Shakeo-ing My Head

Today’s dietitian rant is brought to you by the hashtag #shakeo.  New Year’s resolutions have brought out all the crazy cleanses, diets and challenges and less than 2 weeks into 2017, I’m fed up. One of my favorite dietitian bloggers, Abby Langer, has a ton of really thorough reviews on popular diets, and today I’m sharing my own rant about the one that is currently grinding my gears: BeachBody, which is the overarching company including Shakeology and The 21-Day Fix. 

Now to clarify, I’m not knocking people who do use Shakeology, or any other diet for that matter.  My intention is to shed some light on these diets and help people see there is a better way. Food, nutrition and weight issues can be complicated and frustrating.  It’s overwhelming and those endless tweets and Facebook messages about challenges and “beach bodies” can start to look like a good way to “fix” all your problems.  But–they’re not and let me tell you why.  Even if you’ve heard this before, it’s worth mentioning again that diets don’t work. 

I’m proud to be an anti-diet dietitian who works with clients to foster positive relationships with food.  As such, I have major issues with people, products and companies that create and promote a diet mentality.   While “healthy” is a relative term that even I find myself struggling with, I can tell you that #shakeo (or any other diet/product) is not going to make you a healthier or happier person.  

So let’s pick this thing apart a little bit, shall we? For the sake of positivity, I’ll start by saying that Shakeology products aren’t all that bad. The ingredient lists are decent, though largely unnecessary.  The shakes are made up of protein powder, some powdered fruits and veggies, “superfoods” (like chia, spirulina, etc), enzymes and a combination of sugars, Stevia and other “natural” sweeteners. Despite an innocent enough ingredient list, I’m not a fan of deceiving people and creating a diet mentality. When we look deeper into Team Beachbody, here’s what we’ll find:

quick and easy fixes

Changing habits that are developed over the years takes a lot of self-care and time. As in, longer than 21 days. And I’ll let you in on a secret–you already hold the key to getting a “beach body”, no diet or exercise changes needed.  You have a body (check, halfway there!), now find a beach and BAM! Beach body.  

before-and-after photos

The idea of luring people in with pre and post pics and promising similar results is absurd and enraging. My friend Cara has an awesome post on before-and-after photos, with the takeaway being that these types of pictures do not tell a whole story. Before and after shots can be sexy and exciting, but if you could dig deeper, you might find disordered eating habits, edited/photoshopped images and much more going on.  Not to mention that after pictures rarely remain the “after”.  Research shows that dieters are likely to regain the weight they lost and more. These pictures are simply a sales tactic that create unrealistic expectations.

judgement, comparison and shame 

These things are fueled by things like before-and-after photos and seeing other people’s “testimonials” or (potentially fabricated) results from the program. Participants start to wonder what they are doing “wrong” if they’re not achieving the same weight loss/changes in physique as their coach or another challenge participant did.  Judgement, comparison and shame have no place in health and wellness. It is impossible to promise results from a program, even if someone adheres perfectly to its guidelines.  

judgement-comparison-and-shame-have-no-place-in-health-and-wellness

Unqualified “coaches”

Any and everyone can be a BeachBody coach, as long as you sign up for their “training”, pay $39.95 to start and then a monthly fee after that, plus work within their structure to sell products or get people to sign up to become coaches themselves. Apparently there are hundreds of thousands of coaches out there, which I guess is why I see that damn hashtag everywhere. In my opinion, paying some money and achieving your own “success” with a restrictive diet plan does not qualify someone to be a health coach. I’m embarrassed to say that my internet searches revealed that some of these coaches are Registered Dietitians. My hope is that RD or not, BeachBody coaches have good intentions and firmly believe in what they are doing. My fear is that most are jumping on a bandwagon and looking for a way to make extra money. When considering hiring a health coach, personal trainer or dietitian, do your homework and look for someone who has a degree and credentials to support their work.

It’s sneaky as heck

The Team BeachBody website boasts the tagline “a community for fit and healthy living”.  I’m going to go ahead and declare that it’s doing quite the opposite. Masquerading as an encouraging community that will help you reach your goals, these companies are actually only working to take your money.  Hello, multi-level marketing!  

The health and nutrition claims are just as sneaky and all statements contain an asterisk note that they have not been evaluated by the FDA. At less than 200 calories each, the shakes are technically “dietary supplements” although they are definitely marketed to consumers as meal replacements.  Somewhere in the fine print, Shakeology does clarify that their products are designed to “supplement” a healthy diet and therefore should be prepared with liquids, fruit and other ingredients to create a true meal.  AMEN to that! At least they are acknowledging it, but in my opinion it should be made more clear to the consumer.

To clarify, I think smoothies and shakes can be great options as a meal or a snack.  If you feel like drinking your food instead of eating it, that’s okay by me, but I’d recommend a smoothie made from real food ingredients…not pulverized, powdered, processed versions of them. A smoothie made with fresh or frozen fruit, leafy greens, milk or water and some other additions can be super nutritious and wayyyy less expensive than Shakeology. 

conclusion

BeachBody is a business and a marketing scheme that takes advantage of people who are looking to make healthy changes in their lives. Shakeology isn’t inherently a dangerous or “unhealthy” product, but it’s also not a sustainable solution to achieving health. If you’re ready to ditch dieting and start creating a more positive and loving approach to food, I’m here. So are many other anti-diet, body-positive dietitians and health coaches.  We can’t promise it will be easy or quick, but it will be worth it to move beyond restriction, guilt and shame to a happier, healthier life.  

Stitch Fix: December 2016

Stitch Fix: December 2016

This post contains affiliate links and I may receive a small percentage or referral credit if you purchase using my links. Thanks in advance for your support!

Happy Friday! I’m back to share my latest Stitch Fix with y’all.  I honestly forgot that I’d scheduled it for last week, so it was a fun post-Christmas surprise!  For anyone who doesn’t know about Stitch Fix yet, it’s a clothing service where a stylist sends you 5 pieces of clothing, accessories and/or shoes. You try it all on at home and then decide what you want to purchase and what to send back. It works wonderfully for me because A) I hate shopping/malls/lines and B) I’m not the most fashionable person out there.

With each fix I receive, I continue to be impressed by both the service as a whole and my stylist, Hannah.  She checks out my Pinterest board and really does listen to the feedback I give on each item and fix.  She also pushes me out of my comfort zone with some items I would never choose for myself. This December fix (my 10th!) was more in my style “wheelhouse”, but that didn’t make it any less fun to bust open and try on! I didn’t have any specific requests this time around, so here’s what my stylist sent:

Fate Salena Mixed Material Pullover-$64

This top is cozy and simple, with little details like the pocket and trim that make it more than just a plain long sleeve tee.  The fit was off–the sleeves were too long, the shoulder seam came down to my bicep, etc.  Not to mention, my closet is already all sorts of shades of grey, so while I wanted to like this top, I didn’t keep it.

Mixed Material Pullover

Bay to Baubles Laura Mini Earring Set-$28

While I didn’t ask for accessories specifically, I definitely am in need of an “everyday” pair of earrings. This set of silver earrings fit the bill, but unfortunately, I’m wearing mostly gold these days.  To be honest, I also think they looked kind of cheap, so back these went too! 

Bay to Baubles

Pro-tip: I always give my stylist ALL of my feedback, good or bad, when checking out. It helps her customize my fixes and on a larger scale, gives Stitch Fix as a company feedback to consider as they partner with clothing and accessory brands. I truly have had nothing but good experiences with SF customer service along the way!

Skies Are Blue Sisou Button Down Top-$58

Edyson Mayfare Bootcut Jean-$58

 
Stitch Fix #9

This button down fit me really well (in a comfy, casual way) and it has two layers so it’s heavier than a normal plaid top without being overly thick like a flannel. My stylist couldn’t have known, but I have a really similar red plaid button down already, so I can’t justify keeping this one.

I totally didn’t expect to find bootcut jeans when I pulled them out of my box. Maybe it’s my lack of fashion sense, but I thought bootcut was out and skinny jeans were in? 😉 The jeans are super comfortable and fit really well in the butt and thighs, which is not an easy task. I’m bummed to say they also ended up going back.  It’s only because the inseam was too long for my short little legs and I will never go to get them hemmed.  Also, I wear flats 99% of the time and think bootcut pants look weird with flat shoes.  But who knows, I could be wrong on that too. I’m not a fashion expert, obviously.

Market & Spruce Wilco Solid Quilted Vest-$68

Remember how I said the stylists pay attention and try to choose things they know you’ll love? This is a perfect example of that. I’m SUCH a vest person and probably have about 1 million of them on my Pinterest board.  I also own like four that I wear all the time.  I loved the bright blue color of this vest, but otherwise I wasn’t a fan.  The fabric felt fairly thin and the gold zipper looked cheap and clunky.  As much as I really wanted to keep something in this fix, this had to go back too.img_3797

Overall this fix wasn’t the best for me, but it is still always a fun experience.  I’m looking it as a sign from the universe to save my pennies for next time! I’m planning to clean up my Pinterest board a bit (no more vests) and request more specifics for the next one, which is of course already scheduled. 😉

One more thing about how great Stitch Fix is—for the months of January and February, they have partnered with GoodWill to make it easy to donate unwanted clothing or household goods.  Here’s the deal with the Give Back Box®…Just package up clothing or household goods you wish to donate in your Stitch Fix box (or any box!) and print a free shipping label. Then, drop it at any post office or UPS drop-off location, or simply leave it at your doorstep for USPS pickup. Awesome, right? I’m definitely going to do this with some stuff I’ve been meaning to get rid of! 

As always, if you want to sign up for Stitch Fix yourself or buy a gift card for someone else to use, I’d looove if you use my affiliate links.  I am a Stitch Fix influencer, but happily used the service before I became one and I continue to pay for fixes on my own.  If you love any of the pieces I received, be sure to pin them for your Stitch Fix stylist or directly request them in your next fix!

Happy fixing, friends!