Before I write another word, I think it's important to add this little disclaimer . . .
Before starting any life-changing exercise or eating habits, please consult with your personal physician or other trusted medical professional.
The disclaimer isn't that hard to include. However, it is important. I want you to know that while I have the only secret you're ever going to need to be able to lose weight, you still need to consult with your personal physician or other trusted medical professional. And if, like me, you've had a lot of "emotional fat" to wade through and get rid of, seeing a licensed therapist or psychologist would probably be a good idea, too. I realize that there are certain medical conditions like Prader Willi Disease or thyroid diseases that lead to obesity, so again, speaking with a medical professional is paramount, regardless of whether or not I hold the secret to losing weight.
I also want to toss out something I've said before, but it bears repeating; Barking Mad is not a diet blog, I am not on a diet, and more to the point, I am not on your diet! Take a moment to read the hyperlinked post. That last part is key to what I'm about to write, "...I am not on your diet!"
This secret I have? Read the post and when you get to the end, I'll share my secret!
I think there have only been a handful of times in the seven years that I have been sharing my life publicly via my blogs, that I've called out another blogger/writer for something I've seen as egregious behavior that borders on the harmful, or behavior that leads a normal person to come to the opinion that they're somehow less than because of what has been written by the blogger in question.
Most notably, my issues have been with one blogger in particular. Jennifer McKinney, also known as MckMama. Her take on Christianity, her cats, and now an unproven, and potentially harmful MLM scheme masquerading as an "all natural weight-loss supplement, metabolism booster and fat burner." have earned my criticism. I always hesitate to call someone out by name because of the bad feelings it generates in the blogging community. However, I think the greater danger lies in what happens if people don't start to question the wares she's selling...which, amount to little more than snake oil under the guise of helping people lose weight.
What was the impetus, this time around, for all my righteous indignation? Yesterday, McKinney wrote a post about numerous things, and buried in her post she excitedly wrote about a procedure that has recently gained FDA approval, that basically freezes the fat right off your body. The previous evening, only hours earlier, on her Facebook fan page she had posted a status update that said the following...
As you can see, her update clearly states that she only just "recently" learned about the procedure. In the last couple of months she has been chronicling her own weight loss journey, which, hey, good for her. I'd find it more credible though, if she'd share her weight, but that's just my opinion. I, probably more than a lot of people out there, understand how hard it can be to put that number out there for all to see and judge.
So I commented on that status update, which I've copied below.
"Jennifer, I'm aghast, absolutely aghast at your statement above, "...but really pudgy people can still have it done, whew!" NO THEY CAN NOT! It is not recommended for anyone who has more than a few stubborn pounds to lose!
"The FDA clearance can mean a bonanza for marketers who can use that for pronouncement in advertising. The fat-freezing device has been used "off label" for fat-busting. It's manufacturers have solid scientific evidence to support its effectiveness in freezing on average 22 percent of the fat layer reduction. It's mostly for people of normal body weight with just a few nagging trouble spots." [ quoted from an ABC article on the procedure]
You're advocating pills (that can cause serious SERIOUS consequences! Please think before you start pushing pills on people who follow your every word as if it were Biblical doctrine! The pills you're pimping are not exactly healthy!), and now you're suggesting that Zeltiq can be used by someone with more than a few pounds to lose. Did you even read the entire article?
I'm down 150+ lbs with a little less than 200 to go and I have done it by getting off my bum, cutting out processed foods, and getting to the Y. Not by popping pills (and trust me, once you have lost the weight, if you haven't dealt with the "emotional fat" you're going to gain it all back...and all that money you spent on those pills will be for naught!) or freezing it off. It's hard as hell to do it this way and more days than not, I want to give up. But I would never ever advocate something like this for anyone with more than a few vanity pounds to lose, nor would I pimp a pill that has a list of harmful side effect, a mile long.
Jennifer, so many women, women with serious body image issues look up to you and see you as a mentor. Some of these women can't afford to get into an MLM scheme like Xyngular, yet because they see your example as the way to go, they'll do it. What happens a year from now and you're close to your goal weight but still haven't dealt with what's eating you, and you begin to gain it back, or one of your readers starts taking this "supplement" and becomes ill? Do you ever ask yourself these questions before you "advertise" it or suggest it?"
Normally I don't read her blog unless it has to do with how she treats her animals (which I think with the exception of possibly one cat, she's gotten rid of as they've been forced to leave the farmhouse. I hope the animals - all of them - are in loving homes and being cared for in the best possible manner!), her inferences that she is the "right kind of Christian.", her claims about amazing weight loss supplements, and now a procedure that freezes fat cells, and she's claiming that this procedure is optimal for even the really "pudgy" (her words) among us.
So she posts the above on Tuesday evening and then just mere hours later, on the morning of Wednesday the 29th she writes a post claiming that once she loses 20 more pounds, she's going in to have the "CoolSculpting" procedure done!
I am going to try very hard from making guesses about her weight, however, from recent (McKinney claims they are recent) photos of herself that she's posted, she appears to not be an ideal candidate for Zeltiq. Not at this point, and not after only losing another 20lbs. In her post she is promoting this "CoolSculpting" which is what her area cosmetic surgery center is calling it, and an open house they're having to answer any questions about the procedure.
McKinney goes on to tout how exciting it is when technology walks hand in hand with nature, how she's going to have the procedure done once she loses 20 more pounds, and that if you can attend this open house at Dermatology Consultants in Woodbury, MN, there will be door prizes and special pricing if you want to try CoolSculpting.
Special pricing? Normal pricing for one treatment ranges from $1500-$2000, and those prices are pretty much coast to coast. This is for someone who has a few stubborn vanity pounds left, like that nagging tiny bulge of fat after having a baby? You know the one I'm talking about. 5-10lbs of fat that you just can't seem to get rid of, despite working out and living a healthy lifestyle. I'm not just talking out of my ass about this.
I actually phoned Dermatology Consultants in Woodbury, MN to find out who exactly is the ideal candidate for this procedure? It's not someone with 20-50lbs of fat to lose. For those with even as little as 10lbs, the process can include several treatments. And, get this, it's not overnight. The fat cells do not immediately shrivel into oblivion. Once you have a fat cell, it's forever. Through weight loss and exercise you can shrink the fat cells, but they do not simply vaporize into oblivion, a claim which McKinney says,
"CoolSculpting “gently cools unwanted fat cells in the body.” The cells shrink and, eventually, die. Then our body naturally eliminates them. So much for the old adage, “You can never get rid of fat cells once you have them. You can shrink them, but they never completely go away!” Ahh, technology."
The woman I spoke with at Dermatology Consultants told me that it can take months for the results of one treatment to be noticeable. Months.
Ask any physician about the physiology of fat cells and they'll explain to you that fat cells can and do shrink once you lose fat. It's a simple process of energy in and then energy out. The lipids and solids contained in the fat cells are released through eating fewer calories and then burning more than you take in. They pass through the blood stream and then are released through normal means of elimination. However, the fat cells themselves are there, forever. There is some question as to whether or not liposuction can permanently suck out those fat cells - to which CNN's contributing M.D., Sanjay Gupta, says,
"...According to recent evidence, that is false. This study found obese people who had weight loss surgery had as many fat cells two years after the surgery as before it, even though they were much thinner. Other studies have shown new fat cells are made in response to liposuction. And anyone who's had fat removed from their belly can tell you that if you gain weight after lipo, it may be in a different place, which can cause some odd proportions." (source)
Like death, taxes, and the internet, fat cells are forever!
In the screen capture below, you can see where McKinney states, in reply to a reader who questions how many treatments CoolSculpting takes, that it's only one treatment!
McKinney can not, under any circumstances claim it will only take one treatment for anyone other than herself, if she even does know for a fact that it's only going to take one treatment. Only a board certified, licensed physician who has been trained to administer this procedure can tell anyone that. I think it borders on the heinous for her to tell a reader that it's only going to take ONE TREATMENT.
The end results of CoolSculpting/Zeltiq can take several months to appear and it can take anywhere from 1-5 treatments, possibly more, if you've got more than a few vanity pounds to lose. Just going by the lower end of the spectrum for what Zeltiq/CoolSculpting costs, if you have three treatments, do the math! You're looking at a chilly $4500.00 to freeze your ass (or other body area) off!
If you're even considering this sort of cosmetic procedure for ridding yourself of nagging areas of fat, I am begging you, don't take my word for it, don't take Jennifer McKinney's word for it, but do your own research first! Don't just consult one physician, consult two, three, or even four.
Why am I even "going there" when it comes to how much this sort of cosmetic procedure can cost? Keep reading.
Normally I don't get involved in the speculation surrounding McKinney's financial life, so why am I wading into these sometimes hostile waters, now?
As a writer who profits (although on a much smaller scale than the more popular and prolific bloggers/writers do!) from sharing my life with my readers, and as someone who is working on backing out of a bankruptcy because Gareth and I feel, in the long run if we can avoid having a judgement for the deficiency owed on the house in Maine, entered against us, then there is no point in filing for bankruptcy to deal with the rest of the debt, I think it's important to be upfront about certain financial aspects of my life, especially if I'm asking you to buy into something I'm peddling!
McKinney herself is going through a bankruptcy right now. It seemed unfair of me to point that out, when I know there are going to be several people who read this who then turn around and accuse me of going through bankruptcy too. I'm sure if I were about to spend potentially thousands of dollars on cosmetic surgery/dermatology, in cash, that my readers would raise a few eyebrows at how was it possible to be able to afford to pay for that, and not my bills? My point is, while I don't want to get involved in her financial affairs, all it takes is a lack of disclosure on the part of one blogger that can end up affecting not only myself, but other bloggers and writers who earn a little money from sharing their lives, online.
If McKinney is not disclosing financial agreements in order to obtain services or products she's receiving, it's going to make those of us who do write with integrity and value the relationships we've worked hard to establish with sponsors and media partners seem less appealing to these companies and corporations because we now appear to be skirting the law when it comes to disclosure. Read on.
So, what does this have to do with McKinney's financial woes and tales of trouble? Like more than just a few people, it sort of boggles my mind that she can go through bankruptcy and yet afford even a discounted vanity procedure that might only cost her $700. The other side to this is one of disclosure. I know I know, it's a burdensome but necessary thing we writers and bloggers must do. We owe it to our readers and the companies who partner with us. If McKinney is receiving the CoolSculpting gratis from the dermatology center in exchange for writing about it and promoting it, she needs to clearly and fully disclose that on her blog. That's not my opinion, it's the law!
Let me repeat that for you. If McKinney is being paid for her words of wonder about this procedure, or receiving anything in exchange, in order to comply with new FTC disclosure laws, she absolutely must disclose it.
Admittedly, I don't know her income or what she's pulling in via the advertising on her blog, or how much she makes, outside of what she's disclosed earlier in public bankruptcy documents. As someone who went through a bankruptcy several years ago due to being defrauded out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by someone who used my name and social security number to not only obtain medical treatment, but to obtain credit cards and a line of credit totalling almost $80, 000.00, I'm not unfamiliar with the process of clearing one's debt. And now we're looking at possibly having to file again? I don't take it lightly. I don't underestimate what it does to the rest of the people in our country who are able to handle their money and who haven't had a job loss, medical bills, or dealt with a fraudulent banking system and sent good money after bad, which all culminated in horrible debt - debt we might be unable to repay if we get slammed with a judgement on the house in Maine. I'm not completely obtuse to the fact that there are a lot of people out there who are wondering how she can afford something like pricey treatments to get rid of fat, and expensive vitamin supplements through membership in an MLM, if she's so far in debt that she can't get out of it without the help of Federal bankruptcy protection?
McKinney has been somewhat open about not only the fact that her family is filing for bankruptcy, but that her husband recently left the family and now she's unfortunately having to manage everything on her own. My hope is that she'd back away from having a costly procedure done all in the hopes that her excess weight is just going to disappear.
Not only am I concerned about McKinney not disclosing arrangements if she has to, but because I see other women read her blog, her Facebook status updates, and Twitter messages and I notice how they cling to almost every single word she utters, I'm wary of the things she's peddling and the women who are buying into it. I'm hoping they have more common sense than to believe that some of the things she's promoting and pushing are going to be the answers they've been waiting for, or the thread of hope they're clinging to in order to lose weight or have a perfectly sculpted body.
I wish my only point of contention with McKinney was CoolSculpting and disclosure. But it's not. It's really small compared to what she's been promoting on her blog and Facebook fan page as a means to burn fat, boost your metabolism, and help elevate your mood. What is this miracle product she's been so excited about and pimping all over the place and even created a specific page for her "MckHealthy" miracle pills?
What it is, is little more than her announcing becoming a distributor for an MLM scheme masquerading as a natural weight loss aids and supplements! Not only that, Xyngular promises to not only make you absolutely amazingly healthy and thin, but fabulously wealthy too!
So how much is it going to cost you to buy into so much awesomeness? That's where it gets a bit complicated. First you have to join. Now, if you're just a regular retail customer, you must enroll of an annual fee of $5.95, or if you want to join as a distributor and have to answer to an upline and then create your own downline (those of you familiar with MLM's and how their pyramid schemes work will know what I'm talking about, those of you who don't get the terminology, please Google it...it's mind boggling.) the enrollment fee is $19.95. OK but how much does the actual Xyngular product cost? If you click on the page I linked at the top of this paragraph, you might think, oh it's only $5.95? And where does it actually say how much the products cost? Not until you click on a tiny link that says "price list" are you actually confronted with how much this stuff actually costs. And it is not cheap!
A single bottle of one of their products is almost $50, however there is another column that lists a discount, but it's only $10 cheaper than the regular price. That's ONE BOTTLE! ONE!
Keep scrolling down the price list and get a look at the price involved in some of the other products, especially by the case!
Now if you go and look at their compensation plan, it is textbook MLM/Network Marketing/Pyramid scheme marketing, despite the fact they claim "...It’s the ideal, never-done-before concept of people helping people worldwide succeed financially." It's the same line the world over. It's nothing new. It is however the foundation upon which each and every MLM hustle is built on. In order to make any money in the first place, you have to buy this stuff by the caseload! And let's hope if you do get into it, it actually works for you, otherwise you're left with an expensive pile of pills and powders that you're trying to peddle to people and you can't even use yourself as an example of how miraculous that product is! Keep in mind, you have to buy several hundred dollars of the product itself, and then sell it or have your downline sell it, in order to make any money and become fabulously wealthy!
I don't begrudge anyone in this world the chance to make money. Hell, I am a huge fan of capitalism and money. I like money. I like spending money. I like having money. I like giving money to those who need it. I like being able to do sneaky fun things for people when I occasionally have a little extra money. I am in complete support of digging deep and developing your entrepreneurial gene. What I am not a fan of watching someone manipulate the emotions of people who are literally dying to lose weight, by making claims about a supplement that have never ever been substantiated scientifically and are not approved by the FDA, and try and get them to not only buy this product, but encourage them to join her downline.
Xyngular products, like other "supplements" don't have to be approved by the FDA. That is true enough. But two of McKinney's biggest claims that the products she's marketing via Xyngular can burn fat and boost metabolism can not, and have not been substantiated, and are patently false.
There is no such product that can "burn fat." People claim that weight loss drug Alli does just that. It does not do that. In fact it just makes it so that your body doesn't absorb some of the fat you consume, and it passes straight into your lower intestine to be expelled through elimination. It also can cause some pretty nasty side effects like anal leakage. Sounds like fun, right? Just the same, it does not burn fat.
NOTHING BURNS FAT EXCEPT FOR EXERCISE AND GETTING OFF OF YOUR ASS! NOTHING! Fat loss support requires movement and healthy eating. Period.
But, don't take my word for it. Talk to your physician.
What about claims that Xyngular boosts that sluggish metabolism of yours? First, I think it's important that you really know what metabolism is.
Metabolism is the amount of energy your body burns to maintain itself.
Yes, it's really as simple as that. Your personal metabolism is impacted by your body composition; the amount of muscle vs. fat you have. In other words, we're back to what I said earlier. Exercise and eating healthy. If you have two people who are the same exact height and weight, but one exercises regularly and eats healthy foods, yet the other is a couch potato subsisting on little more than refined carbs and processed foods, the healthier person is not only going to have more muscle mass, but will also have a higher metabolism.
Age can affect your metabolism. It can slow down a bit. Hence you'll need to work a bit harder as you age to increase your metabolism and keep your ratio of calories burned higher than those that are consumed.
Now here's the funny thing about metabolism, if you eat a very low-calorie diet, your metabolism is going to slow down in order to conserve those calories to keep you alive. It's gone into starvation mode. Therefore the adage about needing to eat to lose weight is true. Seriously people, this is really simple stuff!
There is NO pill on the planet that is going to boost your metabolism or speed up the process of burning fat. Caffeine and phenteramine (which are in most supplements on the market that boast that same results that Xyngular does), are only going to increase your blood pressure and heart rate. Basically it's speed. Just in a lower dosage. You're going to feel like you have more energy because you're heart is beating really fast. Trust me though, those pricey supplements with fancy names are doing you no more good than that box of doughnuts you're eyeing.
One of the people behind Xyngular, a chiropractor, Dr. Troy McHenry, has recently come under suspicion because of his role with another health supplement MLM, Monavie. He just pulled all of his videos off of YouTube because of all the false claims he was making about the Monavie products, which were very similar to those that Xyngular makes. Talk about things that make you go, Hmmmmm.
If McKinney is experiencing any of the claims that she and Xyngular are making about overall mood enhancement, fat burning and a boost in metabolism, it's probably a result of her wanting to see those things and a direct result of the effort she's putting in towards eating less and exercising more. Xyngular isn't doing it! It can't possibly do it. Simply put, it's impossible. People, this is simple science.
So, now that McKinney has established herself as a distributor of Xyngular products; making claims about this product that have no basis in scientific fact let alone physiological fact, I'm left wondering once again, if she's getting anything in return for pimping their products on her blog? If she is, she needs to disclose it. Period.
Now I'm going to cut to the chase. Obesity is a horrible epidemic in our country. Men and women are literally killing themselves in order to lose weight. Not only are they killing themselves to lose weight, they're doing so in terribly unhealthy ways and at a financial toll that can't be calculated. The weight loss industry is a a $40BILLION dollar a year field. And while they're raking in all that money, there are several things they don't want you to know, most of all, that those in this multi-billion dollar industry are "big fat liars."
We're all so desperate to lose weight and become the ideal that society, Hollywood and the media tell us we need to be, that we're willing to buy into those lies and spend money supporting an industry that is hardly legitimate and pads it's bank vaults with the dreams of those who want a magic pill. And now McKinney is part of that billion dollar network of liars. Whether it's intentional or not, she now has her own little place in an industry that will tell you what you want to hear in order to get you to shell out money for a dream.
So, what is the secret to weight loss?
I'm not sure if you're ready to hear it or see it, set out right here, in black and white.
However, because I stand by what I say, I'm going to share that secret with you.
First thing you must do is stand up and stretch. Then I want you to walk to where ever the closest mirror is. I don't care if it's a Cover Girl compact in your pocketbook. Stand up in front of that mirror and do the following.
Look directly at your reflection and say, "I love you!"
Then I want you to say, "I'm worth living the best life possible."
Do I need to slow down for you? Can you do those two little things I've asked you to do, above?
Then I want you to smile.
Next, I want you to put the mirror down, put your hands by your sides, close your eyes and envision yourself the way you want to see yourself. Happy, healthy, productive, prosperous, and whole.
The final step I want you to take is to pick up that mirror, look at your reflection and then tell yourself that every single day you're going to do one thing, take at least one step towards becoming that person. It might not be a huge step, but you'll take that one baby step and then eventually, without pills, powders or pricey potions, you will be that person that at one time was only a dream.
The secret to weight loss?
How much are you worth, because that's really the true cost behind losing the weight.
You're invaluable and therefore there could never be a price placed on the "secret." You hold the only key, the only golden ticket you'll ever need to being able to have the confidence in yourself to conquer your fears and take control of your life. YOU. Only YOU! Only you can open the door to your happily ever after and live the life you thought was only a dream.