7 Tips to Avoid Falling Prey to the Latest Weight Loss Scam
By: Alice Burron
Many of us are seeking answers that will ensure delivery of our New Year resolution to loose weight or get in better shape while those in the weight loss industry attempt to prey on our good intentions.
“Lose years off of your life”, “trim that belly by taking this pill”, “have more energy by using this simple device” – who hasn’t fallen for at least one promise of a quick fix? And if you’ve tried one, why not try another? There’s always a next best thing to try, when the last one failed.
Weight loss is a multi-billion dollar industry, and because one out of three American’s are overweight or obese, we are a nation obsessed with losing weight. And, because being overweight comes with health complications, American’s are interested in any promise, product, or solution that will deliver better health.
But what those promises in commercials, ads and before and after pictures aren’t telling you is tucked away in tiny print at the bottom. Typically they state that the results described aren’t typical and suggest that you accompany the product with a regular exercise program and moderate or a very low-calorie eating plan. Therein lies the answer; eat less and move more to lose weight or improve our health and it works s with, or without, the product.
So why are we falling for this quick rapid results scheme over and over again? Maybe it’s because weight loss involves work – and many people find that unappealing, and just plain hard. And avoiding foods that taste good sounds a little bit like torture. Changing the focus from work to a supplement sounds much easier while paying a little money to lose weight sounds a lot more attractive than depriving yourself and working out.
Here are 7 steps to avoid the latest scam and help get you on the right track to losing weight and better health.
1. Look for the small, fine print, and read it. If there are disclaimers, take them more seriously than the promises. (Exceptions are just that – and chances are you are not the exception.) Most of the time this is enough of an eye-opener to keep you from purchasing.
2. Look for the research. Is there research done by a third-party, preferably a non-profit such as a university or hospital? If research was performed in-house by the product manufacturer consider the information biased and not worth giving much consideration. Is there more than one study to support the claim? The more studies there are, the better. How many subjects were part of the study/ies? Larger population studies (over 100) give a better perspective.
3. What is the magic ingredient? Is the promised result from a certain drug, food group omission, or does it require a sudden overhaul in your diet? If so, be honest, will you be able to sustain that behavior over the
long-term (say one year from now)? Can you afford this product as long as it would take for you to achieve your goal?
4. Validate the product. Go to the USDA’s website “Evaluating Weight Control Programs” and look for your diet in many of the articles, brochures, and publications provided there to help consumers and professionals find their way through the maze of weight and diet claims. Does what you find support the product, or not?
5. Is there ongoing support, or regular feedback? Support is a key player for success.
6. Does the program require changes based on your lifestyle, preferences and situation? If not, there will be an added challenge for you to stick with it (you’re going against your natural grain), the likelihood that you will give up will be greater.
7. Is there any evidence this will help over the long-term, or is it time-limited? A 30-day promise is just for 30 days. What happens after that?
Then balance what you’ve learned with using the money to enroll in a class, hire a personal trainer or nutrition consultant to build a long-term plan for success.
If you’ve looked at all of the facts and still want to try the quick fix then go for it! At least you’ll not suffer the guilt of being fooled once again.