Generally, there are none.  Shortcuts, that is.  At least not when it comes to being healthy, which is something I have very grudgingly come to accept over the last few years.  Perhaps it’s due to this hard-won acceptance that I’m so irked by unhealthy products masquerading as good for you essentials.  Vitamin Water, for instance.  Call me old fashioned, but I just don’t think a liquid calling itself water ought to contain 125 calories per bottle and an entire paragraph of ingredients; in fact, anything longer than the word “water” is too many ingredients! 

I can’t tell you how many women I see wearing those new toning sneakers while sucking down whipped cream and chocolate shavings topped drinks.  I guess toning shoes are better than nothing, but do they really think those FitFlops are going to cancel out the tablespoons of sugar they’re ingesting?  The only thing that’s going to do that is exercise, but exercising is a pain in the ass, so it’s no wonder all of these seemingly effortless weight loss inventions have glutted the market.  Why get all gross and sweaty doing cardio when you can just strap a vibrating device to your stomach while you watch TV?  There’s a part of me that really wants to believe those shortcuts actually work, but then I come back to reality: if it’s too easy, it’s not going to work. 

Recently, someone recommended I check out the book Women, Food and God.  Having read this book, the lady said she now understood that she was gaining weight because she was binge eating to fill a spiritual and emotional space in her life.  Now, I haven’t read this book, so I’m hoping the author’s explanation isn’t that ridiculous and simplified, because I hate it when people break complex psychological principals behind serious, legitimate disorders down into motivations for everyday behavior.  Someone who occasionally indulges in a little too much dessert and feels guilty about it later is simply not in the same boat as a person with an actual eating disorder.  To suggest otherwise is to lessen the awful, life consuming impact disorders have on people’s lives.  It’s like someone claiming they’re OCD because they like to organize their closet by color.

Anyway, books like Women, Food and God (or, more accurately, the interpretations of the people who read them) serve to remove personal responsibility from the equation.  Perhaps you’ve been gaining weight not because you’re hungry for God but because you’re drinking 800 extra calories a day in your supposedly healthy beverages and the only workout your track pants get is walking to your deck chair.  No, that can’t be it!  This attitude annoys me because I know so many people who religiously watch their caloric intake and work hard to burn off extra pounds but still can’t achieve their goals.  Or people for whom medical conditions prevent them from the kind of vigorous exercise necessary for weight loss.  They’ve earned the right to complain about it, unlike people who jump on each successive fitness craze looking for easy answers.

Or maybe I’m wrong, and I’m wasting my time at the gym.  Perhaps the answer lies in a pew rather than on the treadmill.  But I doubt it.