General Diet Plans and Questions - Paying to lose? Separating the crap from reality.




Lecomtes
04-10-2013, 06:07 PM
Am I the only fat person out there who is more than a bit disenchanted with weight loss programs, systems, meal plans, pricey gym memberships, and surgeons peddling life-threatening surgery to people whose need is questionable?
Don't get me wrong, like many of you, I've tried it all, well, everything short of surgery, not that I have not investigated it as an option. I paid $1200 to start one particular program that was later added to a long list of programs that "didn't work for me".
Was the issue really that the programs didn't work for me, or was it that the programs were a scapegoat for my failure? Middlemen displacing my ownership of the simple fact that, too often, I ate too much...and too often, I didn't move enough.
It's not that these programs can't or won't enable me to lose weight if I make the decision and have the motivation to adhere to their guidelines, it's that they are not necessary. Why pay $1000 to start Ideal Protein when you can go on a hike and eat a salad for dinner during the vacation on which you spent the $1000 you saved NOT buying into their pseudo-science bullsh1t?
These companies are specialists in capitalizing on our our misery! Many overweight people now frame the conversation around weight loss as though buying something is essential to success. I view this shift in the lexicon as having removed us from a position of strength in controlling the outcome of our own lives. We hand the power we should be learning to yield on our own over to the company with the most successfully scientific-seeming marketing scheme.
The path I am on now feels different than those roads I have traveled down in the past when trying to lose weight. For starters, I haven't spent a dime this time. I don't feel like a failure if I don't lose one week because I know in the back of my mind the "failure" cost my family $50. Instead of paying a fortune to a thin person in fake lab coat to pretend to care about me for "accountability reasons", I check in with my ladies on MFP and 3FC for free, women who have BEEN HERE or ARE HERE, and know exactly what I am going through.
I think I am beginning to settle into the understanding that while this path is not easy, the only factor influencing weather I lose weight or not...is me. I will f*ck up along the way, fries will be eaten, workouts will be skipped. When I do so , I have two choices, feel bad about it, beat myself up, and eat myself into oblivion...OR...step back, slowly ENJOY my meal, however "indulgent" it may be, and make a mental note that for my next meal I will have a huge, beautiful, colorful salad with a tablespoon of whatever kind of dressing I d@mn well please.
For some, programs are surgery are helpful, and sometimes even medically necessary. I acknowledge that, and I encourage people to do what works for them. However, I hope that I am not alone in questioning these ubiquitous weight loss programs, pills, and clinics. I hope to promote alternatives that don't cost anything, don't involve misrepresenting scientific knowledge, and empower people as individuals. :)


SouthernMaven
04-11-2013, 10:23 AM
Lecomtes - Your post brings up excellent points.

The diet industry in this country is a $20 Billion dollar a year business.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/100-million-dieters-20-billion-weight-loss-industry/story?id=16297197#.UWa0Eldv4uh

I've seen varying statistics on how successful dieters have been with maintaining their weight loss in the long-term, but none of them are good.

You are correct - ultimately the success or failure of any diet depends on the individual who embarks upon it. And I also agree with you that it's not necessary to invest in any commercial weight-loss plan in order to lose weight. One look around this forum will confirm that fact.

With all the free online tools, phone apps, forums such as this one, and other resources available that cost nothing, all that one really needs is the motivation necessary to lose the weight and keep it off.

I'm not disputing the efficacy of these programs - many of them have helped people be successful in losing weight. Unfortunately the long-term success rate is not great, but the reasons for that are numerous and have been discussed here and elsewhere, so I'll not go down that road here.

fithappens
04-12-2013, 09:26 AM
An old friend had some comments on this topic that I really liked. For a long time, I was the one who was always so quick to run out and buy whatever the latest dieting craze was-- who cares about the price, it WORKS!!! Except... it rarely did. And finally, he said this to me:

If you want to commit to a program that's going to cost you (any amount of) money, you should first show that you can commit to getting/staying/being healthy in general.

He challenged me to one month of eating right, taking daily walks/runs, doing YouTube exercise videos and staying HEALTHY the free way. He said if I can do all of that for a month than surely the craze will prove successful for me as well. The problem with these crazes is that they aren't lying when they say you'll lose weight with them-- you just simply need to have the dedication and motivation to stick with it or else you will never see the results they claim you can see.

Before you jump on the next weight-loss band-wagon, try staying healthy for a few weeks the old fashioned way. Reward yourself along the way but cut out the crap... if you can stick to that then surely you'll see results from those pricey memberships you hate to pay for.


joefla70
04-12-2013, 10:34 AM
I agree with you 100% and couldn't have said it any better. (Despite that, I'll still toss in my story). :)

Like you, in the past I have spent over $1000 to join weight loss clinics. My most recent experience was with LA Weight Loss a few years ago. The diet itself was sound, and it worked. It was nothing ground breaking though. I could have researched diet plans online myself and found something equivalent -- and not paid to go to LA Weight Loss. But, I fell into the trap that many of us do because we think we cannot do this on our own.

It quickly became apparent to me that their agenda for the office visits / weigh-ins was to sell their product first and foremost. That was quite obviously their business model. They were very pushy in their sales efforts to try to get me to buy more and more supplements. I didn't feel like the person I was meeting with was skilled in diet and nutrition, and was just there to give me a pep talk to keep with the program and push the product. The pushy sales tactics really turned me off. Because of that, I stopped going in. So, not only did I not reach my weight loss goal, I put the weight back on -- and then some. Then, LA Weight Loss went bankrupt -- so I couldn't go back. Looking back on it now, that was a blessing. Because it was that bad experience that prompted me to try the weight loss on my own -- rather than go back to another weight loss center this time. I'm so glad I did, because I finally realized that I had to be ready to do this. Really ready. And relying upon a weight loss center to give me a pep talk and/or shame me into staying on plan because I don't want to look bad at weigh-ins -- was the wrong type of motivation. I had to really want this to work.

My current weight loss got started on August 1 of last year. What really inspired me to get started was that a friend of mine had just lost 70 pounds going to a weight loss center called "Quick Weight Loss Center", and another friend was also going there and doing well. Now, there was no way in **** I was going to another weight loss center after my debacle with LA Weight Loss. However, my friend showed me her plan -- which, not surprisingly, was almost the exact same thing as the plan I had with LA Weight Loss -- and I implemented that plan. It worked great! I shed the weight rapidly. Of course the Quick Weight Loss Centers sell their own brand of supplements, including protein shakes and bars. Figuring that I needed this, I started buying them -- but I searched for cheaper equivalents. I did this for several months. Then, it finally occurred to me that I did not need to use supplements if I just ate right. Even though I was not going to a weight loss center, I was still kinda buying into their "business model." So, I stopped using the supplements as a matter of course, and only used them when it was convenient for me to do so. I also gradually phased out of the Quick Weight Loss Center plan and developed my own plan. So, right now the plan I am on is very different than the plan I started on.

As I sit here writing this I have to pinch myself to make sure that this is real, because if you had told me 8 months ago that I would be 130 pounds lighter today -- I would have thought you were out-of-your-mind CRAZY!

Like you, I don't begrudge other people from going to the weight loss centers, having weight loss surgery, etc. Some people find it useful to go to a clinic or weight loss center because they need help and are willing to pay to get it. Hey, I was one of those people until 8 months ago when I started to try this on my own. I have to admit that this was my last ditch effort to do this on my own before exploring more drastic measures, like weight loss surgery. And hey, and if the weight loss clinics or surgery works for people, great! But like you, going to the weight loss centers never worked for me. Like you said, it wasn't because the plans didn't work, its because NOTHING was going to work until I was ready to really commit to losing weight.

ChickieBoom
04-12-2013, 11:02 AM
I agree that all of these weight loss plans work if you stick to them but they are in fact businesses that are in business to make money. I have signed up for Weight Watchers too many times to count and it never worked for me. Telling me that I can have x number of points isn't helpful for me because I wasn't making healthy choices and then I would lose my mind in a binge. I have ordered supplements and body wraps and workout videos that promised to transform my entire body in 30 days. None of that worked for me because I wasn't committed.

I've mentioned before that I joined a 12 Step program in June 2012 and that has worked for me. It's free, there are meetings...they don't want anything from me other than to help me break my food addiction. They don't proselytize, they're just there. I've caught a lot of flak from people who think it's ridiculous that I joined a 12 step program for compulsive overeaters but you know what? I'm a compulsive overeater!

So...to each their own but it's definitely not necessary to spend a ton of money on some fad to lose weight. It's just hard work and dedication.

Lecomtes
04-12-2013, 07:08 PM
SouthernMaven- Wow. I guess I knew in the back of my mind the diet industry was big business, but not to the tune of 20 billion dollars! Loved the link. I am blown AWAY that celeb endorsers get that much money! Makes me wonder how long ago I would have lost this weight if I was getting paid $3000 a pound! :) Now I think of it in terms of...if I don't lose this weight...it's probably going to end up COSTING me $3000 a pound in medical expenses, and even more in "emotional distress", haha!

Fithappens (I love your screen name!) - That sounds like a friend worth hanging onto! What a great piece of advice, I'm going to hang onto that one! If I can't do this on my own, no program is going to help. Seems like it worked out pretty well for you huh? Congrats on reaching your goal!

Joefla70 - Thank you for sharing your story, I really enjoyed reading it. I basically had the same experience with the most expensive program I tried. I had to come in once a week to meet with someone who would invariably try to sell me yet another product. I love that it ended up helping you to avoid making the same mistake when the next program came along!
"I fell into the trap that many of us do because we think we cannot do this on our own.", pretty much sums up my whole rant in one sentence. I have been known to lack brevity... :) I need to believe that I CAN do this on my own, I'm getting there I think, but it seems like it's going to be a long process of proving it to myself. Your story is very inspiring, congratulations on your amazing success!

ChickieBoom- I think the 12 step idea is a great one. I would imagine I fall into the compulsive eater category as well. I'm sorry anyone gave you flack about it, I admire your strength in doing your own thing despite their unhelpful comments! "None of it worked because I wasn't committed.", that's the very same understanding I have been coming to myself. Thanks for sharing, and a BIG congrats on your incredible drive and weight loss!

Radiojane
04-12-2013, 07:55 PM
Great posts.

What it comes down to for me is that taking care of your body isn't like snaking a drain. It's not a one off, pay the plumber and get on with what you were doing before type thing. We need to think in terms of permanent change- and this is something I still struggle with. I used to have to remind myself on a regular basis that this isn't going to end for me, that I will be "on a diet" the rest of my life. But as time passes and pounds go, I realize I don't want or need to go back.

If you can use those programs to jump start, to learn good habits, and get the weight off and get on with your life, then it's money well spent. But if you think of them as a magic fix and act as a passive subject waiting for the $1200 program to"fix" you, then you're not going to get anywhere.

It took me a very long time to admit I had a problem with food and look at the motivations in my life that had led me where I got to. And in the end it didn't take money to fix me, it just took effort.

Samantha18
04-13-2013, 04:32 AM
I totally agree! I'm really wary of the 'official' diet plans, pills, etc... because most of them are not sustainable, or they're just gimmicks that lead to the same thing in the end- eating less. I see no point in spending money and losing the weight, just to gain it back, putting that much more damage on the body, and not to mention the mental frustration. I'd rather just do it the right way and keep it off forever and build good habits, not just lose 20 pounds for a few months until I quit taking the pills or quit buying the product.

There are some costly options I do have respect for, like Weight Watchers. I quit when I could no longer afford it and when the meetings became a hassle, but the things I learned during my 4-5 months as a member were incredibly helpful. But, really, other than the meetings/support, counting points is very similar to counting calories for free.

Also, depending on the circumstances/preferences, building a gym at home is probably cheaper than a gym membership in the long run.

As for pills/supplements, etc... I don't bother with them, and automatically assume they either don't work or will just mess up my body somehow. I'm always rolling my eyes at the commericals!

I definitely agree that some of them can be great tools or jumping off points, but really, they're not anything you can't do for free, other than the healthier food costs.

joefla70
04-13-2013, 10:08 AM
"I fell into the trap that many of us do because we think we cannot do this on our own.", pretty much sums up my whole rant in one sentence. I have been known to lack brevity... :) I need to believe that I CAN do this on my own, I'm getting there I think, but it seems like it's going to be a long process of proving it to myself. Your story is very inspiring, congratulations on your amazing success!

Thanks. :) Its a running joke in my office that I have a lack of brevity! In fact, I spent much of the day yesterday trying to cure that because I have an appellate brief due that must be limited to 15 pages, and - despite my best efforts - I have been unable to edit it down from 20 pages to the 15 page limit!

Regarding being able to do this on our own, I have no idea why it has been different for me this time. I just has.... and, frankly, I am still in a state of disbelief about it. I have never been able to do this before. So, naturally, I am concerned how long I can keep this up and whether I will have problems -- like so many others have -- maintaining. But, I try not to think about that now and just focus on the weight loss. I don't know what made me finally ready -- truly ready - to commit to finally doing something about my weight. But, I'm glad whatever it was happened! I wish there was some way to quantify it and explain to others. But, alas, I cannot.

This reminds me of the scene from The Matrix when Neo is talking to the Oracle about whether he is "the One" and she tells him being the one is just like being in love and that "No one needs to tell you you are in love, you just know it, through and through." This is why weight loss centers did not work for me. While its important to have the support of others, they could not provide the will to lose the weight for me. I needed to feel it. I needed to be truly ready. Until I was ready, I was just going through the motions and was already set up for failure before I even started.

SouthernMaven
04-13-2013, 10:54 AM
Thanks. :)
This reminds me of the scene from The Matrix when Neo is talking to the Oracle about whether he is "the One" and she tells him being the one is just like being in love and that "No one needs to tell you you are in love, you just know it, through and through." This is why weight loss centers did not work for me. While its important to have the support of others, they could not provide the will to lose the weight for me. I needed to feel it. I needed to be truly ready. Until I was ready, I was just going through the motions and was already set up for failure before I even started.

Oh, how MANY times have I begun a diet, knowing full well I wasn't in the right frame of mind? But on the few occasions when I was successful at losing the 20-25 lbs I consistently lose and gain back again, my mindset was completely different. And I always knew it going in - it's very hard to describe, but you just know it. Most of the time, I've done it on my own. Once I was successful with Jenny Craig, but of course I ended up gaining it back because you can't eat pre-packaged food for the rest of your life. And every time I tried WW, I totally bombed out. Both online and meetings. Really don't like WW, for some reason. It's very gimmicky to me.

Congratulations on your terrific success, joefla! And as far as maintaining, I think you have the right idea - concentrate on the weight loss and cross that inevitable bridge when you come to it.

bargoo
04-13-2013, 11:22 AM
I have been on lots of diets, many different programs, spent lots of money, LOTS! One day I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I would never spend money again for someone to tell me what to eat. I started calorie counting and found success and didn't cost me a cent exceot for groceries and I have to buy them anyway. No more programs here!

AnnRue
04-13-2013, 12:31 PM
Well, I am going to take a different track... I think you have to pick the right plan and be critical. I did a plan last year that enabled me to lose the weight for good. Without the food.. I likely would not be able to maintain. (I just order it now on line) Before signing up I made sure it was different than other plans and it would compliment what I needed. It was shockingly bad though. I had a nurse and it was clear that I knew like 99% more than her for basic health.

But I hated the way that they encouraged you to put your mind on hold and follow them. I hate the way dieters followed it like freaking sheep. As if they had to do what they said.

Of course the people that work there are going to say when you aren't losing "eat more of our food" they aren't your friends! They work for a company. Of course they are going to be restrained to only say generally accepted diet "techniques" because they don't want to get sued.

If they require you do something you don't find helpful.. lie. DUH. Don't do what they say!

When I had lost the weight I just stopped going. I knew people that would talk to them about their maintenance plan and always end up signing up for it. I saw NO point in telling anyone I was leaving. I knew they would just try to talk me into staying or doing something else.

joefla70
04-14-2013, 02:11 PM
Oh, how MANY times have I begun a diet, knowing full well I wasn't in the right frame of mind? But on the few occasions when I was successful at losing the 20-25 lbs I consistently lose and gain back again, my mindset was completely different. And I always knew it going in - it's very hard to describe, but you just know it. Most of the time, I've done it on my own. Once I was successful with Jenny Craig, but of course I ended up gaining it back because you can't eat pre-packaged food for the rest of your life. And every time I tried WW, I totally bombed out. Both online and meetings. Really don't like WW, for some reason. It's very gimmicky to me.

Congratulations on your terrific success, joefla! And as far as maintaining, I think you have the right idea - concentrate on the weight loss and cross that inevitable bridge when you come to it.


Thanks. :) Crossing that bridge eventually will be the key. I've never really even tried to do it before. For some reason, the only time I ever actually reached my weight loss goal, i had no "plan" for maintenance. I just went back to the way I ate before. Looking back on it now, I can't believe I was that foolish.

Maurene
04-16-2013, 12:39 PM
America is full of consumers. We love to spend money. We like to throw money at our problems, hoping that will make them go away. Sometimes it works, but often it doesn't. Also think America is full of optimists. We want to believe we can fix our problems. If that last diet program didn't work, then surely this next one will. The consumerism and optimism kind of feed each other.

Its funny that when I think about ditching my membership to a diet program and counting calories on something like MFP...I immediately think next that if I do that, I need to get fancy pedometer. I want gadgets and tools.

joefla70
04-16-2013, 12:41 PM
America is full of consumers. We love to spend money. We like to throw money at our problems, hoping that will make them go away. Sometimes it works, but often it doesn't. Also think America is full of optimists. We want to believe we can fix our problems. If that last diet program didn't work, then surely this next one will. The consumerism and optimism kind of feed each other.

Its funny that when I think about ditching my membership to a diet program and counting calories on something like MFP...I immediately think next that if I do that, I need to get fancy pedometer. I want gadgets and tools.

I think that the things you mention are part of it. But also many of us have the mindset that losing weight is something that we cannot do on our own because it is so hard. While sustained weight loss is difficult to achieve and maintain, it is not some sort of mystery illness that medical science is trying to solve. There is any secret formula to doing it. The key is being able to follow any of the many diet and exercise plans that will allow you to achieve a healthy weight loss. The main obstacles are our lack of ability to follow a diet and/or unwillingness to increase our exercise.

If you think about it, its a tragedy that so many people suffer so much - and die - from obesity and obesity related health issues. If any of us had a terminal disease, and we were told that we did not need to take any medications or undergo any treatment or surgery to cure it... but all we had to do was follow a specific regimen of diet and exercise.... we'd all sign up for that in a heartbeat, right? But for some strange reason, when the disease is obesity, so many of us are just not capable of realizing that we already possess the key to our recovery... but we just don't use it.

Radiojane
04-16-2013, 01:00 PM
I'm bad for that too Maurene, I have a pedometer on right now that will probably log all of five steps today, but I had to have it!

My mom is paying 20 bucks a month for weight watchers online. So is her boss. Their rationale is that if they're shelling out the money for it, they will stick to it.

SouthernMaven
04-16-2013, 01:44 PM
My mom is paying 20 bucks a month for weight watchers online. So is her boss. Their rationale is that if they're shelling out the money for it, they will stick to it.

I hear that all the time, and have been guilty of it myself. The only "paid" diet program I ever lost any weight on was Jenny Craig, and believe you me, I was shelling out the money! But as is so often the case, I gained it back. You can't eat pre-packaged food forever, and of course I really gave no thought to how I was going to maintain the loss. I think they have a maintenance program, but of course they want to continue to sell you product, so of course I just stopped.

I've signed up with WW, both online AND for the meetings, several times. I mean, look at my sig....you would think I would have learned! I never lost any weight with them, mainly because I just didn't stick with the program. I'd sign up and go to maybe three meetings. I did this at least three different times. I also signed up online twice - I actually stuck with it a bit longer online, but not long enough, obviously.

I will say that I never continued to pay - once I realized I wasn't going to do the program, I cancelled my membership. I finally caught on to the fact that I hate counting points! I figured - if I'm going to COUNT something, why not count calories??? I can do that for free! Duh.

But I think joefla is right - we often think we can't do it alone. I've been far more successful alone than with a program. I think one reason I kept returning to WW is that maybe I thought they'd provide the motivation I lacked. And of course that simply wasn't going to happen.

patns
04-17-2013, 12:28 AM
Middlemen displacing my ownership...

That is an excellent point; and when we fail we can blame the middleman.

It is impressive to see the amazing losses several posters to this thread have had. Just proves that taking on your personal ownership is key.

MedChick87
04-17-2013, 03:19 AM
I agree with a lot of everyone's points that have been made here, but I have to say that spending money (well, my parents' money) was the one thing that made it "click" for me. I could not longer "afford" to fail, if that makes any sense. I went to a local weight loss clinic where I was prescribed an appetite suppressant and vitamins along with a nutrition appointment/weigh-in each week. It worked. I lost 50 lbs. Granted, I have since decided to lose the rest on my own and still have weight to lose, but I really do feel that this program was the one thing that kick-started my loss.

I know it's obviously not going to work for everyone, but to some people these programs really help. For a lot of people, like me, there's too much money on the line to continue to not lose weight. I know some people here have mentioned that spending the money didn't motivate them, and I totally understand that. I guess my point is, to each their own. Some people really need that extra kick to get started with a healthy lifestyle.

Great topic!

Radiojane
04-18-2013, 01:07 PM
For me, it's the opposite. I knew I didn't want to spend any money (save for supplements I suppose) this time out, because like before, I figured I would fail and then be out that much money. I couldn't put that pressure on myself.

Lecomtes
04-18-2013, 01:16 PM
I can see the reasoning on both sides. I do feel the process I went through paying for various plans was a learning experience, because when I entered adulthood, I really didn't know anything about health. My dad constantly gave me crap about my weight, but our house was always filled with convenience food of the unhealthiest sort, it felt hopeless...In some of those early programs I did get a lot of good information, and made connections with older women who had a lot of great advice to share...so I guess I see that there was a positive side to them. Still, where I am today I feel I must do this on my own.