Everybody likes a quick fix. The latest Marketdata Status Report & Forecast for the US Weight Loss market values the industry at $59.8 Billion. BILLION….with a B. That includes diet soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, health clubs, commercial weight loss chains, OTC meal replacements, diet pills, diet websites & apps, medical programs (including prescription diet drugs and bariatrician plans), low-calorie dinner entrees and diet books. I bet you see a commercial or advertisement for one of these items at least daily. Probably more.
I didn’t look up the research on estimated ad exposure but speaking from my own experience, I have been inundated with “try this, it’s amazing!” marketing lately. And while some things seem like a total joke, I realize not every product is bad. What bothers me is our mind-set. Regardless of how amazing a drink, a supplement, a bar or whatever else may be – at most it should be a TOOL for your health journey. Not the answer. Overall health is comprised of so many facets, many of which we neglect. For example, how is your sleep? How is your stress level? What kind of food are you eating? Do you get any exercise? What about environmental toxins? Do you consider all of these when you think about health?
The supplement and pharma industry is what irks me the worst though. The “Am I hungry?” commercial kills me. How sad it is that we have let ourselves become so out of touch that we can’t even tell what physical hunger looks like anymore and expect a pill to help us. Yeah you may have gut issues (which should be taken seriously) but popping your magic probiotic alone isn’t going to fix everything. Your probiotic won’t do much good if your diet is still heavy on processed foods. Did the sales rep tell you that? You also can’t balance overall blood sugar level with a pill or drink while not even talking about what you’re putting in your mouth the rest of the day. I don’t recall seeing that as part of the ads either.
From here, I could take this discussion in two directions: One – stop accepting these quick fixes from an industry out to make money off of you. YOU’RE SMARTER THAN THAT! Or at least you can be if you would just start asking questions. Two – You don’t need magic pills. You need a better diet. There’s more to health than food as I said above, but diet is the primary place to start. Clean up your food and you’ll clean up your body. Furthermore, unless you’re ready to change the habits that got you to the place of un-health to begin with, those magic pills won’t be doing you much good anyway. You might as well plant them out back and wait for a beanstalk to grow.
Now before all my friends who endorse a certain product(s) or company disown me, I will say again not every supplement is bad. There are some great products and great companies out there that truly offer a health benefit to their customers. But to the others-please don’t try to sell me your products as a cure-all when we both know they’re not. If you, and the weight loss industry in general, want to benefit the American public, let’s start a conversation about behavior change and healthy food and THEN, how your products supplement that. Huh…what d’ya know?