Cover Your Eyes and Ears! The Marketers Know . . .

Each new year brings change!!!! Resolve to own the future!

If there’s one thing we can be certain of, it’s that the snapshot is fleeting.  In other words, if you look around you now, and take stock of everything you possess, everything you see on a daily basis, and everything you presently consider “routine,” you can be certain it’s all going to change. 

Change is good, or at least potentially good.  With planning and directed focus it allows us to grow.  I’ve devoted my career to helping others find positive physical change, and in most cases, the "snapshot" is happily left in the dust. The “snapshot” becomes the “before photo.”

Whether you're someone who finds solace in knowing that come New Years you can commit to changing your life, or whether you're open to taking responsibility at any time of year, it's important that you recognize that the decisions you make today will determine the quality of life that you enjoy moving into the future. If you feel a change would be welcome, the time to make some new decisions is right this very minute.

In the spirit of change, this article is written as 2005 gives way to 2006, and things are different now than they were just a year ago, and if this article is read in 2010, 2012, or 2021, I suspect much of what I say today will still hold true.

When we learn to accept change we gain power, as we realize that we have a sense of control, perhaps not of the immediate, but of the future, and if this is the year during which you seek to gain complete and total control over the way your body looks and feels, there’s no greater “moment” than right now to commit, to begin the process of recreating your physical being, and to ensure that you need never waste another new years resolution on anything related to fitness, health, or weight.  

Nothing Worth Having Comes Without Its Challenges

Here’s the first challenge.  While the world around you changes, human impulse does not, and advertisers know that over-fat Americans, uncomfortable in their post-Holiday bodies, are going to act impulsively if the right emotional buttons are pushed.  Advertisers of fitness and weight loss products jump into a virtual feeding frenzy come the beginning of January. 

Yes, with any new year, advertising, disguised as “information,” is going to pour out of virtually every crevice inundating you with “quick easy magic” solutions, drowning your decision-making ability in the allure of overnight results.  This is the year sellers of herbal compounds will promote “fat burners for women,” making a compelling case for a fictional story explaining that in the past, fat burners were “only for men.“  Isn’t it odd how the most oft-aired fat burner commercials over the past decade featured as many women as men?  It’s an example of marketing spin.   

When fat burner sellers boast of a product being “ephedra-free,“ it’s valuable to note that these are the same companies that played up the virtues of ephedra only a year or so ago.  They calculate their “spin” based on market readiness, or more accurately, market vulnerability.  Americans are vulnerable this time of year. 

Two years ago, creative marketers drove sales into the hundreds of millions of dollars fraudulently selling electronic muscle stimulators as devices to trim waistlines.  The FTC eventually put a halt to the windfall, but in 2006 those products are coming back.  Notice the new language used to sell these products.  They will not claim the products will “trim fat” or “reduce the waistline,“ but they are banking on the idea that because of the exposure these devices had the first time around, there’s an assumption factor.  If they can put the devices in well produced shows where individuals with great abs demonstrate the muscle contraction, and men positioned as purveyors of science attest to the the devices ability to stimulate muscle, the public is prone to assume the devices were responsible for the great abs being depicted.  Rationally I believe most people know better, but advertisers have learned to bypass rational thought and tap right into impulse.   

January 1, 2006, I had 4,210 emails in my Spam box by 5 PM.  Some promised to enlarge certain parts of my anatomy, others promised I’d become a much better lover in minutes, and still others promised I’d last longer . . . than minutes.  The majority, however, promised me pounds would go away.  Shed pounds with Hoodia, lose weight like magic, kiss your scale goodbye!!!! 

The Short "Does It Work" List

  • Fat Burner # 14 or Thermowhatever - for some reason people respond when a supplement promoted as a fat burner has a number after it. Look at the current crop and you'll see something 3, something else 7, and still something else 10. I don't really care what number you put after the name of a supplement. If fat loss is the goal, and the marketing promises the product will do the trick, you're being misled. No supplement "burns fat." Fat loss is a two step process. First you have to coax adipose material out of a fat cell into the bloodstream and that you have to burn the released fatty acids as fuel. No supplement, in and of itself, performs that two-step magic. Exercising and eating supportively does. Are there fat burners that can contribute to the process? Not really, at least not if you're looking for long term healthful fat loss. Some fat burners contain stimulant compounds that crank things up a bit (synephrine, yohimbe, tyrosine, caffeine, guarana, bitter orange, etc.) but a fat burning pill is more the marriage of wishful thinking and capitalistic product marketing than it is a reality.
  • Appetite Suppressing Herbs - Hoodia is the latest, but appetite suppressants have been sold as solutions for decades. If they worked, would we have an obesity issue? Watch for the re-emergence of appetite suppressing breads, the amazing discoveries of appetite suppressing secrets of tribal cultures from around the world, and ready-to-drink teas and juices that promise to shut down the appetite centers in the brain. The pharmaceutical companies are also hot on the trail of some new appetite suppressing drugs. Here's what these compounds fail to address. Most people suffering from poor body image, continuing accumulation of bodyfat, and undesireable body composition need to learn to stoke metabolism. Avoiding food, whether it's the result of willpower or the outcome of the use of some supplement or pill, is going to ultimately lead to muscle wasting, alterations in thyroid activity, and metabolic slowdown. Some of the "herbal" offerings contain diuretic herbs such as dandelion root and uva ursi which contribute to pounds dropping through water loss. This is not only deceptive, it's potentially dangerous. Suppressing appetite and losing water are short term strategies for dropping pounds, but the long term ramifications make those short term reliances on the scale detrimental both metabolically and emotionally.
  • Devices that target body parts - ask any fitness professional whether thigh devices or ab devices "work" and I'll bet you hear these words. "You can't spot reduce." The myth of spot reduction, activating a body part to reduce that body part, has led to billions of dollars in product sales. It's a myth that doesn't seem to want to go away. Amazingly, the electronic muscle stimulators are making a comeback, even after the FTC clearly exposed their fraudulent marketing promises as being unfounded. People want to believe a device will do the trick. Because you now understand that fat loss is the result of fat being sent into the bloodstream, and because I'm now going to further inform you that fat release is proportionate, not discriminate, you'll understand why "reduction" in a given area cannot come from working that area. It comes from optimizing the momentary willingness of the human machine to release fat as a fuel source. Working all of the major muscle groups, eating supportively, and doing some aerobic movement is the key to releasing fat.
  • Diets? Listen . . . if a diet was going to work, the last one you tried would have been the last one you needed. Regardless of the clever names or locations that diets claim to be from in the coming year, these are all varied spins on calorie deprivation. Diets are an ideal strategy for slowing metabolism and programming the body to become very adept at storing fat in the very near future.
  • Synergy - the combination of the right nutrition, moderate aerobic exercise, and a concern for muscle. That's what "works," that's what's always worked, that's the underlying consistency behind any "program" that delivers positive physical change. If you're considering beginnning a program that asks you to match your food intake with your body's metabolic and activity needs, you're on the right track. If you're about to commit to incorporating resistance exercise and moderate aerobic exercise into a lifestyle built around performing at your best, you can expect to see some very nice changes, both aesthetically and functionally. If you're going to buy-in to the newest offerings for weight loss magic, weight loss bread, or fitness cookies, we'll talk again next year when you again feel compelled to make a resolution.

If you're ready to apply a synergistic approach, you have many options, one of them being taking the information you know to be true and designing your own program. I'm going to provide a list of some articles that might further empower you to avoid the pitfalls. If you want a map, a path, a plan that takes you from wherever you are to "better" in only 3 weeks, you'll want to know more about my programs.