It’s been a couple months since I posted my first installment of “Three Health and Fitness Fads to Avoid” (read the first one here). Health and fitness fads come and go like crazy, so I figured it was time to do another update. I chose fads that are either dangerous or straight-up scams designed to steal your money.
Not going to lie, I saw an instagram post from Kylie Jenner the other day that actually inspired this blog. So thanks for that, Ky!
Let’s jump right in…
1. Fit Tea Wraps
These are the newest products from the Fit Tea family being pushed by the Kardashian Klan. According to their website, these wraps are a “natural, non-GMO way to improve problem areas”. They claim to minimize cellulite and tighten, tone, firm, and improve skin texture. They are infused with something the company is calling “Body Defining Gel Formula”. So basically, they are marketing these as giant stickers that you can put on your skin to magically tone problem areas. Let me tell you, when I saw that instagram post from Kylie, my eyes rolled so far back into my head I saw my brain. I don’t need to tell you guys that these are bullshit. At least, I hope I don’t need to tell you. You cannot tone your tummy with a sticker that has lotion on it. I can see these working as a way to SMOOTH your skin, MOISTURIZE dry skin, and EVEN skin tone….lotions and creams do work for that. But as a TONER? No.
What To Do Instead
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and exercising regularly is the best way to improve your overall muscle tone. Remember, the way to tone a muscle is to load it. So be sure that you’re doing strength training workouts at least 3x a week. I know a lot of women still believe that strength training will make them bulky, but that’s not the case at all. You want gorgeous, toned arms like Michelle Obama? Lift weights. You want long, lean, and toned legs like Karlie Kloss? Lift weights. You want a butt like JLo? Lift weights.
In terms of diet, start by cutting out processed food and fried food. Try to eat whole foods and protein with every meal. If you’re a snacker, keep healthy snacks on hand at all times. Nuts, greek yogurt, cheese sticks, raw veggies with hummus, and air-popped popcorn are some of my favorite snacks that are easy to take on the go. Be sure to drink lots of water and stay hydrated. You’ve heard the phrase “Abs are made in the kitchen”…well, that’s true. If you want a toned tummy, take a hard look at your diet.
2. Meal Replacement Shakes
I’m going to start this out by saying not all meal replacement shakes are alike. There are some good ones out there on the market. My problem with these is that they are often marketed as a weight loss tool and as “natural” and “healthy”. These shakes claim to be full of nutrients and lower in calories. In reality, these are glorified milkshakes. They are usually highly processed and full of carbohydrates, fat, and calories. And since you’re just drinking a liquid, they won’t keep you full for long. In fact, as people are realizing this, companies are coming under fire for reporting false claims. Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts of a popular meal replacement shake (name withheld):
Look at all the CRAP in the ingredients. This is a processed food! It’s not all natural. Yes, the calories are light and yes, there some nutrients in there, but there’s also a lot of yuck in there. Do you really want to be ingesting something that has more ingredients that you CAN’T pronounce, than ingredients you can?
What To Do Instead
Meal replacement shakes tend to “work” because they put you in a caloric deficit. However, drinking liquids don’t keep you full for very long, regardless of what the product claims. Eating REAL food that is high in protein and nutrients will keep you full for longer and is a much healthier way to lose weight. Use portion control, read food labels, measure and weigh your food, and eat whole foods. You’ll still get a ton of nutrients, you’ll be eating healthy, and you’ll still lose weight. Win-win-win.
3. “Carb Blockers”
I know these have been around for awhile, but I’m seeing them pop up more and more, especially on Facebook (being pushed by people I went to high school with who are stuck in pyramid schemes selling supplements that they are in no way shape or form qualified to sell…..but that’s an article for another day!)
So what exactly are carb blockers? These are marketed as a weight loss tool, and claim to allow you to eat as many carbs as you want without the calories. This should be a red flag right here. Eat as many carbs as you want, take a pill, and POOF! calories are gone? If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is! Carb blockers only prevent a portion of the carbs you eat from being digested. In addition, carb blockers only contain substances that inhibit some of the enzymes that break down complex carbs. Simple carbs are not affected by carb blockers. And what do most people who are trying to lose weight eat? Simple carbs, processed sugars, added sugars, etc. Look at the picture above. “Do you love sugar and bread?” Well, too bad because this product doesn’t actually block sugar and bread. False advertising at it’s finest.
There have been studies done that show carb blockers can be effective for losing weight, curbing appetite, and controlling blood sugar, however most of the studies were small, short-term, and funded by the supplement company. Not exactly an un-biased source. The lack of long-term, scientific studies makes it hard to trust these supplements.
While they are generally considered safe, carb blockers also have some uncomfortable side effects: diarrhea, bloating, gas, and cramps. This is due to gasses released in the large intestine when carbs are fermented by bacteria, which is what happens when you take a carb-blocker.
What To Do Instead
I’m not going to tell you not to eat carbs. Carbs are an important part of your diet. However, you can control the type of carbs you eat. Avoid processed foods, added sugars, and processed sweets. Try to eat mainly whole grains, and getting carbs from vegetables and fruits. Aim for complex carbs and increase your fiber intake. The main ingredient in most carb blockers is beans or bean powder! Carb blockers are a supplement-they are not a substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Did you notice a pattern in this article? You can achieve the results each fad is promising with a healthy diet and exercise. These products are money-grabbers. People are so obsessed with instant gratification these days, which is why products like these are so popular. Add a big name celebrity as an endorsement, and boom. Sales will skyrocket. I hate to break it to you, but there is NO QUICK FIX. If there was a magic weight loss pill, everyone would be taking it!
Remember: you are much better off spending your hard-earned money on someone who can get you real results. Whether it’s an online coach or a personal trainer in your gym, don’t waste your money on crap that is dangerous, doesn’t work, and costs a TON.