"Magic Weight Loss!" "Weight Loss Secret!" "Lose Weight Quick!"
How many of us have seen some variation of the above plastered on covers of magazines, pop-up ads on the internet, sponsored posts on social media, etc...? There is always some new "magic" diet, or pill, or cream, or wrap, or tea, or food claiming to shed fat fast; and, as long as there is always a supposed magic solution, there will always be clueless consumers.
The reality is simple: if slimming down and "melting fat" was as easy as popping a pill or drinking a tea, we would all be slender and lean. Gyms would be a thing of the past for most because they would be able to achieve their goals while still binging on Netflix and junk food (wouldn't that be nice...). What I'm saying is: There is no magic weight loss secret.
Yet, there will forever be claims of those that have somehow found one. The "magic" comes in many forms, so I wanted to take some time to go through a few...
1.) Fad Diets: There seems to always be a new one, doesn't there? Whether its drinking only juice for a week straight, sucking down lemon water and cayenne pepper for every meal, cutting all carbs, cutting all fats, cutting all gluten...there seems to be one common theme: restriction.
Very few of these diets are sustainable long-term, and when the time is up, people find themselves severely rebounding. This is because they did not adopt a new, realistic lifestyle approach. They are settling for something that cannot be done day-in and day-out for the rest of the foreseeable future. Short-term fixes are just that-- short.
Another thing I'm finding with the fad diets is the scary disorder aspect that they can create/hide. Sure, maybe you were able to make it through a whole week of eating no solid food and just drinking juiced vegetables and cayenne pepper water-- congrats! You probably saw the scale drop a few L-Bs from your temporary starvation, perhaps that made you feel really good! However, when you go back to eating solid foods, your body is going to be a little shocked, this may lead to more bloating/water weight gain initially, so the scale goes up. Suddenly, you think you're gaining fat and need to go back to just juicing. Before you know it, your everyday life consist of you barely eating any solid foods anymore and drinking some form of juiced drink for most meals-- this is not healthy, this is a disorder.
Though a completely hypothetical situation, it is also completely realistic--especially with impressionable teens. There has been much back and forth on the juice/detox crazes and many health specialists and scientific advisers (including those from the Global Foundation for Eating Disorders) are calling juice cleanses "the perfect pathway to disordered eating".
Likewise, I've seen people use "gluten-free" as a crutch to avoid eating food. I know many people that actually do have (doctor-diagnosed) Celiac Disease, and they are just as baffled by the people that avoid gluten just to avoid it as I am. While on the topic, I once had a co-worker respond with, "Do you know what I would do to be able to eat out without having to worry about gluten? To be able to grocery shop and not spend so much more money for gluten-free food??"
There is no doubt that a gluten-free lifestyle is restrictive and tough, but 100% necessary if you are TRULY gluten intolerant. However, there are many out there avoiding gluten with really no good reason aside from the fact that celebrities are doing it. It is these people that I worry about. Claiming to be gluten-free is an easy-out for people afraid of food. Rather than having to turn down food in front of people at events or when out to eat, they can just say "I can't have gluten" and that's the end of that, no questions asked. The gluten-free claim is a more socially-acceptable form of food avoidance.
2. Skinny Teas and Weight Loss Pills: There are SO many of these out on the market, and most are not FDA approved. Many make huge claims but have slim evidence to back them up. Do not be fooled by promises, testimonials, or supposed endorsements from reporters-- you're just wasting your money.
Commonly, these teas and pills have some sort of laxative and/or diuretic effect, thus causing you to cut water weight. Many view this weight change as "fat loss", but that is far from true. While yes, it is nice to get rid of some water weight from time to time, taking something like this daily can wreak havoc on your kidneys and colon (along with creating other health problems) in the long run. Just because something is on a store shelf does NOT mean it is safe.
In regards to more natural "weight loss pills", you'll see many claims of certain vitamins leading to weight loss. Vitamin D, Green Tea extract, Vitamin B-12, Apple Cider Vinegar, Garcinia Cambogia, the list goes on. While yes, these do have good health benefits, none of them are going to cause weight loss. It's all in the wording: "May promote weight loss", "Can promote healthy weight loss" , etc.
"Weight loss" on any bottle attracts the eye and the wallet, so why not put it on the label?? It's not necessarily false-- if you are eating right and exercising, AND taking one of these vitamins, you'll probably see weight loss (because you'd also see it only doing the first 2...).
3. Body Wraps: These have become quite a hit through social media marketing. They offer the allure of shedding inches off of various body parts, leading to a trimmer body just from being wrapped in bandages or fancy saran wra soaked in minerals. These are like the teas and pills in the sense that all they are really doing is temporarily cutting water weight. They are slimming you by dehydrating you. Again, do not be sold by promises and testimonials!
4. "Magic" Exercises: There is no secret exercise to get 6-pack abs in one week. Doing 50 squats a day is not going to give you a J. Lo booty in a month. You are not going to create toned, muscular arms by shaking a weight. And, wearing a vibrating belt is not going to give you ripped obliques and rock-hard abs.
Magazines love marketing these magic exercises on their covers. Take a look next time you're in the grocery store and see how many of them have something about "flat stomach" or "6-pack abs" on the front. They know how to hook their audience, but truthfully, none of what they are telling you (or what infomercials are selling you) is going to give you these supposed quick results.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to time, effort, and hard-work. You put in the time, you put forth the effort, and you work hard, and that is the secret to weight loss.
So, save your body the harm and put that money towards some better things like clean foods, a gym membership, some new sneakers, or an at-home weight set. Don't bother with the newest fads with "too-good-to-be-true" claims.
Nothing worth having comes easy, remember that.