Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shocked and Appalled

Man...I WISH that was my belly...
 I've been pretty public about my struggles with my weight and my desire to shed a few (more than a few) pounds. I generally scan the internet to look for safe, healthy recipes and diet plans to provide a little extra inspiration. I try to stick to the legitimate sites; you know there are some CRAAAZY weight loss techniques floating around the internet!

I've always liked to consider Livestrong.com a legitimate site. Who here DOESN'T know who Lance Armstrong is, and is unfamiliar with the distinctive yellow wristband? I think Lance's achievements, both on and off the bike, are well known around the world (and we'll avoid the discussion of steroid use for the sake of me making a point)

Imagine my horror to find a shocking and dangerous article hosted by Livestrong.com. How To Lose The Most Weight In The Shortest Amount Of Time. Since I'm sure the complaints are flying in, and the website will pull this article momentarily, let me break down their "recommended" steps to lose weight quickly.

  1. Take a fat burning supplement, preferably one with ephedra. 
  2. Drink black coffee or strong green tea immediately before working out.
  3. Take sports supplements like whey protein.
  4. Drink water. A gallon daily, at least. 
  5. Take Acai Berry to cleanse your toxins.
  6. Stay active, doing 30 minutes of exercise daily. 
  7. Don't eat if you're not hungry.
My mind is blown.

  1. Ephedra. EPHEDRA? You mean the stuff that is linked to a high rate of side effects and DEATH? The same ephedra that the FDA banned in 2004, and upheld the ban on in 2006? Even labels that say "legal ephedra" don't actually contain ephedra in it's real form. They're synthetic or herbal. Ephedra is NOT legal in the US. Is Livestrong suggesting that I purchase my supplements online from an overseas retailer? 
  2. Black coffee...green tea...right before a workout. Because every fitness instructor I've ever had has 32oz of black coffee beside them...oh. Wait. No. That was water. I'll be over here, NOT having a heart attack from the combination of ephedra and black coffee right before a high-intensity workout. 
  3. I don't really have a problem with the sports supplements, if they're the healthy ones used properly.
  4. Okay, can we please bury this myth? Yes, water is good. Yes, drink lots. BUT, this big study that everyone quotes saying "64 oz of water is needed daily" ALSO says that we gain a large amount of this water through the food that we eat. But, no one remembers to tack on that part. Drink water, it's good for you. But there's no need to spend your day in the bathroom, either. 
  5. ACAI BERRY? You mean, the scam that's going around the internet and health sites? The one that has NO legitimate study proving that it does ANY good at all? Yes, it has antioxidant properties. So does pomegranate and blueberries, and you don't pay $30 a bottle for them. 
  6. Ya think? Working out can help me lose weight? You don't say!
  7. Oh. Really. Never heard that before. Thanks! 
Really, the whole point of the article is to tell you to do everything you KNOW you're supposed to be doing to live a healthy lifestyle, but take some ephedra, caffeine, and worthless-but-expensive supplements, too.

Um. No.

I want to lose weight. But I don't want the next challenge I face to involve a hospital room and a crash cart; I LIKE my heart beating on its own, thanks.

I'm SHOCKED that Lance Armstrong would even allow his name or foundation to be associated with something so irresponsible.

Cross Livestrong.com off of my checklist.


  1. Wow! I can't believe that came from what I would consider a legitimate website. And as for whey protein, MK said that if you start taking it faithfully and then quit working out, you'll gain all kinds of fat.

  2. So the article is still up and needs to be taken down or heavily edited at the very least. The ephedra info is referenced from a book that was published in 1996. It badly needs some source material that is more recent. Although, honestly, it's recommending a crash diet which is pretty obvious from the title. Most people who are trying to be fit an healthy are not looking for the fastest way to loose as much as possible. This just reminds me that not every site or every book is infallible and you need to take things you read and hear with a grain of salt and a critical eye.

    The water thing, what I understand, and WebMD helped me put some loose numbers to, only about 20% of your water intake comes from foods and that is only if you eat a lot of fruits and veggies that have high water content, which is not always a given for Americans.

  3. Ugh, it sucks that Armstrong would allow such an article to be put on his site. Though I bet he doesn't have much day-to-day interaction with it, so probably doesn't even vet the articles. But I guess he will be now!


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