I know … your first reaction to that title was “Um … yeah”….
But seriously … I have a problem.
I may need an intervention.
Since starting this triathlon and endurance training journey I have had little time to read. This is from someone who used to read all the time, often times two or three books at one time (strategically placed around the house for easy access; next to my chair, next to my bed, and next to the toilet … prime reading spots). At any point in time I will be reading, and many times re-reading, a Stephen King book (I have read “The Stand” 9 times .. great book … check it out), a self help book, or some random business book. Those days are gone. Yes, I have had my moments. Recently I have been sent books about self awareness that I have gotten through quickly, and I read “Fitness Confidential” in 4 hours one day sitting in Starbucks. But as a whole my book reading days seem to be far behind me.
But this is not the problem I am writing about …
Even though my reading of books has taken a hit, my thirst for learning has not, so I turned to the next best thing; something where I could get knowledge but in short doses. Something I could get through in one trip to the bathroom and still felt like my brain was engaged.
I turned to magazines.
Not a problem in of itself, but keeping in line with my compulsive personality it is not just one magazine. Oh No. It’s every magazine I can get my hands on. I was sitting here tonight and looked next to my chair and scanned the stack of reading sitting next to me. At this time the collection consists of: “Mud and Obstacle”, “The Box”, “GQ”, “Triathlete”, “Lava”, “USA Triathlon”, “Fast Company”, “Inc”, “World of Puzzles”, “Games”, “Heavy Metal”, “Men’s Journal”, “Best Life”, “Runner’s World”, and “Bicycling”.
And I have read every one of them.
I miss my book reading though, but I have found that my attention span is now the same of a hummingbird. I try. I really do, but my mind wanders constantly. I wonder of you can get ADD as an adult? what is scarier is I am finding that I cannot remember things like I used to. Oh yeah, I remember dumb things, like the 80’s movies we play on IMYO podcast, or musical oddities, but ask me to remember what I emailed someone at work two days ago and I have no clue. Magazines fill this void well. They are short information bombs. Score.
But now here’s the other problem. I am finding that a lot of the information in some of these magazine, most notably the health magazines, are really not that accurate. They follow the same old ways of low-fat eating advice, adhering to the outdated food pyramid. I cringe every time I read something in Triathlete magazine telling newbies to “carb load” when there is so many studies out there that explain exactly why this doesn’t work. What’s even worse is to then see tweets and facebook posts from coaches and trainer, and fellow athletes, spouting the same nonsense. Is it any wonder why people are confused though? Learning takes more effort. It takes actually seeking out the studies that articles are based on, and specifically seeking out who paid for the studies. This was eye opening to me … seeing a well written article spouting the benefits of Splenda (for example) by a well known university only to see at the end that the study was commissioned by, and paid for, by Splenda. And we are supposed to take this study as fact? These companies have to produce studies for submission to the FDA in order to be approved, and they pay for them to ensure that the results are skewed to show in their favor. And the FDA is OK with that. This is how we end up with IsaGenix be touted as “healthy” and Michele Obama partnering with Subway as a “healthy option”.
So, yes … I have a problem … but all of these magazine articles are now read with a suspect eye. Nothing is taken as truth without further study, so I guess in that way it plays a part in my turnaround, and a huge part in some of my local people seeing me as “argumentative” and “looking for a debate” … and that used to bother me … but if pointing out ridiculous statements and calling some out for promoting practices or products without looking into what they are putting out there is seen as a weakness … well … it’s something I can live with now. I have been told by more than one person they thought I was an ass until they met me, and I can point to more than one who disagreed with a lot of what I was saying that are now agreeing with me … so I am not changing anytime soon …
I have a problem … but it’s a good problem to have …