By Miranda DeMark
Last week I had the privilege of going back home to Wisconsin to visit my parents. While I was there, I got a great break from the humidity, but also a sad reminder of what is still happening out there in the health/fitness world. During my stay, my mom took me to a shop because she wanted to me experience these awesome protein shakes she could not stop raving about. Come to find out that once we actually went to this place after our workout, it was another one of those pyramid marketing supplement brands.
This place was not at all what I was expecting. The shop was blaring EDM house music and had literally 50 different flavors to choose from for their shakes. It was overwhelming. They also had $5 “fat burners” that could be added on to your already expensive “smoothie” as well a free aloe shot that was to be taken before we drank our elixir in order to “prep our bodies to fully absorb the nutrients from the shake.”
Now, I won’t name names, and don’t get me wrong, this shake tasted like it was made of ice cream, not protein powder, but that’s not the point. The point is that I had no actual clue how much protein, (or anything else for that matter) was actually in this beverage, but was told to believe that it was somehow “healthy” and would provide my body with all these so-called benefits. This led me to realize that unfortunately, not much has changed in the realm of nutrition and health. The market is still trying to sell us on false information and that just straight up makes me angry.
Everywhere I look nowadays there is some sort of marketing scheme or lie. It isn’t just happening in the smoothie shop my mom took me to in her small town of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Whether we are talking about a “fat burner” or 30 day juice cleanse/detox” or “10 days to get bikini body ready” or even just the labeling/wording on food labels, a lot of it can’t be trusted. What ticks me off most is not just that the market is flat out lying to everyone, but more so the fact that these scams actually get people to buy into them. Even my own mom had been spending an additional $5 every time she bought an already overpriced “healthy” shake from that shop because she truly believed it had some magical formula in there that would help her burn body fat solely just from drinking it.
I’m so proud to make my livelihood at a place like District H, because we don’t sell you on the “easy route”. Why? Because it doesn’t work long-term. How many people do you know (or maybe even you yourself) that did some sort of crash diet for 30 days or so and then ultimately gained all the weight back? I’ve seen it happen way too many times.
This is because yes, going on some sort of radical diet like “Keto” or “intermittent fasting” will in fact get you to lose weight (so long as it puts you in a caloric deficit), but none of these diets are sustainable long-term. The reason that people gain weight back in these scenarios is because they haven’t actually changed the habits or lifestyle factors that led them to gain weight in the first place.
We live in an extremely fast-paced world, so I get it. You can quite literally order something on your phone via Amazon Prime and have it delivered to your doorstep the next morning. Let’s just call it like it is: we are spoiled. We’ve gotten used to this lifestyle and then just expect everything else to come right along with it. We have become extremely impatient. But falling victim to these schemes can be dangerous and sometimes becoming a vicious cycle we call “yo-yo dieting.”
I’ve always considered myself an extremely honest person, and I promise to never sell you on lies or bullsh*t, which is why I’m here to say that real changes in health and fitness take time. If you want to lose body fat, and actually keep it off, it is going to be a process. If you want to build muscle and become stronger or build your aerobic capacity, it is going to require commitment and effort. There is no magic pill. And quite honestly, in my opinion, that’s actually a good thing. There is no comparison to what comes with the journey of changing your body and lifestyle. All of the hard work you put in day in and day out builds your character. It makes you stronger.
Think of how long you’ve spent building the habits you currently have and living life the way that you do each day. You’ve probably spent multiple years, maybe even decades, doing so. So why is it that if we want to completely change our behaviors and shift them towards healthier ones that we expect it to only take a few days, weeks, or months? This can take many years too!
Unfortunately, not a lot of our education was based in health, nutrition or strength training. Some of us (yes, me too) have actually been raised on false information: that to lose weight you basically have to hop on an elliptical machine staring at the wall for multiple hours a day and run away from carbs like its your job. But this isn’t the truth. Those snacks at the grocery stores that are advertised as “low fat, high protein” probably have more carbohydrates than protein and are filled with chemicals. Flip over that packaging and learn the truth for yourself. Reading nutrition labels is a skill that is worth learning.
The point here is that we have to take responsibility for our own health and wellness and advocate for it. Sadly, we can’t trust advertising, marketing schemes, or even the woman at the counter of the smoothie shop. We can’t get caught up in the “quick fixes” or “cheap-o” versions of what it is we truly want.
We also can’t always expect to get there on our own. Working with a coach not only provides accountability and support, but also gives you the proper information and tools needed to be successful long-term in building habits. In order to lose body fat and keep it off, you have to learn about calorie awareness, portion sizes, how to navigate social events like eating out, what information is true, etc.
Our Catalyst Nutrition Challenge kicks off on Saturday, September 11th if you’re interested in diving a bit deeper. But even if you’re not wanting to jump in just yet, make sure your eyes and ears are open. Ask questions, read labels. The truth is, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.