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Choosing An Alternative To A Charleston Weight Loss Clinic

Charleston, SC has numerous options from various weight loss clinics for Lowcountry residents looking to drop unwanted body fat. In this article we’ll discuss what you can expect by going to a commercial weight loss clinic along with an alternative you can consider.

This is not an endorsement of any particular franchise or business but rather an object review of the weight loss techniques used in commercial weight loss clinics along with their short and long term benefits.

Let’s start by looking at what all commercial weight loss clinics in Charleston have in common…

From a business model standpoint these facilities are all geared toward producing a profit by marketing weight loss solutions that produce rapid results.

There’s no viability for economic success with a commercial weight loss clinic selling the promise of weight loss with a long-term approach. They realize the majority of clientele are looking for fast results and therefore longer term programs are likely to not be profitable due to problems with retention.

This is important to understand because the techniques used will always be focused on some form of a quick-fix or metabolic trickery.

Doesn’t mean that’s a bad thing but research has clearly shown that the majority of overweight individuals who are successful LONG-TERM with losing weight and keeping it off due so with lifestyle changes that incorporate diet changes and exercise.

When you see the client pictures from weight loss clinic success stories there’s one important piece of information that’s almost always omitted.

What were the results for that client six months or a year after they went through the program?

When quick-fix methods are used to produce weight loss, the tools for long-term success are often left out of the equation.

If the individual was able to make lifestyle changes with diet and incorporate regular exercise on their own, there’s a good chance they could keep the weight off. The reality is this seldom happens though because lifestyle changes and exercise habits are NOT core components to a weight loss clinic’s strategy.

They may try to convince you otherwise but the fact is there’s nothing close to resembling what you’d do from a lifestyle perspective with following severe low-calorie diets, drinking protein shakes all day, or taking weekly shots and injections.

In all fairness, this doesn’t mean their techniques may not be effective short-term. As the consumer you’ll have to decide whether or not the quick-fix is worth your investment.

Is it worth it to you to spend several hundred dollars or more to lose weight for a few months only to put it all back on and possibly more once you stop?

Before we look closer at the potential to receive a fair return on your investment, let’s cover the basics on how the majority of these clinics operate.

Methods used by Charleston weight loss clinics to produce results:

While there is some variation in the methods used to produce weight loss, the majority of clinics will focus on a combination of the following techniques:

Severe low-calorie diets: an aggressive restriction in calories, typically 1000 calories or less, will be used to promote rapid weight loss in clients. It’s important to understand these clinics are designed for individuals who are significantly overweight.

There’s a little known secret with weight loss that is central to their success. Severe calorie restriction will always produce a down-regulation in metabolism along with hormonal changes that regulate fat oxidation.

The more weight an individual has to lose, the less they’re impacted by these metabolic changes. This is why a person who has 40-50 pounds or more to lose will fare much better on a severe low-calorie diet than someone who wants to lose 15-20 pounds.

If you find yourself in the latter category, chances are you won’t do well on a severe low-calorie diet. The make-up of your body from a hormonal and metabolic standpoint is simply different than someone who is significantly overweight.

Protein shakes: in order to significantly lower caloric intake and take advantage of some metabolic trickery, weight loss clinics will often use several protein shakes a day instead of solid food.

Protein is very energy “inefficient” from a metabolic standpoint and the drastic reduction in carbohydrates can be used to put the dieter’s body in something that’s called a ketogenic state. This is where the body is forced to convert fatty acids into something called ketone bodies so your brain can sustain function in the absence of glucose.

While short-term ketosis is not necessarily a bad or harmful thing, you want to avoid long-term ketosis states due to the high level of acidity that is built up in the body. This leads to inflammation which can serve as a boomer-rang to stimulating future fat storage along increasing the risk for degenerative health problems.

Protein shakes can be a very useful tool in a weight loss program but without the incorporation of greens and other alkaline foods problems can and typically do result.

Shots and injections: a lot of weight loss clinics will incorporate weekly shots and injections. The most widely used practice is to administer shots of B-12. This is done under the guise of helping the dieter have more energy while under a severe calorie restrictive diet.

The problem is this is scam nutritional science. There is no clinical evidence that inter-muscular injections of B-12 does anything to increase energy.  All vitamins and minerals serve a function at the cellular level and do not work like caffeine or other adrenal stimulants.

The most recent trend for weight loss clinics is to administer injections of the hormone HCG or “human chorionic gonadotropin.” I’ve gone into detail on the HCG diet in other posts so I’ll let you read more on those articles about the pros and cons.

The bottom line is the use of HCG injections seems to help some people lose weight while in others it does not.  While there’s no clear cut evidence that HCG use is harmful short-term, there’s simply not enough research on the long-term effects to know. This is partly because the research on a particular subject demands a lot of prerequisites, like sufficient funds, a recruitment agency to recruit guinea pigs, and a firm knowledge on the subject.

I’ve seen it work very well with clients who didn’t follow the 500 calorie guidelines and exercised while on the program, so don’t feel you have to starve yourself or stop working out to consider HCG injections.

Prescription weight loss drugs: some weight loss clinics will administer weight loss drugs to help control appetite. The majority of these drugs are very strong and can have pretty significant side-effects. Make sure to fully do your homework before considering taking any prescription weight loss drug.

Also be aware that some weight loss clinics will administer thyroid medication under the direction of an in-house physician. From my experience this is a very risky proposition.

The thyroid gland is nothing to be monkeying around with. Taking thyroid medication should only be done following a comprehensive blood test and counsel from an endocrinologist or qualified physician.

What to expect from a typical Charleston weight loss clinic:

Regardless of the franchise or business, the programs will include some combination of the methods listed above along with regular weigh-in and follow-up. Some may be weekly, others monthly.

A few will provide behavioral modification coaching and counseling but it’s mostly to help keep you structured on their program and not so much with lifestyle changes.

Rarely if EVER will you find instruction, coaching, or guidance on exercise routines. In fact, for a lot of these programs exercise is not recommended.

Why in the world would they not want you to exercise?

It’s because they know that further caloric expenditure and the metabolic impact with exercise could cause a sharp down-regulation in metabolism, causing weight loss to come to a screeching halt!

You can be the judge on whether or not it’s a good idea to omit exercise as part of the strategy for long-term weight loss success. If you have no intention of exercise there’s not much I’ll say in the rest of this article that will convince you otherwise.

An alternative to Charleston weight loss clinics:

Having discussed the methods and techniques used by the majority of commercial weight loss clinics; let me present a case for an alternative.

As someone who has researched fat loss for the past 20 years and worked with literally hundreds of weight loss clients, I can tell you that long-term success is rarely achieved without significant change in behavior and habits.

Short-term quick-fixes are just that…quick fixes. If you want to lose weight and keep it off you’ll have to commit to making changes in the decisions you make on a daily basis.

Changing your shape requires more than a crash diet or some metabolic trickery. You have to develop new lifestyle habits with eating and exercise. The reality is this can be challenging to do all on your own.

That’s where the support and accountability from a coach or support group can be invaluable. Research has clearly shown that individuals who provide themselves with education, support, and accountability do significantly better with weight loss than those who don’t.

At my Shaping Concepts personal training studios and our sister company, Charleston Group Fitness, we specialize in providing Lowcountry residents with comprehensive weight loss solutions that don’t include potentially dangerous drugs, severe low-calorie diets, and the like.

All of the programs include exercise as an essential component along with nutrition education, behavior modification, and layers of support. You may be thinking that personal training is too expensive and that’s a reasonable concern.

We have a wide variety of weight loss programs that incorporate small group personal training and coaching. Surprisingly, these programs are considerably more affordable than most commercial weight loss clinics in Charleston.

Plus you’ll have the one thing they don’t provide….tools for long-term success.

Regardless of whether you only have 10-20 pounds to lose or 50 or more, we have a program that will fit your wants, needs, and budget. One particular program I’d like to mention which is quite unique to the area is our “Next Step Weight Loss Program.”

This is a small group program specifically designed for individuals who are overweight that incorporates exercise, nutrition coaching, support group meetings, cooking classes, and much more. You can read more about it by following the link above.

It’s quite unique in that the group exercises, goes to meetings, seminars, cooking classes, etc, together and by doing so there’s a strong support and accountability factor. There’s no embarrassment with going to a Charleston gym or health club on your own or jumping into a group exercise class with people who are already lean and fit.

I encourage you to check out all our programs on the services and rates page and sign up for a FREE no-obligations consultation. We’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the Lowcountry lose weight and get in the best shape of their lives.

Come check us out for yourself. No high pressure sales tactics or anything like that, you have my word on it.

Here’s a comparison of commercial weight loss clinics and the type of programs we offer at Shaping Concepts and Charleston Group Fitness:

Commercial Weight Loss Clinic

Motivation: Quick Turn Profits
Measurement: Pounds On The Scale

Pros: No Exercise Required
Pros: Convenient
Pros: Quick Results
Pros: Point “A to B” Program

Cons: Slows Metabolism
Cons: Weakens Immune System
Cons: Agitates the Nervous System
Cons: Promotes Loss of Lean Muscle Tissue
Cons: Decreases Energy Levels
Cons: Potential Disruption in Sleep Patterns
Cons: Requires Appetite Control and Often Going Hungry
Cons: Increases Likelihood of Yo-Yo Dieting

Shaping Concepts / Charleston Group Fitness

Motivation: Long-Term Results
Measurement: Body Composition (Body Fat %, Scale Weight, Measurements)

Pros: Education Based
Pros: Physiologically Sound Protocol
Pros: Provides Long-Term Lifestyle Strategy
Pros: Incorporates Whole Food Nutrition
Pros: Promotes Natural Increases In Energy Levels
Pros: Promotes Improved Sleep Patterns
Pros: Improves Overall Health and Wellness
Pros: Provides Accountability and Support
Pros: Can Be More Affordable Long-Term
Pros: Incorporates Exercise

Cons: Longer Process
Cons: Requires Physical Activity
Cons: Requires Proper Nutrition
Cons: Requires Commitment

As you can see, there are far more advantages to an education based fitness protocol when attempting to achieve your weight management goals. Why? Because fitness protocols adhere to basic human physiology and behavior.

Ultimately you’ll have to decide on whether or not to use a Charleston weight loss clinic or take the alternative with healthy lifestyle change. There’s no getting around the fact that lifestyle change will require a commitment to sound nutrition and regular exercise. While it may not be “easier” than a quick-fix, it will produce better long-term results.

Regardless of whether or not you choose to work with us on our programs, I’m always here to help. I’d be happy to meet with you to discuss the specific pros and cons with any Charleston weight loss clinic you may be considering. At the end of the day I simply want to be a trusted advisor and local “go-to” resource for weight loss education and support.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston fitness trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. With a staff of over 10 certified fitness professionals, Shaping Concepts provides personal fitness programs with a specialty on weight loss and body transformation. You can receive a FREE, no-obligations (2) session personal training trial and consultation to experience the difference for yourself.

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Category: Charleston, SC.