Dear Cassey: I want to avoid fitness misinformation, but I’m not sure how.

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Dear Cassey,

How do I sort through fact and fiction in regard to health and nutrition? It’s so hard to tell what’s just clickbait and what is actually going to be an effective workout or helpful nutrition tips. Where do you get yours and what is a reliable source for this sticky subject? I don’t want to get caught listening to scary diet culture fads.


Curious but Cautious

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Dear Curious but Cautious,

YES this is such a good question. The internet is such a blessing and a curse, right? On one hand, we have access to endless information. But on the other hand… we have access to endless information. It’s really hard sometimes to figure out what’s true vs. what is just clickbait like you said, or straight up fitness misinformation.

Sorting through can be exhausting, and I think that’s why so many people give up on healthy eating and exercise before they even get started! This was true for me for a loonnng time too. I lost count of how many diet and workout “tricks” I tried before I finally figured it out. Here’s what I’ve learned!

If it sounds like clickbait, it probably is.

‘Clickbait’ is just a catchy headline that draws you in to click on an article. It could be something like, “Did I Just Discover A New Weight Loss Miracle?” or “I Lost 20 Pounds Eating Pizza Every Day.”

These headlines are a little ridiculous, but they tempt you to read more. What I’ve learned is, if the headline is super clickbaity and dramatic, it’s probably not a great source of factual information.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Similar to the clickbait thing, but a little different. If someone posts about a workout that promises a 6-pack in 5 days, or a weight loss tea that claims it will help you lose 10 pounds in 10 days, it’s probably best to skip it.

First of all, there’s a lot more to visible abs than just doing ab workouts. And losing 10 pounds by drinking any tea probably means that you’re also going to A. starve yourself and/or B. spend a lot of time in the bathroom (yes, that’s how those teas “work”).

The point is, any person or product that promotes a quick fix probably isn’t worth your time. A true expert will promote slow, sustainable change. They will also encourage you to put in the work in ALL areas – diet, exercise, sleep, stress, etc.

Follow the pros

Fill your follow list with legit, credentialed experts. The certified personal trainers and fitness instructors, exercise physiologists, the registered dietitians. These professionals are trained to provide sound, science-backed advice. They will always cite their sources and/or consult with other professionals in their content and products.

If you see someone shelling advice or products that seems way off from what the pros are saying, its probably a sign that it’s not great advice.

Follow your gut

Even if something seems really legit at first, it won’t take you long to realize that maybe it’s not the path you want to go down. If you give some diet advice a try and a week in you’re feeling restricted, it’s probably not for you.

If you follow a page that shoves calorie counting and strict elimination diets with no flexibility or concern for your personal needs, it’s probably not for you.

If the product you’re thinking about trying makes intense and endless demands (i.e. replace your meals with this tea/shake/bar, forever), your gut feeling that it’s not worth the money is probably right.

Overall, truly sound diet and fitness advice will seem much milder than the advice that isn’t quite as factual. The root of all good advice will always be the sustainable change that is appropriate for you.

Remember there is no one-size fits all approach

There isn’t really one thing that will work for everyone! What I learned that made the biggest difference in my own journey was that it’s up to me to figure out what my body needs. No one on Instagram can tell me. Even if you work 1:1 with a professional, you still have to take the information they give you and apply it. You have to take an honest look at what you can do well and what you can sustain.

Hopefully, this advice helps you filter out all of the bad advice out there so you can crush whatever goals you’re working on! 

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, leave your questions below! I may answer it in an upcoming Dear Cassey post!