PLUS - Simple & Effective Steps to Get the Body & Life You’re After!
(Allow me to start by stating that this post is in NO WAY meant to jab at any other fitness professional who may incorporate supplements into their clients’ programs. The following is MY opinion based on MY philosophy and MY research. And yes, it is how I guide MY clients. I am happy to acknowledge that other avenues and opinions exist. Zero judgement here.)
I have heard of Advocare, Ideal Protein, NutriSystem, Isagenix, and all the other popular supplement and pre-packaged food lines. I have read the packages, the ingredient lists, and even have had multiple people approach me about incorporating them into my personal training studio. When I politely decline, they look at me like I’m crazy. I get explanations on how another revenue stream will help me make more money, while the product will help my clients burn fat and drop pounds fast. “Its a win-win”, I have been told. However, to this day, I don't promote or rep any supplement lines.
Short Answer: I do not believe that bars/powders/pills/prepackaged foods are the key to long term success.
Allow me to explain:
1. Long-Run vs. Right Now
While I do acknowledge supplements can help people take weight off initially, I do not believe it is a recipe for success in the long run. I have had multiple Coaching sessions with clients discussing the pros and cons of the speedy initial weight loss that shakes/bars/powders & pre-packaged foods can bring. At the end of the day, I deeply believe that true and long-lasting change won’t happen with a bandage approach. Dropping 30lbs in 6 weeks matters not if a person hasn’t learned to create positive behavior change. The pounds will come right back…. and they often do. Nothing changes if nothing changes.
I work with my clients to examine their relationship with food, and make slow changes toward their ideal. I encourage them to use whole, real foods as the basis of their diet, to encourage a path of change that can realistically be used forever. This can be a slow, torturous nightmare for someone who wants to lose 50lbs and wants to lose it NOW. It can seem like an endless uphill battle that is destined to fail. Until a small, successful change is made, which takes about a week. Give it a week!
2. What Does a Protein/Fat/Carbohydrate Look Like in “the Wild”?
Picture this: Sally has never been a great eater, and now wants to lose 50 pounds. She signs up for one of the supplement lines I named above & follows the plan to a T. She mixes the powders in her water for breakfast every day, and has protein puffs as a snack every afternoon. She diligently opens and consumes each package in the order she is instructed. She is successful in losing weight; getting to her goal weight of 50 pounds weight loss in record time.
Then Sally stops the program.
Sally is now 50 pounds lighter and still has the exact same lack of understanding about nutrition that she did 50 pounds ago. Chances are, she will not be able to appropriately identify a fat, carbohydrate or protein accurately. Chances are, she will not have a good eye for estimating an appropriate portion size of each.
Eating from packages absolves the consumer of any thought or responsibility when it comes to making healthy decisions. I think it FAR more powerful to educate a person about food: what it is, its purpose and benefits for the body, as well as when/why we need it. This critical education can never be taken away; no matter where a person is, the knowledge will help the best possible decision to be made.
3. What about the “WHY”?
As a licensed certified social worker who works in the fitness industry, I have made it my specialty to work closely with clients on the “why’s” of their current lifestyle:
- * Why does a person consider it “impossible” to give up X food/habit?
- * Why would anyone believe that eating healthy is way too expensive and way too restrictive to do for the long run?
- * Why do some people turn to take-out as the primary source of their diet?
- * Why do certain people have constant struggles with food?
These questions invite a person to examine his/her actions and beliefs, and often times an emotional connection is made to these actions/beliefs.
Asking a person to reflect on why they act in the ways they do is a lot more thought-provoking and change-inducing than simply telling them to trade a bag of Cheetos for a bag of Ideal Protein Cheese Puffs.
4. Who Is In Charge?
When following the instructions of a package of pre-packaged food, powder, bar, etc., the consumer has next to no responsibility or say in what they are eating. Someone else (the product developer) has decided what is allowed & not allowed. I believe that giving a person ownership and responsibility of their nutrition is empowering, and with some consistent work & effort can be the key to true, long-lasting change.
So, what SHOULD you be doing?!??!
Just to be clear:
My approach will NOT result in six-pack abs overnight.
My approach will NOT be without consistent effort.
My approach will NOT be the “Easiest” approach (but it will be the most simple)
My approach will NOT be for 6, 8, or 12 weeks.. it will be slow changes made to last for a lifetime
My general rules of thumb:
—> Eat as many WHOLE, REAL foods as possible. If it did not come from the land, a tree, the ground or the sea- its not real!
—> Be mindful of a food’s source… factory or nature?
—> Avoid processed and artificial foods as much as possible.
—> Do not get caught up in a calorie counting game.
—> Processed/artificial foods dysregulate the body’s natural hunger/satiety system.
—> Eating real foods will restore your body’s natural regulatory system. They allow you to eat when you are hungry & stop when you are full.
Examples of WHOLE, REAL Foods:
- All vegetables (anything in the produce section of the grocery store)-All fruits (again- anything in the produce section)
- Poultry (chicken, turkey)
- Beef/bison (steaks, ground beef, stew meat)
- Pork (chops, loin)
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts)
- Seeds (chia, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame)
- SOME grains (amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa)
- Herbal tea
- Water — lots of water!
- Red wine (yes, have 4 oz of red wine... it is heart healthy. Be mindful of portioning)
- If you are a person who eats HIGH amounts of processed foods, or the thought of omitting/adding many things to your diet all at once is overwhelming, START SLOW.
- Choose 1-2 processed foods to omit, and 1-2 whole, real foods to add in. Try and keep this new habit for 2-3 weeks.
- After it becomes a bit more routine, add in 1-2 more whole, real foods in exchange for 1-2 processed foods.
- Be patient and keep this slow transformation up for as long as it takes.
- The extra weight will shed. Your energy will increase. Your skin will look better. Your body fat will drop. Your lean muscle mass will increase. You will fit into clothing better. And you will be living a completely more healthful, fit and balanced life.