Weight Loss Short Cuts Lead to a Dead End

A talk show geared towards women this week featured a spot on “Slimdown Superfoods,” pitching the usual “boost your metabolism” angle. When a new supplement was claimed to have caused weight loss in some kind of trials “without diet or exercise,” the audience erupted into applause and cheers.

I found this truly disturbing.

To me, the message is that people want to lower the number on the scale but they do not want to improve their nutrition or fitness level to do it. This mindset is seeking a short cut to what will ultimately be a dead end. There can be no permanent change for the better.

Above all, be aware of this fact: Lower weight is not a golden ticket to better health. If you’ve begun to experience the impact of metabolic syndrome—symptoms of asthma, high blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol— reducing the burden of weight on your body will improve these conditions. But even if you do not yet deal with metabolic syndrome, if you push that scale number down artificially by using a supplement or with some extreme regimen, the effects of poor nutrition will find you trading one set of problems for new concerns. Weight loss short cuts almost always result in a loss of lean tissue along with fat and water weight. That lower scale number is unlikely to be sustainable when the body’s health has been weakened.

The obvious flaw of the “short cut” is how it deliberately dodges any behavior changes. That is the essence of unsustainability. If you took a supplement to lose a few pounds without changing your diet, obviously the weight will come back as soon you stop the supplement. Are you doomed to taking it forever? Clearly, this is not a solution.

Science may yet discover a “magic bullet” to control weight without changes to diet or exercise and if that ever happens for real, it’s likely to be one of the most lucrative discoveries in all of history. Seriously. But for now, we must accept that the only means of controlling weight is through diet and exercise to induce a consistent calorie deficit.

Don’t waste another day, week, month on the latest magic bullet claim. Frustration and failure are weight on your mind like fat is weight on your body. Accepting reality is the fastest path to experiencing real change in your life!

Have you hoped to find a “magic bullet”? Have you wasted long periods of time on a weight loss method or product that promised effortless results, only to find you didn’t get any results at all?


    • JoAnn on September 25, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    The magic bullet will always be a draw to some, but as you say, not sustainable. When people see my result and ask what I do, inevitably they want to know how often they can fit in fast food or if I plan go back to eating white bread when I hit goal. There is no get out of jail free card.

    I suppose I was the same in my old life. Now I wonder why the first thing they think of is how to add in unhealthy or nutrient poor foods. I’m looking for what healthy food or habit I can add to my repertoire.

    1. I’ve heard from other folks who’ve lost a lot of weight that everybody wants to know HOW DID YOU DO IT? And they expect some kind of secret formula to success! I’ve always been amused how EVERY DIET pretty much puts the focus on what you can eat. Everybody wants to know what do I get to eat!! You’re right, they’re all looking for a get out of jail free card!!!

        • JoAnn on September 25, 2013 at 8:00 pm

        The thing is even when you tell them they don’t want to hear it. I eat vegetables. I eat lean protein. I eat fat. Some fruit. Then the question again, “but what about a Big Mac?” Well not to be snooty, but if I’m eating a cheeseburger, I want a really good one, not that crap. I really focus on putting good stuff in now, but I guess that isn’t terribly exciting and they could have figured it out for themselves. That’s okay…I’ll keep my “secret” to myself. I kind of enjoy looking and feeling both healthier and younger.

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