Saturday, November 05, 2005

Structured Weight Loss Vacations Costly, Don't Teach Real-World Changes

This Fox Carolina story describes Durham, North Carolina as the "Weight Loss Mecca" for those desiring to lose weight because of all the intensive, structured weight loss resorts that are there to help people deal with their obesity.

Dubbed the "unofficial Diet Capital of the World," Durham houses three very expensive facilities designed to help people change their eating habits to improve their overall health. They are the Duke Diet and Fitness Center, Rice Diet Program, and Structure House.

Each of these allows participants to visit them for around-the-clock monitoring to help you eat right ("three balanced meals"), exercise ("practical"), and learn how to be healthy ("weight management workshops") over a minimum 4-week period.

"Your health is going to improve. You're going to have better blood pressure...better cholesterol. You're going to have a better cardiovascular system," boasts one of the program representatives.

The idea is meant to help create structure for people who have allowed their weight to get out of control and need to be taught how to eat and live without ignoring the consequences of poor nutritional choices.

Not surprisingly, people can and do lose weight while they are at these weight loss vacation destinations in Durham. Incorporating good diet and exercise habits in a controlled environment makes it very convenient for weight loss. But what happens when they go back to the real world and live among the temptations of fast food, doughnuts and cable television? How are these camps helping their participants deal with those obstacles to lasting weight loss?

Something that struck me while I was reading this article was the fact that people keep coming back to these weight loss vacations again and again. Why? If you learned good habits while you were there, then why would you EVER need to shell out the big bucks over and over? Refresher course? Backslidden and want to try something that has already failed you again? You know, that is the quintessential definition of insanity.

While I am thankful that people are finding hope in places like these, I am concerned that the only thing people are losing over the long-term is their money. The story did not indicate how much these weight loss centers are charging for their services, but they make you stay at least a month. If you guesstimate that it costs $400-500 per day (and that's a very conservative estimate) for the housing, meals, and personal care, you are talking $12,000-15,000 for this 30-day weight loss vacation. OUCH!

Unless you are just so desperate and have literally tried anything and everything else in the world, including livin' la vida low-carb, don't waste your money. I'd be more inclined to recommending weight loss surgery before promoting programs like these. Call me a skeptic, but I think this is nothing more than an entrepreneurial enterprise for making money on the backs of people who will literally try anything to drop the excess pounds. They are predators preying on people's emotions and I for one don't appreciate that one bit.

To those who have lost weight on these programs, I congratulate you on a job well done. Kudos for making these lifestyle changes real in your life. But with people coming back time and time again, just how effective are these clinics really being? I would love to know the long-term success rate of these clinics where the person lost the weight they needed to lose and then kept it off for at least a year. 15 percent? 10 percent? Those numbers might even be high.

As a 180+ pound weight loss success, I cheer on anyone who wants and needs to lose weight regardless of the method. I know how miserable it felt weighing over 400 pounds and I will never know what that feels like again. Or 300 pounds! Or even 250 pounds! I'm livin' la vida low-carb because I have made it my permanent lifestyle change. Nothing is going to stand in my way of maintaining and managing my weight until the day I die. And I didn't have to shell out thousands upon thousands of dollars in cold hard cash to do it either!

You can read more about my low-carb weight loss success story by picking up a copy of my new book, "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb."


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