10 Signs That A Weight Loss Plan Is A Scam

One of the biggest challenges to long lasting weight loss is that people so often get sidetracked by ineffective weight loss plans that make big promises but deliver few returns.  It’s a challenge because we  turn our attention away from forging ahead with healthy diet and exercise to try one of these “new” weight loss programs.  The fad weight loss plans are tempting because they play into our desire to want the weight to come off easily and quickly.  The reality is that there are no magic plans or pills. They exist because there is a huge market for them.  Every weight loss pseudo-expert has their own angle, their own special diet, or special supplement.  I challenge you to avoid the temptation and stay the course.  To help, here is a list of 10 signs that a weight loss plan is a scam.

1.  LOSE WEIGHT FAST! If a program promises FAST weight loss such as 1 pound a day, 10 pounds in a week, etc, please disregard it.  Healthy weight loss is at a pace of 1-2 pounds per week, otherwise you will regain the weight fast.  Our bodies have a natural tendency to resist fast weight loss, it is a survival instinct.  If anyone promises you fast weight loss (with the exception of gastric bypass surgery) it is a set-up for failure.

2.  COLONICS. Any plan that involves snaking your pipes is an instant sign of a hoax.  Many diet plans include this because after getting rid of all wastes in your colon you will naturally be lighter on the scale.  This does not mean you have lost true body weight though. It really is just you minus poop (sorry).  They use colonics to make you think you lost weight so you tell all your friends about the diet and they make more money. Five weeks later your weight rebounds and you lose interest in the diet.

3.  DETOX. Any plan that suggests that you need to be “detoxed” is downright ridiculous. Our bodies are evolved to have this wonderful organ called the liver.  It detoxifies your body more so than any diet will.  Do not worry about “toxins” in your body.  The idea that toxins are making you overweight is simply ridiculous. It’s fear tactics at their best.

4.  VITAMINS OR SUPPLEMENTS. Listen carefully:  there is NO evidence that ANY vitamin will help you lose significant weight.  If you take vitamins alongside a healthy diet and exercise you will lose weight.  If you play the banjo alongside a healthy diet and exercise you will also lose weight.  Get my drift?

5.  SPECIAL DIETS. If the plan involves eating a strange diet made up of foods that you would not normally eat or in amounts you would not normally eat, it is no good.  Don’t start eating cookies, cabbage soup, or bacon in mass quantities because it will help you lose weight.  It really is as ridiculous as it sounds.

6.  AUTHOR OF WEIGHT LOSS PLAN HAS NO BACKGROUND IN THE SCIENCE OF OBESITY/NUTRITION/EXERCISE. If the person writing the latest weight  loss book has a degree in Russian history, is a sitcom star, is a journalist, or a celebrity, they are not weight loss experts.  Body weight regulation is a multidisciplinary science because so many factors come into play from biological, psychological, genetic, to environmental. If someone who hasn’t immersed themselves in this science claims to be an expert, run away fast.  It’s a true sign of a money making scam.  We would never turn to a non-scientist for the cure for cancer, so we shouldn’t for the cure for obesity.  The amount of pseudoscience circulating on weight loss is astounding, and it is simply because there is a market for it.  Examine the credentials of the person founding the “weight loss plan” and if they don’t involve any significant educational background in any of these areas be prepared for garbage.

7.  OVER THE COUNTER SUPPLEMENTS. There are no effective over-the-counter supplements for weight loss.  Many supplements make claims but I assure you there is no data to support any of them at this time. 

8. INJECTIONS. Please, I repeat, please do not let anyone inject a vitamin or hormone into you for the purpose of weight loss.  It will not only NOT work, but is potentially extremely dangerous.

9.  METABOLISM-BOOSTING DIET. If the diet plan they are selling you on is focused on increasing your metabolism by eating certain foods, it’s bunk.  There is no strong evidence that any foods or supplements increase metabolism to the point of significant weight loss.  Exercise increases metabolism, but only transiently.  If you want to increase your metabolism, exercise daily. 

10.  WEIGHT LOSS DEPENDS ON YOU USING OUR PRODUCTS.  This is a sure sign of a money-making scheme.  Jenny Craig might be an exception because the product is portion controlled food, however, it can be very difficult to do any program that requires constant purchasing of products. These companies make you feel like your weight loss relies on continued use of their products, but the truth is you can lose weight without purchasing special products.  This is a business plan not a weight loss plan.

Your health does not have to be a for-profit industry.  Let’s put these people out of business by embracing what we know for sure will bring our bodies to a healthy weight.  Here’s my fad diet and  it doesn’t cost a thing…

~~~~~~~~~MY FAD DIET~~~~~~~~~

Fresh air, fresh fruit,

Light meals, light moods,

A good sweat, goals set,

Body moving, no food soothing,

No static, don’t panic,

Help yourself, help each other,

Love your body, there’s no other,

Heart beats, healthy eats,

A deep breath, a good stretch,

On your feet, eat less meat,

TV off, get your sleep,

Destress, and don’t second guess.

Everyone just keep quiet, because this is MY fad diet.

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  1. Barb Petrowske says:

    Another great article Sherry and so true! As I shared with you earlier in the year, I started making healthier choices in my eating habits along with portion control. I also started working out on a regular basis and making sure that I get at least 30 minutes of daily walking in. I feel great and have lost 30 lbs. since January. The weight is coming off slow but each week I am a little lighter and a lot healthier!

  2. Susan says:

    Wow..what a great blog..It all makes perfect sense. I must say all these weight loss fads, vitamin and supplement companies prey on the weak. We are so desperate to find this magic pill..be true to yourself and do it the old fashioned way, burn more calories than you take in, be accountable for what you eat and be more active..its really not that hard if you put your mind to it… give yourself a gift today and get outside…

  3. janine says:

    I love your poem. It is so light and non-judgemental.
    I am alway so damn naggy on the subject of any diets. This was my attempt at the same idea:

  4. I can’t help but agree! So so true that detox diets do nothing more than condition our minds to believe ‘something good will happen inside my body’.

    Those who claim of “Lose 5 pounds in 1 week” actually refer to the water retention in the body.

    Wonderful to read the poem too!

  5. Mike b says:

    Another great post sherry! LOVE YOUR POME. And yes your way works, I’m living proof, no expensive gimmicks, just good old hard work and proper decision making. But I do like the sound of the banjo diet, are they expensive, I always wanted to learn how to play the banjo.

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