Beware the Life Changing Miracle Weight Loss Product. Chances are, it is a big fat waste of money. In 2002, the Federal Trade Commission released a report suggesting that up to 55 percent of weight loss ads contained information that was misleading, exaggerated, or, in some cases, completely made up. It does not take long to dive into this multi-billion dollar industry and expose which weight loss secrets actually work and which may simply be figments of advertisers’ overactive imaginations.
As part of a recent action, cleverly called “Operation Failed Resolution,” the FTC won agreements with four separate entities: (1) L’Occitane, Inc. – a skin cream touted to slim and trim users’ bodies; (2) Sensa Products LLC – a powder that promotes weight loss when sprinkled on food; (3) HCG Diet Direct LLC – a human-hormone-based weight loss system; and (4) LeanSpa LLC – an acai berry/colon cleanse weight loss supplement, after finding that marketers used misleading advertising claims to pawn the products.
In a press conference earlier this month, Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, expressed concerns over the number of quick and easy weight loss advertising claims consumers face today. “But the chances of being successful just by sprinkling something on your food, rubbing cream on your thighs, or using a supplement are slim to none,” Rich said.
According to the FTC, companies that use quick fix weight loss marketing tactics not only discourage consumers from making important diet and exercise changes but may also encourage consumer injury. The products in question reflect an ongoing trend in American culture that weight loss is simply a matter of finding the right cream or supplement rather than being viewed as a lifestyle shift that actually requires a modicum of effort.
What about other popular weight loss secrets making headlines this month? Fox News recently reported that spending a few hours a day in mildly cold temperatures (around 62 degrees or so) can help burn fat over time, and NBC News highlighted a new scientific discovery that good gut bacteria can help support weight loss efforts, too. CBS News also shared results from early trials of a new weight loss pill that, when swallowed, can be inflated in users’ stomachs, causing a balloon-like effect that makes users feel fuller while causing them to eat less. However, these stomach balloons are temporary and must be removed after 12 weeks, leading some to believe that this is yet another temporary weight loss fad.
Despite these weight loss fun facts, the real fact remains that one in three Americans over 20 is considered obese. Over 100 million people are currently on a diet to lose weight and most dieters typically make four to five weight loss attempts every year, according to ABC News. Obesity is an epidemic that, despite the billions spent each year, seems to only be getting worse.
Is there any weight loss secret out there that has actual staying power? Absolutely, according to Healthy Way of Life Company, Life Time Fitness, Inc. But it comes with a caveat: There is simply no quick and easy fix. Life Time’s personalized weight loss approach is designed around five pillars: Metabolism, nutrition, stress and sleep, exercise, and movement. The program’s philosophical coup de grâce? Mindset. Those desiring to lose weight and keep it off must be willing to put in the work to make some permanent lifestyle changes.
While sprinkling some sort of flab disolving powder all over the place may sound like the culmination of both science and technology while fulfilling the hopes and dreams of quick-fix dieters everywhere, the real secret behind every weight loss product or system is this: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
By: Katie Bloomstrom