One thing the weight loss and fitness industry has taught me… is that if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a load of crap.
You’ve all seen these advertisements before:
– Lose 10 pounds in 2 days!
– Fast weight loss that doesn’t require you to change your diet!
– Shed pounds with just 6 minutes of exercise!
– Or my personal favorite… Drop 20 pounds without doing anything!
At this point, all you’re thinking is who should I pay? It doesn’t matter what the cost. You’re just so happy you were awake at 3 o’clock in the morning to see that infomercial. Those suckers sleeping their beds… they’re all missing out on the fastest weight loss program ever!
But they aren’t ACTUALLY missing out…
The best advice I tell my clients is this, “Stop thinking there is a magical formula for instant weight loss success.”
Just because a program shows some transformation photos (most of which are fake anyway, but we’ll talk about that later) it doesn’t mean it will work. Some sciency-looking charts showing EXTRAORDINARY RESULTS aren’t a good enough reason to believe you’ll go from fat to skinny overnight.
Everyday, exciting promises of quick results cause hard-working women to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on fad dieting programs, over-the-counter supplements, and fat burners.
We desperately want to believe there’s a quick fix – a magical solution – to our weight loss frustrations.
And companies know how hopeless we feel.
In fact, they prey on these emotions. Once you’ve tried (and failed) multiple weight loss programs, you begin to get desperate for something that works. You start to believe ANYTHING, even claims that deep down in your mind, you know can’t be true.
That’s why most weight loss programs are CRAP (excuse my French).
But they don’t look like crap… I mean come on, that’d be pretty silly! They look like revolutionary, brand-new, life-changing programs. They come wrapped in a pretty package with lots of fun photos, cool graphics, and freebies.
SMART! But not smart enough to fool you…
After reading this article, you will NEVER be tricked into spending your hard-earned money on crap “lose weight fast” programs again.
In fact, I’m going to make the case for a SLOW & STEADY WEIGHT LOSS instead!
Rule #1: If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
Similar to “get rich quick” schemes, many weight loss programs and products are more focused on your money than the number on the scale.
One thing to always look out for is the claim “lose weight without ______.”
Any weight loss program that promises results without exercise, sacrifices, dietary adjustments, and serious hard work is definitely too good to be true.
Remember my advice about there not being a magic pill?
If it took you a few years to pack on the extra pounds, then how can you possibly expect to lose it all in a few weeks – and keep it off!
A good weight loss program will create consistent results… week after week after week. It won’t require you to make restrictive dietary alternations, but instead focus on moderation and making smart choices.
There won’t be insane training requirements that put you at risk for injury, but rather step-by-step guides to create gradual increases in strength and lean muscle development.
So remember that next time someone suggests you eat 900 calories a day and do 2 hours of cardio… no bueno!
Rule #2: Think LONG-TERM results, not a quick fix.
The only thing that sucks more than not losing weight… is losing weight and then gaining it all back.
Multiple studies, including one review of all major commercial weight loss programs in the United States, found most people regain 50% OR MORE of lost pounds in the following 1 to 2 years.
And you can reasonably expect the long-term results would be even worse for crash dieters.
The main reason “lose weight fast” programs and products aren’t worth your time is because their results are almost always UNSUSTAINABLE.
Many people start a new diet by dramatically decreasing the amount of carbohydrates they eat each day. Well, carbohydrates draw in water. So eating less carbs will make you hold less water & lose weight, but it’s just water weight.
That’s why most people who try fad no-carb diets lose a decent amount of weight initially; only to gain it all back once they reintroduce this macronutrient to their daily routine.
In addition to crazy carb cutting routines, many also require you to make significant lifestyle changes, such as working out for hours at a time or only eating 900 calories per day, neither of which are convenient or sustainable.
Speaking from personal experiences, here’s what usually happens…
You do really well for a few days or weeks if you’re one of the exceptional few. You’ll lose a few pounds and feel like a superstar. But then, you get burned out. You get sick of stressing over calories, skipping all the foods you love, and missing out on fun social activities. You say “screw it”… and after a few days of binge eating, watching TV on the couch, and enjoying happy hour with friends, you’re back to your initial weight if not more.
This vicious cycle of losing weight only to gain it back months later is destructive from both a physical and psychological standpoint.
First off, yo-yo alters hormone levels and lowers resting metabolism making future weight loss more difficult.
Secondly, it can have a significant impact on feelings of self-worth and overall happiness.
When the number on the scale moves up and down each month, it distorts how you view your body and even leads some women to develop eating disorders or unsafe dining habits.
That’s why a great weight loss program will always focus on making small, sustainable changes that eventually become part of your daily habit.
For example, removing unhealthy items from your fridge one at a time or committing to just 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week.
When you create lifestyle changes, you set yourself up for long term success. It reminds me of the old adage, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.”
A fitness program that just tells you to do an exercise for x number of reps isn’t good enough. You need to know and understand WHY you are doing these things. That’s why a great program won’t just focus on actions, but also on education.
Rule #3: Clever marketing can make any crappy program look pretty.
As a pharmacist, one of the things that really gets under my skin is when companies spin scientific studies to make their programs seem safer or more effective.
Take for example this company’s claim: Clinically proven nutrients to help provide the foundation for a longer, healthier life*
As a potential buyer, I’d think this product must be worth buying cause it’s proven to help me live a longer, healthier life. And since almost everyone would be willing to spend money for a healthier, longer life… I’d buy the product.
But that little * at the end of the sentence means there is a lot more to this story.
When taking a closer look, you will find at the bottom of the page the following message: *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
In other words…
That statement about proven ingredients to help you live a longer and healthier life WASN’T actually approved by any regulatory agency and it HASN’T actually been shown to cure or prevent any disease.
TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT MEANINGS – don’t be fooled by clever marketing.
Instead, look for references at the end of informational articles. When facts are actually based on science, the company wont be afraid to cite their source… and they won’t need to add an * to their claims.
I also recommend reading testimonials and transformation stories from previous buyers. Although most sites will only post positive reviews, a quick internet search could uncover some additional opinions.
So seriously, don’t fall for “lose-weight fast” programs/products that use clever marketing and exaggerated promises to persuade you to buy.
Instead, opt for a program that helps you make small, sustainable changes and is supported by scientific literature and positive customer reviews.
1. Available at: http://www.willitsnews.com/lifestyle/20150506/striving-for-imprefection-how-to-lose-weight-and-never-gain-it-back. Accessed August 5, 2015.
2. Tsai AG, Wadden TA. Systematic review: an evaluation of major commercial weight loss programs in the United States. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(1):56-66.
3. Gorin A, Phelan S, Tate D, Sherwood N, Jeffery R, Wing R. Involving support partners in obesity treatment. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2005;73(2):341-3.
4. Available at: https://www.shaklee.com/us/en/shop/healthyfoundations/foundationsregimens/product-_p_ shaklee-life-planp. Accessed Oct 25 2015.