June 17, 2017

Photo illustration by Marcus Varner
Martina Bevis can't believe how many people believe alternative facts.

Photo illustration by Marcus Varner Martina Bevis can't believe how many people believe alternative facts.

Every time you go online, you’re being targeted. Advertisers are looking at the websites you read, how long you stay on each one and what motivates you. Through hundreds of actions you take each week, they start to build a profile of who you are … and what you might buy. 

All the information adds up to an incredibly clear picture of who you are. But more importantly, it allows companies to pitch products to you that they have a fairly high certainty you’ll spend money on. For someone looking to buy a new pair of jeans, the latest tech gadget or piece of furniture, it can be nice to have advertisers target their sales pitch and show you things you’re more likely to want.

It’s not so easy in the health and fitness market. When people start searching for diets, weight loss tips or exercise help, the quick fix promises start overwhelming everything you see. Depending on the product, there is often little or no oversight into what companies claim.

Supplements are not tested like drugs. There is no government agency that checks to make sure they work. Dosages are not verified. Ingredients are not confirmed. Claims on the label are left entirely up to the supplement company.

What’s worse, medically (and legally) meaningless words like “support” or “enhance” are used to promote these products. Here’s where it gets really bad.

These companies marketing their quick-fix weight loss powders and magic muscle growing pills know all about you. They’ve tested hundreds, sometimes thousands of different ads to figure out exactly what’s going to get you to click. Then they feed you just what you want to hear. Boom! You’re hooked and you buy their product.

The desire to believe is strong, in many cases overriding common sense. When I’ve confronted people with overwhelming evidence the product or program they believe in is a fake, they double down and say things like, “Well I choose to believe it.” We enter the world of “alternative facts.”

Here’s the thing about facts. According to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, the word “fact” is defined as: “something that actually exists; reality; truth:”

There isn’t one set of facts that apply to me, and another set that applies to you. Denying a fact doesn’t make it false, it just shows you’re OK with believing a lie.

Let me use gravity as an example. The fact is, Earth has gravity. You can choose not to believe it exists, and that’s your right. But if you jump off a 10-story building, gravity will slam you into the ground regardless of your beliefs.

Often these scam diet and weight loss companies succeed because of the nature of weight loss. For most people, when they start a program, a lot of weight will drop off in the first two to four weeks. Almost any program works, because the majority of programs restrict your calories.

After the first few days of success, we want to share it. We post things on social media, we offer testimonials and anyone close to us can see we’re getting results.

As time marches on, our bodies think the weight loss is actually starvation. Metabolism drops and the weight loss gets increasingly more difficult. Willpower starts to decline as we feel more hungry, tired and sore. When progress slows, we don’t blame the supplement or program, we blame ourselves.

Most people truly believe it’s their fault the progress doesn’t magically continue. Nobody wants to look like a failure, so we don’t tell people when we quit. Losing weight is hard. Getting in shape is hard. Most programs take months, or even years.

That leaves social media filled with people praising worthless supplements and programs, and virtually nobody calling them out when they ultimately fail.

Next time you’re tempted by an ad that promises instant results, reread this article. Quit giving your hard earned money to thieves. Then make yourself a serving of healthy vegetables. That’s the true miracle food.

 

Caution: Before beginning any exercise program check with your doctor first. For a free consultation with a WeBeFit trainer,
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