“Lose 10 lbs in 2 days!!” “It sucks the toxins RIGHT OUT of your body!” “No more cellulite!” “Take this and look like this celebrity!”
Do these sound familiar?
Unless you live under a rock, you have heard these claims coming from some diet or pill or crazy scheme to lose weight fast. Let’s get real people, THESE THINGS DO NOT WORK! None of them. And if they do, its probably at the risk of your health. The only way, and I mean ONLY way, to lose weight and keep it off is good old-fashioned diet and exercise. Let’s take a deeper look into some of these fads. (If you want to skip all this reading and go straight to how to spot nutritional bullhockey, go down to the bullets, I won’t judge.)
We’ll start off with something I’ve actually tried. Dietary and weight loss supplements. Dietary and weight loss supplements, like for instance Hydroxycut, claim to help you lose weight at crazy speeds. I tried Hydroxycut…I lost weight. The only problem was that I felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest at any given moment and it gave me some (TMI) major bathroom issues. I felt like a cat on speed. I was shaky and irritable and just felt like crap the whole time I took it. But I lost some weight. I stopped taking it because I realized that the weight loss wasn’t worth what I was going through to get it. And sure enough, as soon as I stopped taking it, what came back? Those 5 lbs. Its no wonder I felt so crazy. Each capsule had about 100 mg of caffeine in it. That’s about the same as a cup of coffee, so no big deal. The big deal is that you took 2 capsules 3 times a day! That’s 600 mg of caffeine a day. Too much caffeine can cause tremors, anxiety, insomnia, stomach upset, palpitations, high blood pressure, and headaches. My story aside, the main issue with these dietary and weight loss supplements is that they aren’t regulated by any government agency such as the FDA. That means they can put anything they want in them and not have to claim it. Not knowing what you’re truly eating is pretty scary.
Let’s see…what’s another big fad? Oh yes, body wraps. Body wraps claim to help you drop 6-20 inches at a time and get rid of all the toxins in your body, and some even claim to get rid of cellulite. Come on ladies, of course you’re going to lose inches being wrapped up like a mummy for an hour at a time. But guess what? Its all water weight. Please do not expect to keep these inches off for a long period of time. If you have a wedding coming up tomorrow and you’d like to squeeze into that dress that isn’t quite working for ya, a body wrap might be just what you need. For tomorrow. Just realize that you will get those inches back. As far as releasing the toxins in our bodies? Guess what…we already have stuff to do that. Our liver and kidneys. They do a pretty good job, so let nature do what it is supposed to do. The last claim is to get rid of cellulite. Cellulite is fat deposits under the skin, and fat can’t be sucked out through an Ace bandage. In fact, even liposuction doesn’t really remove cellulite. The only way to decrease the appearance of cellulite is to reduce the fat content in your cells by eating healthy and exercising. Notice I said “decrease the appearance.” Unfortunately, it never truly goes completely away. Lame, huh?
One more thing I want to say about body wraps is the FDA says they can be dangerous. Dr. Victor Herbert from Mt. Sanai Veteran Research Center says they can cause something called hypovolemic shock. This happens when severe blood and fluid loss makes the heart unable to pump enough blood to the body. One thing that can lead to this is severe perspiration, which is what happens in body wraps.
The last thing I want to touch on today is juice cleanses. According to registered dietitians Marissa Lippert and Cher Pastore, these can be beneficial for 1-3 days max. Any longer and its just another quick weight loss mechanism that lures you into a false sense of security. What happens when you stop drinking the juice and start eating actual food again? Carbs, even the good kind (yes, there are good carbs) will bring some of that weight loss back. If you do one for a day or two, it can help your liver do its job of toxin-ridding, but any longer and you’re depriving your liver of the amino acids it needs for that job.
How to spot nutritional bullhockey
Ask yourself these questions::
- Does the product/program promise quick increase in physical performance?
- Does it contain some secret ingredient or formula?
- Is it advertised primarily by use of case studies or testimonials?
- Does it use currently popular star athletes or celebrities in its ads? (I can name SO MANY of these off the top of my head)
- Does it take a simple truth about a nutrient and exaggerate its claims relative to physical performance?
- Does it used dated, poorly controlled, or non-existent research to support its claims?
- Is it expensive? <—-probably your biggest clue
Again, ladies and gentlemen, the only way to keep your weight off is to eat healthy and balanced and exercise. There’s no quick fix for fat. Remember, it took years to put it on, its not going to take a day to take it off.
Now let’s get sweaty!