The diet industry. Those shamen, those snake-oil salesmen, always waiting in the wings with the next sure-fire weight loss fix.
They create diet junkies. You know, the people who are constantly on a diet, eating low-carb, following the Ornish plan, taking Alli, fasting, juicing, detoxing and colon cleansing in the hope that they can reverse years of poor health choices in a matter of weeks. They've got a NordicTrack, Ab Roller, Ab Rocker and Thigh Master in the basement, all gathering dust. Bookshelves overflow with titles like Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, The Zone, Eat More, Weigh Less and so on - also gathering dust.
Okay, so we've called out the obvious culprits, and anyone who is committed to permanent weight loss understands that good health does not depend on eliminating entire food groups from the diet or drinking a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper for days on end. These claims are easy to ignore, because they have no basis in common sense or longevity.
There are some more insiduous messengers in the media that can make ideas like taking unregulated diet supplements and eating bacon everyday seem almost acceptable. Avoiding these messengers will help filter out the hype and help you focus on what really works.
1. Anyone who refers to him/herself (or is generally referred to) as a "guru." 'Nuff said.
2. Diet plans, exercise equipment/programs or supplements that claim to target certain areas of the body for fat loss. There is no such thing as spot reducing. Overall toning and interval training will reduce overall body fat while firming and shaping your body.
3. Oprah and just about any guest who appears on her show to talk about "health," "weight loss," or "fitness." Surely Oprah would never lead her viewers astray! As we've all witnessed, Oprah is a the quintessential fad dieter; from Bob Greene's Best Life Diet to her latest pet, Dr. Oz, her gurus have had her going vegan, detoxing and promoting colon cleansing. Two words: Dr. Phil. Sadly, even though Oprah is one of the most accomplished women in the world and has had Mr. Greene as her "guru" for almost 20 years, she still struggles with the one thing diet and exercise can't take care of on their own - emotional eating.
4. Jillian Michaels. I can't lie, I liked Jillian Michaels once upon a time. I read her books and thought that some of her ideas about metabolism and the effects of hormones on fat cells were spot-on. Her "don't diet, eat better" and "work hard and get out" ethic was right up my alley. Then I was shopping in a drugstore and came face-to-face with the woman herself - staring out at me from a row of fat-burning pills and cleansing formulas. That proved to me that Jillian & The Biggest Loser franchise are "fat porn" in the same way Paula Deen & FoodTV are "food porn" - if you can't, don't or won't do it yourself, you can always live vicariously through TV shows like The Biggest Loser or Cooking With Paula Deen - the franchise isn't interested in teaching you to lose weight (or to cook), they're interested in taking your money through advertising and jump-off products.
5. Any diet plan or spokesperson who claims you can lose weight without making your own food. Unless you've got unlimited unfunds & a tiny stomach, you're going to have to learn how to cook if you want to lose weight for good. Most of the food in these delivery plans are intensely processed and are full of high-fructose corn syrup, other preservatives/fillers and salt - all the things you want to avoid. Stick to whole, fresh foods and avoid boxed & processed food (especially those with cute labels like Best Life) - you'll save both money and your health. Make the time to cook ahead and have basic meal staples ready to go when you're in a rush.