It’s almost the end of the year, and if you’re like me, you start thinking about all of the goals you set back in January. Well, I was looking at my goals, and I noticed that I was far from my weight loss goals.
!Enter depression and desperation!
While I should at least be content with the fact that I maintained my weight and that I have been making better dietary choices that have helped maintain my weight, I can’t help but feel upset. I feel I should have progressed further this year.
And then I see this article about Melissa McCarthy’s amazing weight loss transformation.
She, like many people in Hollywood, started taking the dietary supplement Garcinia Cambogia. Apparently Miley Cyrus also admits to using this particular supplement to lose weight – of course, even when she was supposedly “overweight” she still looked like a slender person, and now she looks like a skeleton, so I don’t know if I should be impressed by her using the supplement.
This may make me sound like a hater, but I want to be honest – whenever I read about celebrities losing weight through the magic pill du jour, I just want to shout out, “CHEATER!!!”
But am I willing to go to the dark side and become a cheater, too?
Reasons That Make Me Consider Cheating
I have been heavy pretty much all of my life. I hold my weight well, but you would never describe me as a skinny girl. I’m curvy, and most days I’m okay with that. But I know my weight puts me at risk for diabetes. My weight also puts a strain on my joints, which doesn’t help with my knee problems, and my weight contributes to my borderline high cholesterol.
I mainly want to lose weight to avoid a whole barrage of horribly unpleasant health issues. But, in the spirit of being honesty, I also wouldn’t mind losing weight to improve my looks.
As I said, I feel mostly comfortable in my body. People flirt with me, people check me out, so I feel fairly positive about my body. I get frustrated when I try to find clothes and stores don’t carry my size. I also see a lot of clothing styles that look fun and adventurous, but that I know would not complement my current body shape.
I also understand the cold, hard, genetic fact: I do not have the genes to be a toothpick.
Some people have those genes that say 6-pack abs, busting biceps, and rock-hard buns. Yeah – none of that is in my genetic code. But I don’t care, because I don’t want to be a toothpick person. I like my hips, my butt, and my boobs, so if I can keep those but become a little more toned, that would rock!
Even for just the health reasons, I’m still on the fence about whether cheating with pills is my best option.
Is Fast Weight Loss Cheating?
I realize the word “cheater” may seem harsh and completely judgmental. It is, but that’s how I feel when it comes to weight loss via pills.
That said, there are a lot of fast weight loss methods out there. Besides these supplements and cleanses, there’s also medical surgeries that result in rapid weight loss. I have more respect for the surgeries than for the supplements, but I still think some people are too willing to do the surgery instead of trying to lose weight on their own.
When the surgeries first came out, many doctors required people to make drastic lifestyle changes for a period of months. If the patients couldn’t make those changes, they weren’t approved for the surgery. Why were the lifestyle changes required? Because once you have the surgery, you completely have to change your life, or you might die.
That’s right – the fast weight loss surgeries aren’t magic either.
After you get these surgeries, your body doesn’t process food the same way. According to the Mayo Clinic, during the first 3-4 months after the gastric bypass surgery, patients are incredibly restricted on what they should and shouldn’t eat. Even after this point, patients are encouraged to do the following:
- Drink the bulk of their liquids between meals, because drinking liquids during meals can lead to nausea or the false feeling of being full.
- Eat 4-6 small meals a day at first, and stop eating before you feel full.
- Make sure you chew your food completely, otherwise food can get stuck in your intestines, leading to vomiting or other problems.
- Avoid anything fried, fatty, or high in sugar.
- Take vitamin supplements – as in lots of them and every day without fail. With that cut out piece of intestine, your body can’t absorb what you need out of food anymore.
When you look at these restrictions, doesn’t this pretty much look like you’re being put on a regular diet? The only difference is if you cheat on this diet, it could result in excess vomiting, malnutrition, further health problems, or death.
Talk about extreme dieting!
Some people claim they need this level of medical intervention. They don’t have the willpower, etc., etc. My problem is that if you don’t have the ability to live by the diet before the surgery, what exactly makes you think you can live by it after the surgery? Your willpower hasn’t changed.
Heck, a lot of people who did commit to the diet pre-surgery lost a significant amount of weight on their own, and they probably could’ve kept losing weight and avoided the whole surgery, as well as all the other potential problems that come with it. But instead, they believed they couldn’t do it.
If you ask me, and I’m no psychiatrist, but this sounds like the need for self-help therapy rather than the need to have part of your intestines cut out or a band tied around your stomach.
Why I Can’t Trust the Magic Pill Promoters
Quick Fixes with No Education
Let’s be optimistic – let’s say you find the right mix of supplements, cleanses, what have you, and they actually work. You lose the weight you want, no adverse side effects, and you feel great!
Of course, you didn’t change your lifestyle when you started taking the magic pill. All the pill bottles and boxes said that you didn’t have to do anything different. So after you get to your dream weight, you stop taking the pills, and guess what?
Also known as weight cycling, this effect refers to losing weight and gaining some or all of it back. According to an article on Livestrong.com by Kay Ireland, most people gain back the weight after they stop taking the pills, because they never learned proper nutrition to begin with.
2. Blatant Lies by Manufacturers
To persuade audiences, most weight loss advertisements show the before-and-after image of someone who has supposedly benefited from their product. But these advertisers pick TOTALLY misleading pictures!
Here are their favorite ways to mislead you with the before pictures:
–> Shooting from angles that would make bean poles look fat!
–> Showing women in the frumpiest clothing possible
–> Using pictures of women when they were pregnant or shortly after they gave birth
–> Flat out photo shopping images to make the before pictures look way worse
–> Lying completely by using a different heavyset woman as the before picture
Oh, but it doesn’t stop with the pictures! Celebrities who are being compensated by these magic pill manufacturers also get in on the bandwagon. People like Dr. Oz, for instance, have been using their celebrity status to make claims of how studies show the wonders of whatever product they’re promoting.
In her excellent article, ‘Pulling back the curtain on Dr. Oz,’ Erin May points out the flaws with Dr. Oz’s assertions that Garcinia Cambogia leads to weight loss. She also provides an excellent list to help you spot the liars, which I’ve paraphrased below:
1) Look at the claims and verify the given evidence.
2) Find out if the person promoting the product is getting paid.
3) Do some detective work and go to reliable sources to verify product claims.
4) Determine whether the research is good, peer-reviewed science or unverifiable garbage.
3. Fake, Fake, FAKE Testimonials!!!
I’m going to let you in on a little secret:
People pay writers to write fake testimonials.
In other words, people will pay writers to lie, or people will write their own lies. In these phony testimonials, most people will try to sound skeptical at first, so they can appeal to your own weight loss problems and fears. By the end of the testimonial, however, they will totally be turned around by the results they “experienced.”
What’s even worse is when you see almost the same testimonials – VERBATIM – on two different websites!
Case Study of Fake Duplicated Testimonials
Article #1 is written by Rachel for a company named PK.Baseline.com.
Article #2 is written by Katie who works for Fit Mom Daily .
In article #1, Rachel gives her “honest” account of her four-week trial using Garcinia Cambogia. Similarly, in article #2, Katie tells her story about her four-week trial taking Garcinia Cambogia XT and Natural Cleanse Plus. Essentially, both women are taking the same herbal supplement, but Katie is also taking some sort of cleanse to rid her body of toxins.
If you read both of these articles, with the exception of Katie using kilos for measurement instead of pounds, both article sound identical:
–> They each use the same format of a week-by-week report of their experiences.
–> They show their individual weight loss goals being achieved.
–> By the end, these “skeptical reporters” totally promote the product.
Of course, that’s pretty much what you would expect out of a testimonial like this. But let’s look a little closer.
In both articles, at the end of week one, Rachel and Katie both explain that they weren’t sure if they wanted to believe the weight loss was working. The reason they attribute to their suspicions is because of water weight. In fact, they both use this exact same phrase: “they say you lose a lot of water weight at the beginning of any diet.”
In week two of both articles, Rachel and Katie each make this comment: “I started the week off with even more energy and was actually sleeping more soundly than before.”
But my favorite piece of evidence that proves the articles are duplicates is what follows:
Article #1: After the fourth week, my results were shocking. I lost an unbelievable 27 lbs since starting the Garcinia diet! Everyone at PKbaseline.com was kicking themselves for not having volunteered to be the guinea pig.
Article #2: After the fourth week, my final results were shocking. I lost an unbelievable 11 kilos since starting the Garcinia Cambogia XT and Natural Cleanse Plus diet! Actually everyone at Fit Mom Daily is kicking themselves for not having volunteered to be the guinea pig.
Wow! In an internet-age of quick fact-checking, don’t these people realize how EASILY their lies can be found out?
To Cheat or Not to Cheat
The temptation to take the fast road stares us in the face every day. Countless emails and advertisements fill up my screen every day, each one hawking pills, diet plans, and cleanses that all supposedly make you shed the pounds without any work or lifestyle changes. As if that temptation wasn’t enough, most of these products claim to take the weight off in a few months.
Just the thought that in two months I could be at my ideal weight is almost enough to make me give my credit card to these people . . . almost.
But the fact is that the bulk of these supplements don’t work for everyone. Even the celebrities who claim that the pills work for them also admit to lifestyle, dietary, and exercise changes contributing to their weight loss.
Additionally, if the products really worked, why do the manufacturers and advertisers use so many blatant lies? Falsified pictures. Obviously mass-produced fake testimonials. Plus, most of the promoters never tell you the names or the parameters of the studies used to prove their supposed claims.
If you do a little digging on Garcinia Cambogia, such as this article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition or this article from the Journal of Obesity , both of which are respected, peer-reviewed scientific publications, you will find that there is no scientific evidence to support the claims made by those who promote the use of Garcinia Cambogia. In fact, both of these articles reviewed countless legitimate studies, and they found that the amount of weight lost experienced by patients using Garcinia Cambogia was of little comparable difference to those losing weight without the supplement.
When it comes to my life and my choices, I can’t justify cheating on my body with these pills and cleanses, because they are made of lies and they don’t work!!! I’ve done the hard work of maintaining my weight this past year, but now I have to put in a little more effort to reduce my weight. That means not skipping out on my workouts just because I’m tired, or rescheduling my workouts if life gets hectic. It also means being more watchful with my diet, but also making dietary choices that are ones I can live with for the rest of my life.
So, after much research, I’d rather put in the work than be duped by a bunch of charlatans.