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Episode 6

Get thin fast or get rich quick scams

Word on a wall

Get thin schemes are just scams. Here is how to reduce weight, the real way.

EPISODE SUMMARY: Get your body moving with this coached walk/podcast. Movement is medicine.

When people try to sell you “quick fixes” for weight loss, fitness, or careers… it’s all baloney.


  • Why we buy into these dreams
  • Are there any legitimate quick fixes?
  • What really works to lose weight or get fitter?
  • But don’t give up on the magic. There is a little…

Photo: Penang, Malaysia

Podcast Transcript

I have these amazing gummy bears and they're only $70 a month. You will never have to worry about losing weight again.

How about this drink? This drink is amazing. It will cure all your health problems and you'll lose the weight. And it's only $150 a month, every month.

There's this great shake and it will help you not be hungry and lose weight without any effort on your part.

Today we're going to talk about something that really pissed me off. I was watching a commercial on TV and it was for gummy bears with apple cider vinegar. And what upset me was when in the commercial, the guy takes his gummy bears and then goes into the bathroom when he's about to leave the house. He checks himself out in the mirror and smiles, and it's implied that he looks really good, has lost weight, and gotten fitter just from eating these apple cider vinegar gummy bears.

And I don't know why it just infuriated me — maybe because it's such a crock of shit. And it just sells a bunch of lies. And it drives me crazy.

Among the other things that made me mad with this commercial is there are so many lies out there and there are just so many people trying to take your money. So many people that are trying to sell you crap that doesn't work. Because none of those things work. 

If they worked, everybody would be at their goal weight and everybody would be super fit, super healthy.

And there's no way a drink that you buy is going to cure all your ailments. I've seen people sell these drinks for diabetes, for hypothyroidism… for all these different ailments. I think it's really irresponsible, because they will not cure you or help you lose weight.

The only thing that works is eating healthier and exercising. 

Nobody wants to do that. I understand. It's a lot of work and it's hard. It’s hard to sacrifice and it's hard to make yourself work out. We all want that dream: The dream of easy weight loss, easy success. Easy money. Easy everything.

It's very easy for people to sell us these products. It's very easy for people to sell these fake dreams. When I wrote my first book, 21 Days to Change Your Body (and Your Life), the goal wasn't to change people's bodies in three weeks. The goal was to give them healthier habits that would get them on the right track because in 21 days, you CAN change your thoughts.

You can't drop 40 pounds in 21 days. That's not possible. And that's not what the book was about.

I didn't make empty promises. I just showed people how to fit exercise into their life. Taught them a little bit about nutrition.

On how to make changes to habits that would help people lose weight.That's all I had in my book. You can do this and this is how you can do it. Everybody can do it.

It's not fake. It's not bullshit. It's just real common sense and habits at work. 

The fake dreams that people sell us, they're so easy and it's not just with weight loss. I see it all the time. I'm in these different Facebook groups for coaches, entrepreneurs.

And it's just again selling fake dreams because people want more time. They want results. Or they want money. And I don't blame people because I would like a quick cure. I would like to win the lottery.

As I wrote in my book, and as I talked about on podcasts before, I was just waiting for the day when I would wake up magically slimmer and magically fitter. And year after year, that didn't happen. And I just continue to gain more and more weight, because I just really was waiting for that magic to happen.

And I do hate to say that there is no magic. But there is a little magic inside you because you can make things happen. No shake is going to do it. No magic gummy bears.

(If you’re walking with me) just feel your body move. This is what it was designed to do. It's designed to move. It's not designed to sit in front of our computer all day. It's not designed to sit in the car and commute all day. So as much as you can, go ahead and try to get that body moving.

That's what it was meant to do. It doesn't have to be an hour spin class. As long as you can get out and walk a little bit, do some stretching when you get home. A little bit stretching throughout the day.

Remember that song? Was it the Thompson Twins?  “Lies, lies, lies, yeah.”  Was it the 80s or was it the 90s? The 80s. And that's what people are selling.

And I'm just here to ask you to not buy that dream. It's fake. They're going to take your money.

And you're not going to see results. Now there are medical interventions that will help you see results. For example, there are doctor supervised weight loss programs, doctor supervised appetite suppressants, bariatric surgery. But the appetite suppressants and the bariatric surgery won't work if you're not in the right frame of mind.

Back... was it the 80s or the 90s? Nineties! I took Fen Phen. I didn't lose a single pound. My problem wasn't that I was hungry. My problem was my head and my emotions. And I didn't know how to communicate and I didn't know how to handle my life without stuffing my feelings.

And so it doesn't matter that I tried it because I wasn't going to lose weight. Hunger was not the reason why. I did not lose weight. It was me and it was my life and it was my motivation. So if you're motivated, doctor supervised programs can work. But in all reality, it's better to do it yourself. It's better to do it slowly. It's better to do it healthy. And it's better to add new habits to your life. 

So why don't these things work?

They don't work with the way your body loses weight. In all reality, it takes 3,500 calories to gain a pound or lose a pound. Now, it varies a little bit. People who are very overweight tend to lose weight a little faster in the beginning than people who have less weight to lose.

If you have more muscle, you'll also burn more calories than people who have less muscle. If you want to lose two pounds a week, you would take away 7,000 calories from what you eat. Or you can take away 3,500 calories and then burn another 3,500 calories. That's 7,000 calories.

And then that would make you lose two pounds a week, but nobody wants to do that. Who does? I don't want to, because that takes a lot of work. 

That's why I like to tell people to even go for one pound a week. One pound a week is really doable. And one pound a week in one year is 52 pounds. So if you lose one pound a week, that's a lot of weight in one year. And yeah, I know we don't want to wait a year. Or six months. 

But how long have you been waiting already? How long did I wait? I waited years and years and years and years, because I didn't want to take one year to lose one pound a week.

And I understand it’s frustrating. I know we want to lose it really fast. But it's actually physically not possible. So whoever sells you these things... they're selling you falsities. And they're just selling you, and a way for them to make money.

So, are there any other things that work?

I don't want to be the bearer of bad news. Good habits, eating 80/20. Clean 80% of the time, and just 20% maybe not so clean. Getting enough sleep. And exercising enough. That's what really works. 

I used to have a bootcamp with a couple of other people, and we had a shirt that said “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”

If it were easy I would be a size two (which I don't want to be because I like chocolate). I would be super buff with muscles bulging everywhere because I like muscles. I would have a PhD. I would be making $100,000 a month. But none of that is easy, none of that is really feasible, and none of it's really reasonable.

Don't get sold on the "fast." Don't get sold on things that sound too good to be true. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. It most likely is.

I tried everything when I was a teenager, aside from the fact that I would eat delicious bread with chocolate spread. I grew up in Norway and we had chocolate spread. It was so amazing. My friend and I would be up in the middle of the night and we'd eat this delicious white bread with chocolate spread. And then we would work out a lot. The next day we got up at 5:30am and went to the gym.

I tried things like the grapefruit diet. 

I briefly tried a low carb diet, but then became a vegetarian when I was 14. Remember, I was a vegetarian who didn't eat fruits or vegetables most of my life. So that was crazy. 

But I tried all these different weird diets because I was looking for "the one" that would make it easy for me, the one that would just help me lose weight without being hungry or without stuffing my feelings. And I didn't find it.

It took me years to finally realize that the only thing in my way of losing weight was me, my habits, and that I would run to food when I was upset.

I used to say when the sun was shining, I would eat. When it was raining, I would eat. When it was summer, I would eat. When it was winter, I would eat. When I was happy, I would eat. When I was sad, I would eat.

Remember to always be grateful for what your body can do... that you can be out here walking (or inside walking), that your body can move. And that your body helps you do what you need to do in your day and in your life.

I wrote a blog post alled "I love my thighs." It was never about loving my thighs. It was about finally realizing all the amazing places my body had taken me. My thighs have taken me on all these amazing adventures.

Okay, last time, pick up a little bit more pace. I want you to go strong.

I want you to be uncomfortable. You're going to go for about one minute.

So dreams... "sweet dreams are made of this. Who am I to disagree? I've traveled the world and the seven seas. Everybody's looking for something..." Do you remember that song? I don't know who I am or what day it is, but I know every word to every 80s song. Sadly. That is me. I'm like a human jukebox.

So, back to what can you do, then, to speed things up a little bit with your weight loss.

If you want, you could try to do more in the beginning. I usually tell people to take it a little bit slower. But if you want to see some quicker results, you could eat a really clean diet for a couple of weeks or a month.

And then you could work out a bit more. And you could just really take care of your body. Take care of yourself and eat foods that are really good for you. 

If you want to try  lower carb, you could. Every body is different.  I don't like lower to eat fewer carbs because it makes me crazy.  Then I eat  potato chips because I get so hungry and my body just screams, "feed me carbs!" So I know that I can't do that, but some people have more success with it. 

With th ath t for many people the keto diet is out of the question because they just can't stay with it. It's very strict. And for those of us who like carbs. You can't, you can't stay on that because again, you'll just lose your mind.

But I do recommend that people start out with exercising a little bit slower, and the reason is. That your body after a while your body gets used to burning a certain amount of calories, because think about it. If you're a marathon runner and you're training for a marathon. You would be amazed. If your body didn't kind of compensate for all the exercise that you're doing.

Even though you may not always eat enough calories for it. You kind of want to start out, slow with exercise and then build it up a little bit as you go along. So don't start out at 100%, you know,  it's good to walk every day. It's good to do. The weight training for sure. It's good to do more cardio. You can try some classes.

But you don't want to start out really, really hard and really, really fast. Because where are you going to go from there? And then you want to switch things up.  Change it up? I know everybody gets into their habits like, Oh, they'll spend like five days a week and I love spin. I could spend five days a week.

But then they won't do any strength training or they just take a lot of strength classes. Don't do any cardio or they just do Zumba.

And so you want to change it up as you go along, even after like a few weeks or a month, change it up. Because that's, what's really going to give you results because you want to be unpredictable. You don't want your body to know what's coming and you don't want it to adapt to your training routine.

Hold on to the pace now it's not too fast. Not too slow. Make sure the tension is out of your body, out of your shoulders, out of your feet, out of your hands.

So some weeks, I like to say you can do, maybe you do three spin classes. And you do two weight training classes. So you do weight training at home. And then the next week, maybe you do three days of weight training and two days of spin. And then the next week, again, you change it up a little bit more. So I know we get into those routines, people at the gym every day at the same time, every day, the same class every day with the same instructor.

And they wonder why they're not seeing results because their body is getting used to what they're doing. They're not giving them any surprises.  In order to change your body. You have to surprise it. And I know we're all creatures of habit I am to, this is what you do and you relax and you do this new span.

But change it up, even if you try a different instructor, like if you take a strength class, Maybe try a body pump class or you do , um, Yoga class or you do. Like a more strength class with maybe you do lower body and then you do upper body and other day, and then you try harder cardio easier cardio. At the first gym I used to teach spinning. We did the original spinning program or some days were endurance.

Some days were strength. And some days were interval. So you could play on your week based on what you wanted to do. Like you didn't want to do all intervals, which was called all-terrain. Back then, and not all strength, but you can mix it up. And if you did more strength than all-terrain, then you can take an endurance class, which was only, I think, 75 to 80, 85% of your heart rate. We didn't go higher. We didn't go harder, but it was a whole different kind of training because we did that for an hour.

So that's what you want to do in your life to really see results. Don't buy into all the fake fakeness don't buy into all the lies and a lot of class formats also inflate the number of calories you burn. Like I've heard that Zumba, they see burn 800 calories an hour. You do not burn 800 calories an hour, even with spin.

 So don't, don't overestimate your calories. That's really easy to deal with anything under estimate your calories. So if your tracker, if you're wearing one, if it says with this fitness program, your. Going to burn 500 calories, then put 300 calories in. It's better to err on the side of caution, because if you're not losing weight, that could be one of the reasons why.

Another reason can be that you're not eating enough. I know that sounds strange, but sometimes you just not eating enough and then you also stop losing weight. So just kind of take a look at everything and, and try different things. , one of the ways I really like. To do is to have people eat differently too. Like even one week with this way, one, we could that way, or you can change it up throughout the week. You can't just do keto a couple of times a week because you don't get into ketoacidosis, but you could do, if you wanted to try low carb, you could do low carb on the days where you're not working out really hard. And then you can eat more carbs on the days where you're working harder.

Where you're doing more exercise, you can change it up. Maybe eat. Um, how about vegetarian for a week or vegan for a couple of days? Just always keep surprising your body. Cause that's the only thing that really works. And long-term, you don't want to get into that rut. And the most important thing is that you think about your health, what you're eating, 

the food you're putting into your body and the fuel you're putting into your body. What is that doing to your body? I mean, when I eat an entire bag of licorice, it has to be the black liquidation European or Australian licorice. I know that dumping all that sugar into my body. Isn't doing it any good.

I can almost feel like the sugar coursing through my body and making me crazy. so you really want to think about how  good you feel after you have some greens. After you have some good protein. Okay, slow it down just a little bit now.

Deep deep, deep breath in.

And when you eat things that really agree with your, your body, you just feel a lot more amazing. But it's hard to get there because we all want the chips. And we all, some of some people like more like fried foods or salty foods and I'm like sweet fiend. So we like more sweet things, but you kind of can balance it and you can actually eat berries after dinner. If you want dessert, that's a great way to still get a little bit of.

Of natural sugar. Fructose and still not feel like you're missing out.

You can make, I feel like salts, you could do , um, like sweet, baked, sweet potatoes. Like you can cut them up into little chips and put a little salt on there. If you like sweet. You could put a little cinnamon on there. And bake them. There's a lot of things you can do. And by the way, sweet potatoes are really good for you.

If you look up the nutritional value. Slow it down a little bit more now.

 I'm tired of people lying to you. I'm tired of people giving you false hope. There's real hope. And I know a lot of people who've lost a lot of weight and have kept it off because that's also really hard. So you can do it.

You just have to find new habits and start them slowly. And find things that work for you. That's why if you go to my blog, real-world weight loss.com and I'll go ahead and link it below. Also you'll find a , um,

Weight loss course says kickstart, kickstart weight loss. Course. And that's a really good guide because it really tells you how to make changes in your life. Without starting out too strong. And it's totally free. I'm not selling you anything in it. I just want you to have it. And my hope is that you'll share it with other people or that you would share on my blog with other people.

Because I want to help as many people as possible because I know what it's like. I know what it's like to be sold a bill of goods. Now I'm really hard to sell. Like when people try to sell me something. If I go to a car dealer you're not going to sell me anything. . People can try to sell me. And if I don't want it, I'm not going to buy it. You will not sell me into buying something. I don't want, if I want something, I can be sold into it easily.

But we all know that what they're selling you. His lies. And. Fake fakeness falsity.

So you want to use your common sense when you see something like that. So stay away from the supplements that are fake and when there are good supplements, fish oil. Um, I used to drink like emergency , um, in spin class because I felt like it gave me. I get made my water tastes a little bit better. It had vitamin C vitamin B, so, and some potassium and different things like that. But none of that is, is anything you're going to buy from someone except for like at a store.

Um, protein powder can always be good depending on what it is and the quality of it and what type and where you get it. But when someone is selling you, when they're making money on selling, you. Things that are overpriced on are overhyped. Then that's, that's a danger sign right there. And that should set your alarm bells ringing.

But don't fall for the crap. And I'm happy to give you whatever. I give a lot of things for free on my blog. Um, I have articles. I have podcasts. I have freebies. And it's reliable, good information. I'm never going to sell you crap. I'm never gonna give you crap. I'm never going to show you grap. I'm only going to show you the things that work and I know it's not always what you want to hear.

But I'm always going to give you the truth. So, if you want the truth, you can even join my Facebook group. Paul gave you some truth on there as well. And in these podcasts. I'm not gonna give you crap. I'm not going to give you shit and I will give you crap. Like if you're one of my coaching clients , um,  and you give me some stupid excuses. Yeah. I will give you crap. But  not that kind of crap.

I'm going to give you crap or if you're my spinners and I'm like, where have you been? I haven't seen you when I see you in class again, after two months, I'm going to give you some crap, right? But not, not fake crap. That's just like motivational crap. Okay, slow it down even more now.

So I'm really glad that you are with me. I'm really glad if you're walking with me, I'm glad that you are, that you're doing something that you're starting.

You could motivate some friends, you know, to say, well, we're going to walk at four o'clock you walk outside your house. I'll walk out by my house.

But just try to, you know, get other people involved and motivate other people. And it's really good if you try to motivate other people and you commit to other people. You're actually more apt to do it yourself.

And you could actually become the motivator. You could become the catalyst for someone else's change. And that's really cool. Slow it down a little bit more now.

So when you get back, take a little bit of a stretch, or if you're inside kind of slow it down, take a little bit of a stretch. If you're driving and you're listening to this while you can't stretch and you know, just kinda still relax your shoulders. And always like when you're driving, remember to relax your hands. Cause a lot of times we just, you know, we grip the steering wheel.

Or we'll like push too hard with our legs. Bring those shoulders down. And breathe.

I like to listen to podcasts and books. When I drive.

And slow it down a little bit more.

And I will see you next time. Without the crap.


Helen is an author, entrepreneur, certified personal trainer, and lifestyle coach. She lost over 80 pounds and kept it off for 16 years. She loves travel, chocolate, and cats.