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  • GeneVieve Davis, Nutrition Coach

The Pros and Cons of Fads and Gimmicks


What you should and shouldn’t expect from Diet and Fitness Fads and Gimmicks. Fat burners, juice cleanses and waist trainers. What are they, how do they work and what are the pros and cons of each.


FAT BURNERS

What are fat burners and what do they do?

One of the biggest mistakes that many people make is believing they can just take a fat-loss pill and weight-loss results will be theirs. They believe the fat burner is the quick solution they’ve been looking for. I often hear the question “does this work?” knowing already that the person asking the question has unrealistic expectations of the product. No-one has ever lost weight by simply guzzling a few fat-burning pills each day. I’m sure you knew that already, but there’s no harm in repeating the message when the shortcuts advertised are so tempting

Sticking to a nutrition plan that creates a caloric deficit is at least 80 percent of your battle. If you can do it and stay consistent with it, then you’ve done the vast majority of the work. The rest is exercise, time, and you may get extra 10% help from a fat loss supplement.


Fat burners can help enhance fat loss, but they’re only going to do so if a proper diet is in place first. Fat burners work in a variety of ways. They can boost energy, help curb appetite, promote fat to be used for energy, and even increase your metabolism and core temperature so you burn more calories throughout the day. BUT, if you take a fat burner and then feast on junk food such as burgers, pizza, curries, sugary snacks and drinks, you won’t be seeing fat loss any time soon, if at all. On the contrary, you may continue to see weight gain despite using a fat burner if your calories are still in excess of your required calories, thus increasing any frustration you may have in an already difficult weight loss journey.


The human body adapts very efficiently to changes so the most effective strategy to fat loss is to bring one weapon to the battle at a time, whether that be dropping calories gradually, increasing cardio gradually and introducing a fat burner into the mix only when a plateau has been reached, rather than throw everything at it all at once. Although this has been proven time and again by science, social media will still show and encourage some bro science with hours of cardio, crazy low calories and fat burning supplements/gadgets as the ONLY way to get lean. It’s your choice – try the quick fixes and gimmicks that either don’t work at all or are a temporary fix or go with science – do the work and have some patience for long term results.

JUICE CLEANSES

Please do yourself a favor and don’t fall for the "detox” plans of the juice or soup cleanse variety. Why? Because they don’t actually work. A myriad of ‘detoxification’ regimens have flooded the market based on the unproven notion that our body needs help getting rid of unwanted toxins. The reality is that your body is a detoxification machine, fully built with its own complex methods of purging toxins and unwanted chemicals.

In fact, you may be surprised by the body’s natural systems for eliminating unnecessary materials from our systems. Residing in your digestive system, respiratory tract, and skin, immune system facilitators are ready and armed to catch invaders and turn them over to your liver, which then filters and neutralizes toxins and hands them over to your intestines and urine to eliminate them from your body. As it turns out, the best way to support these complex systems is by feeding our bodies the right way—with adequate calories, sufficient hydration, and foods that are high in fiber and healthy fats.


Most detox plans are juices or beverages that contain high levels of natural laxatives and diuretics, making you use the bathroom more frequently. This may make the scale go down a little or may make you feel a little less bloated which may ‘feel’ good. However, this is not a sustainable way to lose weight because as soon as you begin to eat real food again, those additional pounds come right back. Can this be a useful tool? Sure, if you have a photo shoot that you want to look a little leaner in (I stress a little) or a big event that you want to wear a particular outfit to, a juice ‘cleanse’ can provide a little bit of ‘flat tummy’ confidence but remember it is temporary.


WAIST TRAINERS

Here’s what a waist trainer can and can’t do for you.


If you don’t know what a waist trainer is, odds are that you haven’t been keeping up with fitness models on social media. Waist trainers are basically corsets that, when worn for several hours a day, claim to shape your silhouette by creating a much desired hourglass shape with a smaller waist and curvier bust and hips. While they get a lot of publicity on social media and have grown in popularity to achieve that coveted hourglass figure, their effectiveness remains up for debate. You might be tempted to ditch your abs workout and don one yourself. But, first there are some things that you need to know.


A waist trainer can: Alter Your Shape … Temporarily

To put it simply, a waist trainer is similar to a large elastic belt. The idea is, that, by regularly wearing one for long periods of time, it will train your midsection to hold a smaller shape and will create that hourglass appearance. The pressure exerted by the waist trainer will cause bending of the ribs and also squeezing of the internal organs. These changes will occur after consistent use of a waist trainer over prolonged time. This is how the body appears slimmer and curvier. Latex trainers can also cause sweating, which can lead to water weight loss and can lead to a slimmer appearance. It is important to note that this can lead to dehydration. So, while a waist trainer can alter your shape, it’s a dangerous practice with short-lasting results.


A waist trainer can’t: Create Permanent Change

So while waist trainers appear to work on a surface level, their effects don’t last long. When the waist training stops, the bones and organs will go back to normal. Our bodies have an amazing way of doing what they need to do to remain healthy. In this case, that means your internal organs shifting back to their normal positions to work their best. Permanently changing the shape of the body can only occur with diet and exercise, and sometimes with surgical procedures, such as liposuction and tummy tucks. In the end, the only way to create and—more importantly—maintain a strong, healthy core is to eat right and stay active—a tale as old as time.


If you plan to use a waist trainer to create a curvier, more hourglass figure for a special event or again a photo shoot, it can be a useful tool. However, for health and longevity, I wouldn’t personally recommend a waist trainer as a way to get leaner.


Here’s the bottom line: As with all things, it’s important to be cautious and fully informed before deciding if you want to use a waist trainer, take fat burning supplements or do a juice cleanse. For healthy, doable, and maintainable results the best way to go is always a healthy diet and exercise. There’s nothing wrong with setting goals for your body. But, it’s important to know that every body, in every shape, is beautiful and deserving of love and respect, just the way it is.

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