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Are weight loss centres more focused on signing up members?

Weight loss clinics represent a $792 million a year industry but have recently been accused of using aggressive tactics and bizarre advice to ensure people sign up to their programs.

Consumer watch-dog Choice has conducted ‘mystery shop visits’ of Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and two other operators within the industry and with frightening results. The visits found that some operators were not taking note of medical conditions or medications before offering advice, were claiming that a potential client should ‘not bother with exercise’ and were misdiagnosing medical conditions such as thyroid and adrenal problems and using terms such as obesity syndrome.

The major concerns coming from the assessments are that trying to reach sign-up or sales targets are outweighing the true requirements of clients. The hard sell is concerning misinformation and scare tactics being used as well as claims that no exercise is necessary in order to lose weight.

While some people do need the support and direction offered by professionals there may be more benefit by employing the services of a nutritionist/dietician and personal trainer. These professionals understand that each person is different and so are their needs and special requirements.

There is no one-size fits all approach to weight loss. A professional nutritionist or dietician will take into consideration your specific dietary requirements including allergies, intolerances, likes and dislikes. They will educate you on how your food choices impact on your body and how you can make healthy and safe food choice for the long term. A professional personal trainer will provide you with a tailored fitness routine that takes into account your lifestyle, your goals, your current physical ability and all while offering you support, encouragement and professional advice.

Rather than going to a weight loss clinic interested in membership numbers and sales targets, find professional that will work for you. While some of the operators in the weight loss industry offer specials to have you sign up beware of the ongoing membership costs and costs of additional products that you are ‘encouraged’ to purchase. You are able to pay a nutritionist or dietician for just the appointments you attend and many personal trainers now offer options of ‘pay as you go’. There are also options to go to personal training with a friend (extra support and encouragement provided free of charge) which can reduce the costs of the sessions or join a group fitness class such as a boot camp or spin class at a gym.

Whatever way to decide to approach weight loss make sure that is in a way that you feel comfortable and not pressured – then you are all the more likely to continue and reach your goals.

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