I really enjoy the world of thought leaders and looking outside the box and questioning old ways of doing and new ways of being. That's why it's so disappointing to dig under the surface of some of the “new” programs out there and find the same old same old being re-packaged as something new.
I also like to keep an open mind and check out the latest crazes because you never know - there could be something useful about them. Luckily, I also have a pretty strong bullshit detector and these days - it's working overtime.
A few weeks ago, I listened to a webinar on the WildFit health program. It's the latest new eating program promoted by Mindvalley that promises good health (with weight loss as a side bonus.) The program says all the things that people want to hear these days. It says that diets don't work and that calories in and calories out has been debunked and that it's not about weight loss. It says that it’s a lifestyle change and it's about health.
It also says that it will help you reset your relationship with food and be free.
And while it acknowledges that not everyone wants to lose weight, somehow "releasing weight" seems to be a major selling point.
This program is seductive because it promises everything that we all want. It promises sleeping well and waking up energized, enjoying food and reducing cravings, having energy for what matters, achieving your "true" weight, increasing your libido, burning fat which apparently makes you want to exercise, glowing skin and decreased brain fog.
Pretty amazing huh? It reminds me of the same promises that the Whole 30 offers as well. And Paleo, and Keto….The point is, there is nothing new and different about this program and it is a diet. It's even worse than a diet, it's an elimination diet and it is not going to help you feel free in your relationship to food.
It's basically going to take you down the same old road (for only $1497 with coaching or $497 without) of eliminating dairy, grains, caffeine, alcohol, sugar and more. You will spend longer trying to recover from this plan than you will spend on the plan.
Ok - so maybe it helps people reboot or reset their palate and add some more nutrient dense things into their meals. This is not necessarily a bad thing but here are the problems I see and things you might want to consider.
First, this is a restrictive diet like all other fad diets no matter how many times it says it's not. Anytime you are told what to eat and not to eat certain foods, it's a diet. The creator even tries to say "it's not about telling people what to eat". But um, yeah, it is.
Second, it uses statistics like 95% of your health comes from food and 5% comes from exercise. Well - what about genetics, early childhood development, access to quality food, access to health care, having employment opportunities or a good education, or mental, spiritual and emotional health? Where are the percentages for how those affect our health? Because according to the CDC only about 20% of our health is actually determined by food and movement. Much if it is beyond our control or dependent on other factors.
The program also quotes other statistics but does not share where they come from. I won't repeat them here because who knows where they originated. All they do is scare us into thinking we are going to die immediately if we don't plop down our money for this program.
Moving on, the third issue I have with this program is that the Mindvalley guru who was so blown away by this program did a webinar about it after 10 months of being on the program and he talked about his transformation among others.
Most of the pictures he showed were of people who were average sized transforming to gaunt. He also said he "gained a lot of weight" over the holidays and was able to lose it again when he went back to "eating the WildFit approved way" (oh but this isn't a diet) and he wondered how he would have done if he hadn't cheated. (But then in the next sentence he says this whole program doesn't have cheat days because you won't need them. Hmmmm.)
He also said that the diet was "effortless". Well, if it was so effortless, why did you stop doing it over the holidays and why did you need to cheat? If it's not something you can sustain during real life - which includes holidays, then how is it different than any other diet? If there is a wagon to fall off of, then it's a diet.
The inconsistencies are plentiful but I'm glad they are there so we all know that this program is another bullshit fad diet.
In addition, they make a big stink in the webinar about sugar being addictive. However, in listening to a YouTube video by the WildFit creator - he talks about how nicotine is not addictive because it causes none of the painful physical and emotional symptoms that withdrawing from alcohol or drugs cause. Well, by his own logic then I guess sugar is not addictive either huh? I have never heard of someone who needed to go to rehab or use methadone and have doctors get them through quitting sugar.
Another inconsistency is that the creator says he hung out with tribal bushmen and it's not our level of exercise that is a problem and that exercise doesn't even matter. He said the bushmen don't work out any more than we do. Well - in another video he tells of wearing his pedometer and walking 27 miles with the bushmen and how that this is typical for them. I'm not sure about you, but that is not typical for most people in the modern world in a day.
The point I took from this is that to achieve the lower weights that these people are aiming for - you would probably have to walk 27 miles a day to sustain it!
So here is another program trying to suck you in. The positive reviews on the web are all getting affiliate money for recommending it or work for Mindvalley. Then I found a blog with a person who tried it in 2016 and was still trying to "get back into it" in 2018 because it was so wonderful. How many of you can relate to that? People have limited, unsustainable "success" followed by years of guilt and shame and desperately try to recreate the short lived results while blaming themselves for failing.
Which brings me to another point. Until you have about 5 years of data that shows initial weight loss and then maintenance - without your weight constantly yo-yo’ing up and down as you go on and off the program, and without turning people into orthorexic, sugar gram counting, fat phobic bundles of ketosis energy, then how can you call this a success?
What can you take away from this? Well, there is always some truth to adding more veggies to your food intake and being mindful of sugar and processed foods, but your bodies will tell you when you've had enough. When you stop and listen and heal your relationship with food - not by detoxing but by really attuning to your own body, then it will tell you what it likes and what it doesn't and what it needs.
And every person who does this attuning will not necessarily be thin because all bodies are different. And some bodies still might have aches and pains and possibly low energy and the dreaded brain fog. There are many reasons why this can happen and it doesn't all come back to food.
Please stop beating yourself up and save your money. Go do something fun - go out to dinner, give to a charity, or buy yourself some flowers, but try not to let the barely disguised diet trap suck you in again.