Be careful about reading on for this one - I’m not holding back on my thoughts and opinions on weight loss products!
I’ve heard it so many times before…”I’m going to start my cleanse this weekend”
“All I’ve been eating/drinking are shakes and taking fat burner pills”
Whenever I hear this I have to center myself so that I don’t go off the hinge with what the truth behind these products are. So many of us have been duped into believing that products such as Isagenix, Advocare, celery juice cleanses, fat burner pills, nutrisystem, or any other product similar to these are the key ingredients to weight loss.
Please STOP this right now!!
I’m going to spend some time here today breaking down the reality of these products while promoting an alternative way of getting to your fit goals.
There are no magic fixes…
If you know someone or have tried these products yourself I’m sure you know that they are sold with the belief that if you just follow this simple eating/drinking plan, you will lose weight and have that 6 pack you’ve always wanted!
These products want to act as the savior to all your weight and health problems. How simple can it be to drink a shake that these companies recommend, take a fat pill at one point during the day and then finish with a “meal replacement drink”.
I think that they are hitting on a specific fear...the fear that change takes a long time and that it’s going to be months, years before anything will happen.
You might be a busy professional who works long hours, doesn’t have time to cook or meal plan and just needs something quick to help promote some weight loss.
You might be a busy mom who spends all day focusing on the kids and their sports, activities, school etc. You might be cleaning all day and taking care of various chores throughout the weeks.
How can you find time to really think about what you are eating and how to become a healthier version of yourself?
So you might hear from a friend or see on TV this product that “burns fat” or “suppresses appetite” and think to yourself…”well if this just burns fat and helps suppress my appetite wouldn’t that help me lose weight?”
How EASY is this to do? Hell yes I want this! I just drink a few shakes, take a few pills and bang in 1 month I’m down 15 lbs and feeling good!
“Hey RT, that isn’t fair, my friend really did lose 15 lbs in a month and is feeling great!”
Okay great I’m glad to hear this! However I would urge you to check in with that person after 3 months, 6 months, 5 years!...are they still maintaining that weight loss and feeling great about everything? Are they looking forward to drinking their meal replacement shake with all of its amazing flavors?
Maybe yes, but I would put my money on a big fat NO.
Why is this you ask?
There are NO magic fixes or magic pills that you can take to only burn fat exclusively. These companies know that you have a fear of long term change, they know that you are super busy and that you need something simple and easy to implement.
I want you to repeat this again - there are NO magic fixes to weight loss.
What’s so bad about these products?
Products from Isagenix, Advocare, Herbalife, Shakeology all have things in common when it comes to their food and drinks.
These products are normally sold in the MLM (Multi-level marketing) business model. This means that you will have a supplier sell you products and will then be given the option to sell the product yourself. The idea is that you get introduced by someone and then have the ability to spread the love to your own circle of people while giving them the gift of weight loss as well as making a few bucks on the side.
Now I’m not going to come after the people who sell these products and use this as a source of income. Everyone needs to do what they need to do to survive and make a living for themselves.
What I will talk about is the products themselves and how they aren’t cracked up to what are said to be.
Let’s take a look at some of the nutrition facts from the Isagenix popular “Isalean” meal replacement shake.
At 250 calories per drink you get 24g or protein, 8g fat, 22g carb, 8g of fiber and 12g of sugar!
At first glance this isn’t too bad...you get a low calorie meal, a good amount of protein as well as carbohydrate. The sugar is pretty high for a drink claiming to be a weight loss drink but with the overall calorie count at 250 you won’t be overeating on this!
Let’s look at another meal they have - the “Isalean” bar.
At 250 calories per bar you get 18g of protein, 6g of fat, 32g carb, 2g fiber, and 16g of sugar!
This bar doesn’t seem as great as that shake above. Protein is a bit lower, calories are equal to your meal replacement shake while also getting another 16g of sugar in your body!
This honestly boggles my mind to think that these 2 products alone are sold to people under the belief that they are healthy alternatives.
How can products be healthy when the second ingredient in both cases is SUGAR!?
See they need to pump extra sugar into these products to make them taste good. Just like with any candy bar, sugar helps to make it palatable and enjoyable.
Now if you are met with a supplier of these products you won’t hear one word about how the product is anything but the shining star to their weight loss.
But really...28g of sugar after 2 “meal/snacks”...we should only be getting 30-38g of sugar (female, and male) per day based on the recommendations from the FDA.
In these cases you are already pretty much there...and I know that other products such as these will put you way over your total daily allotment.
Couple this with the fact that these products are on the more expensive side and you have a one way ticket to a terrible weight loss product.
How these products can lead to months and years of confused dieting and weight loss
I can live with the fact that these products are out there to help people lose weight. I can get behind the cause of creating healthier habits and food choices for those people who are eating highly processed foods. These products are no doubt still a step in the “right direction” for those that have long forgotten how to eat a vegetable!
We are sold on the fact that these foods/drinks are the key to weight loss. Just by eating/drinking these products your body will turn itself into a magic fat burning furnace and the weight will come flying off.
I know for a fact that if someone switches from eating a mostly highly processed diet to a Isagenix based diet they will lose weight. There are simply not enough calories in these meals to overeat and indulge in. At the end of the day it’s about the intake of calories that matter most and with products that are within the 150-250 calorie range, you would need about 10 of those to even be close to overeating. IF anything, you will most likely be 500-1000 calories under your normal calorie intake.
So for those who start this and find that they lose weight - that’s great and I can get behind positive movement in fitness and health.
What I cannot accept is this skewed view that people get when they begin their weight loss journey with these products.
These products are just that….products that do the thinking for you.
Now these products only work if you only use them. If you take away these products, what do you have? You have a person who is ill-equipped to handle the reality of life.
What’s real in life are birthday parties, happy hours, work parties, date nights, eating out, BBQ in the backyard and vacations. Do you really want to be drinking your shake while everyone else is enjoying a burger with fries? Are you SUPPOSED to not want the burger and fries and instead WANT to drink your shake, in the name of weight loss and your overall health?
This dilemma is the one I am fearful of for people - how ready will you be when temptation or events like the above are happening?
I firmly believe that this is because people tend to rely on these products to help keep them on point and within their fit goals. Remove those products and you have someone who doesn’t know how to eat, and what to eat.
Once you start buying into the idea that these products themselves lead to weight loss - you’ve lost the mental battle of what is true and what is not.
Sorry to break it to you - but it’s not the products at all that have you losing weight. It’s all about the calorie intake being much lower than what your body needs to maintain itself, therefore burning fat to help regain energy.
You can just as easily make a shake that includes vegetables, protein powder, some peanut butter and put it in your mixer and come out with a 250 calorie shake. Boom - you created your own Isalean shake!
STOP giving the power to these products but instead build your own strategies and habits up so that no matter what situation you are in - you know how to choose the best options for you and your goals.
I know I’m pushing this pretty hard right now but please understand that I only want what’s best FOR YOU, for the LONG TERM.
Products that are better for you
Look I understand that life gets crazy busy and you might not have the time to figure out every meal of your day ahead of time. (Not that this is even necessary, but let’s assume this)
Supplements have their place in your diet and here’s what I would recommend for you instead of these overpriced weight loss products.
1. Whey protein powder - Whey protein is probably the most popular and efficient supplement out there. Whey protein has high levels of protein (20g per scoop in most cases) and provides other nutrients without the cost of adding a ton of sugar. These protein powders are generally good for after workouts or for those trying to add muscle. It’s basically a protein bump in your day and can help nudge you past plateaus. I’ve always gotten the “golden standard” brand of whey protein if you are looking for a recommendation!
2. Vega shakes - Vega shakes are sold as organic, plant based protein shakes that provide a ton of various nutrients. These shakes generally have less than a gram of sugar. These are solid choices for those in between times when you are in a rush and can’t have a full meal. These products are generally cheaper than their MLM based counterparts and have better overall nutrition quality.
3. Quest Bars - Some may say these bars a bit “chalky”...well yes they are because they aren’t pumped with sugar! Quest bars come in various flavors and usually stand around 200 calories with about 20g of protein. They normally have around 1-5g of sugar which is pretty nice for an in between “snack”. I use these from time to time when I’m in a pinch and need something to give me enough energy before the next meal.
4. Real food - You can’t beat real food. This is a no-brainer in my eyes but there’s nothing better than eating food that is grown from the earth. Vegetables, fruits, lean meats, healthy fats, and smart carbs. The colors of the rainbow provide us with a ton of nutrition. Learning how to increase your whole food intake will make the longest, biggest, and most profound change in your life. THIS is where your focus should be...not on quick fixes.
Why aren’t there many more products you might ask?
At the end of the day it isn't about the perfect food, the perfect meal plan or perfect weight loss product. This isn’t where the true change and true work happens.
It happens with you and your habits. Habits determine everything and creating a healthier habit is all about creating change for the long term.
Once you master HOW TO EAT you can confidently attend all of life’s events knowing how to make great choices, how to stay within your fit goals and how to live your best life that you know you deserve and want.
I know this because I live this and have coached many people to live this life as well.
“I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”