Pills, Potions and Other Fitness Falsities
I overheard them talking. One girl, no older than 23, says to the other, “So my friend heard about this weight loss pill…” and the friend replies, “Oh, I read about those on the Internet – it said they really work!” It wasn’t long before I turned my attention back to the bundles of asparagus, shaking my head with a long, exasperated sigh. Time and time again, young (and old) impressionable people are misinformed by the insurmountable information on weight loss, health, fitness and how to get there. Many “health” companies thrive on plaguing the Internet with their never-before-heard-of, magical weight loss pills and skinny teas using half-naked fitness models to advertise their legitimacy. The message this sends us is that you don’t actually have to work hard to get the body you want; all you really have to do is take a few pills, be a little more active and boom – your six-pack awaits. In actuality, this is very, very wrong.
My father raised me with the “if you want something, you have to earn it” motto. Though I hated hearing it when all I wanted was a dollar for the ice cream truck; those words stuck with me in my later years. Whether a dollar for an ice cream cone – or how to lose body fat (note to self: this is not attainable through the consumption of ice cream), the motto applies in all aspects. Health and body composition goals cannot be achieved by popping a weight-loss pill and returning to the couch for another episode of ‘Orange Is the New Black’. Those goals can only be obtained by getting up off the couch, performing 45-60 minutes of moderate to intense physical exercise, consuming nutrient dense foods that contain protein, complex carbs and healthy fats at least five out of seven days per week. Essentially, making the gym and healthy eating a habitual routine, a lifestyle. Easier said than done, right?
Though the sound of exercising daily, eating proteins and veggies, and limiting sugar intake can seem a bit daunting or overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. I never recommend my clients to cut out their normal habits and implement my guidance all at once. That usually ends up as a late night food frenzy or weeks skipped in the gym at some point or another. Rather, we plan two-week “health” goals that allow us to break one bad habit at a time. For instance, a client of mine started by eliminating her first worst habit – drinking soda. The first week, we allotted her two sodas, the second week she was to swap soda for water or tea, by the third and fourth weeks she stopped craving soda altogether and found that she had more energy and less mid-day crashes at work. Once that habit was broken, we were able to move on to the next. Slowly, she began to see the inches falling off her midsection. This very same client had also been regularly taking weight-loss supplements found at Walgreens for a few weeks, with zero results. Prior to our weekly training sessions and nutrition guidance, she hadn’t lost any weight but had gained a handful of headaches and digestive issues due to the weight-loss product her coworker had recommended.
Needless to say, don’t be fooled by the advertisements saturating the Internet and social media. Chances are, if it sounds too good to be true, “Lose 10 pounds in 10 days!” then it probably is. If you have recently considered the purchase of a weight-loss aid that does not require a gym membership, personal trainer or healthy diet but encourages you to consume two-doses a day with eight ounces of water – I’ll give you a few more reasons as to why you should pass:
- Most weight-loss supplements are not FDA approved; therefore, you could be ingesting pretty much anything and it doesn’t have to be labeled.
- Many of these products you’ll find online are adulterated with potentially dangerous ingredients and disguised with a little caffeine for an added boost. (source: prevention.com)
- The ingestion of too many diuretics and/ or stimulants can be potentially detrimental to the natural function of your thyroid. Which could possibly lead to the inability to lose or gain weight naturally; ultimately, resulting in Thyroid disease.
- Some people report having extremely negative side effects when consuming such products, like: headaches, nausea, anxiety, and even depression.
Heard enough? The point is: taking weight-loss supplements in place of exercising and eating healthy won’t work. As magnificent as the sales teams make it sound, nothing can replace the hard work and effort it takes to reach your fitness goals. My greatest recommendation would be to hire a professional if you seek guidance; a personal trainer, a nutritionist, someone that can understand your health/ fitness needs and walk with you each step of the way. Reaching those goals are possible, it just doesn’t come in the form of a pill.