Updated: Feb 23, 2019
There is so much mis-information out there in the world of fitness and nutrition, sorting through the false claims is a huge undertaking. From the perspective of a certified trainer what I can tell you is that there are no magic supplements, that diets do not work and never believe that someone has a new supplement, diet, or eating method that solves all the worlds' problems for losing weight, toning the body, gaining strength or fixes body image issues. Lies, billion dollar lies my friends.
The diet industry made $108 billion dollars last year and guess what, most of the products are shams. They are not backed by scientific research, they do not work for the long term and they are driven by making money off of people who simply want to feel better about the way they look .... because society has now told most of us we are not thin enough, pretty enough, strong enough or good enough. The sad part is that most of us believe this to some degree. We have a big body image problem in this country and no one is immune to it. This is why $108 billion dollars was made off of us, the desperate imperfect consumer.
I have plenty of commentary of why diets don't work, but lifestyle changes do. I also could discuss genetics and how they play a role in our muscular structure, body structure, amount of set fat on each body and how we all metabolism differently. I could also roll out my graduate degree in psychology and explain that trauma, stress and chronic situations cause hormonal changes that can lead to struggles with weight loss. And that factors like sexual abuse, physical abuse and developmental trauma change our regulatory and metabolic systems in the body and again can make it hard for people to lose weight. It's not that someone isn't trying to workout and eat healthy, we all have different bodies with different metabolisms, different muscles, fat amount etc. The problem is the truth is often buried and the majority of what is out there is propaganda to sell a diet plan or shake. WTF people.
Let's discuss another issue, genetic-blessed instagram models ( who don't actually have to work out or eat healthy because they were blessed with a fast metabolism) who do not have degrees in nutrition, exercise science or a related field telling us to try a diet, workout routine or take a supplement. These people are not knowledgeable we need to stop listening to this crazy shit, they are promoting and selling products in order to make money not because they have real knowledge to share. In the immortal words of Dr. Dre and Eminem:
"Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say But nothing comes out when they move their lips Just a bunch of gibberish..."
Like so much of what is out there now in social media, it's piles and piles of trash. We really just need to light this dumpster of diets, supplements and bullshit on fire. Many of us are trying to find ways to gain strength or lose weight or get better at our sports and it's easy to get sucked into a what seems to be a quick method of achieving goals. It's hard to remember that instagram is not telling you the real story, that poler may have been working on that trick for months even years. Those abs came from hard work and yes, I will say it genetics. That flexibility was professional stretch classes three times a week and a dance background.
What I thought might be useful is a quick list of questions to ask yourself before trying a new supplement or diet. Call it a checklist to keep people honest and keep yourself safe.
Do you feel pressured to try this product at this moment?
Is there a clever sales pitch and urgency, that is meant to trap you into buying? This deal is only on today. Walk away and clear you head, read the questions below. Stay away from the impulse buy.
What claims are being made about this product?
If this product does too many things, it probably doesn't do any of them well. Are the claims to-good-to-be-true? Is this diet or supplement what you really need? I can tell you that the vast majority of supplements and diets do not work. Ask how the effects are measured, who measured them and was research done to measure the claimed effects by an outside research group?
Is the product researched and have a scientific base ( peer-reviewed scientific journal publication)?
Be aware of "clinical trials," it is likely this happened in the manufacturer's lab, not by impartial researchers. "Clinical findings" mean jackshit and were also likely done in the manufacturers lab. Peer reviewed publications are Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise or the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
What are the ingredients? All the ingredients.
Sometimes a product may claim to have a proprietary blend. Is the actually supplement just a small part of the blend and you are essentially paying for crap. Also know that by law in the United States all ingredients must be listed. The big question here is does a supplement contain banned substances? Is it legal?
Is it safe? What are the long-term effects?
This is why research is so crucial. Do the ingredients cause side effects? Raising body temperature, increasing blood pressure, risk of heart attack, making the kidneys work harder or increasing chance of stroke. All these things can happen with crazy fad diets as well.
The majority of these supplement companies or diet companies are nothing more than glorified meth labs and snake oil salespeople looking to make a buck, they are not testing for the safety of the product, they do not care about the long-term effects on your health. They also don't care if the product really works, they want your money. Most manufacturers know that they have a limited time to make a big splash, make people think the diet works, get people to purchase and capitalize on that trend. They know that next year a new fad diet will take over. We are guinea pigs with cash.
On a psychological level ask yourself:
What is the desire to start this diet about?
Do I feel pressured to buy?
Am I feeling inadequate or that my body is not ok?
Do you feel that you are not good enough?
Is there something about your body that you want to change?
All of these questions are best answered with a licensed therapist. Seriously, save money purchasing bullshit products and buy yourself quality time with a trained professional. Many people find that the therapy process unburdens them, they feel less negative about their bodies and often more motivated to love themselves. Some people even lose weight through the process of regulating their nervous system and letting go of stress. Also you may actually learn to love your body as it is. Just saying.