Raise Your (French-Manicured) Hand If You've Ever Fallen For A Get-Skinny Scheme
Ever find yourself in one of those "Get Rid of Stubborn Belly Fat!" digital vortexes? You're just surfing along, minding your own beeswax, and - bam! - some ad pops up, promising a slimmer, trimmer you.
Before you know it, you're plunking down the plastic.
Or maybe that's just me. Maybe you're a lot smarter than I am. Maybe you don't currently own several unopened bottles of a mysterious "dietary supplement" called Bio-X4.
I'd love to blame my obsession with weight on the gorgeous state of Florida, but that wouldn't be 100 percent fair. Yes, living here cranks up the pressure to look decent in shorts and teensy weensy tennis skirts 12 months out of the year. But truth is, I've always wanted to be thinner. I'm a shrimp, and shrimps need to steer clear of extra lbs.
Which brings me to Bio-X4.
Many months ago - I'm talking before Thanksgiving - I stumbled on a video that was ranting and raving about "the 3 most harmful 'health' foods" and "the one carb you should never, ever eat" and a whole other host of diet "traps" people fall into.
Like a nut, I watched the entire thing - all 56 minutes of it.
If you're up for it, you can see it here in its entirety.
But if you'd prefer the cheat-sheet version, stay put and keep reading. I love you FBP-ers like my own flesh and blood, so I've decided to save you all that tush-in-chair time and top-line the key intel from that looooooooong video.
I just watched it again and took copious notes. And I have to admit, up to about Minute 34, the video seems very solid + credible. The creator of Bio-X4, (an LA-based diet doc named Amy Lee) trots out a lot of citations from scientific journals, and soundbites from folks like preventative wellness doc Michael Roizen and Tim "4 Hour Body" Ferriss.
After Minute 34, it devolves into a hard-core sales pitch for Bio-X4, which I, the world's leading Impulse Purchaser, succumbed to.
I took about 10 pills before it started making my stomach upset and I stopped. By then, after having received about 1000 promo emails trying to get me buy more - emails in which Dr. Lee explicitly says "Write to me anytime!," I decided to do exactly that.
I wrote to this Dr. Lee person and told her that not only had I bought a boat-load of Bio-X4, I'm also a Beauty + Wellness journalist with several questions about her product. Would she like to participate in a Q+A with floridabeautyproblems.com?
I never heard back from her. So much for "Write to me anytime!"
Though I might try taking the pills again - it's driving me nuts that I spent north of $100 on them and they're just sitting there in those festive teal bottles, collecting dust - I want to read some of the reviews on YouTube first. There are a tons of them, and I think the general consensus is...not awesome.
But when all is said and done, I still think Dr. Lee makes some good points in her wildly long-winded, 55-minute video.
I'd like to share those with you now.
The Sneaky Thing
Dun dun dun...it's diet soda.
Damn. I love diet soda. It's so filled with chemicals that it's basically radio-active, but I heart it massively anyway. Still, I've cut waaaaaaaaay back. I'll have a Diet Coke or a Diet Dr. Pepper (yum times a billion) maybe once a week now. In its place, I'm drinking a ton of lemon water. While there's a lot of debate about it in the scientific community, I choose to believe that lemon water is very alkaline and that our bodies appreciate that. At the very least, it's a hell of a lot better for you than diet soda.
The chief reason diet soda is such bad news is because it's typically laced with High Fructose Corn Syrup. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a disaster. It's considered 20 times sweeter than sugar, it screws up the hormones in our bodies that regulate hunger and satiety, and it's addictive. Not good, babe. Lemon water.
3 'Health Foods'
Like The Plague
1. Yogurt with added sugar. Ideally, you should be eating yogurt that has no more than 13 grams of naturally occurring sugar (i.e., from milk) per 6 ounces. Become a nerdy label reader; your belly + thighs will thank you.
2. Wheat bread packed with the aforementioned HFCS. Why is everything so sweet these days? It makes me completely cray. Bread doesn't need to be sweet. I've recently become a huge fan of Dave's Killer Bread, which isn't sweet and, in fact, has a decidedly unsweet prison-inmate backstory. I kid you not. I may even reach out to ol' Dave With The Prison-Inmate Backstory, and feature him in an upcoming FBP blog post. Let's hope he's not literally a killer. Stay tuned...
3. Cereal bars. I've never eaten one of these in my life, but I guess a lot of people do. Why else would there be like a hundred different varieties stocked at Publix? I would hope that we FBP-ers would recognize something like Kellogg's Nutri-Grain bars for the BS they are.
Wait for it...it's fat-free potato chips made with some kind of hatched-in-a-lab Franken-ingredient called Olean. Originally launched as Olestra, Olean, a "fat substitute," is banned in numerous countries, include the entire EU. I'm sorry, but the EU is so, so, so much smarter than the U.S. about health stuff. That is categorically undeniable.
(*Not surprisingly, each of these "natural fat-loss helpers" is in Bio-X4. That's why Dr. Lee goes into such detail about them in her video. Wait - I just realized something: That's where the "4" in Bio-X4 comes from. Dana is smart!!!)
1. Digestive enzymes Amylase, Lipase and Bromelain. In our hectic, stressy, modern-day lives, there are a lot of reasons we don't digest our food as well as we could. One, our food is packed with gross preservatives that basically refuse to break down in our stomachs after we swallow them. Two, we're always in a hurry, so we gobble. While chewing verrrrry slowly would help with both of those issues, it isn't a lot of fun. Better to pop a few digestive enzymes and get the ball rolling that way.
2. Probiotics. Dr. Lee maintains that probiotics can help block candida, a fungal disease that many believe causes us to crave sugar + carbs. Personally, I firmly feel that the more sugar I eat, the more I want to eat. I've given up sweets for Lent two years in a row and it is astonishing how the cravings subside after the first five days or so. If probiotics can help with candida, and those damn sugar + carb cravings, bring 'em on.
3. Caralluma Fimbriata. I'd never heard of this before watching Dr. Lee's video, so I'm happy to see it pop up in a number of other OTC supplements besides hers. It's an ancient appetite suppressant that hunters used to chew on long trips to block hunger. Dr. Lee says it can help with "emotional eating," and just over-noshing in general. She also notes that its main claim to fame is that it doesn't make you feel speedy. I would agree with that, although I don't know if I've taken Bio-X4 long enough to really know. I can't do speedy; I'm jumpy enough as it is. Plus - hello - I'm not exactly the best sleeper in the world.
4. Green Tea Extract. While Dr. Lee - and Tim Ferriss - seem to believe that green tea extract is the magic bullet against "rebounding" (aka packing the pounds right back on after a diet, and then some), Consumer Reports doesn't see it that way. Worse, excessive dosages can lead to liver damage. Tread carefully, my lovelies.