I am highly skeptical of anything claiming to cleanse your system or detoxify your body which you must buy in a box, or commit to an ongoing subscription. However I have avoided this particular tussle over Isagenix because I prefer to be known for what I stand FOR, and spend my energy on what I create, rather than tear down something else. However it has now come to my door, and rather than write a private email to a friend and a few of my followers and clients who have asked for my opinion, I have decided that I will make public my professional thoughts and opinions in the hope that it spares some of my followers heart-ache and metabolism damage…
I have a strong stance against quick-fix shakes. As a weight loss mindset professional, (I am a qualified Meta-Coach, Hypnotherapist and NLP Master who has been in the health industry for 10 years and who has personally struggled with my weight) I have seen too many women burned by the after-the-after comedown of these quick fix “health” products, that ruin your metabolism and deplete your self-belief, leaving you thinking that you are the problem, when in fact, you had just been sold into a system through very clever marketing and psychological triggers of “expert” testimony and social proof, that was designed to fail from the start. You think you have failed, that you have no willpower, when in fact it is the diet industry, that has perpetuated myths on our collective consciousness that has lead us to believe that the power to attain our own health is outside of ourselves.
The latest of these diet fads is Isagenix, an expensive meal replacer & supplement program sold via MLM (Multi-Level Marketing). Before Isagenix was Herbalife & Body By Vi, before that it was Slim-Fast, Celebrity Slim, Tony Ferguson meal replacer shakes, Opti-fast, Ultra-slim, Lemon Detox Drinks, Slim-Right… There have been a lot over the last few years.
And that’s to say nothing of the quick fix pills: Xenical, Duromine, Liproxenol, Garcinia Cambodia, Hydroxycuts, Maxi-cuts, Opti-burn, Themo-burn, Abidexin, XLR8, etc, etc. Quick fixes all.
The reason for these diet fads’ insidious hold on our culture has to do with the way our brain is wired. We are designed to look for the quickest path from A to B. We want to get the biggest reward for the least amount of effort, it’s survival 101, and these products are very cleverly marketed to push our persuasion buttons and brainwash us into buying them and then on-selling them to others. To quote my dear friend and fellow health campaigner Bianca Aiono on this subject, (which was the catalyst for me to write this post) “they are just falling victim to the “Make Money Easily” industry whilst exploiting others through the “Lose Weight Easily” diet industry.”
Check out Bianca’s passionate and funny post here: http://www.bionicafitwarrior.com/the-problem-with-isagenix/
I’d like to look at the marketing of a product like Isagenix to take apart its marketing appeal on the masses:
These products talk about their scientific studies, and anecdotal testimony to add validity their efficacy and health benefit claims. There are is one nutritionist I have seen promoting Isagenix – Natalie Jill, and many Personal Trainers, and all of whom are a part of the business and financially benefit to sell the products, to quote Natalie “I am not going to lie, I like the residual income aspect! Who wouldn’t?”
I have seen actual scientific studies that report on the health benefits of some of the ingredients within Isagenix products but I have not seen one unbiased, double-blind study that proves the the health claims that Isagenix makes for it’s products. (If you know of one, please forward it to me… and I will happily revise my position) Isagenix are taking these other studies and saying if all these ingredients do good things, this product, with all of them together must also be good. This is flawed rationale at best and does nothing to understand the complex way that herbs interrelate inside our biology.
Here’s some more points reviewing the flawed rationale from retired Dr Harriet Hall
And a critique of the ingredients from a Certified Nutrition Consultant.
One of the most persuasive forms of social psychology as per social psychologist, author and researcher Dr. Cialdini is Social Proof which activates our innate tribal thinking. MLM businesses have this built into their model, and it is a brilliant strategy, because they only need to convince one person, then that person goes out and evangelises to their own social network, who are more inclined to believe them due to their personal connection. Once enough people have liked a certain product in a social circle it reaches a tipping point and the masses then fall into line like sheep, each thinking that the person ahead of them has done the research so it must be good. http://mlm.com/persuasive-strategies-social-proof/
These analogy pictures as above take one ingredient or vitamin and equate it to a whole food. For example as per the diagram, there’s 180mcg of Vitamin A which is the same as eating 1 capsicum. Anyone who has any understanding of nutrition would realise that 180mcg of Vitamin A created in a laboratory is not equivalent to 1 capsicum, it is equivalent to 180mcg of chemically extracted or created Vitamin A. The problem with equating these two in cute diagrams to people who aren’t educated in nutrition means that they think that they are getting the equivalent of fruits and vegetables, and are lulled into a false sense of security that they are eating something healthy. Yes Vitamin A is mostly good for you, (not always, too much can be harmful) but is it bio available? Does it actually impact your blood work? And what about the other nutrients in a capsicum? The micronutrients, fibre, enzymes, minerals etc? See here to find out all the other things that are in a capsicum that aren’t in the shake…
There are many genuine studies that report on the benefits of Intermittent Fasting for certain people, (definitely not all people all the time) there are increases in growth hormone, detoxification through ketosis; where the body begins to use its own fat stores and damaged cells for energy in absence of carbohydrates for fuel. For those who don’t know, toxins are stored safely in our fat stores, and when we deliberately shed fat by going into a ketogenic state these toxins are then processed by your liver and kidney and excreted. Which often accounts for the bad breath, stale odour and terrible headaches that people mostly encounter when entering a fast. Fasting has a place in some health regimes for sure, but should not be entered into without the support of a genuine health professional. You don’t need to buy Isagenix supplements to fast, you can do it with the guidance of a health professional and spend the money you save on shakes, on genuine health advice from qualified professionals, tailored to your particular needs. See more here: http://www.allaboutfasting.com/effects-of-fasting-ketosis.html
We all know that in order to attain and maintain optimal health we need to eat organic whole-foods and incorporate activity into our daily lives. Isagenix purports to be a better choice for busy people to kickstart a healthier lifestyle and that may be so. There is a place for everything in this crazy world of ours. (Even the stuff I don’t like personally) It is certainly better than having Duromine, or eating Mcdonalds every day, and if it gets people to think more about their health, add fruit to their shakes and eat more real whole foods then that’s a step in the right direction. I can see it having a temporary place, in a transition, but not as a long term solution, as it claims to be. However it is also an unnecessary and expensive extra step that has just as much chance of also leading to problems, side-effects and a negative health spiral as it does putting someone on the right track to learning more about their health.
The main two selling points for the shakes & supplements are energy and weight loss. Well of course you’re going to lose weight when you’re essentially on a fast. Anytime you drastically cut your intake of calories you will lose weight. What I worry about is the long term results for people who go into this for a weight loss solution. They are not learning the fundamentals for true lasting health, instead they are being bamboozled by yet another quick fix which does nothing to re-educate them about their poor choices which lead to them being overweight in the first place. And like any other outside-in, quick fix, it also does nothing to address the mental and emotional reasons behind the persons excess weight, meaning that once they are unable to continue on the fast, they will regain more weight than they lost due to their compromised metabolism, feelings of failure and emotional pain, and going back to their original coping strategy; eating comfort food.
Many of the ingredients inside these shakes have energy enhancing properties, caffeine (inside the green tea extract) being the main one, and many other herbs, see here for references. There are three main problems with taking these mixed herb formulas to increase your energy:
It is true that our soils have been depleted of critical micronutrients through over-used industrialised agricultural farm lands. Many nutritional experts say that there is a place for supplementation in your nutrition regime, the latest I heard from the mouth of Dr. Nora Gedgaudas and I am not qualified enough to refute her! (and I take some natural supplements myself so I’m inside this glass house) However I do have to question where are the nutrients coming from in the supplementation process? Is it not creating further problems in our biodiversity and ecology to farm land for agriculture and reduce this produce down to over-priced supplements for the health conscious & rich middle classes while there are many in the world who cannot afford a single carrot? I find something about that deeply disturbing. Isn’t it better to focus on buying locally grown vegetables from your farmers market which you can verify have been grown with sustainable practices?
There are few people on the products for long before they too become “health crusaders” and begin inundating their social media posts by how great they feel on their “awesome cleanse” just “pm me for details”. I don’t deny the appeal of financial freedom and the lure of helping other people while doing it. I do this myself in my own business. For those who are trapped inside a corporate job that does not fulfil them and looking for an escape, it is a natural progression to want to create a business out of the latest product they are taking that makes them feel great. (It is well known that after a few days on a fast you begin to feel awesome, clear-headed and have loads of energy, that’s any fast, with or without shakes) I really understand the appeal, and it is a clear reason why this has become such a prolific MLM company, with 2 billion in cumulative sales and an exponential growth rate. However, when you join the Isagenix bandwagon, you are giving the power to a multinational corporation and spending your time and energy developing a business in which you are probably not an expert, and which the majority of the profits go to someone else.
As a business owner, coach and champion for the self-actualisation and expression of your innate potential I seriously question devoting your time to building a business for someone else. I wonder what would happen if you spend that time and energy creating a business around something that you were naturally skilled at and created your own product that people genuinely needed? You would own that business 100%, you would have the joy of creation in your daily life and could feel genuinely proud of yourself for helping people with something you made yourself. That’s empowerment! That’s the kind of business I have built for myself, through my own study, expertise and hard work, it is not a quick fix, it takes time and it is awesome when you reap the rewards of your labour.
The get-rich-quick MLM model promises a quick path to riches, however after 5 years of operation 90% of MLM’ers have dropped out, ( funnily enough that’s similar to the diet failure rate too!) and that time has been wasted building a business that is a fantasy of freedom, which statistically (and legally) is not built on a solid foundation.
Get-rich-quick is a fantasy. Do the real work, get the real rewards.
My ultimate philosophical problem with Isagenix and all the other products I mentioned above is that is perpetuates the myth that the power to attain health (or your financial freedom) is outside of your control; that you need to buy products in order to empower yourself.
Yes you absolutely DO need to invest in yourself, invest in your education. Do not invest in products which take your power away. This is the fundamental issue I have with all products of this nature. They are quick fixes at best, that ultimately dis-empower you, making you either a slave to their product, or a “failure” devaluing your belief in yourself, and leading you down a spiral of shame, and lost money.
Ultimately you don’t need to spend $300-$500 per month to get healthy or cleanse your system, you can do that just as easily, and much more cheaply by simply eating whole foods and incorporating activity into your life.
If you want more energy and the vitamins from whole foods here’s a quick solution for free… Blend some baby spinach, raw maca powder, avocado and coconut water together for a super-quick whole food shake, (that actually comes from whole foods) and go and stand in the sunlight for a few minutes to let your body absorb that energising Vitamin D from the sun! Do something you love, go and meet a friend and have a laugh together. That is a solution to long-term lasting health and happiness that you can create for yourself. And you don’t even have to pay me a commission to enjoy it.
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