I see lots of advertisements and promotions that promise amazing results from supplements that range from shakes to pills and powders. The diet industry is a $60 billion per year industry and most of the products do not work or have negative side effects. It is so easy to fall prey to these promises and advertising tricks. With companies competing for part of this market share, it is no wonder that they make amazing commercials, deals, and get celebrities or professionals to back their products. If it sounds too good to be true, then don’t believe it!
The bottom line is that there is no magic pill, powder or drink that will make you lose weight or drastically improve your health. What is one to do? The reality is that you need to do these things, which are harder, but they actually work:
1. Eat healthy foods
Regardless of how you eat (low carb, keto, mediterranean, balanced, clean, vegan, vegetarian, calorie controlled, points, macros, etc.), you need to eat whole foods, mainly veggies and/or fruits, healthy fats, and healthy proteins. Avoid processed foods and sugar. Make healthy choices when eating out. Eat consistently and time your food around when you are active.
Strength train and get cardio in. You can do this in many ways but consistently pushing your body out of it’s comfort zone is important. You need to get each body part 2-3 times per week for strength training, and cardio either endurance work or HIIT or a combination 4-6 times a week is great. Strengthening your core, balance training (i.e. standing on one foot or on unstable surfaces, etc.), and flexibility work at least 2 days a week rounds out a well balanced exercise regimen.
3. Work to reduce stress
Whether you pray, do breathing exercises, meditate, do yoga, go on long walks, get out in nature, read, or whatever makes you relax, you need to get that in consistently-make time for this and you can decrease cortisol, blood pressure and anxiety.
4. Balance health and fun
You don’t need to eat perfectly to be healthy. I love balance and it has helped me stick to a healthy lifestyle for over 20 years. Most of the time eat well, exercise and do what you need to do. Structure helps, and building habits and consistency are necessary to get results. Once you have healthy habits, then be sure to build in fun foods that may not be healthy, eating socially, and skipping your usual workout class to sleep or go for a hike. Don’t feel guilty, enjoy every minute and get right back on track with your healthy lifestyle. Being healthy is about balance.
The bottom line is that if you are not building habits that you enjoy and can stick with, the diet or pill or shake won’t work. Being healthy is so enjoyable if you are eating real food, moving your body, and being mindful, while balancing real life and fun foods at the same time!
Cassie Dimmick, MS, RD, CSSD