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WARNING: The Fat Loss Industry Will Thin Your Wallet

The 'obesity epidemic' is a worldwide phenomenon in developed countries and most evident in the USA.

People, particularly kids, are fatter than ever, with estimates of more than thirty percent of the US population being sufficiently overweight to be classified OBESE.

A whole new industry has sprung up in the face of all this fat, an industry focused on helping us lose weight, particularly in our wallets.

People (me included) are always looking for a shortcut, an easy way to accomplish anything. The fat-loss-industry is capitalizing on this very human trait.

In the USA in 1992, we spent more than $30,000,000,000 (thirty billion dollars) on fat loss and weight control products and programs, including CDs, books, e-books, diet drinks and foods.

You know, the food programs you see advertised on television. If this stuff is so great, how come the obesity epidemic continues unabated?

Upwards of $55,000,000,000 (fifty-five billion dollars) per year is spent in the USA on various weight loss clinics, pharmaceuticals and medical procedures.

Some seventy percent of the people are dieting and utilizing these services for "self improvement," not for medical reasons. Most of the results are short lived, resulting in a huge, continuing growth in the industry of separating us from our fat (and money).

A Side Note: That $55 billion is equal to the gross nation product (GNP) of Ireland.

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We all long for a miracle pill or a diet drink or some other panacea from medical research that would allow us to continue to pig out on Big Macs, Whoppers, Pizza (with extra cheese and sausage) and KFC.

We wish for a shortcut cure to growing waistlines every time we pass out from bending over to tie our shoes. Let's face it folks, there are no shortcuts, no panaceas, no magical programs or machines.

One of the best pieces of advice ever offered to the human race is "Caveat Emptor," Let the Buyer Beware. Most of the programs, equipment and other paraphernalia are unable to provide sufficient data to verify their performance and results claims.

One study of an unnamed diet foods program estimated that their customers spent an average of $180 per pound lost. The program is a success alright . . . for that diet food company.

If you are beginning to get the idea that the fat loss industry is all about money, you're right on. It's the money, coupled with the constant reinvestment of their hard-earned bucks by overweight consumers, that makes this industry such an attraction to all the scammers.

Fat people never lose hope, it seems. If one program doesn't work, then they try another and another and another.

When some sufficiently irate consumer files a lawsuit and wins, the defendant simply closes up one shop and opens another the next day under a new name. There is just too much money being made for them to stay away.

Don't get me wrong, some of the companies in the weight and fat loss business are legitimately concerned about their clients.

They want them to succeed in their health goals and tell other people about this success, thus drawing more customers to their services.

For every one of these legitimate concerns there are probably ten, or fifty, or one hundred entrepreneurs who just want your retirement nest-egg.

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One of the very well known and highly advertised programs heralds numerical "successes" that are often comprised of one person's yo-yo results as a "success" each time they lose the same five or ten pounds.

How do you tell the good from the bad? That can be a daunting task, but I'll try to give you some guidelines.

Separating the Wheat (good) from the Chaff (bad)

Probably the best source of information is the personal experience of a trusted and reliable source. Ask around your health club, church or in your circle of friends to located people who have tried the various weight/fat loss programs.

Then ask those with first hand experience about their candid opinion and what results they achieved.

At first, some people are reluctant to "dump on" a program that has failed them because they assume they are the problem, not the program. Given enough time to talk, however, their tongues will loosen and the true story will come out.

Anyone who achieved success with a program will not be at all hesitant to crow about it, loud and clear.

Of particular interest to you should be have the results been long lasting and how much support did they receive from the program organization.

Conduct an internet search for negative input on specific companies and their programs. You will be amazed at the amount of data you will be able to read.

Often, women are the target of weight loss companies. Women are severely judged by their peers and by men on the basis of their appearance, particularly their weight/size/figures. This is unfair, but it is the nature of our society to pass judgment based on superficial values.

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Here are a number of ways to spot a weight loss scam:

* The promise of fast weight loss

* The promise of a permanent weight loss

* The claim that the program is easy and anyone (you) can follow it and succeed

* The lack of scientific evidence from a reputable source that the program is good

* Weight loss program that claims you don't have to change your diet nor exercise

* Claims of "spot reducing," removing fat from certain body parts (how about that thigh exerciser?)

* Their promotional literature uses terms like; miracle, scientific breakthrough, laboratory tested and revolutionary

* Is not sold through normal distribution channels

* Makes claims that a single secret ingredient is responsible for weight loss and maintenance

* Any warranty or guarantee is vague or non-existent

It all comes down to a matter of using your head. If something is "too good to be true" it probably is exactly that.

There are no miracles and weight loss, fat loss and fitness do not come without the expenditure of a significant amount of energy and time. There is no easy way to achieve these goals.

So, before you give your credit card number to some internet purveyor of a magic pill, remember the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack was the only person in history to get some magic beans . . . and that was a fairy tale.

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Summary

Let's go over what we learned in this newsletter:

* The weight and fat loss industry is booming

* The majority of the companies selling these programs are more interested in thinning your wallet than in shrinking your waistline

* There are some legitimate companies and programs, but they are hard to identify

* Conduct a search for verification of the claims of any program you want to consider.

* The best appraisal of the value of a program is from someone you know personally, someone who has had success or failure with the program.

* There are some easy rules-of-thumb to use to determine the legitimacy of a company and their weight loss program

* Use an internet search to augment your other data

* There is no magic pill or easy way to lose weight and fat permanently.

* Reaching your weight and fitness goals will require some effort on your part

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