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Smoke And MirrorsClowns creep me out. I’ve never liked them.

You’ll never find me at a circus for that exact reason. My husband tried to get me to go to this “haunted circus” a few years back, and all I could think was “aren’t they all?”

But one place you will find me is at a magic show. No, I’m not talking about clowns who do magic tricks at a 5 year old birthday party, but the real deal, the guys that disappear, cut women in half, and play with white tigers… oh wait, they don’t do that one anymore, do they?

Misdirection is the Art of Magicians

If you’ve ever been to a magic show, you will agree that it’s incredible! You see things with your own eyes that you wouldn’t ever believe could happen. But as real as these tricks look, they are in fact illusions.

But they look so real.

That’s because magicians are well trained in misdirection — diverting you from what’s really happening by forcing you to focus on the unimportant stuff. The grand gestures, the big explosions, the magician’s speech, the slight glance at the far side of the stage, are all so that you don’t see how the “trick” is really done.

But you’re smart, I’m smart, and when we walk into those magic shows, we know that’s what they’re going to do. So we watch for it, and we’re looking for it, yet somehow, we get caught up in the act and we leave thinking: “Wow! That really happened.”

It’s entertaining, it’s fun, and it’s exciting. So we pay these magicians big bucks to go see them do their stuff.

But what if other people out there are using these same methods in a way that might be harming us? And yet, we pay them to do it too. We would never stand for that, would we?

Misdirection in the Diet Industry

The diet and weight loss industry is a HUGE industry—making almost 70 billion dollars a year in the US alone. And the majority of people making money aren’t the ones who are pulling back the curtain and showing you how it’s done. They are the ones using smoke and mirrors to conceal the truth.

They talk about balancing your hormones, cutting out all of this or that, detoxing your body, to distract you from what truly causes weight loss. Their grand gestures, their super secret diet are all just big distractions from why weight loss really happens. In fact, many of them will go as far as to deny the truth.

While misdirection might be thrilling when you’re watching a woman cut in half, it’s pretty harmful when the goal is for someone to cut their weight in half…or even five or ten pounds. This type of misdirection in the weight loss field keeps us focused on the WRONG things which then causes everything from food neuroticism, to relapsing on diets, to just plain not making any progress.

So let’s pull back the curtain and see what’s really going on

Diet Gurus Secrets

What causes weight loss?

It’s eating fewer calories than your body burns. No seriously, that’s it. No matter how many gurus try to blame it on gluten, sugar, insulin, toxins…

If you’ve been spending a long time in the diet world, and heard many of the arguments of why “calories don’t count” you might not believe me. And that’s understandable. I used to not believe it either.

Even though I had heard “eat less, exercise more” for years and years, it just wasn’t working for me – eating less made me hungry, exercising more made me hungrier, and the weight didn’t seem to want to budge. So I looked for answers elsewhere.

I tried cutting out the fat, I tried cutting out the carbs, I tried “fixing my hormones”, then it was cut out the grains, the grains must be the problem, then it was it must be the toxins, eat all organic… and the list goes on and on and on….

And let me tell you, while my weight did go down a little on some of these ridiculous plans, it didn’t last. Then I would get frustrated wondering why the weight wasn’t budging and I didn’t look any thinner despite all of my hard work, all of the donuts I skipped out on, and all of the bowls of organic bird food that I had choked down.

I was determined to get to the bottom of this crazy weight loss business, so I was pretty thrilled to see “weight loss” on the syllabus of one of my grad school classes. We had studied other complex conditions, metabolic diseases, and the intricacies of vitamins and minerals, so I knew the answer had to be there.

So you can imagine my surprise when I learned: “to lose weight, eat fewer calories than are burned”…. Wait, what? I thought there were hormones involved, and food sensitivities, and vitamin deficiencies….

That’s it. To lose weight eat fewer calories than are burned.

As maddening as it was to hear this, it was also a relief. I didn’t have to go on some crazy fancy diet, cut out all of everything, and one little frozen yogurt wouldn’t put me in “fat storing mode” the rest of the day.

All I had to do was eat less. And by less, I mean a little less, not starve-yourself-so-you-rebound-binge less.

With time, I developed tools and techniques that helped me, and have since helped my clients eat less and actually lose weight without feeling hungry or deprived, and without being on a constant “diet.” (If you want to learn these tools, get my free step by step by step guide at the end of the article).

So next time you feel confused about food and weight loss or dieting I want you to know that you have the power to see through the smoke, mirrors, and the deception to what is truly causing the weight loss: So they went on a low carb diet, they cut out a lot of calories by getting rid of bread, sweets, and pasta. Low fat diet? Same thing, but with different foods cut out. Some elaborate plan involving combining foods in a certain way, or only eating this or that on certain days? Well, wouldn’t you lose your appetite trying to figure all that out too?

What I’m saying here is that the answer is simple. You don’t have to cut out all the foods you love, you don’t have to starve yourself, or go on a crazy (and dangerous) juice cleanse, or go to extremes to lose weight. In fact, none of these extreme things are designed to last. Moderation, balance and long-term habits are the only things that can be successful in the long run.

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Ashley Palmer
Ashley is a Registered Nurse with a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition. Ashley loves her son, her husband, and lifting heavy things then putting them back down repeatedly. She is a nutrition, fitness and weight loss coach and blogs at www.youtrition.net.

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