In the age of celebrity endorsements for weight loss programs, is there something you don't know?
As the New Year approaches, there has been a flood of advertisements for every known weight loss program under the sun, with all the usual promises. What is apparent this year is that the use of a celebrity spokesperson continues to grow in popularity. I've counted a dozen celebrities including Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson, Carrie Fisher, Jennifer Hudson and Kirstie Alley (she was reportedly fired from Jenny Craig for gaining weight back but now has her own organic weight loss product line) popping up all over the TV, internet and magazines in the last 6 days alone. So do these celebrities know something about weight loss that the average person doesn’t?
Advertising firms know that use of a celebrity spokesperson for a weight loss program gets big attention. Celebrity endorsement creates a false sense of reality (it’s called suspension of disbelief in the movies.) The message in regards to weight loss-“Buy my product, you’ll be skinny for life, oh-and you’ll be rich and famous like me.” In this “Reality TV” society we live in, kids would rather be famous than smart or talented and all too often, the parents join them in believing peace and happiness can be found outside themselves.
What’s worse is that these “diet” programs are based on depriving your body proper nourishment-not the least bit on health. Denying your body the food it needs to function can actually cause damage to metabolism or hormone/chemical balance and result in great disappointment that sends the average person spiraling back to a heavier weight than when they started. See how vulnerable you are to this break down.
What are the top 5 problems I see with diet programs?
1) Any diet based in calorie restriction is extremely difficult to sustain over time. Sooner or later, almost everyone falls off the program and gains back some if not all of the weight lost. The celebrities are proof of that. Notice how quickly a spokesperson can be replaced by a new face? The bad news for the celeb that starts to gain weight back is that they also lose a lucrative endorsement deal.
2) Pre-packaged meals and meal replacement products are chock full of preservatives and chemicals. These foreign substances are not recognized by your body as food and cause the brain to send mixed messages to all systems of the body including disrupting the “I’m hungry” and “I’m full” hormones. See if this is happening to you.
3) Diet programs are not based on eating nutrient-dense foods. Our bodies need ALL of the macro-nutrients (protein, carbs and fats) and an array of micro-nutrients. These are only available in fresh, real, whole foods. Eating (so called) food that is lacking in nutrients will not fill you up, and worse yet affects Neurotransmitter production leaving you stressed, depressed, addicted and over-weight.
4) Mass diet programs and product are one-size-fits all. Humans are not. These programs do not account for individual bio-chemistry which includes age, ethnicity, blood type, sex and lifestyle variable.
5) Weight loss programs are packaged in a restrictive, regimented routine created by someone else with no consideration of your emotional reasons for over-eating. This means such programs are geared toward creating and alternative dependency rather than a self-empowered, sustainable way of eating.
So back to my original question- do celebrities know something you don’t? Absolutely not! They are just like you. On the one hand, the celebrity world is an airbrushed, skewed sense of reality. On the other hand, it can be a lens by which to see the modern human’s struggle with weight. Over 60% of Americans are overweight or obese and in 2006 the WHO declared there are now more overweight people in the world than starving. But you probably knew that. It seems that the problem lies not with knowing there is a problem, but rather, with knowing how to get yourself to do what you know you should do. It's obvious that celebrities share in that dilemma. Just like you, celebrities want to lose weight, be happy and feel good. In working with clients to achieve better health, I realized that nearly every single client loses weight-whether it was their goal or not. Better yet-they’ve learned to maintain this natural weight without denial or deprivation.
Here are the top 5 strategies I recommend to find your natural weight:
1) Throw away the scale! Weighing yourself daily is a great form of self-sabotage. Think about it…if the scale tells you weight was lost, it’s time to celebrate by eating something you have been depriving yourself of. If the scale tells you weight was gained, this diet isn’t working anyway and you may as well eat something you’ve been depriving yourself of.
2) Learn to understand your cravings. Cravings are not a bad thing. They are your body’s language and only way to ask for what it needs. The problem is that your mind misinterprets the message and grabs the nearest junk food to solve the problem
3) Flip the switch. Reverse the thought process. It does not work to focus on a goal weight that will make you happy. First, you must become happy and then the goal weight appears.
4) Pay attention to your energy level. Your energy level is a barometer of your health and therefore your weight.
5) Become a Nutritarian (as Joel Fuhrman puts it). Eat real, whole foods, including raw foods, to give your body super nutrients to create your cells, your shape and your thoughts.
This probably sounds good in theory, but a little voice is saying “There’s no way that can work.” If so, I offer two final words of advice. 1) Find support from a coach or health care professional to uncover your emotional reasons for overeating. 2) Rule out the possibility that low neurotransmitter levels are creating an addiction to food that no amount of will-power can overcome with this Food Addiction Assessment. And keep in mind…you ARE a celebrity. You are a human.