Are Weight Loss Clinics A Waste Of Your Money?
There is a high demand for weight loss programs, as current statistics will tell you that Americans today spend billions of dollars every year to get weight loss products and get into programs.
The number of choices that are available has only increased exponentially within the last decade, all because of the internet more people are accessing programs through smartphone apps and online plans.
However, are all of these worth it? The world is only becoming more competitive, even in the realm of weight management, so how can you tell what is good for you?
In this article, we seek to find out whether these are worth your time and resources.
History of weight loss clinics
These are medical centres that help you to lose weight and learn strategies for healthy living. These weight loss plans and centres are not a new phenomenon, as they have been around since the 1940s when laxatives, amphetamines, hormones and diuretics were in large supply. In the 1970s, doctors put patients under liquid diets, and in the 1990s, that changed to fenfluramine and phentermine.
However, these were short-lived trends, and there were numerous reports of highly risky side effects, which made these treatments fail. That has not stopped the need to lose weight and diet safely, especially under medical supervision – which is what these clinics are for. Under a doctor’s supervision, a patient can reduce up to 20 pounds within a month, according to certain clinics, while for others, it is even more.
Are there any studies on it?
If you want studies, you will get plenty of them – however, that does not mean most of them are good. For instance, out of more than 4,000 studies on different approaches that clinics take, results will only show less than 50 of them being strict enough about the procedures and outcomes. This means they must have conducted random trials for a minimum of 12 weeks each, and the results are indicators of how effective the program is.
What is clear though, is that even the best programs you can think of only have a small difference, at least compared to nutritional counselling programs like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.
When it comes to low-calorie programs, such as Medifast and OPTIFAST, they might give you promising prospects in the beginning, but studies have shown they tend to taper off in their value over time (even within six months).
For instance, the program Nutrisystem that delivers their meals to the members proves to help their dieters lose an average of 3.8 pounds more than control groups in the same study, but the long-term results are unclear because the program stops at three months. Self-directed plans like Lose It! are even more unclear because of the lack of sufficient evidence.
Why are certain weight loss centres more successful than others?
In the case of both Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, they bear some similarities in their approach that help them to have an edge over other programs.
One is that they are extensively structured, and this helps the participant to have a solid plan they can follow through. However, the second and more important factor is the social element they provide – because participants are placed into groups and each has a coach, they have more opportunities to remain accountable and make better lifestyle choices.
It is important to note this though – in spite of Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig delivering better results compared to other programs within the analysis, the advantages are only small. None of them actually prove to bring in positive long-term results, especially when the participant fails to keep up the consistency after they leave the program.
What approaches should be done?
When you first visit a weight loss centre, the first thing is that the clinician will ask you about multiple medical issues you may have – not necessarily involving willpower. Your medical history will reveal all the problems you may be experiencing, such as sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, and diabetes, high blood cholesterol,etc. In fact, it is not a strange occurrence when a patient gains weight because of using multiple medications.
From that point of pinpointing the medical issue, drugs are then prescribed to you to help you deal with the condition. You are supposed to get a customized program that has sufficient input from all the medical professionals that are supervising you.
Of course, you cannot just join these programs just because you want to – there are certain conditions you must fulfil, like having your BMI (Body Mass Index) above a certain range (at least 27), or you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure. You will also need to undergo close and strict medical supervision, unlike the usual commercial diet plan that you can follow on your own.
- It is a great way of managing your weight at first, especially when you have struggled to lose it for a long time
- Because of the medical supervision, you have safer ways of losing weight
- You go through an opportunity of counselling and therapy, depending on your prior medical history
- In the short term, the results are usually positive
- You need to be very careful when selecting a program, because of the false and ineffective clinics
- The results are not consistent in the long term unless you actively maintain the same schedules and discipline
Choosing a weight loss clinic is entirely up to you. However, do not just get into it for the sake of losing weight. You must consider your options very carefully, and get in touch with others who have been through the program; that is the only way to know if your financial investment in the process is worth it.