It’s not too late to change your New Years resolution; repeat…
“From now on I will no longer get sucked in by products or people promising weight loss.”
Social media is rife with people, products and advertisements that promise weight loss. Some ads are clearly ads while others ads are disguised by the people who promote them, often popular social media influencers, bloggers and celebrities.
I learned today from a friend and social media influencer, Tara Leong (aka The Nutrition Guru and The Chef), that people can be paid upward of $450 for one post/blog showing them using the product. Tara says to look for these hashtags as a sign someone is being paid #collab, #ad, #ambassador, #spon, #partner or #partnership. If you want to learn more about this, read Tara’s excellent piece on this.
It should come as no surprise that the advertising/marketing industry generally cares more about money than people, I’m sure even the most easily influenced people can recognise this. So why do we continue to get sucked in by marketing?
Trust – As humans we need to trust others, and when our trusted role models or people we respect get on board the marketing train, we want to believe them. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the people promoting products actually don’t realise the harm they are doing, after all, many of these people are in naturally smaller bodies and haven’t experienced a lifetime battle with food, exercise and weight. Some of them may truly believe what they’re promoting will work. But if you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work long-term, then perhaps it’s time to start questioning the products.
Hope – Hope is also a key aspect of being human and it’s human nature to feel that “this time, this one will work”. Most, if not all, weight loss products and people promoting them play on this emotion.
Desire – We live in a world where being thinner is equated with success, worthiness, attractiveness, health and happiness. It’s completely normal to have a strong desire for these things. Again, weight loss products and people promoting them play on this emotion.
When your well meaning doctor or health professional also suggests you should lose weight, this reinforces these desires and even provides a medical reason why you should do it – despite the fact that actual evidence that weight loss improves health long term is lacking.
Exposure – products and people that promote weight loss are constantly in our face, making it very difficult to ignore. Even more so as weight loss is such an emotionally charged subject.
Having given you a bunch of reasons why it’s so easy to get sucked in to the latest weight loss (aka healthy lifestyle) trend or product, if you experience an on-going battle with your eating and body, here are a bunch of reasons to reflect on in order to NOT get sucked in…
- Any results you gained were short-term and you regained the weight.
- You didn’t get the results you’d hoped for and you felt a deep sense of failure and shame.
- You were left feeling worse about yourself when it didn’t work, or after you regained any lost weight.
- In your years of trying to lose weight, you’ve actually become heavier.
- You wasted your hard earned money on something that didn’t bring about the results you so dearly hoped for.
- You wasted your precious time and energy on something that didn’t only fail you, but that also probably made you feel worse.
- The product or program made you feel miserable, you felt hungry, the food was “as boring as bat shit” (as one friend said to me recently) and you missed out on delicious food at parties, dinners or other occasions.
- The evidence simply doesn’t exist for a product or program that leads to permanent long-term weight loss.
Note: if you feel a particular weight loss product or program has worked for you, then great, but please understand that for most people any results are not maintained long-term and this can lead to a worsening in physical and mental health.
So what can you do?
Here’s a radical idea… have you ever tried to focus on improving your health without weight loss at a goal? The Health At Every Size HAES paradigm allows you to do this through explore these avenues…
- Learning to eat in a way that is both nourishing and pleasurable – this can be done through intuitive eating
- If you really feel unhappy in your body, looking at ways to start feeling better in your body that don’t depend on weight loss (the HAES approach is not anti-weight loss, if weight loss occurs as a by product of changing health behaviours then this can be welcomed)
- For many people, addressing body image concerns is a key part of learning how to truly take care of your body
- Finding ways to move more that feel good, that fit in with your lifestyle and that have you wanting to participate for the joy of being active rather than to lose weight
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