Articles

Magic Beans and Tinfoil Hats!

At least once a day I see something on the internet, which makes me just want to switch off my computer and unplug myself from the matrix entirely.  Social media charlatans, and so called “gurus” fall broadly into two categories, those trying to sell us things (magic beans) and those peddling crazy conspiracy theories (tinfoil hats.)  Each category is equally maddening and just as potentially dangerous as the other.  There is a constant barrage of non-sense for the unsuspecting person to have to wade through on an almost perpetual basis.  Let’s try and put some of the current hot topics to bed once and for all.

Waist Trainers:  These are essentially corsets, yes that’s right.  The very same as the ones women stopped wearing in the early part of the last century, and for good reason.  These contraptions promise to give the wearer the classic “hour glass” physique.  What they actually do is cinch you in at the waist, restricting your breathing and disrupting the digestion as your internal organs aren’t given the space they need in which to work properly.  When I first saw these things on line, I admit I sort of laughed it off, thinking it would never catch on.  It appears I was very wrong!  Not only have they not died off, but new and even more potentially dangerous iterations are appearing all the time.

I saw one recently which was actually supposed to be worn during exercise!  It promised to help you burn more calories.  What it is more likely to deliver is a trip to your local emergency room if you pass out while wearing it.  This thing is to be avoided at all cost, especially if you are doing resistance training.  The last thing anyone needs is reduced oxygen when lifting heavy weight.

Apart from all the potential health concerns, there is another reason why you shouldn’t waste your money on this device.  It isn’t going to work!  Through diet and exercise you can change your size and you can change your body composition.  But, outside of surgery, nothing is going to fundamentally change your shape.  If Mother Nature hasn’t blessed you with an hour glass figure, you certainly will not get one from waist training.

Skinny teas and tea-toxes:  The marketing behind these products is truly genius.  Drink a few cups of our tea each day and you will be skinny.  Wonderful, where do I sign?  Wait, what?  This surely is too good to be true, right? Right!  What these tea companies don’t tell you up front is that the active ingredient is Senna.  A naturally occurring laxative.  Drinking these teas will almost guarantee an increase in the number of bathroom breaks you need during the day.  Any “weight loss” experienced will almost certainly be as a result of this and the associated dehydration.

Being an Irish person, I love tea as much as the next girl.  Herbal teas have lots of great properties and I drink several cups per day.  They keep you hydrated and if you sub them for your usual caffeine hit, the benefits are even greater.  However, it isn’t going to magically make you loose weight.  Keep your money in your pocket and remember if something sounds too good to be true, it almost always is.

Cancer Click Bait:  I have lost count of the number of times I have seen articles like “Top Ten Cancer Causing Foods,” or “Five Foods to Never Eat” on social media or in magazines.  You can go to sleep at night being told something is good for you and awake the next morning to find it may cause an horrific and painful death.  Gluten, sugar, artificial sweeteners, butter and caffeine are just a few of the vilified foods.  What’s the reason for this?  Fear sells.  Terrified people are far more likely to consume.  Plus, the more sensational a headline sounds, the more clicks, likes and shares it will get.

My advice when dealing with these sorts of scare mongers is please just ignore them.  If you have them popping up in your news feed, unfollow and unlike immediately.  DO NOT get your medical advice from Facebook.  When looking for health advice always consider the source.  If we were to believe the claims of these hysteria peddling crazies, we would spend out lives living like the Boy in the Bubble.  If you do have genuine concern about whether a certain food is good for you or not, ask a professional.  The tinfoil hat brigade will never let the truth get in the way of a good story, as such they should never be trusted.

There are dozens more myths which ought to be dispelled.  As quick as I can put a pin in one, ten more will appear.  Therefore the best thing I can do for you is urge you to remain skeptical.

Health and fitness are relatively simple concepts, though not necessarily easy in practice.  Eat whole, minimally processed food, in as close to its natural state as possible.  Get active.  Stay hydrated.  Get enough sleep.  Manage your stress.  That’s all you need to do.  There are no magic beans, and you certainly don’t need to buy anything.

If you need help or have any questions, get in touch.

 

 

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