I was today years old when I first heard of the WILDFIT program. A follower of mine messaged me, asking to tell her if I thought this program was legit.
What I found was shocking, but not surprising. You’ll find out what I mean, as you read on.
What is the WILDFIT program?
WILDFIT is a diet developed by an entrepreneur named Eric Edmeades. He apparently had some health problems that he apparently ‘healed’ by diet. Then he apparently lived with bushmen in Australia, learning about their ways of eating.
All of this has apparently made Edmeades a nutrition expert.
I see this all the time: someone loses weight or ‘transforms’ their life, and suddenly they’re a self-described nutriiton authority, selling some diet program. This is almost always a red flag.
The WILDFIT program is about ‘eating the way our ancestors did.’
That concept always makes me laugh, because or ancestors – particularly in North America – didn’t eat coconut oil and kale, and their lifespan didn’t even approach what ours is today. But ‘eating like we used to’ is called the ‘appeal to nature’ fallacy that’s often used to attract customers to diets like these.
The program emphasizes ‘control’ over your food choices, and insists it’s about ‘freedom’ with food.
As long as you follow the program as written, that is. Wait, what?
It also is based on the bizarre theory that our bodies have ‘seasons,’ and we should be eating according to them.
The program reminds me of a lot of conspiracy theorist narrative that we’ve all been hearing lately. At the top of the WILDFIT website landing pages is this weird anti-establishment statement:
A revolutionary health education and coaching company, WILDFIT frees people from the collective clutches and propaganda of the diet, pharmaceutical and food industries.
The whole ‘freedom’ description is weird, too:
WILDFIT is about freedom. Only, always, freedom.
Yipes. Wait, does ‘freedom’ include being on a diet? I thought it was the opposite.
Clearly, Edmeades has a strange idea of what freedom is, because one of my followers got this gross form email trying to convince them to do one of his specialized programs:
ELEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! BUT ACT NOW! It’s only $4997 because I THINK YOU’RE SO SPECIAL!
AND ALSO, FREEDOM!
To frighten us into buying into the program, the WILDFIT program tosses in some statistics, telling us: 1 in 3 people are dying from heart disease. 1 in 3 from cancer.
This is actually incorrect. According to the CDC and WHO (although Edmeades probably considers them a conspiracy, too), heart disease accounts for 1 in 4 deaths, cancer accounts for 1 in 6 deaths. Death rates in the US from cancer are actually decreasing.
Interestingly, low-income populations have a dramatically increased risk for both heart disease and cancer, but these populations would be the least likely to be able to afford WILDFIT’s almost $1000 price tag.
WILDFIT promises that “90 days from now you could be in total control of your food choices, and your life.”
This is a pretty tall order, but it’s normal rhetoric for pretty much every diet program I’ve ever reviewed.
- The promise of a transformation, and the suggestion that you don’t have control over your life.
- The promise that this transformation can and will occur in a set amount of time – in this case, 90 days.
- The illusion that ‘control’ is what you lack, and therefore, is the reason why you’re not ‘successful’ in life.
I wish that people wouldn’t fall for this overly simplistic view of life. The reasons why one person is ‘successful’ (and we all define ‘success’ differently, so you can’t even make this comparison) and another isn’t, are complex. Most of it doesn’t come down to ‘control.’
There are a lot of things in life that we have no control over, and many of them have the potential to impact our physical health.
This is the same sort of insulting, privileged, uneducated philosophy that’s at the core of the comment, ‘we all have the same 24 hours in a day.’
This is why we don’t have the same 24 hours in a day.
Edmeades even has his own book called ‘Dairy Delusion,’ which is 28 pages of bloviating conspiracy theory aimed at the dairy industry. The cover says, ‘5 Million Years of History Can’t Be Wrong,’ and states that dairy is one of the newest and most dangerous additions to our diet.
Uh, people have been consuming animal dairy for around 6000 to 8000 years.
Predictably, the latter stages of the WILDFIT program exclude dairy.
The Wildfit Diet Plan
I was given access to the entire WILDFIT program on the WILDFIT Mindvalley site, and I also interviewed several people who have done this program.
Week One is simple – eat the way you’ve been eating, just add in more water, and be more cognizant of how you feel before, during, and after eating. Add in 2-3 pieces of fruit in the morning ONLY on an empty stomach. Edmeads says fruit is ‘full of plant-based protein,’ which isn’t true, but is a hint of the sort of ‘science’ that we’re in for with WILDFIT.
Edmeades tells us that we are working on long-term ‘behavioural change,’ but I’m not sure it’s the right sort of behavioural change. Know what I mean?
Every week has numerous videos to watch. Week one has a water video in which Edmeades tells us that drinking water with meals ‘slows down or hurts’ our digestion because it dilutes our digestive fluids. He recommends waiting up to 40 minutes AFTER a meal to drink.
This is inaccurate, but I’ve heard this myth a lot from people who don’t understand physiology.
The parietal cells in the stomach secrete acid to digest food. When these cells detect the pH of the stomach rising, they secrete more acid to balance things out. Voila! No need to worry about drinking with meals.
Isn’t nature wonderful?
Speaking about acids, in Week One, Edmeades gives us the recipe for his Alkaliger drink, otherwise known as a green smoothie. To get more fruits and vegetables in our diet, we’re supposed to drink up to 12oz of the Alkaliger every day, but only first thing in the morning on an empty stomach!
Week Two is basically more of the same.
Edmeades talks a lot about our relationship with food, which I find curious for a program that’s about to remove foods from our diet and tell us that certain foods are bad for us.
You can’t have both.
This week’s lesson is mainly about sugar. Edmeades tells us that pasta, bread, and potatoes are ‘processed as sugar in the body,’ which is an oversimplification often made by low-carb advocates. Yes, these foods are heavy in carbs and those carbs are metabolized into glucose.
But insinuating that these foods are comparable in any way to sugar is wrong.
Week Three is when things start to ramp up in the WILDFIT program.
While we were allowed to eat whatever we wanted in Weeks One and Two, Week Three is about removing all refined sugar. Edmeades tells us about the ‘sugar monster’ that’s some sort of imaginary boogey man that tries to convince us to eat sugar.
Weirdly, we’re told to double up on our morning fruits this week. This means 4-6 pieces of fruit on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. The fruit is also removed from the Alkaliger smoothie.
We can have raw honey, however. Apparently, Eric doesn’t understand that honey, whether raw or not, is metabolized exactly like sugar in the body.
In Week Three, we get to watch a video of Eric talking about grains, which TBH I knew was going to be a total sh*tshow. I was correct.
Edmeades starts by calling bread ‘empty calories with almost no nutritional value.’
The video then devolves into an absolute f*cktangle of uninformed fearmongering about the ‘biochemical defences’ of seeds. He tells us that seeds have ‘enzyme blockers’ that make digestion difficult, and the ‘glutens cause pain in us,’ and the ‘hormone triggers cause all kinds of digestive issues.’
Is this guy for real?
He goes on to talk about seed breeding and how we have a ‘pleurifiration’ of IBS and celiac disease and ‘intestinal pain.’ He says grains ‘slow down digestion’ and the brain doesn’t register that we’re getting nutrients from them, so it tells us to keep eating.
I can’t. Does he mean ‘proliferation?’
He compares a pasta meal to a stir fry with vegetables and ‘wild caught salmon,’ and tells us that the stir fry satisfies us because our bodies can ‘extract nutrients’ from it better. This is wrong. It’s the protein in the stir fry that triggers satiety.
Edmeades finishes this video by saying that when we cook with flour, it hardens in the ‘little nooks’ in our intestines, causing ‘stiffness and irritation and difficulty and removes some of the absorbent layers of our intestinal system.’
None of this is even remotely accurate. In fact, it’s a demonstration of how little Edmeades appears to understand human digestion.
Every video in this program is cringeworthy in its erroneous ‘science’ and predictable back-assward take on an ancestral diet.
As I mentioned before, Edmeades has a hate-on for dairy and the dairy industry. Predictably, Week Four finds us ‘taking a break’ from dairy, grains, and potatoes. In Week Five, we’re also told to remove food additives, caffeine (including cacao), and alcohol. We aren’t provided with a list of food additives to remove, so we have to wing it here.
It’s at this point where I exhaust my patience with Edmeades’ embarrassing videos, which are numerous and appear to be filled with pseudoscience and questionable facts.
In Week 6, we’re in Spring. Did I mention that the WILDFIT program divides the program into ‘seasons’?
Our bodies don’t know seasons, so this seems like a gimmick. Edmeades tells us that our bodies ‘flip the switch’ and ‘release excess fat’ after winter. When we eat sweet foods, this signals to our bodies that ‘winter is coming.’
This hypothesis is a figment of Edmeade’s imagination, but hey – it sells diets.
In Week Six, we’re told to eliminate fruits, sweet vegetables, beans, and honey..and this is in addition to dairy, grains, potatoes, added sugars, food additives, alcohol, and caffeine.
Basically, we’ve built up to a low-calorie keto diet.
We’re told to use magnesium cream if we get muscle cramps, which should be a red flag to EVERYONE that this diet is too restrictive. We’re also told to add a pinch of Himalayan salt to our water to better hydrate us.
Again, if your diet is so restrictive – even temporarily – that you need to add electrolytes and common minerals, this is a RED FLAG.
Also, Himalayan salt is a marketing scam.
It’s about now that I want to revisit Edmeade’s claim that this diet helps our relationship with food. How does eliminating healthy foods and using misinformation do that, exactly?
In Week Seven and Eight, we are told we are in the ‘detox process,’ and that we might have mood changes and vivid dreams. FYI: mood changes aren’t from ‘detoxing.’ They’re from hunger.
We are allowed in-season vegetables from a restrictive list. We are told that ‘even a carrot can trigger sugar burning, which can take three days to a week to switch back to fat burning.’
Following this nutrition advice is like getting law advice from a dog.
In Week Nine, people who have lost enough weight are assigned to Category I and can start adding back certain foods like small amounts of root vegetables and low-sugar fruits. People who haven’t reached their goals yet are assigned to Categories II and III and will need to continue to restrict.
Edmeades tells us to not ‘give in to the Food Devil and watch out for the Sugar Monster.’
Again, how does this help our relationship with food?
By Week 10, I was begging for this to be over. I can’t even imagine how someone actually doing the program would feel.
Week Ten is Summer. Big Deal. Edmeades tells us that ‘carbohydrates beget the desire for more carbohydrates.’ This is assuming that we are eating carbs without any fat or protein, because with those other nutrients, carbs – especially from whole foods – should not have that effect.
Category I can add a small amount of carbs this week, but he tells us that if our weight comes up from adding carbs like ‘organic brown rice,’ to go back to Spring.
Essentially putting us on the diet rollercoaster.
At this point though, I was getting used to Edmeade’s brand of ‘science.’
Week Eleven, Edmeades tells us that our ‘Food Devil might get a bit noisy.’
That’s not a Food Devil, it’s your body, telling you that you’re hungry, and legitimately so.
Week Thirteen is the last week. Thank goodness.
Edmeades says this:
It is your choice whether or not to honour the signals (your body) is sending you. It is not just how a food makes you feel physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. If eating food makes you feel guilty, shameful, out of control, or defeated it is likely not a food that you ought to include frequently.
Actually, if you feel guilt and shame around food, it may be the product of REPEATEDLY GOING ON RESTRICTIVE DIETS.
These feelings need to be addressed and neutralized, not perpetuated with further restriction.
Moving forward, WILDFIT recommends fasting during the Winter season to ‘cleanse the body and the digestive system.’
We all know that fasting does nothing of the sort, but anyhow. We’re told to consider water fasting for up to three days, as well as a 9-day cleanse.
And it’s at this point where I’d like to close the book on WILDFIT…forever.
The WILDFIT program is a low-calorie diet that cycles through ketogenic and low-carb phases. You will most certainly lose weigh on it, at least temporarily. That doesn’t make this diet effective or smart.