We have a fun [and slightly different] topic to talk about today.
Big nutrition companies
Think the really (most of the time) cheap ones that are always promoting their crazy [and often quick] transformation stories. That seem to be straight up magic.
Have you ever stopped and wondered how these big nutrition companies work? And seemingly work so well??
We aren't going to name names...but we know you can probably think of a few.
And most often, they have a cult-like following...people who swear by them, would do anything for that company, etc.
Then there's you...looking in from the outside...and you see [probably] a couple of things:
some red flags
unrealistic expectations (the company is setting or the friend setting on themselves)
"advice" that contradicts any of the experts out there you follow
We get DMs and messages probably weekly about certain companies.
In fact, Clar-e-ty owner Clare and head coach Ashley both worked with a very well-known nutrition company before becoming nutrition coaches. Believe it or not, the [mostly negative] impact that business had on both Clare and Ashley left them desperate to find better out there...which was how Clar-e-ty was born.
Hopefully over the course of this blog, you learn how some of these companies work
What’s the Scoop
Let’s talk about the client journey...really for anyone joining a nutrition company/coach...both the good and the bad.
When a client comes in, they’re going to give some sort of information. This will range from as basic as age weight height all the way to the lifestyle that person is living.
For a bigger company, they’re going to keep it simple. This is especially true if they’re having computers/AI generate meal plans, macro prescriptions, and calorie targets. There may have been a person in the background BEFORE developing that system, but now it’s all computer generated. This means it’s fairly black and white.
For a good & reputable company, it’s going to be a fairly in-depth kind of intake process. From every company we’ve worked with and collaborated with and obviously including ours, this intake will get basic information and so much more, including information on a client’s biofeedback, their lifestyle, their job, even down the types of foods a client enjoys AND doesn’t enjoy eating.
Then a starting “plan” is given out to a client. This is where things drastically differ.
Because the intake process was fairly black and white for a bigger company, they don’t know the person they’re working with, so they have the freedom to get as aggressive as they want. Remember, when it comes down to it, the goal of any business is to make money. These companies have very low entry fees, so their goal is to get as quick of results as possible. They make a big massive calorie deficit for quick and VERY fast weight loss. They’ll likely set really absurd macro targets that we know will elicit changes (but is it sustainable?).
As a result, they’re going to go hard in the paint and set macros/calorie targets to very low numbers. We’ve seen companies prescribe “maintenance intakes” to people over 5’5” and 160+lbs at something as crazy as 1700-1800 calories. Here’s a big ole newsflash...that person’s maintenance intake is probably somewhere in the realm of 2200+ calories...especially if they working out 3-5 days out of the week. But they TELL you “hey this is your maintenance” and you believe them.
Then the success story we see online is “I lost weight even just eating at maintenance calories!!!”
IN REALITY, YOU’RE JUST IN A CALORIE DEFICIT.
We see, on average, deficits of 500 calories or greater given right off the bat. Why is that not okay? First, it’s simply aggressive. We won’t repeat ourselves, but aggression in a diet likely means it’s also unsustainable. Secondly, because it’s so aggressive, it’s like showing all your cards & laying them out on the table. When you eat in a calorie deficit, you likely are going to see some metabolic adaptations take place (meaning your metabolism/TDEE drops). This is normal. Your NEAT decreases. TEF decreases. You have less mass moving around as you drop bodyweight. In some cases, a further deficit needs to be created. When you take someone in a huge deficit, the likelihood of extending and increasing that deficit is a lot smaller.
Example: You have someone whose TDEE is 2500 calories. A big company is going to tell them their maintenance is 2000 calories and gives a prescription of 1500-1600 calories. They, being in a 1000-calorie deficit, obviously lose weight but also eventually plateaus. Where can they go? Down to 1000? Maybe...but that’s where we see crashes and burns.
When you go in a calorie deficit, especially one that aggressive, of course you’re going to lose weight. There’s no science out there that can refute that one fact.
And here’s the kicker... for SOME people, it’s going to work. I mean...they’re literally being put in a calorie deficit. Even though it’s a very extreme one, it’s still a deficit and it will often lead to short term (we’ll get to that in a second) weight loss. The companies capitalize on that short term weight loss. They don’t wait it out 6 months. They get the deficit going as soon as possible, celelbrate the short term wins, and move on. Fast forward a year...maybe two years...and majority of the time that client has either rebounded that weight loss OR they’re on the brink of collapsing.
It’s just like fad diets. Fad diets DO work for a decent number of people. There are hyper responders out there. There are people doing absolutely very little for their health, so doing ANYTHING *restrictive or not* is going to lead to progress and results.
But is this the healthy approach? Often not.
Does the approach last long term? Most often, no it doesn’t.
Are these diets relying on restriction that ultimately leads to a binge/cave in?? 90+% of the time, yes.
Then they come work with us.
Our prescription isn’t some aggressive plan. A client’s initial plan is honestly not very far off from where they were to begin with. Over time, we make small progressions while monitoring SO much more than weight until we get to their end goal.
Take that same person as before. Our goal is to give them as many calories as possible to see their goals & feel good during the process. Maybe we start around 2500 calories, restructure some macros, and simply see what happens. What if they never need to eat just 1000 calories to see results??? That’s why we don’t do it right off the bat. Then they’re more adherent and successful...not to mention a whole lot healthier.
And it’s more than bodyweight. Any reputable company/coach will track more than weight. They’re going to track your biofeedback (your energy, your sleep, your hunger/cravings). We even track a client’s adherence and motivation as this gives us a TON of information in how the client is doing.
But it’s not aggressive nor is it restrictive.
Meaning it takes time.
And that’s where the companies win out time and time again. They tell everyone that it CAN be done quick and easy...because some people do see results that way.
Are Big Nutrition Companies Magic?
No. Hopefully by now you can see that they’re not.
Big companies work by creating MASSIVE calorie deficits that often DO work for a group of people.
AND THEY SHOWCASE THAT...and only that.
They don’t talk about the clients who didn’t see progress but “healed their relationship with food”...because likely they didn’t. It’s about numbers.
They tried this Whole30, Paleo, keto-like diet, and like the many diets before, nothing stuff so they tossed that plan aside and moved on...and we never hear about them. We JUST see and hear the success stories.
And there are a lot...again because the entry level is so low. They’re trying to just capture the low hanging fruit to keep enough people coming in to make money.
And that’s literally all it is. It’s all you see. Most people who fail believe they did so because they have poor willpower, are too weak, and just suck in general...so why would they complain about the actual problem (the company) when they think the problem is themselves???
If you see a bigger company, start to pay attention to their feed. How quickly are their customers *I avoid calling them clients because client implies relationship* seeing results? How aggressive does the progress seem to be? You’ll find it’s fairly easy to notice.
An easy analogy is cosmetic/weight-loss surgery. As a precursor, know we are not shaming these types of surgeries. We support humans making educated & informed decisions when it comes to their body.
In weight loss surgeries, especially ones that remove larges amounts of skin and/or body fat, we see massive and quick progress.
However, if that’s all someone does, there’s almost a guarantee that weight will return.
Unless habits are changed.
Treat the cause not the symptom.
What is real progress and real results?? It’s SLOW...think months and years. It’s progressive changes built over time. Progress and in time results is built off a change in habits. If someone wants to lose weight, they could just not eat for 72 days and bam, we have results. That doesn’t lead to long term success, however. Addressing the root cause of overconsuming on the weekends due to an active restriction during the week, however, is a different story...one that takes longer but is going to last.
There’s Better Out There
We want our lasting message to be this...you deserve better.
It’s LITERALLY how Clar-e-ty owner, Clare, founded Clar-e-ty.
Clar-e-ty is Different
You’re treated like a real human.
We, real humans, give you targets to hit that are realistic WITH education along the way, so you know WHY we are doing what we are doing.
We move slow and steady so you can let the progress sink in. 1-5% progress is what we shoot for!
When you fail, fall off track, hop off the bandwagon, you have a REAL person there to respond with empathy and compassion and pivot to a more realistic approach.
We hear you when things work and when things don't work.
We don't starve you. We let you live your life & have guidance along the way to have your cake and eat it too.
Work with a better business below :)
Resources and Coaching:
Online Coaching here.
[Free] Nutrition Guide here.
Recipe & Macro Guide here.