One Trick the Fitness Industry Uses to Deceive You

written by paul dermody

One Trick the Fitness Industry Uses to Deceive You

I could use this as advertising, but I’d rather show you the truth.

The Fitness Industry

The fitness industry is an ideal example of irony. Reminders should come from psychologically healthy people encouraging activity, movement, good food habits, rest, flexibility and choice. Instead, advice comes in harmful extremes from people who use pharmaceuticals, filters and rigid diet and dehydration protocols.
And the sad thing is they are often not bad people. Just insecure. Then there are the charlatans who are knowingly trying to deceive you. Those who confuse you to keep you away from true understanding. Those who deliberately deceive you to sell products. An informed consumer is no longer an open wallet.

What would you do?

Imagine your house catches fire. The next room is ablaze. You have time before you are in immediate danger but it is now too big to try to fight.

You wouldn’t wait for instructions to leave. You would just leave. Why?

The problem presented a solution. The solution was so clear it didn’t require any thought.

In day-to-day life, things are not as clear.

We are easily influenced.

The fitness industry understands you better than you understand yourself.

We are impatient, and the true unspectacular nature of progress is not advice that goes viral.

Many people still believe six-pack abs and toned tummies will be the solution to all their problems.

People don’t consider the maintenance involved, what you need to forego (happily) to facilitate change and that normal life resumes. Bills still need to be paid. Babies still require changing.

Sadly for all of us, food becomes far more tempting the more we think we can’t have it.

The same day, although you wouldn’t know it

The above pictures were taken on the same day in Vietnam in 2020.

On the left, my girlfriend took it on her camera phone.

Perhaps her lens is a little different. I am not in good lighting. I am not tensing or pumped and I look like a normal guy.

On the right, I’m mid-workout. My arms are genetically a strong point. They pump well. The light is kind. The perfect selfie.

The above side by side was not intended. I only noticed the difference when scrolling through our holiday snaps shortly after.

Trust me, many images you see online of people who look amazing year-round are taken at the same time in different outfits and posted throughout the course of the year to create the illusion of the perfect workout and diet plan.

In reality, humans have good and bad body image days.

People gain and lose fat at different points in life. We all have different body types. There is no perfect plan when you consider that human values change, not just throughout life, but throughout seasons. This is how the fitness industry deceives you.

When I was in The Philippines, I ate and drank my way to a little weight gain.

When I moved to Spain, I had no friends and rented an apartment, so my fitness goals took precedent.

Neither of these decisions was wrong or right. They were a reflection of where I was at the time.

One Trick the Fitness Industry Uses to Deceive You

The “Fitness” industry won’t tell you certain things. Health is what we all seek. Physical, psychological, social and mental. There may be guidelines, sure, but it will look different on all of us.

“Fitness” goals are short-term and they sit on the foundation of how healthy you feel away from that.

Many influencers offer advice that most therapists would tell you will make you lonely, isolated and disconnected.


Most of us start fitness goals as a “get me sexy” project and end up asking questions of a deeper nature.

We soon understand that being constantly anxious about what we put in our mouths or how we look all the time is quite literally the opposite of life-enhancing change. This is why the lens through which you see change is vital. You should look forward to creating restraint, rather than fear it.

And your expectations should be realistic. Hopefully whoever you allow to influence your thought process is honest with you. I hope they bring out the best in you.

Self-awareness. Things are never black and white. Most of us will never truly be comfortable in our bodies. We may never find self-love. That doesn’t mean we cannot find gratitude.

We can shift the focus away from aesthetics and find deeper motivations to look after ourselves. We can ditch the six-week mentality and focus on six decades. We can accept our insecurities as normal and close our wallets to the revolving door of useless supplements and extreme diets that ruin our relationship with food. The day you start working out is the day you begin to always see your own flaws.

I use the above picture to show you how easy it is to fabricate a transformation. Be mindful of those who do so to sell you the solution to problems you don’t have. If I can convince you that you’re defective, I can sell you the solution.

Topless selfies, herculean workouts and strict diets are quite literally the opposite of a healthy lifestyle. How did we get here?


Written by Paul

I want you to reconnect with the joy in food through appreciation, choice and autonomy.

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The Paul Dermody Podcast

Check out my weekly podcast. Through the podcast I want to share with you first the fundamentals of nutrition, no fads. On top of that I want you to reconnect with the joy in food through appreciation, choice and autonomy. I will share ideas from expert guests as well as poignant stories from clients of mine from those seeking weight nuetral outcomes all the way to those who have lost over 150 lbs.