Rachel and her son play on the parallettes.
Last Monday I blogged about how there are many modern day snake-oil salespeople and how most of them are selling something to solve a problem that can be more inexpensively solved through lifestyle practices. Sometimes, however, they have persuasive stories from others who have used their products and had amazing and life changing results. These stories are powerful and can motivate us to use those products as well.
Stories provide social proof that something works, but they are anecdotal and it can be difficult to tease apart all of the variables that are involved with the success of a thing. Let's looks at an example. I have borrowed this one from Renaissance Periodization's book Renaissance Woman.
"Eat beets every night to reduce belly fat."
At first glance this may seem like a great idea. Beets are natural and eating more of them can't be harmful. Besides, the blog where you read this says it's the big secret Doctors don't want you to know about. So you start eating beets every night. After a few months you have visibly reduced belly fat. You're convinced your new nightly beet eating was the thing that reduced your belly fat so you post before and after pictures on Instagram and become a brand advocate for Beet Yourself Skinny, LLC.
But there's a problem with this conclusion. You see, the recommended protocol for eating beets at night to lose belly fat also included drinking 1/3 of your body weight in water to help flush out the "toxins" that the beets were drawing out of your cells. You also fasted for 24 hours every 5 days to help accelerate the "cleansing" of your cells.
So what exactly is the cause of your reduced belly fat? You have no idea because it's impossible to know if was
1. Nocturnal beet consumption
2. Increased water consumption
3. Calorie deficit from not eating every 5 days
If we want to use science to see if nocturnally noshing beets reduces belly fat we would set up an experiment that tested just ONE variable, eating beets at night, and eliminated the increased water consumption and decreased calorie consumption protocols.
It is only natural that we want magic things like eating beets to help us solve our problem. Making sustainable changes in our physical health, fitness, body composition and mental health take time, persistence, consistency, and commitment. We humans really struggle with all of those things. Plus, it takes brave introspection to admit we might not be making good lifestyle choices. It's far easier for our ego if we just eat this new magic food rather than make consistent choices.
The next time your Facebook friend invites you to join a group for the most amazing new product that works synergistically to create a harmonic balance in your cells so that they flush out toxins, look carefully at the other things you're supposed to do while taking the most amazing new product. You're likely to see a familiar set of healthy lifestyle practices associated with its use. What if you just do those healthy lifestyle practices?
Have you been asked by a Facebook friend to try an amazing new product? Share in the comments what it is and all the things you're supposed to do while taking it.
Record your WOD on Beyond the Whiteboard.
Do you need CrossFit or yoga gear? Click on the links below to buy through our Just Strong, Reebok, Rogue or Hylete Affiliate share sale programs. These are affiliate links and our gym will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links.
Check out our Flickr page!