The weight loss industry is a juggernaut worth tens of billions of dollars. Like any business it is focused on growth and profit. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but it is fair to say that when people’s health is at the core of your business, you’d think the promotion of good long term health would be high on your agenda. You would be wrong.
How Oprah Made a Killing on Weight Watchers Stock
As a highly visible spokesperson and major shareholder in Weight Watchers, Oprah Winfrey has a big piece of her fortune to thank for the fact that when people lose weight, the first thing that happens is they almost always put it all back on again.
She first bought Weight Watchers stock in October 2015 for $43.5 million. At its peak, this shrewd investment was worth more than $400 million. People give Weight Watchers the credit when they lose weight. Then, when they regain the weight, they blame themselves. This sets them up to join Weight Watchers all over again, and they do. And Oprah, as one of the world’s most famous yo-yo dieters, knows this very well. The company brags about this to its shareholders.
According to Weight Watchers’ business plan from 2001, its members have “demonstrated a consistent pattern of repeat enrollment over a number of years,” signing up for an average of four separate program cycles.
And in an interview for the documentary “The Men Who Made Us Thin”, former CFO Richard Samber explained that the reason the business was successful was because the majority of customers regained the weight they lost, or as he put it: “That’s where your business comes from.”
This is a pretty cynical world view isn’t it?
But Weight Watchers isn’t alone. We shouldn’t single them out. It’s what all these businesses do. It’s the industry norm. Repeat customers are the best customers. It’s a well understood fact that repeat business is far more valuable than trying to attract new business.
But is there another way? What would happen if there was a weight loss program out there where after customers lost weight they kept it off and in many cases continued to lose weight, ie no repeat customers?
Weight Loss Program in Thailand
In the far north of Thailand is a town called Chiang Mai. Once a lonely backwater on the hippy trail through South East Asia, Chiang Mai has emerged as a world leader in health and wellness retreats and is a focal destination for people from all over the world looking to regain their health and reset their lives. And from this has emerged a company that has turned the weight loss industry on its head.
Weight Loss For Men Thailand: The Best Weight Loss Camp
Weight Loss For Men Thailand claims a 100% success rate in having their clients maintain their weight loss after leaving the program, and even continuing to lose weight years after leaving. Is this true? Is it even possible? Let’s find out.
The first thing you’ll notice on the website is that it looks very different to most other weight loss programs or retreats. The photos all feature large overweight men who have clearly been on the program when the photo was taken rather than the usual stock images of thin, healthy, happy looking models.
This straight away hints that something different might be going on.
Then there are the before and after photos, some of which are truly jaw dropping. These also are obviously not stock images ripped from some photo library. But appearance isn’t everything. Let’s find out what is really going on. I spoke with Justin Footit the founder of Weight Loss For Men Thailand. I asked him what was different about what he was doing and how was it that long term people managed to keep the weight off when they went home?
How to Lose Weight in Thailand
“This is Do It Yourself weight loss. DIY weight loss. And it’s this way because if you can’t do it HERE yourself, you’re sure as heck not going to do it when you go back home. We can’t expect to bring people into this new, kind of artificial environment that resembles their home environment IN NO WAY AT ALL and think that they are going to continue doing the cool things they do here when they go back home! That thought is actually insane! And you see it all the time. These really great weight loss retreats where you learn how to be a Thai Kick Boxer or you go on exciting kayaking river tours and eat really amazing but crazy healthy food! People wonder “how come everyone goes on these weight loss things and lose all this huge amount of weight and then they put it all back on?
It’s not really that hard to work out if you think about it. What these places do is literally sell people the concept of a “weight loss holiday”, and holidays by their very nature are TEMPORARY, meaning that all the things you did on them, well, you aren’t going to do them when you get home. There’s no longevity or sense of permanence to these places and the same can be said about virtually any other kind of weight loss program or diet, they require you to do things that you are probably NOT going to do long term. So this is the problem, how do we get people to make adjustments to their lives long term rather than short term?
What are Healthy Weight Loss Tips?
We keep it boring… That’s a joke of course, but there is truth to it. We aren’t saying that most people lead a boring life but what we are saying is that most people’s lives are not filled with endless streams of exciting holiday style events, adventures and diversions so we try and replicate this to an extent.
Yes the guys do a lot of cool fun things here, but a lot of the time here is having guys spend time on their own and getting them to practice living a new way without being lead around and told what to do or not do.
We create a well defined set of perameters they have to stay within, but beyond that they basically do what they want. They have to find their own way through and it is going to be different for every guy. We can’t impose a set of rules or schedules upon them because that doesn’t work long term. They need to create this for themselves and once they’ve found their way they need then to live it every day. They need to live it and practice it and refine it to the point at which they don’t even need to think about it at all. Once they don’t need to think about it, they are ready to go home.
This is a physical, psychological and a philosophical process that can only come from within the man going through it. It can’t be imposed by external forces, it has to be generated from within and it’s tricky and it takes time but when they achieve it, the realisation happens in an instant and it can be quite a significant moment in their lives.
It might have taken them a couple of months to work out but once they’ve got it it’s like the biggest light bulb in history switching on with the light of a thousand suns blasting in their heads and it’s actually a deeply emotional and amazing thing.
And a lot of the guys talk about an overwhelming sense of relief because now they understand for the first time that there is NO GOING BACK and actually it would be literally impossible for them to go back to the old ways because they are literally no longer that same person. So yes, that’s the heart of it. We set up a boundary of general rules. We support and guide to the greatest extent that we can drawing on decades of experience but beyond that these men have to find their own way. There is no other way it can work, absolutely no other way. They have to do it for themselves and by themselves. Period.”
Weight Loss Program Review
Talking to some of the guys on the program is an illuminating experience and I got the chance to talk with a young Australian guy named Dan as we were sitting by the pool. He had been here coming on to 6 weeks and had dropped close to 30 kilos and he said “It’s not the weight disappearing that excites me, I mean it does, but the real excitement comes from knowing that I now am in control of my destiny. I used to eat takeout fast food three times a day and that was my life and that person is now an alien to me, it’s like I’m not even that same human being anymore. I cannot even imagine doing anything like that now. It’s basically beyond my comprehension. I literally cannot comprehend eating mountains of junk anymore and yet I still don’t quite understand how easy it has been to transition to this new way of living.” (Dan has since returned to Australia and has dropped a further 10 kilograms, yes, another client who won’t be coming back)
Later on that afternoon I run into another Aussie named Peter who says “I’ve been to quite a few boot camps and weight loss retreats where I did lose weight for sure but it’s the same old story, I put it all back on when I got back home. This is very different. To be honest, they don’t do a great job of explaining it on their website, maybe they think it might not be attractive but I can tell you 100% I won’t be putting the weight back on and it’s because I myself took the weight off here. It wasn’t taken off me by someone else if that makes sense. I’ve been to places where some trainer flogs you all day, then you eat crappy food. Sure you lose weight but it isn’t fun and the whole time you are just fantasising about the bloody pizza you’re going to eat when you get home anyway.
But this whole idea of them laying out guidelines and giving support but you finding your own way is really actually incredible.
The other thing is the flexibility of it. If I want a big steak, I go and have one because this is the real world and this program sets you up for that. I just know I can easily do this for the rest of my life because I created it for me by myself! I’m still amazed by it and I’ve been here almost a month”.
So there is a bit to unpack here but from what I’ve seen this is perhaps the ultimate in personalized weight loss programs because you design and run it yourself?
What does a regular day look like at Weight Loss For Men Thailand? I went back to the founder.
I asked him “What does an average day look like?” He laughed and said “How long have you got?
There is no real average day because all the guys are in different circumstances and at different levels. We currently have a client from Malaysia who has 3 ruptured disks in his back. This guy couldn’t even walk when he got here. He needed to lose 30 kilograms before he goes into surgery in Switzerland. He’s lost 25 kilos in the 2 months he’s been with us and hasn’t basically left his room. So a day on the program for him revolves around Netflix. As the weight comes off we are introducing him very gently into a walking regime that in conjunction with his diet should remove the final 5 kilograms in a week or two. The key point to take from this client is that he has easily lost a significant amount of weight while engaging in ZERO exercise.
Then we have the guys at around the 150 kilo mark who despite being big are actually fairly healthy. We’ll do a solid gym session with them from 9:00 am 3 times a week. The session might be just walking on a treadmill or it might incorporate some weight lifting if that’s what they want to do. Or maybe just some stretching. It’s up to them, but we push them mentally. The exercise is not really that important in this early phase but it’s fun and it blows off steam. After this they’ll hit the pool and do whatever they want there. Most of them develop a desire to walk more laps than the other guy, but whatever. Then we take them to lunch. Lunch is as much as you want to eat. Sometimes it is steak or chicken or ribs, but always with good vegetables and anything else you would expect. We only eat clean, pure whole foods. There’s no junk. But we encourage the guys to eat as much as they want because this is their one meal of the day. If they want to eat outside of this time they can, but they almost always never do.
The first lightbulb moment that happens is when a client discovers how surprisingly easy it is to confine their eating to one period a day. This one first step is something that none of them think they can make, but when it happens, the understanding that a new way can be attained is INCREDIBLY POWERFUL and sets a very strong precedent for the rest of their time here.
But after lunch is the key to it all. The afternoon period. This is where they begin to live the program on their own. Yes we often get them together and go and do something whether it’s a bike ride up into the hills or a walk to a temple, but more often than not we leave them to themselves. This is the daily test. Can you live properly without supervision. Can you engage yourself in something useful that doesn’t include eating a bag of chips? Can you begin to construct a real life for yourself that doesn’t have food as a crutch? Let’s see you do it. If you can’t, let’s work out exactly why.
If you or anyone you know has a problem with over eating or weight issues and is looking for options to regain their health and lose weight, be sure to visit our website, email or call us as soon as possible.