Forget about April 1. If you’re someone with weight loss on your mind, January 1 is the day you should most worry about being fooled. Weight loss is a multi-billion dollar industry and thanks to the power of the New Year’s Resolution, there are a number of companies just waiting to strike & make you their next Fool.
I’ve noticed it already- the sudden onslaught of ads for various products & gym memberships coming from all angles (TV, radio, internet), the barrage of before & after photos, tugs at your vanity, promises of “quick” and “easy” weight loss. Are all diet & exercise products crap? Are all gyms evil- just wanting to lock you into a contract, not caring less whether you have any results? Not necessarily. But there are far too many bad apples out there preying on your insecurities, knowing all too well the vicious cycle of weight loss/regain/weight loss/regain and how richly it can line their pockets time and again…all because you bought into the hype, the false promises. You cast aside your common sense in the hopes you’d fit into your skinny jeans again – or even get into a pair of skinny jeans for the first time ever in your life.
Perhaps it was the jaw dropping “before & after” photo that sold you, the endorsement by a celebrity you admire, the emotional testimonial…or the fact that you’re lying awake late at night feeling completely alone, unhappy & fat when suddenly you flip to an infomercial featuring all the above and in a sudden burst of sleep-deprived sadness, you pick up that phone and order whatever it is they’re selling. Desperate for a quick and easy fix, you buy into the promises hook, line and sinker.
Wondering why I’m writing all this when I sell programs like P90X and Insanity (the very type of programs featured in infomercials that prompt late-night purchases such as the one above)? Because I don’t want a Fool for a customer. If you want “quick” and “easy,” you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re making a spur of the moment decision based on insecurity or shame, chances are you haven’t thought the commitment level through and will likely either (a) let the program collect dust on a shelf or (b) return the package, unopened, shortly after ordering. Either way as your Coach, I lose. It’s not your commission that matters most to me, it’s your results.
As someone who’s maintained a significant weight loss for nearly 10 years now, I know there is nothing quick or easy about it. I’m not going to promise you otherwise. Want to know 3 sure-fire ways to avoid being made a New Year’s Fool? Here you go:
1) Beware the Before & After. These are incredibly powerful tools when it comes to marketing. I, personally, wouldn’t be swayed by a before & after to buy something unless (a) I personally knew the person in the before & after; and (b) knew that person had maintained the weight loss for a year or more. Sound harsh? Perhaps- but I’ve seen far too many floating about where images were copied & pasted from one weight loss companies’ site and then used for a competitor’s product. I’ve also seen photos that were taken in the span of a day thanks to visual tricks & photoshopping- these are most effectively used for companies pimping out a rapid 10-20 pound loss (you know the drill, “LOSE 10 POUNDS IN 10 DAYS!” or some such craziness).
Wondering why the 1 year requirement? Because I’d want to make sure the weight loss was not temporary. I’m 41 years old and have known far too many folks who jump on a pill or supplement bandwagon, lose a good chunk of water weight (and maybe, if they’re lucky, a bit of fat, not so luckily muscle), and then regain it and then some. Time, my friends, is the true test of success. It’s also the minimum time requirement used by the National Weight Control Registry for participants- and yes, in case you’re wondering I am a member of the NWCR. As a member, I participate in their annual study surveys involving diet & exercise of weight loss success stories. Tellingly, I don’t believe any member of the NWCR has credited their significant weight loss & maintenance to a pill, drink or supplement. Ask many weight loss success stories and they’ll admit that maintaining the weight loss has been a far greater challenge than hitting their goal weight. Life goes on- and if you truly haven’t changed your lifestyle, the weight is bound to come back on.
2) Use some common sense. Remember that old saying, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?” I think your grandparents had it right. If you’re being “guaranteed” results with no changes in your lifestyle, you my friend are a bona-fide sucker. Get out a magnifying glass for ads such as these and you’re likely to see a disclaimer in painfully tiny print that the advertised product is to be used “in conjunction with diet and exercise.” Credit to those with the tiny disclaimer. Some companies aren’t so honest.
3) Sleep on it. Before you sign that gym contract, hit Pay Now on that computer screen, hand over that check to a friend selling a product or pick up that phone when you’re feeling swayed by an infomercial, THINK. Listen to your common sense. Ask yourself if you’re actually going to commit to whatever program you’re about to buy or head to that gym several times a week (HINT: If you’ve joined a gym nearly every January for as long as you can remember and stop going within a few weeks, chances are this isn’t going to be that MAGICAL year in which you make it a true habit & stick to it).
If the person who’s trying to sell you a weight loss program is truly on the up & up, they won’t mind if you ask them questions. They won’t push you. They’ll want to help you find the solution that will actually work for you- something you can fit into YOUR schedule & something most aligned with your goals & personality. They won’t promise you instant or easy results- because any transformation (mind, body or soul) cannot take place instantly or easily. They’ll want you to clean out the crap food from your kitchens, calendar your workouts, find a support buddy to hold you accountable (and offer that option themselves), take those Before pictures as unpleasant as they may be- not to use as a slick marketing tool for themselves, but so you can see where you began after you achieve your goals. Not through a magic pill or drink- but through your own commitment, consistency and focus. They’ll want the credit for your success to go where it belongs- to YOU, not the product they’re selling
NEWSFLASH: There is no magic pill, drink or gadget that will help you lose weight and keep it off. If there were, it wouldn’t be a “secret,” nor would it likely cost you anything less than the proverbial arm & leg. Want the cold, hard truth? The best weight loss tool you can have at your disposal doesn’t cost you one penny. It’s your own motivation, your why, the reason(s) you’ll push through even when things are getting tough and uncomfortable. Even when time is tight and life is stressful- when you just want to sit down and binge watch your favorite show on Netflix or devour the leftovers of your child’s birthday cake- you dig deep and make better choices, getting your workout in and following up with a healthy snack.
You don’t need to buy TurboFire or P90X3 from me to lose 20 pounds (though, I’d argue it would probably make the process a bit simpler & more fun). All you really need is to get moving more than you already do (take the stairs whenever you can, walk whenever you can, heck even RUN if you can) and be mindful of what you’re eating. Be aware of your portion sizes, choose whole foods over processed crap and for the love of Pete, skip the drive-thru garbage.
I have some tools to help you on the journey. But they’re simply tools. You write the story. You make the path. You can use the tools to make it less complicated to navigate. The choice is up to you. When you’re ready to take the not-so-easy path, I’m here. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.