8 Lies the Diet and Fitness Industries Want You to Believe

Despite my greatest intentions to teach how we have been sold false images, unrealistic expectations, and empty promises by the $30B fitness industry and the $75B diet industry, I have failed.

You see, this week I heard about more cleanses, new fitness programs, detoxes, and fad diets than I’d heard before. This wasn’t from people who I don’t know. It was from my beloved clients at Alexandria Wellness!

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I have been unwavering in my quest to help change the way my members view their health, wellness, and how important it is to seek the long and patient route. They, too, have succumbed to some of these age-old theories and practices of unhealthy, unsustainable, “quick fix” programs, which are often hyper-focused on one’s body image rather than one’s overall health, longevity, and happiness.

Let’s be clear: the fitness and diet industry want you to be on a cleanse, stop alcohol (or whatever deprivation method you choose for a short-term fix), try a new fitness trend, and see if you can “lose that pesky 10, 20, 30 pounds” you’ve been carrying around. They want your money and attention. The more attention you give them, the more they can afford top-notch models, beautiful photography, and test messages that will help you… buy more. The more money they make, the more they can not only test messages, yet behaviors based on your buying patterns and demographics. They are enjoying the benefits of you investing in them. They want you to keep on searching and keep on spending.

They want you to believe:

  1. The weight on the scale is related solely to your food choices and the amount of cardio (which they want you to believe you are burning calories) in your workout.
  2. The number on your jeans tag has nothing to do with your sleep.
  3. You don’t deserve to treat your body and self with compassion. Punishing yourself through high-intensity cardio and cutting calories is the best approach.
  4. The harder you work, the more miserable you are, the more progress you will make in your pursuit of the perfect body, and the more success you will achieve.
  5. The way you feel in your clothes can’t possibly be because you’ve been in a rut for longer than you’d like to admit.
  6. The readout on your wearable device is directly related to your food and exercise.
  7. Your relationships have nothing to do with your lack of motivation for exercise.
  8. “Losing weight” will lead you to your ultimate happiness.



I guess I could go on, yet I bet you get the gist…

I have been on the journey myself for 18 years. I tried everything. I punished myself through deprivation diets. I blamed my excuse for not exercising on being “too busy.” I was a victim if there ever were one. I have seen thousands of women struggle. I’ve seen and heard anger from women who want so much to feel better about themselves and their bodies.

They believed that if they achieve that body, that number on the scale, it would result in a happier person.



Over time, I have worked with a number of women who have discovered their level of frustration with their body has more to do with their sleep, stress, upbringing, and fixed mindset than the food they eat or the exercise program they choose. I have found:

  • • You – and your body – deserve compassionate care.
  • • Small habit change beats willpower hands down to produce long-term results.
  • • Deprivation dieting leads to frustration and eventually even more weight on the scale.
  • • Your “eating issue” has more to do with sleep, stress, family upbringing, and mindset than food.
  • • A growth mindset will help any woman become more resilient and find a fitness and food relationship that works for her.
  • • Your exercise program when you were in your 30s is not the movement program if you are 45+.
  • • Eliminating dairy, alcohol, gluten, sugar for good is unrealistic. They are everywhere.
  • • Taking stock of where your belief system was rooted (family, friends, mentors, media) is the first step to the journey of loving you and your body.



As a health and wellness professional, I feel it is my duty to continue educating women on how they can reach true and lasting wellness. The next time you see that…

  • • ad on social media,
  • • listen to a friend tell you about her latest detox program,
  • • a commercial with the super “fit” woman who seems to have it all,

remember reaching your health and wellness goals will not be as simple as a 30-day cleanse or eliminating a certain food group. It is a journey and a journey well worth the time and patience.

The sooner we all embrace this mindset, the greater wellness we will all be able to achieve.

Better yet, the sooner you too will be on the road to loving your body and self and treating it like you would your best friend.

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  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home after a successful career in policy and public affairs communications. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 2,000 clients, 30 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now, more-than-ever, passionate about helping women view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty and heart pumping workouts to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep, and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down,” a healthy mix of strength and metabolic (cardio) work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength in mind and body. She believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and that change, or improvement, is within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help women learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness, listening to success stories, and bragging about her twin 13-year-old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.

Schedule your free 30 minute consult here!


Alexandria Wellness
215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314




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