Weight Loss Hype vs Help

Tea cleanses, miracle pills, shakes, oh my! The media is swarming with advertisements imposing on anyone with weight loss New Year’s resolutions. In all honesty, I don’t blame someone who falls for one of these gimmicks. From taking a number of weight loss pills to talking my parents into buying me at-home Ab Crunch machines, I’m guilty of it myself! These companies play a good game. For someone who already feels stressed out about weight gain, the exclamation points, titles in cool fonts, before and after photos, and celebrity endorsements, create an even more demanding sense of urgency to slim down.

Whether you’ve never tried to lose weight or have tried everything in the books, dropping lbs can be frustrating and confusing. It’s easy to fall for weight loss gimmicks when you already feel unsure about where to start. It can be even harder to determine what weight loss strategies are hurtful and which are helpful. So how do you decipher the fitness hype from the help?

Here are 5 simple tips I use:

1. Does it claim quick results?

Weight loss, real, lasting weight loss does not happen overnight. If it did, there wouldn’t be an obesity epidemic in our country. Losing more than 1 to 2 pounds per week is usually indication of muscle and water loss, not fat loss. This puts your metabolism in jeopardy and makes it much more likely for you to gain back what you did lose or maybe even more.

Emily Freeman Life in Spandex

2. Do you have to order special meals or replace meals with food product?

Whatever you do to lose the weight is what you must continue to keep it off. Does slurping meal replacement shakes or eating pre-made diet food for the rest of your life sound good? I didn’t think so. Successful weight loss comes from creating new, healthier habits. Learning how to eat in the real world, i.e. cooking for yourself, ordering more responsibly at restaurants, is the most important part of long-term success.

Tropical Mango Smoothie Bowl

3. Does it sound too good to be true?

Unfortunately, there is no magic-bullet pill, powder, or drink that leads to dropping fat. Think about it, if there was one thing that really did help EVERYONE lose weight AND keep it off, there wouldn’t be customers to support a multi-billion dollar diet industry. If you could drink a special tea, sprinkle magic powder on your food, or take a miracle pill, don’t you think we’d all have the svelte, fit physique we work so hard for everyday by now?

Why You Can't Lose Weight

4. Does it include a well-rounded training regimen?

Yes, you can lose weight without exercise. However, if you are just dieting and not working out, you’re missing out on insane health benefits. Yes, exercise increases energy levels, reduces risk of heart and other chronic disease, decreases insulin sensitivity, and improves bone density and posture. But did you know it changes the your RMR, or your resting metabolic rate? Yup, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn while sitting on the couch watching Gilmore Girls. That’s because muscle uses more energy (aka calories) than fat. This is vital for maintaining weight loss. Why? Because naturally, our body burns LESS calories the LESS we eat and the SMALLER we get. We are tricky creatures who crave homeostasis. Our bodies will hinder weight loss because in history, losing body fat meant famine, sickness, and, if it didn’t stop, death. Lucky for us ladies, we also fight our body’s natural desire to keep on weight to bare children! By increasing our muscle mass (aka raising our RMR) we can combat this.

5. Is it a “one-size-fits-all” plan?

There are basic principles of eating that every body type can benefit from such as “eat more whole, natural food,” “limit processed food,” “cut back on sugar and saturated fat,” “eat until you’re 80% full.” However, these basic nutritional tips only take you so far. Each of our bodies has a different response to the food we put into it. We all have that friend who seems like she can eat whatever she wants without gaining a pound. Or a significant other who seems to lose weight the more he eats. Each of us have unique genetics, metabolisms, insulin responses, and so forth. So why would we think one type of eating is going to magically work for all of us?


Paleo, Low Carb, Gluten Free Chicken n Waffles


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Health and happiness,


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Hi and welcome to Life in Spandex! I'm Emily, a personal trainer who believes there should be no secrets standing in your way to getting fit. I am sharing my knowledge here on this blog in order to help you reach your goals. Fitness should be fun, eating healthy should taste good, and feeling your absolute best is the ultimate goal. Let's get fit together!
  1. This is best blog to read , thank you so much for sharing this blog with us.

  2. Great tips that promote the ‘healthy’ way to lose weight. I feel like adverts on encouraging people to lose weight with shakes, supplements or pills should be banned! So unhealthy and only help in the short-term. I’m trying to lose weight but it is tempting, but know of too much dangerous occurences x

  3. These are fantastic tips!! I have to admit that even I have fallen for these lose weight quick traps despite having a B.SC in Kinesiology! It’s no wonder the general public falls for them too. This year I’m focusing on slow, weight loss through consistent exercise and consistent healthy eating. I have to admit that it’s HARD!!! The results though will be SOOOOOOO worth it. Thanks for linking up with Lucie and I, we hope to see you again this week!

    1. Right?? Thanks Janice 🙂

  4. this was great to read. I am a wheelchair user and I have cerebral palsy, so exercise has been hard for me. I basically need a support system to help me get to exercise instead of hearing negative comments or discouragement. I do not believe in anything that the media chooses to advertise, but I do believe in having to put in the work for a positive outcome

  5. Interesting and helpful post

  6. Ugh….that “lose weight fast” crap irritates me so much. I’ve never been one to have issues with weight, but even I know none of that stuff works. I watched a close friend repeatedly try those products only to be disappointed each time. All you need is a healthy diet and exercise.

  7. Great Information. I really like your writing style. I constantly battle my weight and I have tried all types of fads…now I am changing my lifestyle and it feels great.

    1. I’m so happy to hear that Nakeisha!!! Let me know if you need any guidance 🙂

  8. Great information!

  9. I struggle with my weight and have since I had kids (my youngest is 11). I am also a sugar addict, so I get what you’re saying about everyone being different. I try to stay away from coffee, too. I have a desk job so that doesn’t help. (Sitting is the new smoking.)

    1. I have such a sweet tooth, too Carlie! It’s all about making swaps and practicing will power. The more you practice the easier it gets. I sit at a desk all day as well so I feel your pain. I make sure to drink plenty of water and get up every 30-60 min to walk around or stretch 🙂

  10. I HATE JANUARY – not only because it’s the month after all the exciting festivities that we legit all wait for every year… But because everyone screams JUICE CLEANSE… FASTING… ETC… And I am over here wanting to bash all those people’s heads in! LOL!!! Cleansing and Fasting = NOT HEALTHY.

    1. Hahaha drives me insane too!!!

  11. I definitely agree with your sentiments on meal plans and meal replacements. I’ve lost and regained weight a couple of times after following intense workout regimens and then completely falling off the wagon. It’s been proven time and again that the only way to lose weight (in a healthy way) and keep it off is to make a serious but maintainable lifestyle change in the way you eat or work out. It doesn’t sound like good news at first, but it really makes me feel happier and healthier in every aspect of my life. Turned out to be a good thing after all! 😉

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you’ve learned from trial and error and found something that stuck for you!! 🙂

  12. Really great information sharing with us.

  13. Great advice, if only there was a miracle pill or shake, but let’s face it in reality we all know that there isn’t a quick fix, it takes time and hard work to get anything worthwhile in life.

    1. It would be nice to have miracle pills though, wouldn’t it? Lol

  14. I find eating well at home easy, since I can control the foods I use. It’s when we go out to restaurants that I find difficult. I’m always tempted to eat the fried stuff since I don’t eat it at home!

    1. I’m a sucker for dessert!!! That’s why I love the 80/20 rule

  15. Some great points here! I don’t believe in shortcuts when it comes to weight loss. Nothing can beat hard work, persistence and patience.

  16. I enjoyed this post. Sensible ideas for a plan that will work. Thanks

  17. Love this post- especially at this time of year when weight loss craziness prevails!

  18. Solid advice. So many people are into 3 day fasting detoxes and such full of chemicals and expect to keep the weight off when they are done. I don’t think it’s ever worked for anyone! Real food, healthy habits, and physical activity are where the results are found.

    1. You’re talking my language ;). Thanks for the input Marian!

  19. It’s good to see someone giving sensible weight loss advice amongst all the craziness of January hype to lose weight fast. Thanks for writing this.

    1. You’re welcome Lisa!!! It’s a mess out there!

  20. This is excellent – I’m trying hard to lose weight before our upcoming wedding and it’s easy to get roped into all the hype!

    -Clarissa @ The View From Here

    1. It’s soooo easy!!!! And if you’re feeling stuck or need extra support you know where to find me 🙂

  21. I agree so totally with you, one size does not fit all, thank you for sharing this.

    1. Right!!!! You’re very welcome Helen!

  22. We are all looking for the “magic pill.” We didn’t gain 50 pounds overnight, nor are we going to lose it overnight. We have to make lifestyle changes.

  23. Great post! Love all the actionable advice, especially answers to common questions. Keep it up!

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