Don’t let a new year resolution lead to a weight loss scam!

January 07, 2013


As the new year dawns and weight loss resolutions follow on the heels of holiday sweets and Cajun holiday cooking, advertising for weight loss products and health clubs begin to hit the airwaves, the internet, newspapers and other media.

The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana advises consumers to be skeptical of ads promising quick and easy ways to lose weight. Doctors, dietitians and other experts agree that the best way to lose weight is to eat less and increase your physical activity so you burn more energy.

At this time of year, you’re likely to see claims such as, “Lose weight without diet or exercise,” “Block the absorption of fat, carbs or calories!” or “Lose weight with our miracle diet patch or cream.” Some companies even use celebrity endorsements to promote their products and portray people who supposedly lost huge amounts of weight using their products.

Nationally, the BBB has processed hundreds of complaints against weight loss products and health clubs every year. Complaints range from recurrent charges on credit cards for “free” products to dissatisfaction with the hours or service provided by fitness clubs.

The BBB advises you to watch for false claims and consider your needs and budget:


  • Avoid products that claim to help you lose weight without diet or exercise. Doctors, dietitians and other experts agree that losing weight takes work. Pass up any product that promises miraculous results without any effort.


  • Be skeptical of claims that you don’t have to give up favorite foods or reduce the amount you consume.  Try filling up on healthy vegetables and fruits so you can resist high-calorie treats. However, eliminating all your favorites could set you up to fail. It’s better to limit portion size or how frequently you indulge.


  • Determine your fitness goals. It’s hard work to lose weight, and you need to find a program you can stick with, and preferably one that you enjoy. Find a health club or exercise facility that is convenient and that offers times that fit with your schedule.


  • Consider your budget. Ask the health club about joining or enrollment fees and ongoing monthly costs. Does a weight loss plan require you to buy special foods? Can you cancel if you move or find that the program doesn’t meet your needs? If the facility closes, can you transfer your membership to another facility?


  • Read the entire contract. Does it list all services and facilities and hours of operation? Is everything the saleperson promised included in the contract? What’s included in the monthly fee and what will cost you extra? What is the total cost, including enrollment fees and finance charges?


  • Start with Trust. Check with the BBB first. Anyone can check a company’s BBB Business Review at


Before starting an exercise program or diet, the BBB advises consumers to consult a doctor for an assessment of over-all health risk. Get the doctor’s recommendations on weight-loss options and/or exercise regimens that fit your health status and ability to stick with it.

The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. Please contact the BBB at  or (337) 981-3497 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America.


The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.