As the New Year begins, so do the “new” resolutions to lose weight. Many well-meaning companies offer support by scheduling onsite weight loss programs and even challenges as part of their wellness program. Employees and companies resolve that this time they will be successful. However none of these are effective or lead to sustainable weight loss, and often actually contribute to yoyo dieting, gaining weight lost and often more, and potentially increasing health risks.
Yet these results almost seem acceptable or normal in our culture. It’s like groundhog day – we just repeat the same scenarios over and over again. Early in my career I realized the inconsistencies of this cycle. When in my 20’s I applied and interviewed for positions at two well-known weight loss clinics. At the first one, the interviewer bragged that their program was so effective that people came back over and over again. When I asked why they came back if the program was effective, she gave the same response, ‘because it’s so effective’, never realizing the irony. That made no sense to me and I left the interview completely disheartened. Needless to say I didn’t take the position.
Several years later, I interviewed at a weight loss clinic in NC. The interviewer asked me how I would handle upset, hostile, depressed and angry clients. I wasn’t concerned about my ability to handle individuals in dis-stress, but I was shocked at the high probability that I would encounter such situations there since clients made the decision to enroll, which I had been informed was the best decision and choice the clients could make. It was touted as the best residential program in the world, AND, I was informed that because of this the clients kept coming back. What? If all this were true, why would clients be hostile? Why not hopeful, energized, excited and uplifted? Why would they need to return – many more than twice? Seriously?
This was reinforced during my research as I listened to participants tell me that they looked forward to the next weight loss initiative because they had gained all the weight lost. And sadly, several revealed that they would gain more weight before the next competition to be eligible for a larger incentive.
Yet I fully admit that for many years I continued to contribute to the cycle of weight loss efforts. I facilitated weight loss classes, coordinated vendor weight loss programs, and I sheepishly disclose that I probably planned weight loss competitions, though I honestly block those from memory. I always believed that this time would be different. Regardless, each time I’d watch some people lose weight; almost all but 1 or 2 gain it back – and more; and many just drop out.
This cycle ended for me when during a company screening program an employee cried when getting ready to be weighed. Participation was required in order to receive insurance premium discounts. The employee needed the discount, and stood there crying. As I stood there crying with her (and figured a way for her not to get on the scale), I vowed to never again succumb to this. How could this be wellness?
However, full disclosure – I get it. I still struggle with the possibility that there could be one program out there that is the gold star. It would be successful for all those trying to lose weight and keep it off. Regardless of tantalizing marketing, so far of course there isn’t. And now I’ve made peace with the struggle and I know there isn’t a gold star that works, at least not for 95% of the participants in weight loss programs.
There is a solution however to end the weight loss battle! There is a program for participants to make peace with food and end the weight loss struggle through an intuitive and mindful approach to eating by cultivating inner and outer wisdom. This program aligns with and enhances well-being, positively impacts lives, and ends the struggle with food and weight loss. If you are interested in a different approach, please contact me for more information, (919) 676-2877 ext 112 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, Karen!