Sunday, March 18, 2007

FItness Platitudes

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A platitude is a trite, meaningless, or prosaic statement that is presented as if it were significant and original. The word derives from plat, the French word for "flat". Whether any given statement is considered to have meaning or not is highly subjective, so platitude is often — but not always — used as a pejorative term to describe seemingly profound statements that a certain person views as unoriginal or shallow.

There are some terms that I just don't care for. Here are some annoying terms related to fitness. Enjoy...


As in "you just need to move" or "Just move." Often said by experienced fitness folk to or about relatively sedentary people.

Why is this bad? Because it's demeaning to the relatively sedentary person. It's trite and belittling. It's goal is to make that person just get up and move around. A good goal, sure. But if your words have the effect of demoralizing that person, they've backfired. "Just move" is tantamount to saying "get off your lazy butt" or to someone who overeats, "stop eating like a pig."

What can you say, instead? Well, you could say move around more. You could say to make an effort not to sit. There are plenty of ways to gently encourage people to get more time on their feet. "Move" isn't one of them.


As in "You shouldn't say you are on a diet."

At least this one isn't demeaning. It's just unnecessarily confusing.

Human civilization has been built around our use of language. Words are all we have. If we randomly change the meaning of words*, we end up in linguistic anarchy.

On a worldly scale, this lack of understanding can only lead to war, death, and the ultimate destruction of mankind. On a more personal scale, it leads to people saying "what?" whenever you tell them that you're not on a diet, that you've changed your lifestyle.

Go ahead and change your lifestyle and don't think of it as a diet. But, if you're trying to lose weight and your friend asks if you're on a diet, the answer is "yes." Feel free to follow up with "And, I'm never going back!"

Likewise, if your friend tells you he's on a diet, say "great!" Then consider asking him how he plans to keep it off.

* Yes, I understand that the dictionary definition of "diet" means something like "the sum of the food consumed by an organism". But, that's just not what people mean when they say they are "on a diet." We can't go back in time and change it back to the dictionary meaning. So, until then, we got what we got.

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