You might have heard about going ‘gluten-free.’ It is the latest fitness trend that seems to have enveloped the world. But do you know what gluten even is?
It is a type of protein mainly found in different kinds of wheat, rye, and barley. Some people have gluten-related allergies, and for such people, cutting out gluten is a necessity. But if you are following a gluten-free diet in the hopes of losing weight, you may be in for a rude shock.
Merely removing a component from your diet does not mean that you will magically lose weight. If you remove the wheat items from your diet and replace them with more highly processed food, you will end up gaining weight instead of losing it. Forgoing gluten can also mean that you gain less of other essential minerals, such as iron. Removing gluten means that you are seriously limited in your food options, and you may actually end up overeating. Most likely, all of these may have been a surprise to you.
But that is how it works. When some fitness or wellness thing becomes popular, mainly through social media, the disclaimers are conveniently left out. Every new fad is advertised as the next thing to clear skin, weight loss, and muscle gain, and related products pop out of nowhere. In a world where wellness is a for-profit industry, it is essential not to fall for fitness trends.
We all know the obvious offenders- fit teas, sauna belts, healing patches, and diet pills. But sometimes even well-established diets and regimes can have a dark underbelly. Take Cross Fit for example. Hailed as a revolution in exercise, many saw the burn after the workout as a mark of the style’s effectiveness. But vomiting, kidney problems, and injuries are notoriously common among cross fit trainers. This never comes out in the gym selfies.
Also, JUICE CLEANSES. Perhaps the most frustrating health idea to ever spring out of the human brain. The entire concept of a ‘detox’ is ridiculous. You don’t need to survive on a bottle of lemonade for three days to feel clean. Your kidneys and liver already work day and night to remove the toxins from your body. Drinking over processed slush means losing on nutrients and roughage, low body metabolism, fatigue, low blood sugar levels and possible permanent health problems. Such diets can also be a slippery slope to eating disorders for vulnerable people.
It can be very tempting, the idea that you can sit back at home, drink this or do that for ten minutes, and you’ll be on a path to a better you. That is why all these health gimmicks get popular. But please realize that most of them are, at least partially, meant to churn money for the people behind them. Your waist cannot be ‘trained,’ no matter what Kim Kardashian says. The idea that just one simple thing can solve all your struggles within your body is the epitome of capitalist marketing. The thing is, many people do see some results by using these fads, and they get excited. What they don’t understand is how interim these results are, and the cost they come at. So when the next big thing comes out, they want to try it too.
This endless cycle means that you will end up doing everything except for what is actually needed.
So how do you set yourself up on a path for better health or weight loss then? Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Consult only doctors, dieticians and instructors, who are trained professionals, for diets and exercises.
- Do not fall for what celebrities, social media stars, or any other public personality says. Just because Gwyneth Paltrow thinks healing stickers are a thing doesn’t mean they actually exist.
- Do NOT follow any diet you come across on the internet. If you really want to, consult a doctor who is aware of your medical history first. You may develop allergies or health problems otherwise
- Do not indulge in keep-going. Crash dieting for three days and binging for the rest of the week will do nothing except mess with your body and its metabolism.
- Read up. Educate yourself on fitness and wellness topics. You will be able to separate genuinely helpful tips from useless peddling more easily.
- Do not buy any items that promise sudden weight loss, whether it be a pill or a corset. Trust me, no matter who is behind this. It will never work, or do more harm than good.
- Listen to your own body. If during any regime you feel dizziness, nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain or any other issue, stop immediately and seek help.
- The best tip, recommended by experts, has always, always been the same. Eat what you want but in moderation, exercise well, drink plenty of water and consult a doctor in case of any problems.
Fitness requires the few things many people can’t afford- motivation, commitment, and time. But if you genuinely want to get healthy, this is what you will have to invest in your body. Trust me! There are no shortcuts.