When it comes to weight loss we are often overawed by the volume of information and often misinformation available to us. What we should be eating has become a bit of a mystery. High fat? Low Fat? Snacking? Should we eat nuts? Should we eat fruit? Should we eat at all? I’ve even had one gentleman, who shall remain anonymous, try and tell me that as long as he drinks more water than wine everyday then he is being healthy. It’s all relative I guess.
This minefield of ‘information’ makes things difficult for those of us in the business of improving our clients’ health and wellbeing, and especially looking to provide a weight loss solution. That’s why we work with each individual to break down some of these misconceptions and focus on the key principles that have actually been proven to improve health and lead to fat loss. As a small team we can work together and share our knowledge and experience to create the best strategy for each individual client that we see. With this approach we have seen great success and results speak for themselves.
When it comes to some of the big weight loss brands the role is slightly different. The challenges they face are magnified on a massive scale. They don’t have the time spend an hour, 3 times a week educating each person that they see. Therefore the process has to be streamlined and things can become either ‘oversimplified’ or ‘overcomplicated’. The key is for these companies is to try and remember what they are trying to achieve and stick to their brief.
The successful brands stick to the brief and don’t really deviate – They get people to lose weight. They have been very successful and here’s why I think it works.
- You cut calories without knowing it. – The basic principles are to encourage members to eat as much as they want of nutrient dense and calorie sparse foods. Anything that is high in calories is penalised in way of points or syns, which are limited. By sticking to these targets calories are restricted. Bingo weight loss without realising it.
- You eat healthier foods by default – Reading through the allowed foods lists is like looking up health foods online. Almost everything is a real food full of nutrients and goodness. If 80% of your diet is made up of this type of food you will be healthier.
- The stress of weight loss is taken away – It’s a straightforward system and once you get the hang of it, it can be easy. As with all of these things, you have to commit to it. But once you have done that you can relax and let the system take care of things. Social support is there, recipes are provided, and options are plentiful.
I’m sure that individually people can probably add a few more reasons for success to this list but in my opinion (and that’s all this is) these are the 3 key points for the success of these brands.
Now there are also some limitations that I must mention, these are some key things that in my opinion must be considered when embarking on this strategy. However I do believe that as I said earlier, we have to remember what the brief is here. They are trying to get people to lose weight. They’re not looking at health benefits or energy levels or fitness goals, although the correlation is still there, it’s not the primary goal.
- The use of sweeteners – On some of these plans sweeteners are ‘free’ or have a minimal penalty value. Diet coke and other fizzy drinks are free to consume as and when you like. From a background of health and fitness that doesn’t fit well with me. I know the argument is that these sweeteners are safe and research is yet to conclusively prove otherwise. I still stick by the view that synthetic foods are not good for you and allowing these to be ‘free’ only encourages over consumption of food and drink items that could have a potentially detrimental effect on long term health.
- The branded food ranges – cereal bars, frozen foods, weight loss snacks are all sold through the weight loss brand. I’m sure this is a very important revenue stream for the business and in order to operate successfully the company and its franchisees need to make money. However perhaps the financial benefits outweigh the health benefits when it comes to this arm of the business. It’s all low calorie, all very convenient and it fits the weight loss plan they have in place, but perhaps the focus could be more on creating healthy choices rather than convenient choices as they often counter one another. Over reliance on pre-packaged products is unsustainable and doesn’t teach important principles to healthy long term weight management.
- Exercise – Exercise is encouraged on all of the weight loss plans so this isn’t a big limitation. However I feel that perhaps there is an opportunity to be doing more to really push the benefits and long term paybacks of exercise. As well as educate members on the type of exercise most suitable for fat loss.
In summary I think that any brand that helps and encourages people to lead healthier lives is a good thing. Being overweight or obese is not healthy so we need the tools and the ability to get large groups of people into better shape. These bigger weight loss brands are doing this and people are getting results. As I have outlined above there are areas to be weary of but nothing is ever perfect for everyone.
If you are considering enrolling onto a course then great, go for it, commit to it and you will see results. Just be aware that health and weight loss aren’t the same thing, so if you add some decent exercise, steer clear of the sweeteners and eat real foods then your success can be sustainable.