As consumers ring in the New Year, many make resolutions to improve their health in 2013. If you are one of these, the Better Business Bureau warns to beware of ads promising quick and easy ways to lose weight. Doctors, dietitians, and other weight loss specialists agree that the best way to lose weight is to eat less and increase your physical activity.
In 2012, BBBs nationwide received more than 13,000 complaints about the health and fitness industry. This includes health clubs, health and diet products, and exercise equipment. Consumers have complained about deceptive advertising, ineffective products, and confusing or misleading contracts.
For consumers looking to lose weight this year, the BBB offers the following advice:
- Consult a physician. Before starting any weight loss program, visit your family doctor to discuss your overall health and safe and effective weight loss programs.
- Do research. Always check out fitness clubs, websites, and other health-related companies with the BBB by visiting www.bbb.org.
- Read contracts carefully. When signing up for recurring memberships, such as at a gym or weight control program, be sure to understand all the terms and conditions before signing. Make sure you know how to cancel and whether or not your membership is automatically renewed at the end of the contract.
- Be wary of free trials. Know when the free trial begins and ends and whether or not you have to call to cancel in order to avoid future charges. Be clear on how much you’ll be charged if you don’t cancel and whether or not you have to return any unused product.
- Avoid unproven products. Fad diets and new products are advertised every year that promise amazing results. Many such claims aren’t supported by evidence and some products have dangerous side effects.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of claims that a product can shed pounds without dieting or exercise or programs that promise unusually good results.
Best wishes on finding a weight loss
plan that works for you. It can be done. More than a dozen of my friends have been able to lose weight and keep it off.