I had an interesting conversation with Annelies from Attune foods the other day about the weight loss industry. We were talking about the fact that although reputable weight loss companies do want you to lose weight, there is also the need for any weight loss company to continually get new clients. If everyone loses weight successfully on a program, then there are no more repeat customers and eventually the pool of available weight lossees diminishes. Right?
In a way, it seems as though the weight loss industry is self perpetuating, or acting in a way to make itself continue to exist. How do some weight loss companies self perpetuate themselves and make it difficult for us to lose weight successfully?
I think it comes down to many of us buying into certain myths and believing weight loss advertisements more than we should. Some examples of ways we are swayed by weight loss programs include:
1. We want to believe the hype. Although some people are immune to promises they see in advertisements, many of us really do want to believe the program that claims to “have all the answers” or be the one program that will help you “finally shed those unwanted pounds.” We can even fall prey to those magic advertising words “doctor recommended” or “scientifically proven” because we really want to believe the program works.
I think it is human nature to want to trust people, and that includes advertisements. Learn to see through any hype by carefully analyzing the claims and researching terms or phrases you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with.
2. Testimonials are powerful. Let’s face it. Testimonials can be powerful even if we know that they are paid actors. How many times have you been sucked into watching an infomercial even though you know it is all for show?
The diet industry knows we like those testimonials and uses them liberally. Why else would they pay celebrities to endorse their product or show beautiful before and after photos of women in short dresses and high heels? Because it works. And when we fail on one diet, we can just hop over to another diet program whose models and testimonials are better than the program we just failed at.
3. Celebrity endorsed supplements can sometimes sway us. There is no safe supplement for weight loss, at least none that my doctor has ever shared with me! Just because a television personality says it works does not make it so. Nor is that supplement necessarily safe for you.
Remember that even natural products are not necessarily safe or legal. Like my hair stylist said to me one time, “Some illegal drugs are natural but that doesn’t make them safe or good for you.” Once again, if we try an advertised weight loss supplement and it doesn’t work, we often just go onto the next one that is popular. Self-perpetuating.
4. Weight loss programs have your best interest at heart. Never forget that the primary goal of a commercial weight loss program is profit. Don’t ever forget that, even if you join a reputable program.
For this reason, I always recommend researching any program you join and really examining whether the program teaches you lifestyle skills or tries to keep you dependent on their products and program.
5. This program has the answer. Don’t be swayed by this one. There is no magic program, no quick fix, and no completely perfect program. Although most programs promise theirs is the one for you, the truth is that it may not be right for you.
Only you can decide whether the program gives you what you need. Ask if you can have a free consultation or attend a meeting for no cost before joining. Think about how comfortable you feel with the person, the facilities, and the cost.
The weight loss industry is a business first and foremost. They may give us tools to help us lose weight but they also need us to keep coming back for more. More help, more products, more fees, etc.
I’m not trying to degrade the entire weight loss industry, but rather point out that the goal of any for-profit company is to please investors and owners first. And because of that, we all need to be cautious and smart when using a service. After all, the point of weight loss should be to lose weight and keep it off. Not lose weight, gain some (or all) back, rejoin the program, lose weight, gain some (or all) back, rejoin the program, etc.
Do you ever think about the fact that the weight loss industry is a business and needs us to keep paying money in order for the company to survive? Diane