Every now and then a "new" product pops up on the market promising to make you skinnier, prettier, richer, healthier and smarter. These are all diets I'm referring to by the way. All joking aside, it frustrates me to see people get all excited and dump loads of money into the hype of a product that will soon come to disappoint them and eventually fade into the sunset. These products are usually sold in a bottle and lead the customer farther and farther away from the reality that is hard work and discipline, something that cannot be replaced with a pill.
A few years ago I worked for a large health store and found it very difficult to persuade a customer to buy something the company wanted me to push, but that didn't truly offer the results it promised. It's called lying and I didn't succumb to the pressure even if I had to meet a sales goal or might make a few cents commission on the product. I became a part of the fitness and health industry to help people, not help myself or deceive folks.
I remember one time a woman came into the store with her son who was maybe about 15 years old. He was a bit overweight and I could tell the mother desperately wanted to help her child make changes in his life and she was willing to come to the store and buy a mystery bottle of pills in order to do so.
I walked over to the wall of pills where they were browsing and offered my assistance. The kid showed me a bottle of diuretics and a page from a magazine that showed a "before" and a 3 day later "after" picture of a man. He said he wanted to lose weight and felt this product was the best way to go. The "before" picture showed a man with his stomach protruding and looking very uncomfortable in the pose- only moderately overweight, while the "after" picture showed him happy and smiling, ready to step on a bodybuilding stage...3 days later! Well, what 15 year old kid wouldn't be dazzled with this kind of quick fix this product was advertising?
I would have made the store a nice little profit, selling that $30 bottle of water weight-loss pills, not to mention a sizeable amount of commission for myself. Was it worth it to potentially put this young kid's health at risk? Definitely not! The product probably wouldn't have killed him, but if I know kids and their desperation when it comes to fitting in and being impatient doing so, I could just see the situation going bad. I kept imagining a Lifetime channel program where the kid starts popping diuretics, then gets rushed to the hospital in the middle of math class, teaching all of the other kids a lesson. Yeah, a little dramatic but you never know.
I was responsible for these two people who had no idea they were holding "kidney failure in a bottle." A diuretic can be hazardous to the health if large amounts of water are not consumed all day while taking it. How many 15 year old boys do you see walking around with a gallon of water all day at school? Not many. Diuretics can also deplete the body of important minerals because they make you sweat (there goes the minerals) and stimulate the kidneys to excrete urine. Also, this particular product contained caffeine and I wasn't sure this woman wanted her son hopped up on a stimulant trying to focus in math class- she clearly had no idea what he was up to.
The kid did not try to hide his disappointment and hatred for me while I went on bursting his bubble about the bottle of pills his mother was now ripping out of his hand like it was a rattlesnake. I felt like a super hero who had just saved a life. I threw in a little old school philosophy about getting more exercise and eating healthier, not relying on a quick fix that might cause harm to your young kidneys and liver. I had crushed the boy's dreams and the Mother was going to end his subscription to "Muscle and Fitness" magazine where he could no longer be fed lies about "kidney failure in a bottle."
As they both left glumly, I realized how easy it is to get caught up in the gimmicks out there, where some people will spend all the money they have on products that fail them and lead them farther from their true goals. There is no magic pill or piece of workout equipment that will replace working hard and eating healthy. Just remember that old saying, "If it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is."