RK Tip of the Week: Why brand loyalty will keep you fat

Posted on September 30, 2009

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I felt like I was playing Supermarket Sweep today…remember that game show?…you can probably still catch it on the Game Show Network these days. In the final “sweep” contestants run around the grocery store looking for key items via clues they are given & the first team back w/ the most stuff wins groceries for life or the grocery cart or something- I really can’t remember what. But anyway, I felt like a game show contestant today as I hustled around the grocery store looking for all of a certain companies’ letter K brand items. ‘Why?’ you ask?

shot from above at tesco- britain's answer to america's costco

shot from above at tesco- britain's answer to america's costco

Because I was racing around the store doing ‘field research’ on the dumb weight loss plan that has been put out by a certain company that represents itself with just 1 “special” letter. The challenge sounds simple: eat their products for most of your meals, with 1 regular meal of real food other than their boxed grossness & you’ll lose a size in two weeks. I wanted to find out just how much you’d be losing from your pocketbook as well as just how much crap you’d be ingesting on this plan so I did a little homework for you. Here’s what they don’t tell you (and down further, I’ll talk about better alternatives):

They don’t tell you…
…that it’s going to cost you more than the skinny jeans you’re trying to fit into just to get all the food they want you to eat

*I went & tallied the average cost of all the different things they sell w/ their letter on them: protein drinks, granola bars (read my post on “Inflammation Lurking” to refresh on why I hate granola bars & you should too), cereals, waffles, crackers & so on. Oh & by the way, they want you to ‘mix it up’ so you’re not only eating 1 flavor of their bar or cereal, you’re rotating between two or more flavors i.e. spending more $ on their brand. But putting that aside and saying you’re plain Jane or plain John & you ONLY eat 1 flavor at a time, to get through 2 weeks of their challenge, it will cost you- just in their products alone, and that’s before you buy your fruits, veggies, dairy and meats- between $47-$55!! And again – this is BEFORE you buy everything else you’re going to need to eat.

People tell me often that they cannot afford a trainer or cannot afford organic food. You want to save money? Stop buying pre-packaged garbage that is failing you on so many nutritional levels…which brings me to my next point.

They don’t tell you…
…that if you do this plan, congrats, you’re setting yourself up for an awesome food intolerance or allergy since all of their products are a flour/wheat gluten/corn syrup/sugar base. Literally.
*I read all the ingredients lists for you already, every single package I picked up had 20+ ingredients, most of them chemicals from a food science lab- and you know my rule, if it has more than 6-8 you should put it back. Every single package was a different chemical make-up of wheat, corn & sugar. So essentially, you’re eating for 2 straight weeks, corn, flour, and sugar fortified with synthetic vitamins that you will never process as well as real fruit and veg.

I took a look at their meal plans on their official site & while they do have a tiny little caption about supplementing with fruits & veg in addition to your 1 real-food meal & the other pre-packaged things they want you eating, their basic plan goes like this:  meal 1 = flour, snack 1 = flour & rice, meal 2 = flour & corn, snack 2 = flour & sugar, meal 3 = real food. Why don’t we just sit down with a tub of flour and eat it straight out of the tub? That probably saves even MORE calories & we could lose 3 sizes in 2 weeks!!!

People tell me all the time, “it’s so hard to figure out what to eat.” Umm, walk into the produce section. Pick some stuff that looks good. Walk over to the meat section. Pick more stuff that looks good. Stroll down to dairy. Search out the stuff that hasn’t been colored neon pink or loaded with sugar. Go home. Cook what you bought. Eat it.

It sounds over-simplified, and we can certainly get quite complex in planning meals, but you really don’t need to in order to understand the basics of nutrition. Eat real food as much as you can. Don’t eat too much of any one thing. Make your plate colorful.  Make sense?

So what’s a girl who wants to fit into skinny jeans or a boy who wants to look hot in his trendy vest to do?

1. Spend money on things that are worth it & that will actually net you a long-term gain in your health & fitness. You’re better off spending the money on a good-quality pair of running shoes, some sessions with a professional who can actually teach you workouts & nutrition that work for YOUR body, or organic food that can help your body lose body fat simply by not having to fight the inflammatory response of packaged foods anymore, than buying tons of boxed foods that teach you nothing, will last you no more than 6 snacks or meals, and that are as far from organic/natural as you can get.

2. Don’t do any diet that changes the way you eat for the length of the diet but doesn’t give you real-life eating ideas after the program is over.This is why other weight loss plans that deliver the food to you already made & portioned are so difficult to net long-term results with…because it never teaches you to eat in the real world, to cook for yourself, to portion out and discipline yourself to the correct amounts & kinds of foods. Don’t know how to eat? Don’t over-stress about it as that only compounds the emotions tied to food. There are some quality nutrition tips on this site, and I work with individuals on specific education if they feel they need some help, just click on the ‘contact me’ page in the About The Site section. If you forgot the basics already, scroll back up for what I said a few paragraphs ago & start there.

3. Get moving. Seriously. Sweat gives your hair some great body & lift, so do it often! If you work out 5-6 days a week (which IS the recommended standard today) then this whole nutrition thing, starts to get easier because you start seeing that results may be possible for you, and if that is the case, then if we start cleaning our nutrition house out, we may actually start seeing even more results! You can cut calories all you want, but remember that your metabolism is a shifty devil if you don’t get moving. Every lb. of muscle you add on requires an extra 50-60 calories, every lb. of fat requires only 5 calories. So start putting on some lean muscle (even you ladies need your muscles!), it’s going to help you not have to be so seriously strict with your calories. And besides, I bet you are a much less cranky person when you get to eat a few extra calories each day then when you’re stuck squeaking by on 1200-1400.  

And next time some gimmick-y brand or commercial starts drawing you in to their “lose it quick” advertising, know that you’re so much smarter than they realize & you’re not going to fall for their trickery! Just by reading this post, I think you’re a million times smarter than Contestant 1 in this clip of Supermarket Sweep. (Watch the 1st minute and you’ll agree that yes, you are smarter than that guy.)

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