A Banana And A Tunnel

“Is it a lie?” my friend provoked? “It works for some people.” She was referring to my comment about a celebrity representing the “lie of diet and exercise.” I took pause. The more I teach my “Alignment” model for weight-loss, the more conscious I am of being in alignment and integrity in all areas of my life – including my choice of words. And because “lie” is a very strong word, I amended my statement and used the phrase “half-truth.”

This exchange still pulled at my gut – a full day later – so I was compelled to look up the definition of the word lie. And with most definitions, it comes down to a matter of intent.

Wikipedia offers 28 classifications of lies, and their definition of your standard basic lie is: to deliver a false statement to another person which the speaking person knows is not the whole truth, intentionally. Dictionary.com includes 4 definitions of the word lie, used as a noun. The first two definitions include the intent to deceive, while the third merely states an inaccurate or false statement.

With Wikipedia and Dictionary.com at my side, I can now confidently speak the words, “the lie of the diet and exercise model.”

To help clarify this perspective, I offer “The Banana in a Tunnel.” The human mind is brilliant at pattern recognition. It’s how we see. It’s how we interpret the world around us. And my very wise sister-in-law offered this fabulous example of how we can easily use pattern recognition to incorrectly deduce cause from effect.

Imagine you’re riding a bus and decide to eat a snack. Suppose you bite into a banana just as the bus goes through a tunnel. Based on pattern recognition, it would be easy to assume that, “I eat a banana and it gets dark.”

Of course, we look at this example and think that it’s ridiculous. Obviously, it didn’t get dark because we ate a banana. It got dark because the bus went through a tunnel. But in reality – because our brains are constantly searching for patterns – we make these kinds of cause and effect leaps in logic all the time! And one of the most painful leaps in logic that we – individually, and collectively as a culture – have made is that diet and exercise, by definition, is responsible for – and can control – the size and shape of our body.

So then is “diet and exercise” – weight-loss by calories in/exercise out –  a lie? This is where my friend’s question still haunts me. Based on Dictionary.com’s third definition – an inaccurate or false statement – yes. The diet and exercise model is inaccurate and false. But without some malicious intent to deceive, it seems more like a “banana in a tunnel.”

But what about the weight-loss industry as a whole? With all the information, products and programs to “help us” lose weight with diet and exercise, our problems have only gotten worse. And what about the marketing machine that perpetuates this diet and exercise consciousness? The weight-loss industry entices us to spend billions of dollars a year on a model that has a 3% success rate! Would we continue to do that if this cause and effect leap in logic weren’t constantly reinforced by the industry? I don’t think so. And I don’t think they do either. So there just might be a little deceitful intent present. And if that’s the case, then yes my friend, “diet and exercise” is not simply a banana in a tunnel. It is indeed a lie.