Tune out the bull this January

There is loads of fitness advice floating around social media and January is like the worst time of year for it. There will be fitness influencers selling their workout programmes promising that you’ll lose 5lbs of belly fat in just 5 weeks. You can’t spot reduce fat, by the way. It depends where you naturally store it and everyone is different. Anyone selling you a programme with this promise is lying, although 5lbs in 5 weeks is a reasonable goal to aim for if you’re looking to lose fat. But it might come off your butt and not your tummy, just saying.

Picture of me standing in front of a red brick wall with green ivy sprawling across most of it.

They’ll tell you that you should be training first thing in the morning totally fasted because that burns more fat. They’ll tell you that you shouldn’t eat later than 7pm in the evening cause then you’ll go to sleep and that food will turn to fat overnight… They’ll try and sell you a slimming tea that’s essentially a laxative that will make you sh*t yourself. Yes. I said it because it makes me mad so I’m using a swear word I wouldn’t normally use in a blog post (although I haven’t completely changed, I’m starring out one of the letters to make it more polite).

The truth is that you don’t need to be a new you this year, if you don’t want to. I mean, you can make goals and stuff if you want, but you don’t have to. Those weightloss companies are profiting off of our insecurities so it works for them to promote the ideal that ‘smaller = better’ and those before and after pictures perpetuate the idea that there is something wrong with the ‘before’ picture and if you look like that then you’re going to need to use their product/programme etc to ‘fix it’.

Training fasted might help to train your body to work without fuel, which is handy if you’re looking to compete in an endurance event, but generally does nothing to burn more fat. It’s just not how the body works. Fat loss is a simple energy balance where if you eat more calories than you use in a day your body will store it as fat. So when you chose to eat and when you chose to train in any 24 hour period does nothing to change that. This is a very simplified way of explaining what is actually a very complicated process and I don’t want to over-simplify fat loss because I know how hard it can actually be and there are other factors to be taken into account when on a weightloss journey, such as stress levels, sleep, hydration etc, but that’s not the point of this post.

My point is that January social media will likely bombard you with messaging that you need to be better and likely lose the weight you gained over Christmas. It will make you feel guilty for having enjoyed yourself and tell you that now is the time to invest in their product/programme to fix the damage you did. It will try to tell you again that ‘smaller = better’ and show you images of people who have had success in becoming the smaller, better person. If you do want to lose body fat then that’s okay, but make sure it’s for the right reasons. Those slim tanned celebs and influencers that grace our Instagram screens? Yeah they’re the minority; the average dress size in the UK is 16. And they probably don’t have the job that you have or the kids or the hobbies or the household chores that you and I have.

The point of this post? Tune out the bull this January. Don’t believe everything you see online. If you see something you think might be true then do your own research to verify it before taking action. If someone is giving you information online then check their credentials or qualifications. Influencers shouldn’t be selling you an exercise programme or diet supplement if they’re not qualified to do so.

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