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The Dark Side Of Weight Loss Clinics

As a health and fitness coach I try to educate and share information with my readers so they can come to their own conclusions. While I always look to be respectful to the individual who may share an opposing viewpoint, I have no problem challenging the subject matter of the actual ideas.

In short, when it can be in the interest of others to share information I won’t hesitate to do it, even if it draws some criticism. After all not everyone is going to be a fan of what you believe or stand for.

The subject of today’s post has to do with weight loss clinics. In full disclosure I’m not calling out any particular business, naming names, or judging those who own these type of businesses or choose to use their services.

In fact, the bulk of this post comes from an email I received from a reader who shared her story with me. I wanted to pass it along and provide a few comments at the end.

More after the jump…

Here’s the content of the email I’m referring to. Of course I’ve left out the individual’s name to respect their privacy.

Hi Shane- just wanted to share an idea with you for a future blog-  weight loss clinics that are popping up everywhere.

I’m embarrassed that I once went to one- but if the info can build your own “file” to help others, well here goes…

Many of these clinics prescribe Phentermine or Topiramate as appetite suppressants (often alongside HCG shots and B12 shots you take and give yourself at home).

There are side effects, but often feel like a maze of every imaginable “trouble” that for some quick weight loss “hope” you don’t read all that fine print. I’m just addressing Phentermine or Topiramate .

First I’m imagining that it’s the 35-65 age group that these clinics attract, who range from peri-menopausal to post menopausal women.

After taking Phentermine my eyes got so dry that I had a total relapse with the chronic dry eye syndrome I’d suffered with going through menopause. The “cotton mouth” side effect is common for dry eye folks, well that’s just 2 inches away and hits fast and furious with drops and Rx salves totaling over $100 in just co-pays.

They then switched me to Topiramate. I was about to go have a EKG after 2 weeks due to strange numbness in my hands and then feet only to call their office¬†and be told, “oh that’s a real common side effect.” Had i just gone to my primary care physician I do wonder if they would have even caught that all that numbness/tingling was a side effect from the medication from another clinic.

So…just sharing a quick tidbit if it’s anything you ever want to write more on, and my apologies if I missed that article already.

Let me just say this isn’t the first story I’ve heard like this. The names change and while the stories are all unique in their own way, there’s typically a common theme.

A large majority (but not all) of these clinics are using prescription medications and injections of some sort. Many of these drugs contain their own set of potential risks, side-effects, and complications. Some people do ok on them, others not so much.

The problem is there’s often minimal screening or discussion on the potential side-effects and risks. Many individuals are simply rolling the dice out of “hope” that this will finally be their weight loss solution.

I’m not going to go on a zealous tirade knocking the use of prescription drugs and various shots for weight loss. I think it’s fair enough that you can probably already guess my opinion of this.

It’s not that they may not work for some people, no question there are those who do lose weight.

But the bigger question is this…

Was it a short-term quick fix or long-term weight loss solution?

The dark secret of weight loss clinics is the scores of before and after photos from individuals who lost a lot of weight only to regain it all back only months after discontinuing their program.

You have to ask yourself, did they really get what they wanted?

If all they wanted was to lose a ton of weight fast before going on a vacation or before some important event, then maybe so.

But if it was to finally gain control of their weight and get healthy long-term, the answer is obvious.

In all my years coaching clients on weight loss, health, and fitness, I can tell you long-term success has nothing to do with a particular “diet” or exercise program.

It all comes down to lifestyle change and behavioral modification.

No matter what quick-fix strategy, pill, shot, or other solution is provided, in the end if habits aren’t changed, sooner or later the person will find themselves right back where they started.

The gospel truth is there are no real quick-fixes or short-cuts to long-term weight management.

Granted there are those weight loss clinics that really focus on lifestyle change and behavioral modification. They’re in the minority, but I applaud those businesses who emphasize these factors.

As the owner of a Charleston personal training studio that specializes in body transformations for middle age adults, I’ve always tried to be upfront with the expectations of my clients.

I can’t compete against the rapid weight loss one might see with HCG injections, prescription drugs, etc. Providing instruction, guidance and coaching on nutrition and exercise doesn’t produce instant gratification.

It’s simply a process and it takes time. The difference is I’m looking to help those individuals who have made the commitment for long-term change. Many of them have tried the quick-fixes and they’re frustrated and tired of being on the yo-yo going up and down with their weight.

I’ve long said the real value a personal trainer can provide isn’t necessarily with exercise instruction, motivation, and the like.

A good coach understands the best thing he or she can provide their client is accountability, education, and personal empowerment.

To me the greatest gift I can receive is running into a client I worked with years ago and having them thank me for the lessons learned that they’re still putting into practice.

It’s all about helping others not just lose a few pounds, but rather make lasting changes for a better quality of life.

If a weight loss clinic has helped give you a jump start and you’ve been able to maintain long-term, lasting changes, kudos to you on your success. It’s suffice to say you’ve made more than a fair share of lifestyle changes along the way.

Whatever helps an individual in that process and can be done in a safe manner, I’m all for it. In the end whatever worked for someone to achieve lasting results is what really matters.

Each person will have their own unique set of obstacles to overcome and individual challenges.

Once again the purpose of this post wasn’t to bash ALL weight loss clinics and the services that are provided. It was merely to point out the reality that many of these clinics are geared towards quick-fixes for rapid weight loss.

Just make sure to do your homework and read the fine print if you elect to go down this road. It’s not worth possibly compromising your health for the hope of quick gratification.

If you’ve had an experience with a weight loss clinic, be it positive or negative, feel free to leave your comments. I welcome open dialogue and discussion on this blog. Just please do it in a respectful manner by not naming names and calling out a particular company.

And certainly if I can ever be of assistance in any way please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. He specializes in helping people achieve a body transformation with burst training exercise and whole food nutrition. You can receive a FREE no-obligations trial of his Charleston personal fitness programs and start experiencing the Shaping Concepts difference today.

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Category: Shane's Commentary.