Wednesday 15 October 2014

Slimming Products That Don't Work

   With all of us building up our Christmas wishlists right about now, I thought it might be a good idea to blog about a few of the different 'slimming' products out there and tell you what simply doesn't work, and why. So you can knock these products off of your wishlists without hesitation!


   It sounds inviting. A tea that will help you lose weight by cleaning out your system and improving its function as a result. I mean, who doesn't like tea? And who wouldn't love a quick and easy way to help shed the pounds? Well, there's your first problem. There is no quick and easy way to shed the pounds. But most teatoxes will, admittedly, tell you that it acts as an aid in weight loss, and indirectly effects weight loss. This is because there's nothing in tea that will melt fat away, improve metabolism or curb hunger.
   The second problem is that your body actually does a pretty good job detoxing itself if you're drinking enough water and eating right - that doesn't mean only veg and white meat, it just means not fast food every other day and sugar cakes three times a week. While it's true that some detoxing products do work to improve your body's function, the trouble is that most advertising campaigns (slogans, adverts and articles written to sell you something) try to convince you that your body isn't doing it right, or doing it well enough.
   Most teatoxes induce a laxative effect, and that, quite simply, is not good. That's not a safe side effect. Nothing good should induce diarrhea unless they're medically prescribed to do so, and you might think that detoxing means getting rid of the bad stuff, but it doesn't mean diarrhea. And while there are literally one or two teatoxes on the market that don't give you a reaction like that, they're still not doing you a blind bit of good. Your body detoxes naturally, as I said, and it goes at a natural rate that is comfortable for it. If you're eating all the wrong stuff and not drinking enough water it won't be as effective, but in cases like that, just clean up your eating, don't spend buckets of money on these teas. I hesitate to say that you may well lose weight from it because sometimes all people are looking for is someone to confirm it, but from what I've seen you will either lose little to none, or you lose too much too fast, and whatever the case, weight lost by such means always returns. You'll gain it all back in no time, even if you eat right and exercise while taking it and continue to do so afterwards.
   Don't be fooled by the expensive price tags. They don't mean effectiveness, they just mean a huge profit for the company, or expensive but still ineffective ingredients.

Sauna belts

   'Sweat off the pounds', 'sweat off the inches' - these are popular phrases, because, obviously, an effective and powerful workout will have you sweating buckets. You work hard, you sweat hard. But there's something people seem to be overlooking: sweat does not equate to weightloss. It equates to hydration levels, and hydration levels have nothing to do with energy levels. So sauna belts, which promote sitting infront of the TV while sweating around your middle are simply wrong. They're preying purely on the 'sweat off the inches' slogans, and it just doesn't work. But people keep buying into them. Once again, you cannot expect to lose weight by putting in little to no effort.
   Saunas themselves can indeed improve cardiovascular activity as your body tries to keep itself cool in a hot environment - which is exactly why we sweat. To cool ourselves down. But this only works in a sauna because it's heat all over your body, not in one spot, and even then its effects are not very noticeable at all.
   Your body sweats to keep itself cool, to prevent overheating, not because it has too much water in its system, and, as a result, a glass of water will replenish a lot of the water lost from a sauna belt, and you'll put the inches back very, very quickly, because all you've lost is water weight - and avoiding drinking is a very good way of getting yourself in hospital.
   Once again, price tags mean nothing. Some are cheap and some are expensive, and they're all just as useless. My mum bought one years ago before MS (not related to the sauna belt, I promise you) took her over, and I tried it a few times myself. Neither of us found any lasting results, and the results we did get were minor.
   Sauna belts are extremely ineffective for weight loss.

Toning belts/massage belts

   I often used to get sauna and toning belts confused. After all, they're both bulky things that go around your middle, but while they're quite different, they're just as useless as eachother.
   A toning or ab-defining belt is designed to send small electric shocks to your abdominal muscles (which, I may remind you, are not just down the centre of your body, but the sides and towards the back as well), and the idea is that these electric shocks will stimulate the muscles and cause them to contract. Supposedly, it's like doing a load of crunches. The problem here, however, is that, for the shocks to stimulate the muscles enough for them to be effective, they would have to be much, much stronger, so what you get from an ab-toning belt won't be enough to do diddly squat.
   Secondly, a toning belt won't burn any calories, and to get amazing abs, you need to burn a lot of calories in order to rid yourself of the squish that covers them in order to expose them for the world to see. This is also why just doing crunches isn't much good, either - because you can build up really strong, healthy abs, but if you're not melting the fat away by burning loads of calories, no one, including yourself, will ever see them.
   In the end, toning belts are only good for losing money and making you look a little strange if you wear them in public. There is no quick fix, and once again, wearing this in front of the TV won't do anything of any consequence.

Shake Weight

   Shake weights. Designed by Johann Verheem - yes, a man - specifically for women. I'm already a little suspicious. There are two versions, one for women which weighs 2.5lbs (that's a little over 1kg) and another for men which weighs 5lbs (about 2kg). The idea is that you shake the weight with both hands and it works on contracting your muscles much more than an ordinary bicep curl. There are a number of problems with this, and I'll tell you what they are.
   1) You're not moving the weight very far - only really a few inches up and down, and in the end you're only really squeezing your muscles rather than contracting and relaxing them like you should be. And because of this, you're also not working all of the muscles you should be, either, and the fewer muscles you work at once, the less calories you burn. Even doing a full set of bicep curls with a 5kg weight does little in terms of calorie burning. Yes, you might feel a burning or knotting sensation in your muscles after the required 6 minutes of use, but that does not equate to effectiveness at all. It just means you're tired.
   2) The required 6 minutes of use, as I just mentioned, is simply not long enough to be effective, either. Your body takes about 15-20 minutes to burn enough calories and melt enough fat for your exercise to make any kind of difference, which means that doing at least 20 minutes a day for about 5 days a week is the only way to see any change.
   3) 2.5lbs/1kg - even 5lbs/2kg - is pitiful and it won't get you very far. It's simply not enough resistance to be a challenge. In a basic 3- or 4-piece set of dumbbells, the lowest weight you get is 1kg - sometimes it's even 1.5kg instead. It's a tiddler, and it won't do enough to burn calories or tone up. Yes, 1kg might feel like a lot if you're new to it, but you'd be surprised how quickly you outgrow them.
   At the end of the day, the Shake Weight is just silly and suggestive, and you look damn silly doing it. 6 minutes is not enough use, and the movements are too short and abrupt to be effective - you're more likely to injure yourself than you are to get the sexy arms you're after. The Shake Weight might be enough to maintain good arms, as long as you do a range of other things too and make sure each muscle group in your upper arms, shoulders and chest get enough love and attention, but as a way to get nice arms, it's just nowhere near enough.

Slimming Toe Ring

   Yep, you read that right. I laughed out loud for a few minutes when I first found it. Seriously, if you think it's going to work, you're insane, and you're desperate. I'm sorry to be harsh but it's the honest truth.
   Supposedly, these rings stimulate the acupressure points on your big toe and suppress appetite, using magnets that create magnetic fields of 1100 gauss - the strength of 22 fridge magnets. I do, to a small degree, believe that certain pressure on your foot can affect other parts of your body, but this is all just seems simply ridiculous, and, I might add, extremely vague. Nowhere online have I been able to find a decent explanation of how or why it supposedly works.
   At best, these are placebos. If you think they're going to work, or truly believe they will, they will, but only because you're telling yourself "oh my appetite is gone!" - some could argue that that means that it does work if you believe it will, but that's not what 'it works' means. If it truly worked, it would do so whether you were scepitcal or not, but if it takes you to believe in it to work, then it doesn't. That's called willpower - the ring isn't making the difference, you are. If you find that the ring works, you were only overeating because you wanted to, not because you were ever truly hungry.
   Yes, they cost very, very little, so I can understand why people just give it a go for the laughs, but if people turn to it genuinely believing it's going to work, they're out of their minds.

   If none of them work, why do companies keep releasing products like these? For profit. We live in an extremely image-focused world, and it was the Victorians who started it. But the trouble is, we're also a lazy world, always looking for the quickest and easiest way of getting our desired results, but it doesn't work that way. But because we so desperately want it to, companies are able to prey on it, because they know there will always be someone who is willing to try anything to get slim quick except exercise and changing their diet.
   So why does only eating right and keeping active work? Simply put: because you're using your body the way it was intended to be used, eating how you're supposed to. If you can't catch or grow something and stick it on a fire to cook it and eat it afterwards, you shouldn't be eating it. That's not to say you have to keep a 1 mile radius from it, but it means it shouldn't have a dominant spot in your daily diet. If it requires machinery to cook it that you couldn't put together in the wilderness, you probably shouldn't be cooking it that way. Deep fat friers are a massive no-no, for example.
   You might think that your body is smart enough to not put fat away if you didn't truly need it, but there's one simple fact you're forgetting if you believe that: your body is not your brain. Your body is designed to do certain things, but it's the brain that deals with decision making and reasoning. And if you convince yourself that you're still hungry an hour after a 650 calorie meal and an afternoon sat on your backside and you give in to that, then your reasoning systems are probably off, and you've got re-evaluating to do.

   There is no quick-fix. The reason there are so many posts on Yahoo answers and other websites asking "do sauna belts work?" is because we know, deep down, that they don't. If they did there wouldn't be any posts trying to convince you that they do. It would be a widely-known fact, and the more of these 'do they work' posts you see, the more likely it is that they don't. People have probably already seen the answers to these questions before asking again themselves, hoping someone else will answer them with a positive experience, but even they can't always be trusted, as companies will do a lot to try to trick people into buying their products.

   If you're desperate to spend money on things to help you slim down, buy more veggies, some cute workout wear to give you a motivational boost, some real dumbbell weights and a DVD. Anything else is just a waste.


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