This is the time of year when many people launch their weight loss efforts. Weight loss is hard work and it’s easy to fall for those products that purport to make it easier. We so want to believe that it doesn’t have to take so long, or require so much sacrifice from us. We want to have our cake and eat it, too. (Which is what got us into this mess in the first place.) There are many products and companies that play to this desire for quick, easy weight loss, but almost all of them are scams or at least worthless junk. If you want to lose weight but keep your money, here are some things to look for to avoid getting scammed.
If it sounds too good to be true…
This old adage is a great scam detector for everything from weight loss to financial scams. If something promises instant results, results with no effort, or results that are far above average, run away. If the product or service was really legitimate and worked, wouldn’t everyone be using it? Wouldn’t it be available somewhere besides late-night informercials? If it sounds too good to be true, it is and you need to look elsewhere.
Beware of “secrets”
Many weight loss scams claim to have some super-secret knowledge or technology behind them. This is something so revolutionary that, “The establishment” doesn’t want you to know about it. Think about that. In our 24-hour connected news cycle, there is nothing secret anymore. If someone really was in possession of something so great, some other company somewhere would surely know about it and there would be many companies turning out these products to cash in. Instead, this fabulous product is only available from a 1-800 number? It makes no sense.
If something is touted as a limited time, hurry-up-and-order-before-we-run-out type of product, watch out. If something was really so great and worked well, it would be available all the time and everywhere. Otherwise, the company couldn’t make money. Limited quantities or “only ten minutes to order” statements are just scare tactics to get you to pick up the phone.
Watch out for quack scientists
Ever see those commercials where “doctor so-and-so” is touting this wonderful new product? Ask yourself just what this person is a doctor of. He or she could be a Ph.D. or a veterinarian for all you know. If you squint really hard you can often see some fine print in these ads that says the doctor is a paid spokesperson, or is an actor portraying a doctor. If a product is trotting out all of these doctors, scientists, and test results, ask yourself what really qualifies these people to support this product? Most legitimate doctors and scientists do not do paid endorsements because it’s against their professional ethics. Talk to your own doctor about anything you’re thinking about ordering.
The best way to lose weight remains the same as it has always been. You must eat fewer calories than you burn. (And, recently, someone just proved you can eat Twinkies and still lose weight as long as you’re eating fewer calories than you burn.) This means increasing your exercise, cutting back on your food intake, or a combination of both. There is no miracle pill, gadget, or food that will make this easier or quicker. Don’t fall for the hype and waste your hard earned money on scams.
(Photo courtesy of Alan Cleaver)