By: Mike Doehla
Founder, Stronger U
Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in a sea of confusing and conflicting nutrition information? Wouldn’t you love to learn once and for all who to listen to, why, and how to do the thing that’s been on your mind for so long? That sounds awesome, doesn’t it? At this point, being the Founder of Stronger U, I have played a direct and indirect role in helping tens of thousands of people figure this stuff out and lose nearly a million pounds while improving their relationship with food. And hopefully in less than 10 minutes of reading, I can help you too.
Before I dive in, I’d like to do what many internet folks call “being vulnerable.” Growing up, I didn’t always know what to do or who to listen to when it came to food and nutrition advice. I tried it all, probably just like you. I read the books, followed the advice of the most popular diet people, and like many others, I shared that information with others before I knew if it worked. I was part of the problem. People who trusted me, trusted the information, regardless of how ridiculous it was. I still remember frying chicken in coconut oil, doing the same to veggies, and yes, even putting butter in my coffee. Forgive me. My accidents in the past led me to you and hopefully, you won’t make the same mistakes I have.
Who is the Villain?
After realizing what I was doing didn’t make sense (through furthering my education and looking in a mirror), I took a detour and opened my mind. I scrutinized if the problem of fat loss was actually because of carbs, specific food ingredients, times we ate, “clean food”, or our DNA. As it turns out, the moment I entertained the idea that it was not those things is the moment I allowed myself to learn what it might be.
Now, I know I’m a broken record, but if we’re talking about fat loss, we have this thing figured out. It will come down to calories consumed and calories expended. Regardless of what the tricksters say. But if it’s that simple, why aren’t people sharing that information? Maybe because cash is king and these “gurus” know it’s hard to sell simplicity and know it’s easier to sell a villain. Thank you for helping us prove that wrong. Odds are you’re here because someone like you shared their story.
So what do these gurus do? They write a book based on easy-to-disprove and/or old research, they create a compelling narrative around a villain (carbs, insulin, meal-timing, or ingredients), and they market the heck out of it. And as expected, you bite. Just like I used to. But time after time we are let down because it doesn’t work or it’s unnecessarily unsustainable. What if we took a moment to stop and think about all this? Are these “diet creators” just biased and taking advantage of desperate people? We can send rovers to mars, we can create cures for diseases, we can fit a computer in our pocket, but you’re telling me we haven’t figured out how to make a human lose fat. Nonsense. We have, but we keep walking past it for something shinier coming from the mouths of someone who is laughing their way to the bank.
We are constantly being sold solutions to problems we do not have. When I started Stronger U, my goal was to just sell solutions to problems people did have. I was sick and tired of watching people be misled like I was and when I started opening my eyes to all of the misinformation, I started seeing the red flags.
The Red Flags
Are their Credentials Cloudy?
One of the mistakes I made early on was falling for the letters after a person’s name and thinking that meant they knew what they were talking about. But we all need to realize no matter what someone’s education or job title, there will always be people that say silly stuff in order to get our attention (and our money). Our field is filled with seemingly reputable “professionals” with no real experience helping real people. Instead of keeping things simple, they identified a new villain for us to hate. And they do it by hiding behind the letters in their name. Many of which have nothing to do with nutrition, behavior, or food strategy. These people are the ones who try to control the nutritional space. Many people ask me how I know their advice isn’t true and the answer is simple. Look at all of the people on our program who are going all the things that these professionals claim won’t work.
Is there money to be made?
Ironic, I know. I started this business and it makes money. But that was an accident, I swear. When I began I just wanted to help a few people and then I got hooked. But is that the story of the charlatans in this field? Or are they finding ways to manipulate data, create compelling stories, and sell you everything from books, bogus supplements, certifications, and courses? Once you can look through these money grabs and see the truth, the magic will happen.
Are they consistent?
Many of these experts tend to flip-flop when a new trend comes up. I’ve watched influential people go from Paleo to tracking food, to Keto, Intermittent Fasting, and now the carnivore diet. Are we seriously eating nothing but animals and pretending this is the next best thing? What’s next? Answer: Whatever they can latch on to..
To me, consistency in messaging is crucial for your reputation. Since day one our fundamentals have stayed the same: caloric control, veggies, movement, and no shame around eating your favorite foods. When you figure out what works, you just keep rolling with it.
How Long Do People Follow Said Diet?
Now, everyone loves their new diet in the first few weeks. Actually, some research shows people last less than a week on most diets. Especially the ones that rip away all your fun foods resulting in drastic cuts to caloric intake. But where are the people who are 2 months, 6 months, or years in? You won’t find them.. You’ll usually come across one to two people talking about how awesome their diet is in a sea of others telling them not to do it. That my friend is what we call survivorship bias. We can’t judge the efficacy of a diet by the handful of people who succeeded while ignoring the mountain of others who failed. We have stats that show SU, or a flexible approach, prepares people better long term than any other diet they’ve tried. That makes me such a proud Food Dad.
Closing it Out
I know navigating dieting, nutrition, health, and fitness is like the wild west. It is difficult to know what works and what doesn’t. It’s hard to know especially when operating in this wack modern day food environment while we’re equipped with an unprepared brain. You see, this goal of ours to lose fat, feel great, and be healthy is anything but easy, but if you keep your eyes open, operate with a new level of awareness, you will soon join me in burning all those books, unfollowing the fakers, and finally getting results.