By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager
As a Wellness Program Manager and fitness enthusiast, I spend a lot of time researching the best methods to stay healthy and the science that supports the trends. Guess what… the science doesn’t support the trends that we are buying into! In fact, many of the newest “health” trends are just plain crazy and we’ve jumped right on board the crazy train because of the way it is packaged and marketed. Magazine covers tell us we should have no fat on our bodies and look like aliens with big heads and tiny frames. Or, we should look like the pictures in the Gray’s Anatomy book where we are pure muscle and have six-pack abs with our hip bones protruding. Furthermore, to get that look we need to fork over a couple of paychecks and buy into the false promises of a system that will get us there. They show us before and after pictures…. before the belly is just hanging out and after the belly is sucked in tight, chest out, lighting changed, spray tan, new hairstyle… voila! The illusion that 15 pounds has been dropped thanks to Hollywood and its magic cameras. You, too, can look like an unhealthy alien if you pay us!
I watch many videos claiming to have found the newest and “best” ways to get fit. Let’s start with a yoga system that adds plyometric (basically jumping) and crazy exercises that only a contortionist should attempt. Why would I torture myself and do that? The risk of injury and improper form is much too high. And it costs a fortune! For zero dollars a month I can watch a different, safe yoga video on YouTube that won’t damage my joints. Have you seen the new “fat burning” system that actually states in the commercial, “if you lose too much fat, please reduce usage?” Sold! Every gullible person out there watching that is thinking “wow, this stuff must really work.” Well, the fine print states that you must engage in a healthy diet and exercise routine for best effect. Duh! Because that’s what really is helping the fat loss… not the magic pill. Nope- I have news for you folks… losing fat is also free! It’s as simple as adding safe exercise and eating a nutritious diet!
Diets – this is where I really go crazy! If you eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean protein and complex carbs, you will not gain weight. Water—drink water! I say it often and people nod in agreement, followed by the “but”… “but I lost 5 pounds by doing the so and so diet…” “but I know someone who gave up carbs and they are super thin now…” Newsflash! Those are very temporary ways to lose water weight. Because we are mostly water. You are also losing muscle and nutrients by omitting entire food groups. The minute you bring back the forbidden food, your weight will return. Slow and steady wins the race. I will do a PSA for Weight Watchers here because they truly have a science-based system that has long term results because they teach lifestyle not fast and furious weight loss.
So, the question remains… where is all this new magical information coming from? Answer: people who want to make money off tricking you into believing there is an easy, quick and expensive solution. Let that sink in a minute! Who’s making money off your latest health kick? Not you! Don’t buy into it! Use your well-earned paychecks to join a health club or to buy nutritious food. And please, don’t strive for the alien look. That will also change soon enough! Because fitness and wellness is an industry and for the industry to make money….they need to convince you that you have to look different than you do.