What’s the key to losing weight? TheBlaze’s E-i-C Scott Baker has some advice

Alasdair Wilkins chronicled his amazing personal transformation in "I lost 100 pounds in a year. My 'weight loss secret' is really dumb", and the story has gone viral. But rather than celebrate this personal achievement, Wilkins spends a good chunk of the story emphasizing the societal and environmental factors behind obesity, not the personal choice and action behind gaining and losing weight. What's the real message people need to be taking away from the story? Stu was joined by TheBlaze Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker to discuss the story on Wednesday's TV show.

While you can (and should) scroll past the video for a transcript of the full analysis of the article, Scott made some really important points about what it takes to lose make a huge life change and get your weight under control.

"I’m a certified CrossFit level one trainer, so I can speak with real authority on these things," Scott said. "I always say look, the best workout program for you is the one you’re actually going to do, and for this one, it was the guy walking on the treadmill. For somebody else, it might be yoga. For somebody else, it might be throwing heavy barbells around."

"We all, kind of using Glenn’s words, kind of have to hit a pivot point. Whatever change you’re trying to make in your life, this guy clearly hit a pivot point, and the biggest question is what’s going to help you make that decision? That’s true for all of us, whether we’re making a big change in our lives or a small one," Scott said.

Stu: Allow me to rant angrily about a seemingly innocuous topic for just a moment. A story caught my eye yesterday—“I lost 100 pounds in a year. My ‘weight loss secret’ is really dumb.” Catchy, so I bit. It’s also because I’m a little bit overweight, so I bit. I bite a lot, too much.

Guy’s name is Alasdair Wilkins. What’s his big secret to weight loss? “Just so we’re completely clear about how unqualified I am to tell people how to lose weight, I’ll run down how I lost that 100 pounds. Basically, I just went to the gym, and I walked. On a treadmill, uphill, at a brisk pace, for about an hour every day—and I do mean every day—from July to April. That’s more or less it!”

It’s the classic inspirational success story. So many people will look at this guy and say wow, I don’t need all the gimmicks, I don’t need all the pills, I can just start exercising and make this happen. This guy did it; so can I.

The only problem is you can’t do it, at least not according to Mr. Wilkins apparently. See, he was able to do it, but as we learn from reading the rest of the article, he’s a progressive who believes you can’t do it, much in the same way Michael Moore gets rich in America and says you can’t do it because the system is stacked against you.

This article highlights the fundamental flaw in the progressive ideology—I can do it, but you can’t. Therefore, the government does must do it for you. Mr. Wilkins made a list of things that he’s learned from losing weight. I love this one, number three, obesity is a societal and environmental problem, not an individual one. Wait, you just said all you did was walk, and all you did was lose 100 pounds. Only a progressive could just up one day and lose 100 pounds and then turn around and claim that society is keeping everyone else down.

He says “the obesity epidemic doesn’t exist because more than 200 million individual people lack willpower, or love food too much, or are too lazy to exercise, or whatever other crap is routinely trotted out to explain why any one person is fat.”

What? You literally just stopped being lazy. You went to the gym every day. How is that not directly related to lack of willpower, overeating, and inactivity? How is that crap? It’s exactly what happened to you.

If society was really the problem and it wasn’t an individual thing, guess what, Mr. Wilkins, you’d still be a fat tub of lard like me, because society hasn’t changed at all through that time period, yet you managed to change all on your own. Isn’t that kind of egotistical? I mean, isn’t that egotistical of you to think that you and only you can figure out how to lose weight in this horrible society? Come on.

He argues the real culprit causing fat America includes “easy access to lots of cheap but generally unhealthy food, the shift toward more sedentary lifestyles, a collective decline in leisure time…” because leisure time is so good for weight loss, “…and disposable income that leaves far fewer opportunities for people to find ways to eat properly or remain active…” and, of course, “…a whole bunch more.”

Scott Baker of TheBlaze joins us now. Scott, am I nuts or does this story frustrate you as much as it frustrated me?

Scott: Well, I will assume that I’m as frustrated as you, even though my Skype cut off, and I didn’t hear your brilliant and funny monologue. I apologize if I make any of the same points that you already made. We want to applaud this guy for losing 100 pounds, but look, just man up and say you did it yourself; it’s not society’s fault.

Stu: Yeah, I mean, here’s a guy trying to, I guess, give his ideology a pass when this is a real story of individual achievement. Here’s a guy who changed his life on his own. He didn’t need the government to do it for him. He didn’t even need a treadmill. He could’ve walked outside. He didn’t need anything except himself, and yet here he is with a litany of complaints about society.

Scott: Look, I think we do have to say that among the stories of formerly very heavy guys who have lost like 100 pounds, this guy is having a much better week than Jared, okay?

Stu: Very good point.

Scott: And I don’t know what was—I read his whole story. He’s very honest about losing the weight, but he also revealed that at age 26, never been kissed. I’m not sure what was exactly the more embarrassing part, right?

Stu: I suppose that’s true. The complaint, we have this a lot. Michael Moore says I’m rich, but you can’t get rich, you can’t do it, because society is stacked against you. Barack Obama says hey, look, society is stacked against people because of racism, yet here I am, the first black president. I feel like there’s that idea within progressivism. It’s a fundamental flaw with the theology or ideology which just kind of makes it so there’s always an excuse. There’s always something built in because you have to be dependent on government. You can’t do it without us. I feel like that’s the thing that just infuriates me about this. Here’s a guy with a great story, and yet this is the only point he can make out of it.

Scott: Remember, I’m a certified CrossFit level one trainer, so I can speak with real authority on these things. I always say look, the best workout program for you is the one you’re actually going to do, and for this one, it was the guy walking on the treadmill. For somebody else, it might be yoga. For somebody else, it might be throwing heavy barbells around. We all, kind of using Glenn’s words, kind of have to hit a pivot point. Whatever change you’re trying to make in your life, this guy clearly hit a pivot point, and the biggest question is what’s going to help you make that decision? That’s true for all of us, whether we’re making a big change in our lives or a small one.

Stu: Real quick, we’ve got about 30 seconds. The CrossFit thing, that was started by a libertarian, right? It’s about doing this stuff on your own, working hard. You have a group around you, but working your ass off to make something happen for yourself.

Scott: No, that’s absolutely it. He is a libertarian. I think we should probably get him on Glenn’s show at some point here. I think they’d probably have a great discussion. You can, everybody can change their life at any point in their life. You’ve just got to stick with it. It’s been five years since I’ve had a bowl of cereal.

Stu: Wow, it’s been like five minutes for me. That’s a little different, but Scott Baker from TheBlaze, thanks so much for coming on, man. I appreciate it.

Scott: Thanks, Stu.

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

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On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

The Iowa primary is just around the corner, and concerns of election interference from the last presidential election still loom. Back in 2016, The Associated Press found that a majority of U.S. elections systems still use Windows 7 as an operating system, making them highly susceptible to bugs and errors. And last year, a Mississippi voter tried multiple times to vote for the candidate of his choice, but the system continuously switched his vote to the other candidate. It's pretty clear: America's voting systems desperately need an update.

That's where blockchain voting comes in.

Blockchain voting is a record-keeping system that's 100% verifiable and nearly impossible to hack. Blockchain, the newest innovation in cybersecurity, is set to grow into a $20 billion industry by 2025. Its genius is in its decentralized nature, distributing information throughout a network of computers, requiring would-be hackers to infiltrate a much larger system. Infiltrating multiple access points spread across many computers requires a significant amount of computing power, which often costs more than hackers expect to get in return.

Blockchain voting wouldn't allow for many weak spots. For instance, Voatz, arguably the leading mobile voting platform, requires a person to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a picture of themselves before voting (a feature, of course, not present in vote-by-mail, where the only form of identity verification is a handwritten signature, which is easily forgeable). Voters select their choices and hit submit. They then receive an immediate receipt of their choices via email, another security feature not present in vote-by-mail, or even in-person voting. And because the system operates on blockchain technology, it's nearly impossible to tamper with.

Votes are then tabulated, and the election results are published, providing a paper trail, which is a top priority for elections security experts.

The benefits of blockchain voting can't be dismissed. Folks can cast their vote from the comfort of their homes, offices, etc., vastly increasing the number of people who can participate in the electoral process. Two to three-hour lines at polling places, which often deter voters, would become significantly diminished.

Even outside of the voting increase, the upsides are manifold. Thanks to the photo identification requirements, voter fraud—whether real or merely suspected—would be eliminated. The environment would win, too, since we'd no longer be wasting paper on mail-in ballots. Moreover, the financial burden on election offices would be alleviated, because there's decreased staff time spent on the election, saving the taxpayer money.

From Oregon to West Virginia, elections offices have already implemented blockchain voting, and the results have been highly positive. For example, the city of Denver utilized mobile voting for overseas voters in their 2019 municipal elections. The system was secure and free of technical errors, and participants reported that it was very user-friendly. Utah County used the same system for their 2019 primary and general elections. An independent audit revealed that every vote that was cast on the app was counted and counted correctly. These successful test cases are laying the groundwork for even larger expansions of the program in 2020.

With this vital switch, our elections become significantly more secure, accurate, and efficient. But right now, our election infrastructure is a sitting duck for manipulation. Our current lack of election integrity undermines the results of both local and national elections, fans the flames of partisanship, and zaps voter confidence in the democratic system. While there's never a silver bullet or quick fix to those kinds of things, blockchain voting would push us much closer to a solution than anything else.

Chris Harelson is the Executive Director at Prosperity Council and a Young Voices contributor.