Today I had the opportunity to sit in on a huge MLM [multi-level marketing] meeting. Now before I even go into this meeting, I have to say that I was mislead regarding this event and lead to believe that I would actually be on an actual job interview. When I showed up at the Hilton to meet with this “team”, I saw a line of people out the door waiting to get into the next Herbal Life Pump ‘Em Up To Make Money Seminar. My first thought was to slip out. The crowd was huge and nobody would ever even know I was there. But before I could go invisible, I heard my name being called. So naturally I put a huge smile on my face and made it seem like I was happy to be there.
Initially, like a good salesman, the man who was supposed to be “interviewing” me had a great pitch going. Talking about how the product is top of the line ingredients and that they are changing lives. Hey, I like changing lives. But I’m a huge skeptic when it comes to products and I’m even a bigger skeptic when these products have more than a handful of ingredients in them. But I made the trip and really felt I should at least listen to what they had to say. I sat in on an hour of the meeting listening to those who have been with the company boast about their progress with the products. Some women had claimed to be struggling with fertility and after being on Herbal Life Foundational Nutrition Plan got pregnant in 6 months. Impressive? Not really. It could very well have been the result of just losing weight and balancing their hormones which can be achieved by eating real whole foods. But they were getting results and that’s what matters.
The part that really turned me off, as everyone in the crowd is ooohing and aaahhhing as if a bunny had just been pulled out of a hat, was the remarkable fitness results that these people, coaches rather, were achieving. Rapid weight loss. Losing significant percentages of body fat and gaining the upwards of 6 pounds of muscle in a 4 week period. That’s where I started to shake my head and twitch in my chair. Suddenly everyone was having the same results….
“I lost 57 pounds in 3 months, 10 inches off my waist, and I gained 10 pounds of lean body mass in 3 months”
“I was underweight and so skinny. After being on the program for 4 weeks I gained 12 pounds for my ideal body weight….and none of it was fat.”
“My skin cleared up.”
“After 25 years of Irritable Bowel Syndrome I have NO problems whatsoever.”
and the best of all……
“I loved the product so much, I had to work for the company. Within 4 weeks I was making over 6 figures.”
That’s some chunky change to make in such a short period of time. And hey, I’d love to get rich quick. I’d love to be an over night success. But I won’t do it in a way that doesn’t feel right for me. After coming home and looking at the Herbal Life website, I was anything but impressed with the product labels. Their new line of Sports Performance Protein Powders called Herbal Life 24 has fructose, sugar, soy lecithin and only has 9 grams of protein and 9 grams of sugar. Not really what I would call a protein shake. Their protein bars again are based with milk protein concentrates, glucose syrup, fructose, sugar, artificial flavor, caramel coloring and have only 10 grams of protein and have 10 grams of sugar. Once again, not really balanced.
The big pitch was to get rich quick while helping people. And again, as I squirm in my chair, it just didn’t sit well with me. I understand that there are those out there where something is better than nothing. But in my personal view, setting people up with a lifestyle vs a product is what should be the foundational nutrition plan. Give a man a fish and he eats for a meal. Teach a man to fish and he eats for his lifetime. If you teach people how to feed themselves, products are not necessary.
Now I do use protein powders. I do take supplements. I’m not knocking the supplement industry at all. But it’s the whole hype on the multilevel marketing that gets me. This company, from what I can tell, is not truly about helping people get healthy. You can lose weight eating a lower calorie diet…but that doesn’t create health. And the ingredients that make up the products will often dictate the end result. Real whole foods with MINIMALLY processed products and supplements will take you a lot further than a system that’s designed to fatten up someone else’s wallet. Pun intended.
I do believe that there are certain products out there that really do help people lose weight, lose excess body fat, and optimize their health and well being. I’m not debating that. But the approach I experienced today was not truly in the best interest of the clients and customers. This line might work well for someone who truly needs a rapid weight loss program because their health is at risk…again, something is better than nothing. But long term I can see damage being done. You may lose weight quickly. Yes you may even increase your lean body mass. But what are these artificial ingredients doing to your body long term. I did not see one ingredient on their label that possessed an antioxidant property. Perhaps that’s the vitamin department. I didn’t stay for that part. But all I know, after working with USANA and Metagenics for a number of years…..a product can only take you so far. It’s the lifestyle that carries you through.
Use supplements wisely and for their intended use…..to SUPPLEMENT. They are not to feed your body. Yes, have your protein shakes. I do. But try to keep your diet as wholesome and real as possible. Don’t fall for quick fixes. Health can take a long time to achieve. If you haven’t been on that path for very long, be patient. Don’t invest all your hard earned money into cupboards full of powders, pills, and potions. I can personally attest to the fact that it simply doesn’t work. Sound nutrition and fitness routine with the proper rest and supplementation for your body will take you a lot further.
I found these coaches really great at inspiring their colleagues. But I found them to be inspiring them to make money. And granted, that was their intent today. But as far as being health and wellness coaches, we all know that true health comes from lifestyle AND nutrition. Not just one or the other.
Shop smart and be well.