Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fooled into fad diets: It's a troubling new trend

Hey Fit Fam ...

For the first time ever I am attempting laser hair removal. No need to get into those details (however it wasn't bad AT ALL for those considering) ... because this post is actually about something else.

The hair removal business I went to shared a posh/modern office with a (won't name) "weight loss" business. From the second you walk in, everything about it screams, I want to be here! It was clean and rich looking .... just made you feel "good" about your decision.

While I sat in the lobby waiting to be called back to have my hair burnt off one quick little blast at a time ... I watched several women walk in. Some were more overweight than others.. but I noticed that each shared similar traits. They were either pulling on their clothing, holding their heads down instead of straight ahead facing the world, crossing their arms over their stomachs in an obvious attempt to "hide". They all looked so if this was their "final straw"... that one last attempt to finally get the weight off.  I wondered what it was that made them think that some sort of "weight loss clinic" was the solution. Was it an appealing Groupon (that is what finally got me to try the laser hair removal), was it a friend that went and swore by it, an ad on the radio, some billboard promising they would lose 30 pounds in 30 days, or that they could visit this clinic and simply lipo laser their fat off in a few short visits? Whatever brought them there .. it made me so sad that they were there.

I also almost felt weird being in that waiting room. I caught a few of the women staring at me. What if these ladies thought I was there for the "meal in a box" plan or "injections" and that I got my results from whatever it was they were "selling" at this place? I wanted to hide!!! My sadness for them was suddenly replaced with anger for whatever nurse/doctor was ROBBING these women and making them believe they NEEDED these products/procedures in order to see results.

There was a beautiful case of boxed food, bars and "nutrition starter packets" as soon as you walked in. I watched as a lady in a sterile white coat stepped out of a room and grabbed a box off the shelf. Moments later a young woman walked out (box in hand), handed over her credit card and left with her "starter pack".  I could see it on her face. She was filled with such hope. I wanted to run out into the hall and hug her and then tell that I know she isn't going to like what I'm about to say .. but that she is being fooled. I wanted to tell her that she doesn't need that "box of powder and bars" to see results. She just needs some patience and a plan. Will she lose weight with whatever they "sold" her?! I'm sure!! I mean there is a science behind it all...but it's not rocket science. Lower your calories/fat/carbs/sugar (even just one of those) and you are going to see some weight fall off -- especially at first! But you don't have to go to some mass marketed medical office or jump on some mass marketed "plan" for that to happen.

I get it! Losing weight and getting fit can be overwhelming at first -- exactly why many people resort to these places/plans. So what is my suggestion to those trying to "get started" or maybe have tried "dieting" and just aren't seeing results? As I blogged about yesterday ... you should first really look at what you are doing. Are you only getting on a cardio machines? Are you giving your workouts your ALL or are you jumping on, reading a book, playing on your phone, resting for longer than you are lifting, or going at a snails pace .. but getting in that hour so you can say you "went to the gym"?? Really look how you are spending your time working out -- MAKE EVERY SECOND COUNT!!  Next take a really good look at your "diet" -- are you eating fruit all day thinking you are being "healthy"? (not saying there is anything wrong with fruit .. read up if you are curious what I mean). Are you measuring your food or just guessing? Are you only eating 3 times a day? Or even worse, are you starving all day "saving" your calories for one meal? Are you eating those boxed frozen meals labeled lean? Do you have the mentality that if it's "baked" or "low cal" you are eating good?! Any of those things could be the reason why you aren't really seeing the results you want to see -- and in turn -- possibly considering these gimmicks!

What I'm about to say below is really just a "repeat" of what I've said in a variety of different ways in several of my posts. So skip over if you are a regular reader of my blog, but in case you are new to #SimplyStacy or just need to hear it all again --- here are a few very basic things to keep in mind! I'm not an expert ... but I do have a huge fit fam army that I chat with often and I am a research queen!! Also - these things are what have worked for me!

Hopefully these few paragraphs will give you a "base" to start with and will hopefully keep you from falling victim to one of those "meal in a box", temporary, mass marketed, injected, 1-800 gimmicks!!

Start Slow -  Ya'll know I preach SLOW, STEADY, CONSISTENT! So one really easy way to "start slow" is to kick things off by eliminating something "bad" each week. You could start with giving up anything that is considered "liquid calories"... such as alcohol, coke, juice, etc. The next week continue doing that .. plus look at how you "sweeten" your drinks. Switch from using sugar to using Stevia. Next... give up flavoring your food with carb filled sauces, marinades, oil or butter and switch to "good fats" like coconut oil, olive oil, etc -- but only IN MODERATION!  Instead of all those things you usually "flavor" your food with .. use low or no sodium seasonings, or low sugar/cal/carb condiments. I own like 10 different mustards, lol!  Next give up fried foods. Next only eat out once a week. Then try to transition into trying to eat 6 small meals a day .. or 3 meals and 3 snacks...just eat small/portioned/balanced every 3 hours you are awake! Make your final goal 6 MEALS .. but ease your way int that if need be! Just keep adding/building. Do this however you choose, basically what I'm saying is that little things add up and quickly become "the norm". Sure .. your results may take longer .. but they will also last and not cost you hundreds of dollars! Feel free to just jump in head first! Many people can do this no problem. I've just found that many people get discouraged and give up easier when going this route because they get overwhelmed. But no matter what .. please know that you do NOT need some "meal in a box" plan, some mass marketed protein, some infomercial product, or lipo injections to see results! You can get them from a gym or even at home (yes...even a home gym, netflix videos, body weight exercises) -- as well as a trip to the grocery store and a couple hours a week dedicated to meal prepping! This is a first step .. once you start seeing result you can then advance to other things that will take your journey to the next level!

Metabolism - You can BOOST your metabolism by eating 6 small meals a day. By small I mean only a few ounces of lean protein (white fish, grilled ckn, 99% lean turkey, etc) ... a few ounces of good complex carbs (Oats, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, quinoa, rice) ... a yummy non starchy veggie (asparagus, spinach, squash, etc). Exactly how many ounces you need will depend on your weight, body, goals, etc. So I can't guide you there. A nutritionist or trainer would be your best, but if that isn't in your budget, the My Fitness Pal and other health apps are great at calculating your macros and helping you determine your individual needs. One thing to note is that the calorie count on those apps are all over the place. It's best to use the scanner option for EXACT numbers. Not to mention, you have to factor in that you will hopefully be lifting weights and gaining lean muscle -- so you may need more calories to fuel your workouts and these apps DO NOT do a good job of calculating that! Anyway (got off subject there) .. I promise eating every 3 hours works wonders as long as you are doing it properly (food scale, food scale, food scale)! You will feel like you are eating more .. but you really aren't. You are just taking those 3 meals you would normally eat and spreading it all out from the time you wake up until you go to bed! Yes .. you can eat before bed :) Just has to be the RIGHT foods!  Sure the foods may get a little repetitive, but I actually find that nice! No more worrying about "whats for dinner or lunch". Once you know you can control your eating and are on a good steady path - start incorporating a cheat day! On my cheat day ... I do everything the same except that ONE meal (which sometimes includes dessert, sometimes doesn't). So I still eat every 3 hours!!! However usually my cheat makes me pretty full .. so that is the ONLY time I don't eat again. I either skip it all together or have a a healthy snack I've been craving instead. There have been times I've ONLY craved snacks. So instead of a "meal" -- I go that route!  I grab all the little things I've craved (for example sour worms, baked chips, yogurt) and I have a LITTLE bit of each during one of my meal tiems! It's your cheat meal .. do what you want :) But ONE meal (it can include dessert or a snack) instead of a full day is best. Otherwise you are essentially just binge eating for a day... which is NOT the point of a cheat.

Weight Training - My heart cries when I walk into the gym and ONCE AGAIN I am the ONLY girl lifting weights. Ladies ... weights will NOT make you bulky or manly. But they will change the shape of your body!! Cardio alone will NOT do that. Make sure you are fueling yourself before your weight lifting workouts and feeding your muscles after them. Don't be afraid of the "extra" calories/sugar/carbs in your pre/post workout supplements. I know it can be scary to add these in but your body needs this for fuel and repair!! Especially POST workout ... this is VERY important. Make sure you are getting some protein and a good fast acting car/sugar in immediately after your workout! I have mine within 15 min's MAX and then I still have my next "meal" within the hour! Some people plan their workouts around their meals and that is okay too. Just make sure you are fueling yourself with the right foods. Personally .... I have found adding in pre and post workout supplements IN ADDITION to my 6 meals has really worked for MY goals!! There are many ideas for your post workout supplements or meals... just google it and use reputable sites for good ideas. Personally I make a mug cake with a whey isolate protein (my faves are 1st Phorm Phormula1, Metabolic Nutrition, Intek or Lean Whey by Muscle Sport International), some baking powder, a product called ignition (it's a carb/sugar powder by 1st Phorm that gets where it needs to go quickly) and water. One little odd tip -- Some people even swear by drinking some 1% chocolate milk because many experts say it's the perfect carb/sugar/protein ration needed for after weight training! Personally, other than my protein powders which contain milk, I don't incorporate dairy into my diet (ever during prep and when not in prep only in moderation). Do your own research and do what works for you. But get in the gym, lift weights and make sure you fuel your body properly - especially afterwards!

Cardio - I was with an expert this past weekend who was doing some video blogs for his supplement company and one of the video he was working on was an answer to a question he gets a lot. If I only have time to do one or the other -- cardio or weights -- which do I do??? He said the simple answer is almost always ...WEIGHTS. They build muscle and burn fat not only during your workout ... but while you are at rest as well! That isn't to say some cardio isn't important and some people do need more of it than others. It is important in heart health and getting rid of debate there. But too much cardio (and cardio done the wrong way) can just lead to you being "skinny fat" and seeing very little results other than maybe a lower number on the scale. There are many methods for cardio but everyone I know swears by "fasted cardio".  Essentially that means do your cardio first thing in the morning before you eat (coffee is always okay in my opinion, haha, just no food, shakes, etc).  If you can't do that .. then according to experts you should do your cardio at the end of one of your weight lifting sessions when your body is already a fat burning machine!! If you are going to do cardio make it worth your time!! Go HARD (HIIT Cardio is the best)!! I personally just do ONE boxing class a week. It's an hour long (called hot box) and very much "HIIT" style. If I didn't do that... I'd probably do two 15-30 min (max) HIIT sessions at the end of two workout days. Unless I had a home piece of cardio equipment -- then I may be more apt to get up and get in a short early morning session to mix things up. Currently (even mid contest prep) the only time I'd do fasted cardio is on my "off day" from lifting -- just because I'm not personally a fan of "two-a-days" and over doing the cardio. Each their own!!!!

Consistency - Try to stick to your plan 6 out of 7 days a week! I lift 5 days a week, do cardio on the 6th and take one full day of rest. If you can't go to the gym that much that is totally okay! Most people can't! But at least stay on your wellness plan 6 out of 7 days (with that 7th day not being a full binge day...rather a binge meal). Remember, not getting to the gym isn't an excuse to break your good eating habits!

Whatever you do .. just don't fall victim to these mass marketed weight loss . The only thing that will get thinner is your wallet.

The secret isn't a pill, a powder, or a potion -- it's eating clean food and lifting weights!

Eat Clean. Train Dirty.


  1. Stacy -

    Thank you for all the time and effort you put into writing these. I have taken several of your suggestions and tweaked my eating plan and added some additional supplements in. I know its time consuming to do this, but I appreciate you. Love your thoughts!

  2. Knowledge giving Article! I appreciate you. I completely agree with you. If we talk about current scenario then it is must be update. I enjoyed reading. I would like to visit more for more queries.