Let me start by saying that I absolutely love what I do. I love being able to help others make lasting changes to their health and well-being through lifestyle modifications. What I dislike are all of the fad diets and what amounts to nothing more than a “quick fix band-aid” that only covers the true root of a problem. Whether our focus is disease prevention, weight loss or getting back on the road to health after a serious illness, we must address areas of our life that aren’t serving us or our health. I’ll share a personal story of what recently transpired. My husband recently ran across a program being promoted to help you lose weight, 6-7 pounds per week. Initially, it was promoted as a healthy eating program with nightly, live streamed workouts for men. As it turned out, the person running the program wanted the participants to fast until noon but they were allowed to eat 2 major meals a day, including unhealthy foods. So, if I’m to understand this, you get to starve until noon and then have 2 meals that can theoretically consist of junk to lose weight. Eureka! But it is beach season, after all, and it is the time to suddenly and drastically drop those pounds! While I understand the desire, can we all agree that unhealthy eating coupled with fasting isn’t the answer? I hope you answered YES! There is a better, safer and healthier way to address that additional weight you may be carrying. It involves skipping desserts, eating more veggies and choosing lean proteins AND CARBOHYDRATES (gasp!). Repeat after me: Carbs are not bad! You just have to choose the right kinds!
It’s hard to wade through the muddle of “health and weight loss” information available at the stroke of the keyboard today. You don’t know who to trust, who is actually certified to help you and who is simply calling themselves by a title they haven’t earned. I am not discrediting a person educating themselves via internet etc. on certain topics. After all, there is some great information out there and many have a true desire to help, but training does matter. There is also some bad information available, so you have to be careful. When you feel desperate, eating cabbage soup 3 times a day for a week seems doable, but rest assured, it’s not worth the pain in or out of the bathroom! So, here are some things to look for in either the person or program you are about to take part in.
- Does the person have any type of certification in the area they are promoting?
- Can the program be safely used long-term?
- Does the program require you to make drastic, unhealthy changes that can only be maintained for a short duration?
- Is the person working outside of their scope of responsibilities?
- Does the program incorporate eating healthy, whole foods?
- Does the person know when to direct you to other professionals if issues beyond their scope of practice arise?
While this is only a short list, I hope it gets you thinking. There is a lot of knowledge out there, but there are also a lot of programs that are not scientifically proven and don’t address the root cause of disease, weight gain etc. Remember, long-term weight loss success and a healthy body takes time and effort. So don’t be discouraged if you change your diet and don’t see immediate results on the scale. Look for non-scale victories like your clothes fitting better, inches lost, better sleep, happier mood or more energy. And remember, healthy and fit come in all different shapes and sizes. So, skip the quick fixes and use wisdom and discernment in any program or professional you choose. The end goal should always be health over weight loss.