Questionable Weight Loss Marketing: Does the ends justify the means?

So a couple of my post seem to have gone viral and I’ve become a little bit internet famous for calling out some of the most prolific scumbags in terms of deceptive marketing and dubious products as relates to the world of weight loss, health and fitness.

Good.

We’re talking the worst of the worst there though. Pushing unhealthy methods, employing spammers to flood the internet with false product reviews, using stolen before and after photos, targeting the spam at eating disorder sufferers. Each of these in isolation are entirely indefensible practices, and when you put a few or all of them together at once (Ashy Bines & Fat Loss Factor I’m looking at you) it goes beyond just being ethically indefensible and into absolutely disgusting.

That’s pretty much black and white, right? But there are some grey areas as well.

I mean… look at this website, right? As I keep saying, this site is really for the people who’ve had it up to the ears with scams, secret / magic formulas, dodgy quick fixes and so on. It’s for the people who just want someone to give it to them straight, with no bullshit, and just stick to the stuff that is important and the stuff that works. And because I’m actually kind of crap at being a business man, it’s all available for free. You don’t even have to sign up with your email address like on most sites, where they’re usually just promising “a tip” or “a trick”… and maybe you get one tip a week plus 4 sales pitches in your email every other day, right? Here the whole program is online for free, no sign up required, it actually produces the results that it is supposed to through a healthy approach, and the closest you’ll get to a sales pitch is “hey if you like that, you’re going to LOVE the Coaching Via Email program”.

So anyway, people find their way here either through a web search or maybe they’ve been following one of my training blogs and click through from a link there. Or increasingly, someone already doing the free program or the coaching via email program recommends the site… actually lately other weight loss blogs have been referencing my articles and sending people here too. But I digress… people find their way here and the ones who stick around are the ones who are thinking “spare me the fitness industry marketing bullshit, just tell me how it works and if it makes sense I’ll do it”, right? Unfortunately though, you guys are still the minority.

I’m doing my best to combat this situation, but unfortunately most people are still looking for a trick, or a culprit. It’s not really their fault either, seeing as they are constantly bombarded with messages that are basically talking a load of absolute garbage about what they need to do to lose weight. Whether it’s those “five foods to never eat” and similar ads on the internet, or the daytime talk shows pushing a new diet every morning… people are getting told everything except for the very simple truth, which is;

Choose a suitable goal weight, then determine about how many calories per day should maintain that weight. Consume around this amount of calories more often than not.

It’s that simple.

“Just eat the right amount” is a hard thing to sell to people who think they need a liver cleansing fast, though. Or, to only eat certain things at certain times of the day, or whatever other nonsense they’ve been taught. So, what can you do?

I see some trainers or diet programs offering these sorts of products and aside from the obvious scams… I wonder sometimes. Is it that they actually believe this stuff themselves (which they shouldn’t), or just are they just catering to the market like a smart business person?

I mean… if you deliver a program that delivers the desired result and is nutritionally sound, that’s what counts. Does it really matter if the reason the client signed up for it is because you incorporated whatever the latest weight loss fad or marketing angle is?

Does the ends justify the means?

To be honest I’ve probably missed a few sales (and the opportunity to help a few people) by sticking to my “none of that really matters, we just need to get you onto an appropriate range of calories” mantra instead of accommodating whatever theory they’ve suggested as to what is holding them back. I may have to start practising saying “well, we can do that if you like but here’s what I’m more concerned with” or something like that.

In the course of writing this entry I have decided that my opinion is as follows.

As long as it works and is nutritionally sound, I think it’s fine for people to offer up whatever sort of plan they like. As long as you market it like “this works because removing these foods makes it easy to hit your targets and including these foods gives you the vitamins and minerals you need… and also it’s just kinda cool because of this reason don’t you think?”. But I do have an issue when the sales pitch is more like “this is the only way a human being can manage their weight, if you ever stray from these rules it all goes out the window”, when there are literally millions of people NOT doing that and still maintaining a normal weight.

I think generally speaking it would be much better for everyone to just promote a more reasonable, flexible approach to eating such as used in my program, which is really all that it takes, and is also the easiest thing imaginable.

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Author: davehpt

I'm DaveHPT, Maybe you've heard of me? Musician, rock star and recording artist. Published author. Former security industry professional. Personal Trainer and Weight Management Architect Of Awesomeness. Problem Solver.

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