It’s All About Results – A Pragmatism Primer


“The efficacy of any treatment of obesity can be appraised only by the permanence of the result.” – H. Burch, Baylor University

Before we get into the solution to the pressing health issues facing us today, I’d like to share some simple philosophy I find useful to keep in mind. The philosophy of pragmatism.

Pragmatists are results-oriented—they believe something is right or wrong based on its results. People can try anything they want and the true worth of the program is revealed by its results. If it works, it is right. If it fails, it is wrong. Consider Communism, for example. A pragmatist asks how Communism worked out in the real world and lets that settle the argument about its merits.

When it comes to fat loss, the pragmatic view is: “Does the fat-loss program cause you to lose body fat and keep it off forever without compromising the rest of your life? If so, then it is right. If not, then it is wrong.” Unfortunately, this commonsense approach is not common practice. Despite the decades of data and tens of millions of heavy diabetic people that prove traditional weight-loss programs wrong, those people have been brainwashed into thinking that they failed because they didn’t lose any weight, not that the traditional weight-loss programs failed them.

If a program fails, it is the program’s fault. Programs are designed to deliver results. If it failed to deliver results, the program failed, not the person.

Think about software programs. If you cannot figure out how to use a software program, it is not because you failed. It is because the software program failed. Good software is easy to use. That is what makes it good software. It delivers excellent results for you. What good is any software program if it does not serve you?

Similarly, if you cannot stick to a fat-loss program forever, it is not because you are a failure. Good fat-loss programs are easy to use. That is what makes them good. They deliver excellent results for you.

Consider Oprah.  She is one of the strongest and smartest women ever. Now look at Oprah’s weight-loss efforts. Thinking pragmatically, thinking about results, what do we know about the weight-loss programs Oprah tried? If they were right, Oprah would be thinner and spend less time and money trying to burn body fat. She is far from a failure at anything. The programs failed her.

If Oprah hires someone to design her house and the house collapses, we would not blame Oprah. And if Oprah hires someone to design a piece of software and she cannot figure it out, the software designer is at fault. So, if Oprah hires someone to design a weight-loss program and she does not lose weight, the program failed—Oprah did not.

Results are all that matter. People do not fail fat-loss programs. Fat-loss programs fail people. 

  1. Taubes, Gary. Good calories, bad calories: challenging the conventional wisdom on diet, weight control, and disease. New York: Knopf, 2007. Print.