Do They Really Work?
Two of the most widely used clubs to join if you want to lose weight are Slimming World and Weight Watches, but do they really work? My research into this area has led me into some interesting findings so I thought the fairest thing to do was outline the case for and the case against for these giants of the weight loss industry.
The Case For
Slimming World and Weight Watchers are not expensive for what they offer, both (after any offers) are approximately £5 per week. So for a year (lets say if you need to lose considerable weight) that is going to set you back around £260. Considering all the food plans and support you will receive, this to me seems good value. These clubs offer weight loss in a group environment and this can me motivating for many people. If the group has a slight competitive element this can also spur people on
Here are some statistics from all of my research (all sources given at the end of this post).
- A study in the US showed that those who did Weight Watchers lost more than double the weight compared to those given a weight loss plan by their doctor (no surprise there!).
- In the study, over a third oft the Weight Watchers group lost 10% of there body weight. The study was 48 weeks long. Therefore this means that a 13 stone woman lost approximately 18 pounds. This is not a bad result.
- Another study (again using weight watchers) found that over a year period the average weight watchers participant lost 7KG (just over a stone), Again this is not a bad result.
- In a study using Sliming World with 4754 adults found that by attending 1 weekly group for 24 weeks resulted in an average weight loss of 8.9 KG (nearly 20 pounds). This is not a bad result.
Clearly people can lose weight with either Weight Watchers or Slimming World and at only £5-6 per week it does offer a potential success route that many people can afford.
The studies above have no question proved that both of these clubs can help people lose weight. However, there is another side to the coin….
The Case Against
A study by Weight Watchers (published in the British Journal of Nutrition) looked at the success of their program over 5 years. Dr Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-based Medicine at Oxford University, has analysed these figures:-
“What it shows is that [after] two years… about 20% of them maintain their goal weight. By five years that goes down to 16%,” says Heneghan. “So basically you pick the best people, the lifelong members and actually even they struggle, with the majority of people not obtaining their long-term goal weight. After 40 years of them when are people going to wake up and say this is not the answer?”
Interestingly, Richard Samber, former finance director of Weight Watchers from 1968-1993, has said if a person cannot maintain the weight loss then they will keep returning to the company:-
“It’s successful because the other 84% have to come back and do it again. That’s where your business comes from”.
Is this admitting that Weight Watchers is not a long term solution? I will let you be the judge!
The problem with weight loss clubs is that as soon as you stop their “system”, it is very easy to slip back into old ways and hence regain all the weight (and even more sometimes). One of my favourite quotes from Slimming World is on their website, and it says “Eat as much as you want, when you want”. Surely this is a big reason why a person is overweight in the first place? For me this statement has one objective, to get you to sign up to their program. It has no truth whatsoever and at worse reinforces the negative behaviour that got you overweight in the first place.
I suggest that the 5% who get long term results with these companies probably just ate “healthy”, maybe weighed their food and certainly did not eat as much as they wanted. Well done to them indeed, but to the vast majority these clubs do not work in the long term and if they did we would not have an obesity problem in the UK.
In researching for this blog post it has certainly opened my eyes to how big business can indeed help people shift a few pounds, but keeping it off seems to be a different matter. These massive weight loss companies need to do more to help people once they have lost the weight because, if statistics are to believed, only 5% actually keep the weight off for good. Now you might say, well so what? I can lose some weight, put it back on and go again for a few months before my next big holiday, for example. This is fine if you want to spend your whole life in and out of weight loss clubs but just remember that there is now some evidence that weight loss and weight regain may increase the risk for certain health problems. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and gallbladder disease.
So what are your options. Well firstly in terms of price, weight loss clubs offer the cheapest solution and if you want to get off a few pounds before a holiday they might just work. However, if you want to lose more than a few pounds and actually keep it off, weight loss clubs seem not to be the solution, certainly not at the moment anyway. Ironically if they helped people more to keep it off after their initial weight loss maybe their business model could not sustain that level of client success!
Confused still? I don’t blame you!
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Let’s face it, we live in a modern world and eating out or the odd treat at home is inevitable eventually. The good news is that once you learn to incorporate fitness into your weekly routine that having a treat is OK as weight maintenance is FAR easier than losing weight – as long as you exercise. Oh and remember after losing weight with my personal training you will have the knowledge, motivation and new mind set to actually ENJOY exercising outside of my training.
Please check out my video testimonials on my home page for all the proof you will need to see my training works. Book a Taster Session today and for that I assess your fitness level, go through an entire personal training session at a pace that suits your starting level AND i give you a proven HEALTHY comprehensive eating plan to take home.