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Still, despite the enormity of the problem, the numbers above don’t accurately total the real costs.
Human body fat and related illness is a growth industry!
Some of the approaches below are very helpful, and may even be prerequisites to effective weight loss and management. Unfortunately, none of them works sustainably on their own.
You need a coordinated, personalized, whole-life plan for health and fitness. Point solutions alone cannot overcome the inertia of the lifestyle that got you to your current weight and health status.
Friends and Family
- Nearby and amazingly convenient.
- Probably unqualified to help you, and inexperienced creating and sustaining lasting change. How many fat family members and friends do you have? Have they experienced their own weight loss and sustained that weight loss? If not, what qualifies them to help you?
- Often those closest to us are the worst offenders for creating obstacles to the life we love, setting up our environment so it undermines our efforts, encouraging us to do and eat things that keep us fat and unhealthy, reinforcing our limiting beliefs and behavior.
- If they have been part of your weight and health roller coaster up until now, what has changed that they will suddenly become a part of your long-term lifestyle solution?
- Highly effective if you are honest and rigorous. Enables you to develop knowledge and habits that support long-term weight loss.
- Laborious and tedious in the beginning, until you learn what you need to know and become able to do what you need to do consistently.
- Requires effective estimation of portions and ingredients when eating out or eating food prepared by others.
- Without support, all the obstacles to your sustained weight loss will remain.
Overeaters Anonymous (OA) and Food/Diet Addiction Recovery Programs
- If you find a great meeting (or multiple meetings), if you find a great sponsor, and if you commit 100% to take action, do the work, and own your recovery, OA and similar/related recovery programs can be amazingly effective.
- Provides social support, and may be very helpful for identifying and managing your triggers, problem behaviors, enabling relationships, and sustaining “sobriety”.
- Inconvenient. Requires you go to them.
- Only offers the support you are willing to seek out for yourself. May not prepare you for the entire journey to weight loss through sustaining your weight.
- Can be effective in temporary weight loss.
- May be free.
- Limited or non-existent long-term lifestyle or diet change support. Return to normal eating often results in weight gain.
Internet “Research”, Books, and Online Courses
- Knowledge is valuable and critical to understanding what works and what doesn’t.
- May be free.
- You never know the source behind these “free” articles and programs, or their real agenda. These are sometimes elaborate sales pitches disguised as helpful information.
- Knowledge without consistent, inspired action, is interesting and useless. Social support and accountability are critical for sustaining habits and weight loss.
- May cost up to $300 per course. These can really add up if you build a library or collection.
Over The Counter Supplements, Super Foods, Magic Pills and Elixirs
- May work in the short run.
- Not always healthy. May have uncomfortable, undesirable, or dangerous side effects.
- Difficult to sustain weight loss, unless you choose to supplement for life.
- $10s to $100s per month.
- An important part of a healthy lifestyle, but a difficult way to lose weight without calorie restriction or extreme and consistent levels of activity.
- If the habit and time commitment is not sustained, maintenance is difficult or impossible.
- Up to $1,000s of dollars for training and/or equipment.
- Count points (or manage portion sizes) and eat plenty of “free” foods. Can eat anything you want.
- Can be effective. One study found it the “best value” per pound lost, among options tested.
- Inconvenient need to go to their site at specific times, unless you can assemble the number of people required for them to come to you.
- Limited support. Coaching is very focused on tactics of the eating plan and managing the eating environment.
- $240-660/year, for as long as you need them.
- Trained and licensed to help you overcome what’s holding you back.
- Cost may be covered by insurance, for a limited number of annual visits.
- Training and licensure prevents them from providing you much useful information. If you haven’t been successful yet, and they’re not providing you new information, will they really help?
- May have limited or no real weight loss or weight management expertise.
- Rarely are they associated with a full-life program that can help you sustainably lose weight and keep it off.
- May cost up to $200/hour, with no guarantee of results.
- Will offer you a open-ended program that can be customized for you.
- Often these are licensed counselors, dietitians, and nutritionists hiding behind a popular, more palatable job title. If this is the case, their “standards”-based, one-size fits all program is designed by the same people who are responsible for 2/3 of the US population being overweight or obese, and growing every day.
- May not be knowledgeable or experienced in weight loss or management.
- May work like a Counselor and offer limited useful information. If you haven’t been successful yet, and they’re not providing you new information, will they really help?
- May cost $200/hour or more.
“Meal in a box” Programs Like Jenny Craig or “High Risk” Diet Plans
- Perfectly portioned and Convenient.
- Effective for weight loss, if you don’t cheat.
- Difficult to integrate with meals out or “family style” meals.
- May be laden with fillers, preservatives, chemicals, and other non-food ingredients.
- Limited or non-existent education, long-term skills development, environmental and social support.
- May be difficult to sustain weight loss without continuing to buy the products.
- Up to $800/month, plus insurance costs, if insurance will pay, though this covers your personal food costs.
Nutritionists and Dietitians
- Knowledgeable about RDA requirements and the “techs and specs” of food, digestion, and metabolism, but understanding how the car works doesn’t make you able to drive one or teach others to drive. Have you seen a fat, unhealthy Nutritionist?
- Focus on “standards”, studies, and population statistics often mean they are treating an average, not customizing for you.
- May offer limited options, inflexible diets, and supplements at additional cost.
- Limited support. Coaching is likely to be focused on tactics of the eating plan and managing the eating environment.
- Will cost $100s to $1,000s, including the cost of insurance.
“Fat Camps”, Spas, And Resorts
- Often a fantastic vacation experience.
- You are likely to experience a temporary reduction in weight.
- In-depth coaching or counseling to see and manage the obstacles to your sustained weight loss may be available at additional cost.
- Without the full-time immersion at home, will you be able to sustain the weight loss?
- $1,000s weekly, plus cost of insurance, if insurance will pay.
- Knowledgeable about organ systems, pharmaceuticals/drugs, and procedures.
- Typically not well-trained in nutrition, diet, lifestyle and behavior change. How many fat, unhealthy doctors and nurses have you seen?
- Inconvenient and not time efficient. You usually have to go to them. Often disrespectful of your time. How long did you wait last time you were in a Doctor’s office?
- Focus on “standards”, studies, and population statistics often mean they are treating a statistical average, not customizing for you.
- Don’t usually offer great ongoing support, except in the context of 6 minute visits in the office.
- If they offer ongoing support, it’s likely to be related to pharmaceuticals or surgical procedures.
- Costs $1,000s to $10,000s, when bundled with health insurance costs and hassles.
- May work in the short run, but not always healthy. Sometimes uncomfortable, even dangerous side effects.
- Difficult to sustain weight loss, unless you choose to medicate for life or also use a program below. The Mayo Clinic says, “when you stop taking these medications, you’re likely to regain much or all the weight you lost.”
- Up to $1,700/year, plus insurance costs.
- May cost you very little out-of-pocket.
- Seems easy, like you can put all the responsibility on someone else.
- Inconvenient, side-effects, complications, pain and discomfort.
- Lifestyle and diet change is always required.
- Works in the short run, but maintenance is only as good as your ability and willingness to continue lifestyle and diet change.
- High percentage of patients do not sustain weight loss.
- $3,500 to $27,000, plus insurance costs.
Also published on Medium.