Do Weight Loss Centers Really Work?

by June 23, 2013
filed under Life
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Last September, I walked into a popular weight loss center convinced that I could lose 26 pounds based on the success that my best friend’s sister had. The gurl at the front desk also assured me that I could lose weight at a rate of 2 pounds a week using portion control and a regime of weekly vitamins – without exercise. Although I was wary, I agreed to pay approximately $200 per month for the 6-month program fee and an additional $320 a month for special vitamins.

An unfortunate side effect of some medications associated with depression is weight gain and this is the reason I was motivated to join a weight loss center. Not only does your body gain weight but it also develops a tendency to hold onto fat. For me, a lack of physical energy also contributed to this effect. I was unable to engage in fat burning cardiovascular activities that increase your heart rate. Every woman has their own reasons for gaining or struggling to lose weight.  We all feel the pressure to not only maintain a healthy body weight but to maintain a body weight that we are psychologically manipulated to desire.  Magazines, TV, films, advertisements and the pop culture media have duped us into comparing ourselves to other women, making us self-critical and unhappy with our bodies.

Initially, I was happy with my weight loss program, as in a little over a month, I had lost 11 pounds! Not only did I lose a noticeable amount of weight but I also learned about appropriate food portions. Before I had depression, I was a fan of exercise so my body was used to eating for a person who was constantly exercising. While on this program however, I was eating for a person who walked a little and dabbled in yoga generally spending a great deal of the day sitting around. For a person my size trying to lose 2 pounds per week, I could eat 2 proteins, 2 fruits, 3 vegetables, 1 dairy, 2 fats, and thankfully one treat (such as a small amount of dark chocolate or 100 calorie snack). Portions for protein would be about 5 ounces of chicken, 4 ounces of beef, or 12 ounces of Greek yogurt, while portions for vegetables might include 1 cup asparagus, 1/2 cup carrots, and 1 cup lettuce.

Later the weight loss center changed the program and started charging upfront for vitamins. I began getting vitamins for every week of the month plus about 10 snacks (cheese puffs made of soy etc.) for about $400. It didn’t take long however, before a problem started to occur. It was in the middle of October when I began oscillating between 179 and 181 pounds and I was no longer loosing weight. I paid all my yearly fees but decided after 8 months of not shedding any weight that it wasn’t worth the $400 a month that I was paying for vitamins.

I did ask for help several times by explaining my medical situation to the gurl who was advising me. However, my adviser changed 4 times in those 8 months. Thus, there were inconsistencies in how I was being measured by different gurls. In addition, nobody helped me personalize my weight loss plan to ensure that I was successful and that’s what ultimately made me decide to quit.

After everything I went through, I have found that I am able to maintain 180 pounds on my own by using portion control and no longer wasting money paying $400 a month for vitamins. Not only am I now $400/month richer, I have also learnt that being healthy is not just about dieting. Exercise is the key to losing weight and anyone who tells your differently is lying! A healthy gurl needs to head to the gym and get her heart rate up two or three times a week, along with a little bit of weight training that will build muscle and promote fat burning.

However because I am unlike most people, where I have to limit my exercise, I have to create a weight loss plan that is personalized for myself.  This may include being stricter with portion control or even trying to walk more. I know that for the average women who wants a permanent weight loss solution, nothing beats exercise and eating right and those weight loss centers who promise success through diet and expensive vitamins alone –  according to my experience –  are not the way to go. They can only take you so far –  and for a pretty penny!

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