90
in the next decades. ‘We can see an increase in life expectancy of
five to 10 years in the next 30 years, partly through diet, and partly
through medication,’ he said. ‘By decreasing salt intake, you can add
two to five years to life expectancy. Now we have to try to reduce
cholesterol to add another two to five years. If you also give drugs
for high blood pressure, you can add yet another two to five years.

Yet health workers warn that the length of healthy life is unaltered,
and people are living more years with illness or disability. Lorna
Easterbrook, fellow in community care at the Kings Fund, said: ‘It
seems that you have the same years of severe disabil ity, it just gets
shunted further along, so it’s 85 rather than 80. But we are living
longer with moderate disability and illness.’

Okinawan diet magazine: best for longer life?

We have a difference of opinion on just what these people eat.

Before we throw up our hands and decide that no conclusions can be made
about diet and health in China, let us turn our attention to the mixed
peoples of Okinawa, situated equidistant from Hong Kong and Tokyo. The
average lifespan for women in Okinawa is 84 (compared to 79 in American),
and the island boasts a disproportionately large number of centenarians.
Okinawans have low levels of chronic illness–osteoporosis, cancer,
diabetes, atherosclerosis and stroke–compared to America, China and Japan,
which allows them to continue to work, even in advanced years. In spite of
Okinawa’s horrific role in World War II, as the site of one of the
bloodiest battles of the Pacific, Okinawa is a breezy, pleasant place,
neither crowded nor polluted, with a strong sense of family and community
and where the local people produce much of what they consume.

And what do Okinawans eat? The main meat of the diet is pork, and not the
lean cuts only. Okinawan cuisine, according to gerontologist Kazuhiko
Taira, “is very healthy–and very, very greasy,” in a 1996 article that
appeared in Health Magazine.19 And the whole pig is eaten–everything from
“tails to nails.” Local menus offer boiled pigs feet, entrail soup and
shredded ears. Pork is cooked in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, kelp and
small amounts of sugar, then sliced and chopped up for stir fry dishes.
Okinawans eat about 100 grams of meat per day–compared to 70 in Japan and
just over 20 in China–and at least an equal amount of fish, for a total of
about 200 grams per day, compared to 280 grams per person per day of meat
and fish in America. Lard–not vegetable oil–is used in cooking.

Okinawans also eat plenty of fibrous root crops such as taro and sweet
potatoes. They consume rice and noodles, but not as the main component of
the diet. They eat a variety of vegetables such as carrots, white radish,
cabbage and greens, both fresh and pickled. Bland tofu is part of the diet,
consumed in traditional ways, but on the whole Okinawan cuisine is spicy.
Pork dishes are flavored with a mixture of ginger and brown sugar, with
chili oil and with “the wicked bite of bitter melon.”

Weston Price did not study the peoples of Okinawa, but had he done so, he
would have found one more example to support his conclusions–that whole
foods, including sufficient animal foods with their fat–are needed for
good health and long life, even in the Orient. In fact, the Okinawan
example demonstrates the fallacy of today’s politically correct
message–that we should emulate the peoples of China by reducing animal
products and eating more grains; rather, the Chinese would benefit by
adding more strengthening animal foods to their daily fare.

19. Deborah Franklyn, “Take a Lesson from the People of Okinawa,” Health,
September 1996, pp 57-63

The diet of Man today is much different than that of ancient Man.
As a whole, we eat much more meat than did ancient Man, and we eat
different parts of the animal.

Virtually all meat we eat is striated muscle tissue, the type of
muscle in the arms or legs which does the running and heavy lifting.
But there are three types of muscle: striated, smooth, and cardiac.
Most people eat _no_ smooth or cardiac muscle in their diet.

Ancient Man ate not only all three types of muscle, but organ meats and
skin as well. Eating only striated muscle might make sense for an
athelete like a runner or weight lifter, but for the average person
this is a diet far different from that of your ancient ancestors.

In addition to eating whole animal meat, it is also important to
eat mature animal meat. Virtually all meat sold in supermarkets is
from young animals, only a year or two old. It costs too much money
to keep the animals alive until maturity. The flesh of these young
animals is packed with the hormones and enzymes of young growing
animals, which is great if you’re going to feed it to children,
but can be highly stressful to feed to an adult. Too many people
continue the eating habits they learned as children into adulthood,
where it causes many of the problems associated with middle-age.

But there is one meat which combines all three types of muscle tissue
plus various organs and is made from mature animals, retired dairy
cattle which have already given birth and produced life-giving milk.
This meat is bologna (pronounced ba-LO-ney), and is widely available
at fine delicatessens and meat markets.

Unfortunately, there is a conspiracy among the big drug companies
to suppress this information. They know they would be put out of
business tomorrow if everybody were eating bologna for health.

Just in posting this to the net, I’m taking a chance that they might
send out a hit man to kill me. So you’d better save a copy of this
file because you might never see it again!

Men warned about obesity problem

“Men warned about obesity problem”, BBC News, June 13, 2005,

Three quarters of men will be overweight within five years, research

The Men’s Health Forum said a change in the way weight campaigns were
aimed at men was needed to avert the crisis.

It said part of the problem was that messages were often targeted at
women – despite more men (65%) than women (55%) being overweight or

The group has produced a health guide in the style of a car manual to
help change attitudes.


A survey by the forum found many men were against seeking help to lose

More than half of men said they would not go to a GP for advice, while
87% were against joining slimming clubs.

The survey, of 1,028 men aged 16 to 64, revealed men were more likely
to be motivated to lose weight to help them “chat someone up” (43%)
than for health reasons (39%).

The men surveyed also showed a lack of understanding about the health
implications of being overweight.

Only two thirds knew that being overweight was linked to diabetes,
while a third were aware of the link to erection problems.

Projections for 2010, based on present trends show that 75% of men will
be overweight or obese by 2010, compared to two thirds of women, the
forum said.

The new guide, the HGV Man manual, has been produced in conjunction
with car manual publishers Haynes.

It delivers a health message in a male-friendly way, referring to
seeing a doctor as having an MOT.

Dr Ian Banks, president of the Men’s Health Forum and author of HGV
Man, said: “Men are often less well informed about nutrition and how to
lose weight than women.

“To be effective advice must be tailored to men.


“Currently, health messages about weight loss are most geared to women
in ways that men don’t connect with.

“Support for male weight loss has to be provided in a range of
settings, such as the workplace and online, as well as through the GP

National Obesity Forum chairman Dr David Haslam said men had to pay
more attention to their weight.

“Men need to be more aware of the health implication of excess
abdominal fat and how to lose weight.

“Reducing waist size alone can lead to significant improvements in
health, so being able to notch in a belt can be a good and simple way
of gauging healthy weight loss.”

Are you eating a Western Diet?

The Western Diet* is the diet of affluence, and can be defined by comparing
it to what the human species ate a mere ten generations ago.

The Western Diet* has twice the amount of fat, a much higher ratio of
saturated to unsaturated fatty acids, a third of the daily fibre intake,
much more sugar and sodium, fewer complex carbohydrates, and a reduced
intake of micronutrient.

Ounce you can honestly say that you have stopped eating the Western Diet*
for a period of at least two years you have essential achieve the optimal
benefit possible from eating a heathy diet. It has been said that your body
replaces itself every 7 months. As the years past, as you continue to eat a
healthy diet the overall benefits derived from your diet will increase.
This is how you derive benefit from your diet.

Constantly screwing around with your diet beyond this point, will result in
some benefit. But, diminishing returns will set. At some point, it will be
largely a waste of time, money, and effort.

The diet of Man today is much different than that of ancient Man.
As a whole, we eat much more meat than did ancient Man, and we eat
different parts of the animal.

Virtually all meat we eat is striated muscle tissue, the type of
muscle in the arms or legs which does the running and heavy lifting.
But there are three types of muscle: striated, smooth, and cardiac.
Most people eat _no_ smooth or cardiac muscle in their diet.

Ancient Man ate not only all three types of muscle, but organ meats and
skin as well. Eating only striated muscle might make sense for an
athelete like a runner or weight lifter, but for the average person
this is a diet far different from that of your ancient ancestors.

In addition to eating whole animal meat, it is also important to
eat mature animal meat. Virtually all meat sold in supermarkets is
from young animals, only a year or two old. It costs too much money
to keep the animals alive until maturity. The flesh of these young
animals is packed with the hormones and enzymes of young growing
animals, which is great if you’re going to feed it to children,
but can be highly stressful to feed to an adult. Too many people
continue the eating habits they learned as children into adulthood,
where it causes many of the problems associated with middle-age.

But there is one meat which combines all three types of muscle tissue
plus various organs and is made from mature animals, retired dairy
cattle which have already given birth and produced life-giving milk.
This meat is bologna (pronounced ba-LO-ney), and is widely available
at fine delicatessens and meat markets.

Unfortunately, there is a conspiracy among the big drug companies
to suppress this information. They know they would be put out of
business tomorrow if everybody were eating bologna for health.

Just in posting this to the net, I’m taking a chance that they might
send out a hit man to kill me. So you’d better save a copy of this
file because you might never see it again!

The Case for Abolishing Psychiatry

Why Psychiatry Should Be Abolished as a Medical Specialty (Part 1)

by Lawrence Stevens, J.D.

Psychiatry should be abolished as a medical specialty because
medical school education is not needed nor even helpful for doing
counselling or so-called psychotherapy, because the perception of
mental illness as a biological entity is mistaken, because
psychiatry’s “treatments” other than counselling or psychotherapy
(primarily drugs and electroshock) hurt rather than help people,
because nonpsychiatric physicians are better able than
psychiatrists to treat real brain disease, and because
nonpsychiatric physicians’ acceptance of psychiatry as a medical
specialty is a poor reflection on the medical profession as a

In the words of Sigmund Freud in his book The Question of Lay
Analysis: “The first consideration is that in his medical school a
doctor receives a training which is more or less the opposite of
what he would need as a preparation for psycho-analysis [Freud’s
method of psychotherapy]. … Neurotics, indeed, are an undesired
complication, an embarrassment as much to therapeutics as to
jurisprudence and to military service. But they exist and are a
particular concern of medicine. Medical education, however, does
nothing, literally nothing, towards their understanding and
treatment. … It would be tolerable if medical education merely
failed to give doctors any orientation in the field of the
neuroses. But it does more: it given them a false and detrimental
attitude. …analytic instruction would include branches of
knowledge which are remote from medicine and which the doctor does
not come across in his practice: the history of civilization,
mythology, the psychology of religion and the science of
literature. Unless he is well at home in these subjects, an analyst
can make nothing of a large amount of his material. By way of
compensation, the great mass of what is taught in medical schools
is of no use to him for his purposes. A knowledge of the anatomy of
the tarsal bones, of the constitution of the carbohydrates, of the
course of the cranial nerves, a grasp of all that medicine has
brought to light on bacillary exciting causes of disease and the
means of combating them, on serum reactions and on neoplasms – all
of this knowledge, which is undoubtedly of the highest value in
itself, is nevertheless of no consequence to him; it does not
concern him; it neither helps him directly to understand a neurosis
and to cure it nor does it contribute to a sharpening of those
intellectual capacities on which his occupation makes the greatest
demands. … It is unjust and inexpedient to try to compel a person
who wants to set someone else free from the torment of a phobia or
an obsession to take the roundabout road of the medical curriculum.
Nor will such an endeavor have any success…” (W.W. Norton & Co,
Inc., pp. 62, 63, 81, 82). In a postscript to this book Dr. Freud
wrote: “Some time ago I analyzed [psychoanalyzed] a colleague who
had developed a particularly strong dislike of the idea of anyone
being allowed to engage in a medical activity who was not himself a
medical man. I was in a position to say to him: `We have now been
working for more than three months. At what point in our analysis
have I had occasion to make use of my medical knowledge?’ He
admitted that I had had no such occasion” (pp. 92-93). While Dr.
Freud made these remarks about his own method of psychotherapy,
psychoanalysis, it is hard to see why it would be different for any
other type of “psychotherapy” or counselling. In their book about
how to shop for a psychotherapist, Mandy Aftel, M.A., and Robin
Lakoff, Ph.D., make this observation: “Historically, all forms of
`talking’ psychotherapy are derived from psychoanalysis, as
developed by Sigmund Freud and his disciples … More recent models
diverge from psychoanalysis to a greater or lesser degree, but they
all reflect that origin. Hence, they are all more alike than
different” (When Talk Is Not Cheap, Or How To Find the Right
Therapist When You Don’t Know Where To Begin, Warner Books, 1985,
p. 27).

If you think the existence of psychiatry as a medical specialty is
justified by the existence of biological causes of so-called mental
or emotional illness, you’ve been misled. In 1988 in The New
Harvard Guide to Psychiatry Seymour S. Kety, M.D., Professor
Emeritus of Neuroscience in Psychiatry, and Steven Matthysse,
Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychobiology, both of Harvard
Medical School, said “an impartial reading of the recent literature
does not provide the hoped-for clarification of the catecholamine
hypotheses, nor does compelling evidence emerge for other
biological differences that may characterize the brains of patients
with mental disease” (Harvard Univ. Press, p. 148). So-called
mental or emotional “illnesses” are caused by unfortunate life
experience – not biology. There is no biological basis for the
concept of mental or emotional illness, despite speculative
theories you may hear. The brain is an organ of the body, and no
doubt it can have a disease, but nothing we think of today as
mental illness has been traced to a brain disease. There is no
valid biological test that tests for the presence of any so-called
mental illness. What we think of today as mental illness is
psychological, not biological. Much of the treatment that goes on
in psychiatry today is biological, but other than listening and
offering advice, modern day psychiatric treatment is as senseless
as trying to solve a computer software problem by working on the
hardware. As psychiatry professor Thomas Szasz, M.D., has said:
Trying to eliminate a so-called mental illness by having a
psychiatrist work on your brain is like trying to eliminate
cigarette commercials from television by having a TV repairman work
on your TV set (The Second Sin, Anchor Press, 1973, p. 99). Since
lack of health is not the cause of the problem, health care is not
a solution.

There has been increasing recognition of the uselessness of
psychiatric “therapy” by physicians outside psychiatry, by young
physicians graduating from medical school, by informed lay people,
and by psychiatrists themselves. This increasing recognition is
described by a psychiatrist, Mark S. Gold, M.D., in a book he
published in 1986 titled The Good News About Depression. He says
“Psychiatry is sick and dying,” that in 1980 “Less than half of all
hospital psychiatric positions [could] be filled by graduates of
U.S. medical schools.” He says that in addition to there being too
few physicians interested in becoming psychiatrists, “the talent
has sunk to a new low.” He calls it “The wholesale abandonment of
psychiatry”. He says recent medical school graduates “see that
psychiatry is out of sync with the rest of medicine, that it has no
credibility”, and he says they accuse of psychiatry of being
“unscientific”. He says “Psychiatrists have sunk bottomward on the
earnings totem pole in medicine. They can expect to make some 30
percent less than the average physician”. He says his medical
school professors thought he was throwing away his career when he
chose to become a psychiatrist (Bantam Books, pp. 15, 16, 19, 26).
In another book published in 1989, Dr. Gold describes “how
psychiatry got into the state it is today: in low regard, ignored
by the best medical talent, often ineffective.” He also calls it
“the sad state in which psychiatry finds itself today” (The Good
News About Panic, Anxiety, & Phobias, Villard Books, pp. 24 & 48).
In the November/December 1993 Psychology Today magazine,
psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, M.D., is quoted as saying psychiatry
has experienced “five broad areas of failure” including “inadequate
research and theory” and “an increasingly poor reputation” (p. 11).
Similarly, a Wall Street Journal editorial in 1985 says “psychiatry
remains the most threatened of all present medical specialties”,
citing the fact that “psychiatrists are among the poorest-paid
American doctors”, that “relatively few American medical-school
graduates are going into psychiatric residencies”, and psychiatry’s
“loss of public esteem” (Harry Schwartz, “A Comeback for
Psychiatrists?”, The Wall Street Journal, July 15, 1985, p. 18).

The low esteem of psychiatry in the eyes of physicians who practice
bona-fide health care (that is, physicians in medical specialties
other than psychiatry) is illustrated in The Making of a
Psychiatrist, Dr. David Viscott’s autobiographical book published
in 1972 about what it was like to be a psychiatric resident (i.e.,
a physician in training to become a psychiatrist): “I found that no
matter how friendly I got with the other residents, they tended to
look on being a psychiatrist as a little like being a charlatan or
magician.” He quotes a physician doing a surgical residency saying
“You guys [you psychiatrists] are really a poor excuse for the
profession. They should take psychiatry out of medical school and
put it in the department of archeology or anthropology with the
other witchcraft.’ `I feel the same way,’ said George Maslow, the
obstetrical resident…” (pp. 84-87).

It would be good if the reason for the decline in psychiatry that
Dr. Gold and others describe was increasing recognition by ever
larger numbers of people that the problems that bring people to
psychiatrists have nothing to do with biological health and
therefore cannot be helped by biological health care. But
regrettably, belief in biological theories of so-called mental
illness is as prevalent as ever. Probably, the biggest reason for
psychiatry’s decline is realization by ever increasing numbers of
people that those who consult mental health professionals seldom
benefit from doing so.

E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., a psychiatrist, realized this and pointed
it out in his book The Death of Psychiatry (Chilton Book Co.,
1974). In that book, Dr. Torrey with unusual clarity of perception
and expression, as well as courage, pointed out “why psychiatry in
its present form is destructive and why it must die.” (This quote
comes from the synopsis on the book’s dust cover.) Dr. Torrey
indicates that many psychiatrists have begun to realize this, that
“Many psychiatrists have had, at least to some degree, the
unsettling and bewildering feeling that what they have been doing
has been largely worthless and that the premises on which they have
based their professional lives were partly fraudulent” (p. 199,
emphasis added). Presumably, most physicians want to do something
that is constructive, but psychiatry isn’t a field in which they
can do that, at least, not in their capacity as physicians – for
the same reason TV repairmen who want to improve the quality of
television programming cannot do so in their capacity as TV
repairmen. In The Death of Psychiatry, Dr. Torrey argued that “The
death of psychiatry, then, is not a negative event” (p. 200),
because the death of psychiatry will bring to an end a misguided,
stupid, and counterproductive approach to trying to solve people’s

How dieters fail diets

Perhaps the the single biggest reason I have found for dieters failing
in their diet effects is that many dieters try to be far too absolute in
their approach to the diet. This gets into the psychological profiles
of dieters I talked about way back in chapter XXX. When these people
are on their diet they are ON THE DIET. Any slip, no matter how small,
is taken as complete and utter failure. The diet is abandoned and the
post-diet food binge begins. This tends to puts the fat (and frequently
a little extra) back on faster than before.

We have all either known (or been) the following person: one cookie
eaten in a moment of weakness or distraction, the guilt sets in, and the
rest of the bag is GONE (perhaps inhaled is the proper word). Anything
worth doing is worth overdoing, right?

As a side note, you can oftentimes see the same attitude with people
starting an exercise program. First few weeks go great, workouts are
going well, then a single workout is missed. The person figures that
any benefits are lost because of missing that one workout and they never
go back to the gym.

Even bodybuilders, who usually take the absoluteness of their diet to
the most extreme do this. In fact, they may have the worst problems of
them all: they diet for months on end to reach a single pinnacle of
perfection, but have no reason to maintain that level of leanness, not
that it would be possible or healthy in the first place.

There are some true horror stories of bodybuilders rapidly gaining 40
pounds in a month after a contest diet. Months of starvation and
complete abstinence from anything approximating tasty food leads to the
ultimate blow-up when the diet finally ends. In fact, a common macho-man
approach to contest dieting is that ¡®Anything that tastes good can¡¯t be
eaten.¡¯ You can imagine what kind of post-diet binges that sort of
psychology can lead to.

This is where obsessive dedication can become a very real source of
failure. Sure, if it drives you towards better and better results, such
an attitude will work. But only until you finally slip. Note that I
said ¡®until you slip¡¯ not ¡®if you slip¡¯. In most cases, it¡¯s a matter
of when, not if you¡¯re going to break your diet.
If you take the attitude that anything less than absolute perfection is
a failure, you¡¯re pretty much doomed from the start. Yes, as I¡¯ve
mentioned before, there are some exceptions: athletes who have a short
time to get to a certain level of bodyfat or muscle mass, for whom
victory or defeat may hinge on their ability to suffer for long enough.
But in the grand majority of cases, this type of obsessive,
no-exceptions attitude tends to cause more problems that it solves.

Focusing only on the short-term
The second primary way that dieters fail diets is focusing only on the
short-term. A lot of dieters seem to think that once they have lost the
weight with one diet or another, they can revert to their old habits and
keep the weight off. Remember what I said about genetics early in this
book? You can¡¯t change them. Not yet at least. ¡°You can never go back
again.¡± just like the old saying. If you go back to the diet and
exercise habits that made you fat in the first place, you¡¯ll just get
fat again.

As most obesity researchers know, losing weight isn¡¯t fundamentally
very difficult. Eat less, exercise more, weight is lost. In fact,
that¡¯s the easy part. Keeping it off in the long-term is the real
problem and there aren¡¯t any good solutions that have been found. Well,
there is a solution but nobody wants to hear it.

As painful as it will be for you to read this, the only way to both
lose weight/fat AND maintain that loss in the long-term is to maintain
the diet and exercise habits in the long-term. Dare I say forever? No,
that¡¯s a little too depressing and hard to deal with. Let¡¯s just think
long-term instead. Hopefully we¡¯ll get genetic engineering soon enough
to make it a not-forever kind of deal.

Basically, it¡¯s not that diets per se fail, it¡¯s that diets that are
only followed short-term fail. This issue is very important when it
comes to setting up the diet. On paper, it makes intuitive sense to cut
calories to 1000 per day or less, or start exercising for hours every
day. While that will certainly make you drop weight and fast, I think
we¡¯d all agree that it¡¯s not particularly sustainable in the long-term.
When you stop following such an approach, and you will it¡¯s simply a
matter of when, the weight will come back. On top of which, you¡¯ll have
alerted every bodily defense system I mentioned in chapter 8, and you¡¯ll
put the fat back on faster than before.

To hopefully cement this point in your mind, studies of successful
dieters (those who have lost weight and kept it off for some period of
time, usually 2-5 years) have shown one very consistent behaviour
pattern: successful dieters maintain the dietary and exercise changes
they have made in the long-term. If you¡¯re not going to maintain your
habits in the long-term, you might as well not bother (with one major
exception discussed below).

One exception to the comments above
There is, however, one exception to the above that I should probably
mention. There are individuals who, for whatever reason, only have to
be in shape for a very short period of time, a day or three at the most.

Usually it¡¯s a bodybuilder preparing for a contest, or even a model who
has a particularly important photo shoot. A woman who needs to drop 20
lbs for her wedding. Even athletes who have to make a weight class
sometimes have to do scary stuff to get where they need to be, usally
involving fluid restriction and frequently severe dehydration. But the
consequences of not making weight (whatever they may be) are greater
than the extreme approaches that tend to be used.
In situations like that, whether it¡¯s healthy or not, extremely
restrictive and/or even slightly dangerous approaches are frequently
used. We may not like them, we may not condone them but sometimes the
ends justifies the means because a few pounds may mean the difference in
getting a big paycheck/winning the contest/looking good in your wedding
gown or not.
In these situations, long-term maintenance isn¡¯t necessarily the goal.
No sane bodybuilder expects to maintain contest shape year-round, and no
weight class athlete expects to maintain a severe state of dehydration
year round. They get in shape for their event, and relax to some degree
for the rest of the time. So the above sections really are aimed at the
person looking to lose fat and keep it off long-term.
In that case, where maintenance is just as important as the loss
itself, severe restriction and focusing only on the short-term hurt far
more than they help, and should be avoided as much as possible. You¡¯ll
learn a very simple solution to most of these problems in the very next
chapter anyhow.

How diets fail dieters

Too much hunger
One of the biggest causes of diet failure is plain old hunger. It¡¯s no
coincidence that the majority of diet pills are appetite supressants
(others increase metabolic rate or decrease the number of calories
absorbed from the stomach). It started with amphetamines in the 50¡¯s
and went from there. Even the ephedrine/caffeine stack works through a
similar mechanism.
By decreasing or reducing appetite through chemical means, these types
of drugs cause weight loss. Since nearly all of them are stimulants of
some sort, most of them have side effects and/or can¡¯t be used in …