Don’t be a REPEAT Weight Loss Customer

Don’t be a REPEAT Weight Loss Customer

by Boyd Jentzsch

HEART PLAN weight loss logo

Defeat is an ugly word. No one wears it very well. When it happens to you, you put the best face you can on it, and move forward.

I had a lengthy conversation with a soon-to-be-retired Chairman of one of the oldest and biggest “meal-plan, weekly weigh-in” type of weight loss companies. As we sat at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, waiting out a huge and rare late-Summer thunderstorm, I asked him what he was most proud of. From his many years of financial success at the helm of this weight loss company – a company that had defined the industry and become a household name – what was the greatest satisfaction he was going to take into his retirement?

Without hesitation he replied, “Over 85% of our weight loss customers are repeat customers.”

With that he pursed his lips together and savored his achievement, half-closing his eyes, his chin nodding slowly in a self-satisfying “yes.”

Repeat Customers of weight loss companyRepeat Customers of a Weight Loss Company? How can that be?

Contemplate that for a moment. REPEAT customers – weight loss company. Hmmm.

Now, to the cynic in me “REPEAT customers of a weight loss company” IS A SYMBOL OF FAILURE, not a boastful success.

The more I think about that remark – even now several years later – makes me fume. What he was saying was that his company made a lot of money from the failure of a whole lot of women to keep their weight off, for a whole bunch of years. And he was retiring in luxury from the paid-for misery of people that trusted his company.

What he was saying was that his weight loss company SOLD FALSE HOPE.

What was lurking between his proudly spoken lines was that his company could get you to successfully lose weight. BUT THEY KNEW YOU WOULD GAIN IT ALL BACK, PLUS SOME. So, since they were nice people, and you actually did lose some weight, and because you are now even more overweight than you were last year, you pay them more money to help you lose weight – again. (How many times do you want to do that?)

Now, the ire in me is really roused.

Perhaps they planned it all that way in the beginning. I really want to believe that Weight Watchers, and Jenny Craig, and NutriSystem, and other Weight Re-GAIN companies of that ilk started out wanting to help people…

BUT, this is how I parse their business conversations dealing with your body…

(Weight Loss Company Executives: Conversation A)
Somewhere along the road, surely some executive saw the financial numbers and realized:

“Wow, we keep getting the same overweight people back. We even get a lot of our customers from the other weight loss companies. If we were really doing our jobs, if our programs really worked, wouldn’t we be seeing mostly NEW people, not repeats, re-treads, and do-overs?

Nah, it isn’t possible they were saying that…

(Weight Loss Company Executives: Conversation B)
Or , did the executives say…?

“You know what, the reason these people keep coming back is because they don’t keep buying our expensive, special diet foods year round. If they just stayed on our meal plans (at $360/month), and unthawed them 2-3 times a day, they would not have to come back”.

Likely conversation, right? Or…

(Weight Loss Company Executives: Conversation C)
Maybe it is simpler, and more sinister than that. Maybe the weight loss executives said…

“WE NEED MORE REPEAT CUSTOMERS. It’s cheaper to get old ones to come back, than advertise for new ones. How can we manipulate our program for short term weight loss and long term weight Re-GAIN?

I think that may be it. That is their most likely business conversation concerning your body.

It’s sort of the like the cigarette companies putting chemicals in their tobacco to make nicotine even more addictive. No one would deliberately try to get you addicted to their unhealthy products just so you keep buying them…no one would do that, right?

Clutching DEFEAT from the Jaws of Victory

Quit blaming for weight re-gainI’ve been to dozens of these programs around the country. I’ve seen the happiness, the real sense of satisfaction and progress these women have when they are seeing success in their weekly weigh-ins.

I’ve also had countless conversations with women who, many months and lots of new pounds later, said they felt they were failures. They didn’t jump right up and proclaim that, but they felt defeated by the system they were trying – unable – to follow long term.

The worst part? They all blamed themselves. They all confessed through tears and years of frustration that there was something wrong with THEIR will, wrong THEIR strength of character, wrong with THEIR metabolism, wrong with THEIR financial inability to stay “on the program.” THEIR FAULT. They had failed.

They felt defeated. THEIR failure was all THEIR fault.

And the next time they decided they really needed to lose weight, guess what? They went back to these same old companies. They felt they had no other choice.
They chose to become a REPEAT CUSTOMER
(The Chairman was smiling all the way into a country-club retirement).

REPEAT Customers return to the same failed system. Repeat Customers get the same old result. Repeat Customers have the same short term win. Same long term defeat. Repeat Customers FAIL AGAIN. Their fault. Right?

WRONG. The only fault of a REPEAT Customer is relying on the same type of company, the same type of weight loss program to lose weight…programs that set your body up for AUTOMATIC Re-GAIN.

(See my explanation of how weight re-gain happens automatically in an earlier Chapter: “Diets Cause Weight Re-GAIN.

An old joke my grandpa told me:
Lady walks into a doctor’s office. She is hitting herself in the head with a hammer. She says, “Doc, it hurts when I hit myself in the head with a hammer. What should I do?” The doctor says, “Quit hitting yourself in the head with a hammer.”

We’ve all heard the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result.

Let’s get some very key TRUTHS straight:

First Truth:
There is nothing wrong with you. You are not a failure. You do not lack will power. Your character is just fine. Quit blaming yourself.

Second Truth:
It’s time to quit hitting yourself in the head with a hammer. It hurts.

Corollary: It’s not about calories, or weighing food. It’s not about food exchanges or carbs. It’s not about fat grams or sugars or magic potions. The weight loss companies are wrong. Dead wrong. Get rid of that insanity.

Dont be a repeat weight loss customerThink about it. Is the only path to permanent weight loss paved with eating expensive pre-packaged foods for the rest of your life? How bland, boring, perverted and expensive is that? And what have you learned from those companies about how to eat to keep the weight off for life? With them having mostly “repeat” customers, it says, “probably not much.”

(And think about it…why would they want to tell you anything that would help you keep the weight off…it is not in their self interest…they have too many retirement homes to buy, too many tee-off times to meet. See Conversation C, above.)

Isn’t it entirely possible that what you have learned from these Weight Re-GAIN Companies is WRONG? Even though it is churned over and re-cycled like some endlessly re-warmed left-over meat loaf by the popular media, does that make it correct?

Consider that if all they have been telling you is right, why does everyone, sooner or later fail at it?

“REPEAT customers” is an admission of abject failure – not of you, but of their program. Financial success for them. Weight failure for you and everyone else.

If it really worked, with the tens of millions of customers the Re-GAIN companies have collectively had over 30+ years, wouldn’t the country be having a “skinny epidemic” rather than the opposite?

Third Truth:
If you are 25-50 pounds or more overweight, if you keep doing what the weight loss companies are telling you to do, it will kill you – slowly – but kill you nonetheless.

It is not just the excess weight that causes health problems. It is your constant recycling of weight – up, then down, then up, then down – weight Re-GAIN that taxes your heart, and disconnects you from your normal senses of hunger and feeling full (killing any ability for you to be an “intuitive eater”). WORSE, far worse, it injures your sense of will AND self-respect. Both, in time, will kill you.

How can that be? Because permanent weight loss is not about fat grams, or food exchanges, or (insert the latest fad here) and all that complicated stuff. So, what is it about?

What can it be? What is it that you don’t know? Is there some hidden secret to weight loss success, kept for hundreds of years, buried under Ed McMahon’s mother’s front porch in a mayonnaise jar in the Oakridge mountains? No.

Fourth Truth:
It’s about you.

Fifth Truth:
You resist believing the Fourth Truth.

As with all truths, the answer starts in your center and works its way out.

So, if you feel you have an injured core, from years of hitting yourself in the head with a “REPEAT Customer Hammer,” and have lost all hope of sustaining your weight loss…

If you believe there is something wrong with you, physically or mentally, that prevents you from losing weight permanently…

If you feel you need a helping hand to lead you where you can’t seem to get to by yourself…

If you can’t grab hold of and focus on the beautiful light that once illuminated your future…

Well, you have to start with you. You have to start with believing in YOU.

It’s about unleashing the inner beauty of soul that was buried by kids, family, job, relationships, money problems, lack of sleep… so many things that got in the way of you being you for years on end.

Losing weight permanently is not about you becoming anything… YOU ALREADY ARE !

Weight Loss MotivationEverything you need to lose weight permanently you have already. You have the will, the strength of character. You don’t need a strong helping hand.

Remember the cowardly lion in Oz? Just like him, all you need is the COURAGE. Do you need a medal delivered by a wizard behind a curtain to believe in yourself again?

When you get that far, when you can find your COURAGE, by finding yourself, you can go the rest of the way to your success.

You don’t need a wizard pulling chains behind a curtain to do that for you.

HEART PLAN weight loss logo

© 2014 Boyd Jentzsch. All rights reserved.

By special arrangement with the author, CHAPTERS from the book HEART PLAN are published here regularly. HEART PLAN is not about what you eat. It is all about how you FEEL – your sense of SELF – when you are trying to lose weight. Sign up to receive the new Chapters as they are published here.

heart plan weight loss

-by Boyd Jentzsch

View Boyd Jentzsch's profile on LinkedIn

Boyd, a recovering Attorney, turned to weight loss research 20 years ago when he lost his mother to the lifelong effects of obesity. He has spent the ensuing years searching the science, and formulating a comprehensive metabolic map of the body — the only complete map of its kind. The map reveals the causes and effects of obesity and related chronic lifestyle diseases. It shows the only proven pathways to preventing and losing excess weight. From that unique foundation, he and his team created a weight loss education program that has helped tens of thousands to lose weight and keep it off. Plus, they created innovative and fun fitness and nutrition education programs for elementary school children, proven to reduce the early bio-markers for childhood obesity. HEART PLAN is a collection of his observations over the years of the emotional impact and motivational challenges nearly everyone faces when trying to keep lost weight off permanently.

See the Chapter Summary to Remember here.

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  1. Carol Yemola says

    I hate those quick fix weight loss programs. I do well for a few weeks and then fall right back into my old habits. I find that everything in moderation is the key. I eat what I want, but don’t overdo. And I don’t eat after dinner. No nighttime snacking. I am losing weight slowly but steady. As Richard Simmons says … don’t diet, live it!

  2. constance ralph says

    I have taken some weight losd pills, its been mostly for the boost of energy it gives me..I didnt follow their food plan because it seems unrealistic to me. I just trt to watch my portion and the amount of carbs I eat and cut way back on my sodas. Its to disappointing to do what they ask of you with minimum results and feel hungry all the time. When you can loose more weight and feel better and not hungry all the time just by eatting better, cutting out a lot of the crap food, dranking lot and lots of water and doing what exercise your body will allow. Mover your body for a better body.

  3. Karen Hinkle says

    oh I would never go for them pre packed meals they would never work for me you need to be able to eat and control what you eat by your self I can see why they have ppl coming back they don’t know how to eat for them selfs and make it for them to eat in moderations its better to do it your self

  4. Raye Wiedner says

    This is a fantastic post and so so true. I’ve seen my sister and her stepdaughter REjoin a certain company for years now. They do great as long as they have those pricey meals delivered, but once they stop, they go back to eating junk food, large portions, and they stop exercising. Then they’re disappointed when the regain weight plus some.
    I think the minute we ‘diet’, we start to fail at our goals. No one wants to live on a diet. However, if we make sensible choices and do whatever type exercise we can, we’ll find our health and outlook improve long term.

  5. Rebecca Swenor says

    It is all about the money for the companies. If you want the ready made meals just cook them, portion them out, and freeze them. If you are ready to let go of the weight than you can do it with believing in you. Setting goals ahead is really important.

  6. Jessica Parent says

    I cant stand those thieving weight loss companies-keeping the weight off does require lifelong changes but not in the form of overpriced food (or pills) ….just healthy living (and exercise seems to be pretty important part of that change too)

  7. Wendi Watson says

    I have yet to try any of those types of diets I feel they are just fall back for those that dont want to do the extra work for attitude it takes to discipline yourself….I live by Richard Simmons words of this “Eat what you want, but eat only half of it” “If you make a grilled cheese make it a half” salads and veggies for snacks and do not eat after 7!

  8. Virginia Rogers says

    That is so sad that companies do that to people, all about money to them not about people’s lives. It really is about will, strength and courage. I know I have been lacking. Am thankful could never begin to afford those meal plan diets or I at 1 time was determined to lose weight and was really wanting to try. Am leaning more ways to change diet without the expense and with the will now through these discussions than ever knew before. Thank you so much, great information!!! 🙂

  9. thia Beniash says

    it saddens and angers me that a companys success is based on americans failures. losing weight is serious and can affect so many aspects of a persons life. we need to support each other in our goals to become healthy and maintain a safe weight not look at a way to make more money.

  10. I have been doing great findings about weightloss and myself lately. Or I have found out that I don’t want to lose weight, I don’t want to look thin. I don’t want to be that kind of person. But on the other hand, I do want to be healthy. It’s something I need to think about.

  11. That was so depressing. Ive never done the weight watchers thing, and never will.

  12. Yes. Every time I’ve lost weight on a “program” I gained it right back. Pitiful.

  13. I swear the weight loss companies and junk food companies are owned by the same people! There’s some great points in this post.

  14. The important key here is the full understanding of weight gain & weight loss. The problem with some people is that they want these done overnight. It’s really important that people understand that effective weight loss is about a healthy lifestyle.

  15. It is always easier to lose weight than to maintain that loss. It is silly to even consider that big companies what us to lose weight they just want our $$

  16. The truth is these pre packaged meals are pricey, my aunt was on one of these programs and lost a lot of weight and once she got off she gained the weight back and then some!

  17. I love this blog. You are right, that the key is focus on me. Thank you for the reminder.

  18. It’s sad but true—and makes total sense. I have only lost a major amount of weight once in my life, because I was only heavy during one period of my life, but I have regained it. It’s much harder to get the weight off as I age! Thanks for giving me a kick in the pants to make me WANT to.

  19. Katrina A. says

    None of those gimmicks are worth it. They just want your money…no concern for you or your health. It’s inside yourself to get it done.

  20. Chasity Boatman says

    Keeping a healthy weight is so important. I work out at the gym at least three times a week to stay in shape.

  21. Diets do not work. Losing weight and keeping it off is a matter of making lifestyle changes and continuing to make them every single day.

  22. As someone who just regained a significant chunk of weight it had taken me a couple years to get off… I better look into this.

  23. What a thoughtful breakdown you’ve got here. I like the truth that it’s not really about you, depending on the perspective…you’re very right about it.

  24. I personally would never join any kind of weight loss company (realistically I couldn’t afford it). I am on my own mission right now, slowly but surely I’m dropping pounds at home, just by minimizing what I eat to a good normal sized portion and not stuffing myself any more. I won’t deny that I love food! It’s my drug! but I have been reading a lot online about what to eat and what not to eat. Like everything says low fat, well that’s bad because for 100’s of years people ate fat and weren’t overweight. I cut out all soda, went to water and crystal light, removed processed type foods also, it makes a world of difference. If I want something sweet I take the bag of frozen fruit and a crystal light sweet tea and dump it in the blender. Amazing!!!

    I have been on this trip before, and I will be on it for the rest of my life because the only way to really change is changing how you think and eat making it a healthier lifestyle. I do struggle though because I am disabled and cannot walk or stand for long at all, I cannot even grocery shop. Thanks to car accident and falling down steps breaking my legs. One day though 🙂 I just keep on trying! Great Post though!!! 🙂

  25. I definitely think it’s important to find a weight loss solution that works for you personally and helps you make lifestyle changes that you want rather than being a quick fix. I was on the blogger panel for one of these companies for 11 months and lost 35.7 pounds, so it worked for me personally, but I definitely think each person needs to do what works for them.

  26. This post really hit a spot with me. I used to work at a weight loss clinic and it didn’t take me long to realize that you were setting them up for failure. Why would you do that people who are already sensitive and in a bad place mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically. We need a place of support and uplifting. A place where if they stumble, there is someone to help them back up and keep moving forward. A place where we don’t feel defeated.

  27. Weight loss should really be a habit and done consistently. We should develop the right habits and try to avoid common pitfalls so we don’t have to start from scratch every time. I think having repeat customers also shows some flaws in the system of weight loss companies.

  28. This is what I am trying to do on this weight loss journey. I want to lose it permanently and not gain it back.

  29. I don’t think those pre-packed meals could ever work for me. For one I’m too picky, my stomach is too sensitive and I am allergic to anything with eggs. I am currently working on good habits to help me drop a few pounds.

    • Celebrate Woman says

      Applause for you!
      Test this practice on yourself: Do not combine proteins with any starchy carbohydrates! It’s been proven that such combination increased fat formation by 50%.
      Basically, eat separately proteins Fish and Meat from starches like potatoes, pasta, rice.
      It’s great to combine either of the above with VEGETABLES, i.e., Non-Starchy carbohydrates.

  30. This is a great article! It’s the same stuff I’ve been saying for years and years, with the added option of furthering reading and asking personalized questions at the end of the blog? Nice!
    Thank you for this!

  31. My husband and I are on a healthy weightloss and fitness way of life. We have used Herbalife type products over the year for our health.

  32. I tried the USANA herbal shake its pricey so I can’t afford to keep drinking this.

  33. I am glad that I know how to stay healthy and even lose some weight after pregnancy. It wasn’t easy and it involves a lot of hard work. I think my secret is that living healthy and staying active is part of my lifestyle and I enjoy it. I feel bad for people who had been given a false hope by companies promising them to lose weight. I hope they don’t give up and continue doing and achieving their goal of losing weight and being healthy.

  34. Staying healthy and keeping all those pounds you lost is always worth it in the end.

  35. All of the above is so very true! I have been saying for years now (after having been on MANY weight loss programs) that you can lose 20 pounds on any of them–then gain that back and then some. And I know this from personal experience. You really just have to learn to eat to live not live to eat!! Yes, it is difficult but you can do it!

  36. Commitment and self-discipline is the key to weight loss or gain. It all boils down to healthy lifestyle and this is kind of weight loss should be permanent of you’re really serious about it.

  37. Savannah miller says

    My sister struggles with her weight and she drives herself crazy with dieting and if she gains a pound its all she talks about.

  38. I’ve never gone on any “program” just for this very reason–I know its a whole lifestyle change I need to make in order to see some significant changes.

  39. Once I lose the weight I keep it off, my only problem was the last two times I did it, I lost 50+ pounds, than got pregant, that happened twice.

  40. Losing weight is already hard enough but these quick fix things don’t work. I been slowly losing weight and as much as I wish I would lost it faster.. I just can’t but it is what it is. It will come off, just a mater of time!

  41. Saad Ansari says

    Well, As far as I know, nothing comes overnight. You’ve to work for it to get it done(only if you want it ever lasting). Extreme-diet has become an obsession in this era, resulting quick up & falls. Eye opener write-up. Keep it up. 🙂

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