Pills, Powders and Potions: Prescriptions for FAILURE.
I’m going to come completely clean about something: I absolutely, unequivocally, fundamentally and vehemently LOATHE weight loss/diet products. LOATHE.
I’ve sat on the fence for a while, keeping my thoughts to myself publicly, but it’s time for me to get real, to draw that line in the sand and just say what I really think and feel about weight loss/diet products such as Shakeology, Herbalife, ItWorks, Body by Vi, and a whole slew of other ‘get-skinny-quick-by-taking-this’ lines of products.
I might piss some people off for saying the things I’m about to say, but I can’t sit on my beliefs any longer.
I. Freaking. Loathe. Them. All.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve witnessed local fitness instructors and personal trainers at my local Army post peddle their wares on the local social media sites as well as within the fitness center facilities themselves.
> I’ve seen them use their positions to influence how women feel about their bodies.
> I’ve seen these fitness professionals manipulate the need for community that so many Army spouses need when they are stationed overseas, thousands of miles away from their families.
> I’ve heard of outrageous recommendations by these same fitness pros, such as taking two Herbalife shakes a day (roughly 200 cals each) and only eating one small meal at dinner. Oh yeah, I think there were some appetite suppressant products thrown in that mix, too. These were recommendations made by a personal trainer to her client, who also became her Herbalife customer as well.
Wow. That sounds healthy. And sustainable, too.
> I’ve witnessed repeatedly, Shakeology 30-day challenges being offered, with one of the tag lines reading “We will also be replacing one meal a day with the healthiest meal of the day, Shakeology.”
Healthiest meal of the day my ass.
Other products being offered locally in local social media groups: another 21-day Fix Challenge Group (“Want to lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days?”); an It Works 90-day Challenge (“Become a Loyal Customer by signing up for a 90 day challenge and receive that 40% off for life!!! Get started today!!! #ItWorks); and more Herbalife products–there are over 100 you know…(“Need energy? Lose weight? Gain weight or muscles? Healthier skin and hair? A better heart or digestive system?”).
This is all such bullshit. And I hate it all.
1. As a fitness professional, if you are actively telling your clients and/or class patrons to take/use a weight loss supplement or product, you are effectively telling them that their training and nutrition efforts are not enough and they will not succeed without your product.
–>If you are a quality trainer, shouldn’t your coaching on fitness and nutrition be enough to create a ‘training outcome?’ Shouldn’t your coaching be in the vein of cultivating better self-trust, self-reliance, and giving people the tools they need to succeed in the long-run, rather than undercutting their personal growth by pushing a ‘cheater’ supplement?
2. Promoting the use of weight loss supplements/products is effectively telling people they cannot trust their bodies and cannot trust their own willpower or judgment.
–>If you’re really invested in helping people lose weight, change their body composition and feel healthier, then you’ll be helping them learn to think more carefully about their relationships with food, to regard their bodies as an amazing vehicle rather than an enemy to be battled with and conquered. You’ll be teaching them to understand true hunger cues, and how to make healthier food choices when faced with cravings, etc, not run to a supplement to suppress these feelings.
3. Promoting the use of weight loss supplements/products is promoting dependence on an artificial means of accomplishing a desired physical change and/or aesthetic outcome.
–>If you’re really interested in helping people affect true and lasting change, you’ll be giving them the tools they need to make healthier choices in the gym and the kitchen, so to speak. You’ll be helping them learn what’s most appropriate and effective for THEIR unique body, disposition and lifestyle, not pushing a ‘fix-it’ product as a quick band-aid.
4. These products only work for as long as a client/customer takes them. I have yet to meet someone who plans on, or has committed to, taking a weight loss product for the rest of their lives.
–>If you’re really interested in the welfare of your client/customer, you’ll be giving them the tools they need to get healthy and feel good for the long run, not just a supplement as a crutch.
Which leads me to….
5. When the client/customer does inevitably stop using these weight loss supplements WHAT HAPPENS THEN???
Generally, disappointment and defeat unless they learned to eat effectively and realistically, to exercise in a way that is good for their body and harmonious with their lifestyle. Generally, there is a rebound, as with any ‘diet’ or temporary nutrition fix, which is pretty much all that those supplements/products are–a TEMPORARY fix.
Sure, you’ll see ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures posted of client ‘success,’ but where are the ‘happily EVER AFTER’ pictures–the ones that are taken 5 years after no longer using those products??
In stark contrast, I’ve seen plenty of those pictures from people who take the time to make incremental, sustainable changes to their exercise and nutrition habits, who took the time and invested themselves in cultivating greater self-awareness and self-trust….I’m one of them.
Here’s the thing: I know this all, inside out, from personal experience.
I’ve been that desperate person, wanting a quick fix, wanting a change, feeling trapped inside an ‘uncooperative’ body.
Between the ages of 20 and 30, I tried GNC diet pills (gave me reflux), Herbalife (expensive, and worked until I couldn’t pay for it anymore), Hydroxycut (kind of worked, but made me really agitated and downright mean), the Zone diet and bars, the Body for Life diet and workouts–epic flops and wasted efforts.
So many attempts at quick-fix shortcuts. And NONE of them worked. Not One.
Here’s the other thing: Change doesn’t work when it’s pressed from the outside-in; change works when it’s developed from the inside-out.
As a Certified Personal Trainer and a Health Coach, it’s my job, my mission, to foster self-reliance in those I work with.
It’s my job to promote and help cultivate greater self-awareness and self-trust, to empower my clients with the information and behavioral tools they need to make lasting changes.
It’s my job to help them–to the very best of my ability–learn and grow into more of their human potential so that they are better equipped to navigate the waters of their life in a sustainable, successful and satisfying way.
Yes, this process is slower than 21, 30 or 90 days.
BUT this process, the one of building yourself from the inside out, of developing trust in your own capabilities, of learning to regard your body as a gift and your ally for life, this process will STICK.
Because by engaging in this process, you’ll learn to live in a way that works for YOU. There won’t be relapses or rebounds, no yo-yo’s, no excessive pendulum swing in habits and outcomes.
You’ll stay the course because you’ll CHOOSE the course–your course.
Weight loss products don’t do that. Weight loss products don’t teach you to trust your body. Weight loss products don’t teach you to trust the process. Weight loss products don’t teach you to trust your own feelings and judgment. And this is why weight loss products ultimately fail.
THIS is why I LOATHE weight loss products.
*I’m in the business of teaching people to learn to trust their bodies, not fight them.
*I prioritize helping people cultivate self-trust: to learn how to work in partnership with their bodies, to feel and understand the physical signals of hunger and fullness.
*I help people learn to adopt healthier eating practices, to empower them with nutrition knowledge and effective eating strategies.
*I help people understand their personal history with food, to forgive themselves for their pasts and build healthier futures.
**And I balance helping my clients learn to make better food choices without stress while helping them find greater body acceptance and peace with their bodies, as they are right now, while working towards where they want to be.
If you’re sick of the diet-rebound cycle, if you’re tired of searching for that ‘perfect’ meal plan, if you’re ready to give up on the ‘miracle supplement,’ and you’re ready to make peace with your body and learn a new approach to eating that will stick *for good,* then The Nourished Mind lifestyle coaching program is for you.
**Opens to the public on January 26, but get on the wait list NOW to receive priority access and exclusive deals not available to the public**