I saw the above tweet on Twitter the other day and was mortified. Really, it’s easy to get strong and flat abs? I’ve been trying to get strong and flat abs for 30 years, however, I must admit I have not tried their 7 minute a day technique. If I had a penny for every time I saw a ridiculous weight loss or fitness claim and how quick and easy it is to obtain, I’d be rich. The claims are absolutely complete and utter nonsense. They prey on those of us looking for the answers. Here are some more outlandish claims:
- “It literally melted away 25 pounds in just 2 weeks!” Oh, my! What do you do with all that melted fat?
- “Learn how to trigger your fat burning hormones. Lose 1-4 inches in less than 1 hour.” You better buy smaller clothes prior to taking this product. You don’t have much time.
- “The magic weight loss cure for every body type.” Said by our reputable friend, Dr. Oz.
- “Dairy products promote weight loss.” Ahhhh, no.
- “40 day diet. Lose 40 pounds in 40 days.” Ahhh, no, again.
Sometimes claims are more subtle. Articles are published daily regarding many products, not necessarily making the benefits sound unrealistic. But they often are. Did you know only 1% of the population has a medical condition known as celiac disease in which the recommended diet is a gluten-free one? Supposedly gluten-free diets can also improve autism, help with weight loss, and aid with depression. Please be cautious with regard to these claims. Are these proven by sound scientific evidence? Most of the time, no. Dr. Daniel A. Leffler, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School stated the following:
“People who are sensitive to gluten may feel better, but a larger portion will derive no significant benefit from the practice. They’ll simply waste their money, because these products are expensive.”
How about the health benefits of coconut water? Most experts feel that the scientific literature does not support the hype that surrounds it. Basically the research is not there to support coconut water’s health benefits . However, if you like it, drink it! Just realize it is not a “miracle” drink.
Green smoothies. I have nothing against these, however, there are a variety of ways to get your intake of green, leafy veggies. If these taste delicious to you, go for it. Are green smoothie’s the answer to all of life’s problems? Very tired of hearing about them! Are they healthy? In most cases, yes. Are they delicious? Many seem to think so. I find them very unappealing. I love spinach, kale, swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage, red and green romaine. Why do I have to feel bad because I don’t want to consume my vegetables in a smoothie? In my opinion, these are for people who want to hide the taste of these foods. In that case, it’s probably a great idea. Some should try Jess Seinfeld’s book – you can get your spinach in brownies, too!
Fitness fads over the years are downright hysterical. Let’s admit we have all tried one or more of these fitness activities: jogging, aerobics, step classes, spinning, jazzercise, pilates, zumba, Wii fit, crossfit, barre fit, yoga, etc. Who can forget the Thighmaster, toning shoes, and sauna suits? Remember all of these various workouts and products make us all kinds of promises – after we spend our hard earned money on them. Does this picture of Jane Fonda look familiar? Yup, we were all dressed like that – including leg warmers. Was there a purpose for wearing them or was it just stylish? My general exercise philosophy that I recommend to my clients is to find a physically challenging activity that you enjoy and just do it!
I get so frustrated when people take advantage of those of us desperately searching for an answer to our weight loss and fitness goals. We are vulnerable. We are are willing to try anything. We need to remember to be extremely cautious and thoughtful when spending our money on some of these products.
You know what the truth is? We can lose weight and get fit without any special products, classes, or equipment. Instead of super foods or special diets, we could eat a balanced diet eating mindfully. We could listen to our bodies. We don’t have to eliminate foods, or food groups, or never eat carbs or bread or whatever it may be. We don’t have to drink a kale smoothie every day. We can exercise on our own by walking or running. No equipment. We can increase our strength with one set of dumb bells. Many of us have grand fitness goals that may require more time and money. That’s ok and I’m not poo-pooing those fitness buffs out there. I’m speaking more to those who just want to incorporate some exercise into their lifestyle.
How can you increase your chances of making permanent health and fitness changes?
- No change is too small. Actually the smaller the better and the more likely you are to stick with it.
- Eat foods you like. Try new things but if you’re just not digging something, don’t eat it because you think it’s good for you. There’s a good possibility there is another “good for you food” you actually like.
- Do fitness activities that you like. Again, try new things. I really encourage this. However, if eventually you determine you hate jumping up and down, don’t do aerobics (although, you’d be hard pressed to find an aerobics class these days)!
- Plan. Have a plan for the day/week of your nutrition and exercise goals. Write them on your calendar. Plan for the unplanned, too! It’s ok when plans change.
Whatever your health goals may be, there is one thing I do believe. IT ISN’T EASY. No matter how, what, when, where – in this day and age of information overload, an abundance of food, and greediness by those trying to make money the misinformation is out there.
We are all capable of making positive changes in our mind and body. Make a change. Pick something small. Start tomorrow – walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator, drink water with one meal instead of diet soda, add a piece of fruit at lunch. These are some examples but pick something good for YOU. Remember no change is too small. What is right for someone else may not be right for you. Don’t think about it, as our Nike friends tell us, JUST DO IT!