As the end of the year approaches, many start thinking about New Year's resolutions. Losing weight is a perennial favorite, and the diet industry is well aware of this. Ads for prepackaged food plans, diet pills, exercise equipment and gym memberships abound in print and on the air waves this time of year. Unfortunately, most of them will not help you lose weight, and some are an outright rip off.
Dr. Barry Groves, author of Eat Fat Get Thin and Natural Health & Weight Loss has a great understanding of the core issue. "The overweight are a ready source of income....They rely on you for a very comfortable living."
According to a CBS report in December of last year, Americans spend somewhere near $35 billion a year on weight-loss products. Yet, for all that money spent, obesity rates are not going down. Not only are people making money off of you if you are fat, they aren't doing what you paid them to do...help you get skinny.
So when you see the latest diet, the newest exercise gadget, or the hottest new weight loss pill, pause for a minute and think about those 35 billion reasons they are being pushed on you. Below are just a few examples of how an overweight person and their money can end up being parted.
Meal Programs: Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem are two well-known examples (though they are not the only ones). For a fee, they ship you prepackaged, pre-portioned foods. The good news is they will actually send you the food if you pay for it. The bad news is that you could make the same foods for yourself for much less. Those tv ads you see for these plans? Next time one pops up, look for the following words...RESULTS NOT TYPICAL. They are there on every single skinny person shown as an example of what their diets can do. What are the typical results? More like the results for diets in general, which have an abysmal failure rate of over 95%. Instead of forking over the money for a plan like this, take a cooking class instead. Or go to the book store and pick up some low carb cook books. It will cost a lot less and you will most likely actually lose some weight.
Gyms: Gyms love New Year! This is when they get the most sign-ups, but by Spring time, up to 30% of paying members are no longer around. Of course, they are still PAYING, because a gym membership can be as hard to quit as a crack habit. Long term contracts you can't get out of even if you move, get injured, or just don't use the facilities, don't sound like a good idea to me. Add the fact that exercise has been shown to have little effect on weight loss (Good Calories, Bad Calories - Gary Taubes), gym memberships are just not worth it in my book. A local community center that has a pay as you go plan, or per class charge is a much smarter option. You can also always use the local park for free. (more)
Membership Websites: There are online sites that charge you to join to get access to their diet plans, discussion forums and recipe sites. Some charge per month while others offer a lifetime membership. The problem with these sites is you can't see what the plan is until you've already ponied up the cash to join. You have no way to evaluate the quality of the information being offered, or if the dietary advice you are getting is even medically safe or sound. In one well publicized case, a woman running a diet site claimed to have lost 198 pounds in a year, and maintained her weight loss for over 5 years. Her site offered the way to lose weight just like her if you paid $59.95. After an investigation prompted by a disgruntled business partner and upset members who were denied access to the site after paying for the "lifetime" membership, it was revealed that the diet's founder was, in fact, over 300 lbs. She had not lost 198 pounds. Her "after" photo she used on her site and in an issue of Women's World magazine was lifted from a Russian Bride website. Not only was her photo faked, several other "success" stories were fictitious, their photos also coming from Russian dating sites. (more) This diet founder is now the target of a lawsuit for her fraud as well as health problems experienced by those who followed her plan.
There is really no need to pay an upfront fee for recipes, articles or forums in the first place since these are already available for FREE. Two excellent forums are Low Carb Friends and Active Low Carb Forums. Both have an extensive collection of articles, information and personal experiences, as well as fun, helpful people who are in the same boat as you. There are also forums created by individuals like Jimmy Moore, who himself lost a lot of weight and blogs extensively about low carb eating, health and weight loss. There is addition information available from blogs and websites of Doctors like Mike & Mary Eades, authors of Protein Power, and Barry Groves, author of Natural Health and Weight Loss. While they are ultimately selling books, their free information in an education all by itself. As for recipes, RecipeZaar. com, Cooks.com and more have low carb recipes, or you can stop by Linda Sue's website. She has been low carb cooking for a long time and has a fantastic collection of tried and true low carb recipes.
Exercise Gadgets: Remember the thigh master? The ab roller? The stair climber? While people who buy these gadgets start off with the best of intentions, what most commonly happens is that it gets used a few times and then hidden in the basement. Pimped on tv commercials and infomercials, they usually end up in garage sales and thrift stores after gathering dust in a basement or closet. If you really believe the thing you see on tv is YOUR ANSWER to permanent weight loss, wait 6 months. You will be able to get it for less than 1/10th of the advertised price at your local Goodwill. Plus, if you really think you can stick with a regular plan, like you need for one of these products, try a walking plan. If you can't commit to taking a walk 3 times a week for a couple of months, the odds of you using an exercise gadget consistently are slim to none anyway.
Diet Pills: From Chortislim to Liposene to Hoodia, each promises outstanding results. Many often have a "money back" guarantee. How can you lose? Easy. Shipping and handling. You don't get that portion back if you return the pills. Most use cheap ground shipping and pay a discounted rate to their shippers. You pay more like $9.95-$12.95 for the shipping and handling alone. Should you return the package, they already have been paid for all of their costs (including that of the product) and have lost nothing. And since most people never bother to return the products, they profit no matter what. Besides, the pills don't address the actual causes of obesity, and are just a neat way for pill makers to get rich.
"On January 4, 2007, the Federal Trade Commission fined the marketers of four over-the-counter, non-prescription diet pills a combined $25 million for making false advertising claims"
The real reason for obesity is because of metabolic problems caused by the shift of our natural diet to one high in refined carbohydrates. Anything that does not address the underlying cause is just a waste of time of money. You don't need gadgets or pills to fix it, you need good, solid information. Trust me, nobody likes being fat, and the obese feel a desperation to lose weight for many reasons. Health, beauty, to fit in to society better...I know what it feels like. I have wasted my share of money on pills and plans, but the only thing that has worked has been a low carb way of eating. It's the only thing I have tried that addresses the cause, it's healthy, it works, and it doesn't cost a fortune. A few books and some helpful internet buddies were all I needed to drop 35 pounds, lower my blood pressure, and feel so much better overall. Sure I still have work to do, but I will not get it done by spending my money on crap and neither will you. It's time to resolve to get healthy, and not to give ripoff artists your hard earned money in the process.
Happy New Year!
Books to buy NOW. Seriously!
Protein Power by Mike & Mary Eades
Natural Health & Weight Loss by Barry Groves
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes