The SparkPeople Blog

Poll: Do You Believe Fitness Magazines' Claims about Results in Just Weeks?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/11/2009 2:28 PM   :  234 comments

I am a fitness magazine fanatic. Just ask my postal carrier. Each week I receive at least two publications which are reviewed and studied cover to cover before the end of the day. I love reading everything I can get my hands on from Shape, to Oxygen, to Women’s Running, to Runner’s World, and my all-time fav, On Fitness, a magazine geared to personal trainers.

But one thing that drives me crazy is the number of ads in many of these publications featuring models who claim to drop a size or more within a very short period of time by just taking—you fill in the blank. And let’s not talk about the by-lines on the covers claiming total body transformations in just 4 weeks time. Having been on this journey as long as I have, I know it takes much longer then that.

But why is it the minute we do not see a drop on the scale we look at our actions as a failure? Trust me this is far from the reality. The change our bodies must undergo will take time and if we have the patience and fortitude to not allow the scale to determine our success or failure then we all will succeed.

We all must be aware of that every change within the body must begin within the cells themselves. While we never ‘lose’ fat cells when we lose weight, we do lose free fatty acids within the fat cell. In other words, we cannot change the number of fat cells when we lose weight; we just shrink them by the release of free fatty acid to give us fuel, which eventually makes the cells smaller. I like to equate this like a a water-filled balloon losing water slowly out a pin point hole. The balloon is shrinking, just like our fat cells, but it is going to take time for the water to be drip out of the hole.

On the other hand the mitochondria, the tiny organelles within the cell which turn our food and oxygen into energy are getting larger in size and more numerous in number. The mitochondria are what drive our metabolism and give us the energy to get through a workout. Therefore, as we develop better cardio-respiratory endurance and do some sound resistance training, the cells are forced to make these powerhouse mitochondria bigger and greater in number to fuel the new activity. Once again, this takes time for the changes to occur.

This is why when you look at losing weight you need to view this as a lifelong endeavor and not just a quick means to reach your goal weight only to go back to the way your life used to be. It takes time and patience to get results. I like to say that it takes faith and courage to start this journey and patience and determination to stay on the path.

Do you believe the ads or programs that promise results in 6, 9, or 12 weeks? Do you become frustrated if you aren’t getting results as quickly as you expected? Does it help to know that the changes must begin at the cellular level before we can see them in the mirror?


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Comments

  • 184
    I think the most unbelievable program I've seen so far was highlighted in an infomercial I stumbled upon. It was for "motionless exercise." And what do you want to bet it makes the woman behind it a ton of money?

    I don't believe any of the ads where a pill or certain diet can bring magical results in weeks. Unless, of course, you have only 5 lbs to lose! :-) I think it's possible to see dramatic results IF you are really hitting the cardio, weights, and keeping a scrupulously clean diet that's tailored for your own body composition and metabolism. No one thing is ever the answer; it's always a combination. The best these products can do is maybe contribute to what you're already doing. And that's a big maybe. All these ads do is make millions for the company promoting them and distract the rest of us from what we really should be doing to get fitter. - 3/15/2009   2:20:10 AM
  • 183
    I was recently interviewed for woman's magazine. The main focus of the article was a book review. They wanted to do "sidebar" weight loss success stories of people who'd followed the author's program. I was one of those people.

    Most of the questions I was asked had to do with how long it took to lose the weight...e.g.... how much did I lose the first week, how many inches was that, did it come off hips or thighs first, what did I look like, how did my hair and nails improve in appearance.... blah blah. In fact, during a follow up interview I was asked exclusively about changes in my physical appearance.

    It was like no one cared that I was healthy and happy NOT because I looked more "acceptable" or whatever...OK let's be blunt...because I was no longer the outcast fat chick. That irritated me to no end because guess what? I still AM that outcast fat chick. I haven't changed. Only what you see on the outside has changed. eesh!!!!!! OK well, my mood has changed (I no longer hate the world - only weight loss scam artists) and I can do more stuff these days because I have more energy and I don't need anti-depressants because I exercise and feed my body real, nutritious food in sufficient quantities.

    Can you tell I'm getting mad just thinking about it??

    Anyhoo, after 2 interviews and nearly 10 hours of photo shoots, my story got the ax - space limitations according to the writer. I think it had more to do with the fact that I wouldn't give her the kinds of answers she was looking for.

    To be honest I didn't care as the magazine pretty much one big walking acai berry scam billboard! I didn't know that going in otherwise I would never have done it. I don't even know why the magazine chose to review that book - miracle fast easy weight loss is NOT at all what the book is about.

    So, needless to say...given that I've lost 75lbs the hard way, (twice!) and am now a personal trainer and weight management consultant, I know for a 1000000% fact that those ads are spewing lies. - 3/14/2009   5:26:50 PM
  • 182
    I watched a movie last night kind of about this. Its called "Bigger, stronger, faster" and is about steroid use, including athletes, fitness models and bodybuilders. It shows fitness madels (in the movie ot is looking at men) and how the before and after shots can be done in the same day and then are computer generated to look worse or better. - 3/14/2009   3:14:52 PM
  • 181
    I just know what it takes for me to loose weight so i do not read into the things that they have to say.. i know what works for me may not work for the next.. - 3/14/2009   1:03:56 PM
  • 180
    Well, I think it's funny you posted a blog about this because SP has ads on it too, the same type of ads claiming big weight loss. Kind of contradictory? - 3/14/2009   12:14:34 PM
  • ALLIKASTER
    179
    I have dieted before...oh, many times. Lose it, gain it..lose it, gain it...a roller coaster ride is what it is. I have tried diet after diet, diet pills, etc. Lots of things cause one to lose for the moment, but I have come to realize that there is only one true way to do it...and that is a permanent change in lifestyle and ones habits. You have to really want it and be in it for the long haul. No matter what diet you choose, or how you lose your weight, if you are not commited to a "forever" change in lifestyle and be ready to continue that change forever...statistics show that you will gain the weight back. Pills offer a short term, albeit, usually dangerous form of weight loss. The result..stop taking the pills..gain the weight back! Beware though...most diet pills contain things your cardiologist would warn you not to take. The best way is to take it off slowly and be ready to make healthy choices for the rest of your life. The weight didn't come on over night and it won't come off over night either. Those ads for quick as lightning weight loss or the newest fad...all rubbish! My advice is to put your money where your mouth is..and that is into healthy food choices and exercise that counts. I have had a health scare and I know that I must change my habits. I recently found Spark and so far love it. Turn here to people who will support you and turn away from those fad diet ads and ridiculous claims. I believe you will be glad you did. :-) - 3/14/2009   5:52:20 AM
  • 178
    You want to believe that it does, but before you send the money do some research on the product and the doctors who endorse many of them. There's a world of con out there!

    - 3/13/2009   10:50:51 PM
  • MZKYMWASH
    177
    I believe they offer some advice but I do not go only by there reports i do my own research and other resources. - 3/13/2009   10:25:14 PM
  • 176
    if all those ads were true...we all would not be changing our lifestyles and working out so hard...we would all be a size 10..come on...who are they trying to kid - 3/13/2009   7:59:14 PM
  • 175
    Nope I don't believe the ads at all. Most of the time its for some pill or patch thing that never mentions the exercising you must do to achieve it. Plus the models they use are all airburshed. It took awhile to put it on, so its going to take awhile to lose it. Even the Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem ads never mention exercise. - 3/13/2009   5:50:43 PM
  • ECHOME
    174
    Did you ever notice that the cover models in the bikinis are never the models you see in the workout demo pictures? It's like athletic bodies aren't envy-enducing enough to sell a magazine off the grocery store shelf.

    It's ironic that you have magazines about finess & health telling you that diet and exercise is the only means to an end and it's filled with ads promising the world in a bottle with a "Results are not typical." disclaimer in the fine print. It makes me mad that they even charge for magazines because they're making profit just off the advertisements, most of which are contrary to their basic philosophy.

    What you CAN REDUCE in just 4 weeks is your carbon footprint by not getting so many magazines, especially since they repeat themselves so frequently. I would recommend stopping at a years worth, then re-read them according to month. They'll seem like new again. At least do the earth a favor by either buying them or selling what you have at re-sale book shops. Sorry about the eco-lecture. I do think this is a great blog. - 3/13/2009   4:25:07 PM
  • 173
    When my dr told me it was loss weight or get my legs operated on, he told me that he wanted the weight off, but to remember it went on slow, if I wanted it to stay off, it needed to come off slow. When I see the ads on TV, they look so good. I tell myself "if it isn't slow it won't last and that isn't slow." - 3/13/2009   3:56:35 PM
  • LOSER541
    172
    I am glad I got to read all your comments, because I am always trying to look for a quick way to lose. Acai berry, cleanse your system, diet drinks, anything! My husband i always telling me there is no pill that will help you lose weight but I ignore him. Thanks Sparks People, one day at a time from now on! - 3/13/2009   3:15:53 PM
  • 171
    You cannot believe how many calories they say their workouts will burn either. One magazine claims you can burn 300 calories in 15 mins of interval training on the treadmill. I did extra minutes and my treadmill still said I had only burned 100... - 3/13/2009   2:56:44 PM
  • 170
    My high school dance teacher once told us that our fat cells never go away. That was about 10 years ago and I've never heard that since...I'm glad you said the same thing cause I was beginning to think I made that up in my head :) - 3/13/2009   2:09:15 PM
  • 169
    I think that it might be true for someone who is in moderate to good shape. Someone who is obese or morbidly obese is not going to get rock hard abs in 4 weeks unless there is surgery involved. - 3/13/2009   1:51:30 PM
  • BURBUJADI
    168
    I guess their point is "if you do all we say" but most of us skip some steps and we did not get what they are affering - 3/13/2009   1:29:03 PM
  • 167
    If it were the case, we would all be skinny!

    OTG - 3/13/2009   12:51:58 PM
  • 166
    I'm also addicted to fitness magazines. Although I certainly don't believe everything they say! I still love some of their information. I subscribe to Shape, Self, Fitness, and Women's Health. - 3/13/2009   12:33:36 PM
  • BIBLECHICK
    165
    No I don't believe the claims or the Photoshopped images. - 3/13/2009   11:27:29 AM
  • 164
    A woman in her 30s in one of those ads grew up in my hometown. She is a personal trainer/fitness instructor who has never been overweight in her life. Her mother said that she was paid - and paid very well - by this company to gain 30 pounds, then lose it again using their product. She had to diet and work out hard to lose the weight - it wasn't just a magical fix. And this is a woman who is educated, informed and experienced on health and fitness. So.... that pretty much says it. It's still hard work no matter what the product. - 3/13/2009   11:21:03 AM
  • 163
    I am addicted to fitness magazines! I know that it takes alot of work to lose a pound and there is no magic bullet. The paid adds in those mags are trying to get people to buy into the idea that they can bypass the way our bodies are created. This does not work and only ends in you having less money and more stress.
    However the workouts that promise results in 4 or so weeks do give results, depending on your diligence and what you are looking for as progress. I have never dropped a dress size in a month but I have seen my body firm up and my energy go up. These are real results for me!
    - 3/13/2009   11:06:41 AM
  • CHARS4D
    162
    Ah yes...I managed to lose 63 pounds in two months at a local weightloss center -- then of course I hit a plateau. The owner of the business did not know what to do so she immediately tried to push Phen-Phen. I refused to take the meds and the help from the staff stopped. Needless to say I regained the weight and then some after that. There is no magic pill or drink. I know that hard work and dedication are the only way to lose this weight. - 3/13/2009   10:38:49 AM
  • CHERIKIM1
    161
    I can get good results in 6 or 8 weeks by eating right and exercising but not from taking (pills/herbs/whatever). Sadly I can't keep it off regardless of knowing in my head what to do. And now that I'm on the 50 side of 40, I can't seem to pull it together to get this extra 15/20 pounds off again. So I'm exercising for fitness while I try to get the right mindset to get myself back to the healthy BMI range. - 3/13/2009   10:28:30 AM
  • 160
    Ha ha...yes, that is all hoo-ha...in reality, I am capable of losing 1/4 to 1/2 pound a week, and it's very hard work! - 3/13/2009   10:20:35 AM
  • 159
    i've done the quick loss and at the end i did not feel right, it wasn't long enough to make a lifestyle change, thats probably why i gained it back. now i'm taking it slow and steady and it's working alot better and i feel better........ - 3/13/2009   10:16:38 AM
  • 158
    I don't believe the quick fix route and anyone who claims that they have the key for fast results. To me they are only a scam and a means of making fast bucks for them. - 3/13/2009   10:02:39 AM
  • BJPETER
    157
    NO it's all a scam to get you to buy their stuff. Jenny's food is the worse, with fake comericals. Just read the small print. - 3/13/2009   9:54:16 AM
  • 156
    I believe that they make unscrupulous companies very rich, which is why they continue. There was a very interesting segment in "Bigger, Faster, Stronger" about how pennies worth of bulk ingredients can be sold for hundreds of $$$, and how photographs are manipulated for these "pseudo-miracles" - 3/13/2009   9:49:52 AM
  • 155
    No, I don't believe the time limit, but I believe anything that takes hard work and dedication can improve the results you get. Everyone's body is different. We all won't receive the same results at the same time. - 3/13/2009   9:39:12 AM
  • 154
    No, I don't believe there are quick fixes to weight loss. The best approach is to take the word "diet" out of your vocabulary, set realistic expectations (losing 1-2 pounds a week and to plan for plateaus) and take it one day at a time. - 3/13/2009   9:29:19 AM
  • TEXAS_STAR
    153
    I would love to believe those ads but my common sense wont let me. Us humans just love instant gratification but honestly, it's so much more fun and adventurous when you put your all into a LONG TERM goal and actually reach it. - 3/13/2009   9:11:53 AM
  • 152
    Of course I don't believe those ads. Do they think I'm an idiot just because I'm overweight? The ones I REALLY don't believe are the ones on TV. - 3/13/2009   7:54:39 AM
  • 151
    I first lost weight mostly by changing my food choices and eating habits, and not by exercising. During the first year of maintenance, my body changed shape -- becoming more "womanly" -- I had a waist again! Then I started working out, and again my body is changing. My belly is firmer and flatter, my legs more shapely, my upper body looks better. In short, it's been a transformation over more than 5 years, and I'm only getting better! - 3/13/2009   5:38:43 AM
  • 150
    Thanks so much for this. I've been at this in a committed way for 5 months and a bit (with a little bit of a break over the Christmas holidays) and have been seeing little results the whole way, but it's only been in the past few DAYS that I've suddenly become aware of big changes happening in areas like my thighs... (I added yoga and my body seems to have responded to that).

    I guess my point is that it is important to look for small changes to keep motivated. An inch here or a pound there or a size dropped. But that the big changes do take time and sometimes come when they are least expected. - 3/13/2009   4:56:42 AM
  • JEAN524
    149
    Thanks for this! It is so true. So many miracle cures there, and not one that works. The only thing that does is hard graft and determination. And - even with goal achieved - that isn't the end if one wants to remain at the winning post. - 3/13/2009   3:58:43 AM
  • 148
    It definitely helps to know this information . . .very important stuff!! - 3/13/2009   3:00:20 AM
  • 147
    I used to get disappointed when the scale wouldn't budge or if it went up. This is the 3rd time for me losing a significant amount of weight (gotta stop having kids!) so I have learned it doesn't "melt" away and it is a lifestyle change. Besides it seems to stay off longer if you lose it slower. I think they should ban the ads and tv commercials. It's really false advertising. - 3/12/2009   11:59:51 PM
  • 146
    Yes, it helps to know that change starts at a cellular level. I studied that stuff with my son when he was in Biology but I guess I didn't think about mitochondria and weight loss! I do have to confess that I still watch the scale...and the fit of my clothes and my energy level and any other encouragement that I can get along the way. Thanks for more help:)
    - 3/12/2009   11:40:08 PM
  • 145
    I LAUGH every week Woman's World comes out with a NEW diet. The latest has another OPRAH diet!!! She has been on the cover of that magazine so many times with a different diet each time!!! LAUGHABLE.

    Then all the Mags since January with WALKING DIETS....everyone PROMISING amazing amounts of weight loss....I have been walking for years....I am still dealing with my weight. Have kept OFF what I lost, but if walking was that powerful, I should be a BEAN POLE!!! - 3/12/2009   11:32:54 PM
  • 144
    when I began my journey in 2006 I filled in a weigh-in log book with all the Mondays from that point to January of 2008. I was not fooled into the outlandish claims by any and all in the weight loss/fitness industry. I do read all the magazines I can get my hands on as well, but I'm looking for workouts to use to keep things fresh and interesting. - 3/12/2009   11:21:11 PM
  • JENSPAID
    143
    yea wouldnt that be just fab. one month could just change your body like that. great. I quit believing in those magazines......well i don't think i ever did. - 3/12/2009   11:18:08 PM
  • 142
    I just loved your motto: "it takes faith and courage to start this journey and patience and determination to stay on the path." I so agree. That has been the most difficulty part of my lifestyle change; I have focused too much on the scale and thinking I will be "done" with all this when I reach my goal weight. I am re-learning, changing my attitude, and discovering this is not destination. I am on this health and wellness journey for the rest of my life. It is not just about weight loss, it is about taking better care of ourselves and our bodies. Patience, determination and, persistence are the key. - 3/12/2009   9:59:23 PM
  • 141
    Do you believe the ads or programs that promise results in 6, 9, or 12 weeks? Nope
    Do you become frustrated if you aren’t getting results as quickly as you expected? No, because I normally do not believe results will happen quickly.

    Does it help to know that the changes must begin at the cellular level before we can see them in the mirror? I did not know that , so I guess so.
    - 3/12/2009   9:41:59 PM
  • 140
    Not one minute. People could drop their weight in matter of weeks but they usually gain them right back. Not a healthy way to lose weight anyway. - 3/12/2009   8:04:08 PM
  • 139
    I am just guessing, but I think that if you follow one of these routines these magazines boast about, for a month and its different then what you were doing then, yes you are likely to see a change, not because its a "miracle" workout but because you changed up your routine. So thats How i look at those things just as a way to mix things up, not as a miracle workout. - 3/12/2009   7:21:20 PM
  • ILENEJ
    138
    No, because usually when you start dieting. It is more water weight that you lose at first. It is best to lose it slowly than it will not come back on as quickly I have found out when I do go off for a few days or goof up. - 3/12/2009   7:04:00 PM
  • PACERRN
    137
    Thanks for your thoughts Nancy. I'm relatively new to spark. I just want to encourage you because you don't put the weight on overnight, and you can't expect to take it off overnight either. There really is no safe quick-fix. I need to lose 50-60 lbs. My goal is 2 lbs per week. So far after a month I've lost 10 lbs so I'm a little ahead. I've changed my eating habits and am using the WII Fitness Coach 5 days a week. The other important thing is journaling everything that goes in your mouth. You'd be surprised how many hidden calories there are in all the little licks and bites during a day. - 3/12/2009   6:48:37 PM
  • 136
    i do get frustrated when i don't see results ... and then i fall off the wagon. it's a self-defeating circle. i then have to take a look and realize it took me 10 years to get to this weight .. it's not going to come off in a month.

    that is why i don't understand the show "the biggest loser." how on earth could someone lose 100 lbs in 8 weeks? i cannot put my head around that. - 3/12/2009   5:41:35 PM
  • 135
    I believe those ads as much as the mascara ads are going to make my eyelashes look like the models. - 3/12/2009   5:36:06 PM

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