The weight loss industry spans a vast landscape: various products, professionals, service providers, pills, powders, creams, juices, doctors, nutritionists, celebrities, coaches, snake oil salesmen, trainers, psychologists, and monks. Did I leave anyone out? Unfortunately, this leaves room for a hefty dose of fraud.
The New York Times recently published an article about several companies that were charged with making fraudulent claims about their products. Sprinkle this powder on your food and get a “gym body.” Slather this cream on your skin and appear visibly thinner. If only. The journalist astutely observed: “weight loss resolutions are easy to make, but hard to keep.”
Habit change is hard. I’m not gonna lie. It takes work, support, persistence, and can be uncomfortable. That is why it is better to take a slow, steady approach aiming for small changes in several related areas of your life.
With this approach, you will not lose a radical amount of weight quickly. You will lose a small amount of weight over a period of time, ultimately adding up to your desired goal. This reality check is an important first step, and not what everyone wants to hear. The good news is that weight is likely to stay off, and you will end up with a lifestyle that is happier.
Coming to terms with the “slow, steady” approach is crucial. Becoming more mindful of behaviors, thoughts, feelings, motivations, and lifestyle slows you down and helps you to to get in touch with what you want. This is not limited to losing weight. Once you slow down and sift through the onslaught of thoughts and feelings, you will become more intentional and deliberate in other areas of your life as well.
When weight loss is viewed as just “losing pounds” it is easier to be enticed by fraudulent products and improbable claims. “Weight loss” is really about gaining health and vitality. Your expectations fall in line with reality when you widen your lens to include what you truly value. Quick fixes and empty promises lose their luster.
People are more than just their size, appearance, or number on a scale. We live in an age where we are more obsessed with externals than ever before. Very few of the images that we see in the media are “real.” They are altered, sometimes beyond recognition. This mentality finds its way into weight loss, and people become overly-focused on the number on the scale. Scales are good, and weighing oneself is a good way to gauge progress. But with a more mindful approach, you can see the bigger picture and are more likely to choose a program that is realistic.
So, when evaluating a weight loss product or program, keep in mind that looking for a quick fix, or a radical program not only leaves you open to scams, but also to not being able to maintain your new habits. Slow and steady really does win the race.