When it comes to weight loss, there is no shortage of options. There are many
diet programs to choose from – each claiming to have the perfect plan for
slimming you down. Check weight reduction centers or online programs out
carefully before you sign a contract or pay any money down, or you may lose
money instead of pounds.
Consider your needs
Before starting a weight loss program, consider these
Weight reduction centers are regulated by state law. The law
helps protect consumers and provides a way to obtain refunds for undelivered
services. Under the law:
Weight reduction programs with physical centers must
disclose the identity and location of facilities available to customers. The
general nature of the services to be provided should also be identified.
Weight reduction centers must specify the length of time
covered by the member’s contract, not to exceed two years. If the contract
includes a weight maintenance program, the contract can be longer but not to
exceed three years.
The full price of the membership must be disclosed,
including any interest or other charges.
New members must be informed of their three-day right to
Weight reduction centers that
require members to pay more than $100 in advance fees are required to establish
proof of financial responsibility with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture,
Trade and Consumer Protection.
Choosing a weight reduction center
If you are interested in services provided by a weight
reduction center, shop around and compare several. Consider the following
before making a choice:
Exactly what services are included in the membership fees?
Most centers have several types of membership plans.
Check references from people you know have used the program.
Do not be swayed by celebrity endorsements or a few dramatic testimonials.
Do you have health risks to consider – diabetes, heart
issues? Will there be any kind of professional supervision provided? Consult
with your personal physician before beginning any program.
What are the fees? Find out the full costs and obligations
of the membership, including extra charges for special dietary supplements or
special foods. Is a maintenance program part of the package or does it cost
extra? Can you afford the program?
Is the center’s location convenient? Do you find the
Is the center well managed? Ask current and past members
their opinions of the staff and the program.
Is the program/center in good financial condition? How long
has it been operating?
Will you get a refund if you move away from the area or cancel your agreement?
Do not feel pressured by persuasive sales techniques from center
personnel. Take the time to thoroughly review the center/program and understand
any contract you are asked to sign.
There is no single weight-loss diet that will help everyone
who tries it. The key ingredient to any weight reduction program is your own
willpower. Research has shown that while some dieters succeed in taking off
weight, many fail to keep all of it off in the long run. To lose weight safely
and permanently requires long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits.
Always consult with a physician, dietitian, or other
qualified health professional regarding your personal circumstances before
starting any new weight reduction program. Your doctor can review any medical
problems that you have, any possible complications with medications you take
and help you set weight loss goals. You can also discuss exercising safely,
especially if you have current health issues or disabilities.
The reality is that almost any diet that restricts calories
will result in weight loss, at least in the short term. The real challenge,
keeping the weight off, comes with making the necessary lifestyle changes in
healthy eating and regular physical activity as part of your normal routine.