As obesity rates continue to climb and more individuals struggle to keep their weight within a normal and healthy range, a weight loss boot camp experience is becoming an attractive option for an increasing number of individuals. As the demand for this type of weight loss support service climbs, large weight loss camp chains are opening up locations across the country and around the world. We are also seeing a proliferation of smaller, privately maintained weight loss boot camp facilities that offer a variety of services.
Choosing to use some vacation time or sick leave to go and get absolutely serious about losing weight is a profound decision and could mark a turning point in the lives of many lifelong yo-yo dieters. Many people believe they have a good understanding of what they ought to do in order to lose weight and improve their overall health, but feel that they are simply unable to do it. Motivation, will-power, and resolve are major limiting factors for probably a majority of weight loss dieters.
There are a number of factors that you should take into account when finding and registering for a weight loss boot camp, and we will explore those here in some amount of depth. It is very important to take into account your own personal history and what you have tried in the past, what weight loss ideology is espoused by the weight loss boot camps you are looking into, and what specific services are offered by each.
Your Personal Weight Loss History
As with any weight loss service, your journey begins at your current location. And that is a position informed by all of your prior experiences with gaining and losing weight. So before you invest any time, money, and commitment into a specific product or service, you should take a full inventory of the things you have tried, the pitfalls you have experienced, and the ways that you have arrived at your current physical state.
If you have never attempted to lose weight before, then take stock of what kinds of things you have been eating and drinking that you suspect may be responsible for your increased weight over the years. Solving your problem may be as simple as eliminating soda and desserts, so you may want to try some simple and basic lifestyle changes before you get into hard core dieting. It simply may not be necessary for you.
Exercise is also very good but people overestimate the value of exercise and they underestimate how much they would need to do to lose a given amount of weight. A recent study found that the vast majority of exercisers dramatically overestimated the number of calories they were burning even when compared against the most current standardized calorie calculations. When you take into account the tremendous variability in actual burned calories, and the impressive conservation capabilities of the human body--particularly when it is subjected to calorie restriction--the chances are that the people who need to lose weight the most are probably overestimating the value of their exercise routines the most.
Also there is the problem that exercise increases appetite, which for many weight loss candidates is a major problem standing in the way of losing weight. There is only so far that will-power can take you, when your body is demanding food eventually you will eat. And you will probably eat more than you would have, and almost certainly more than the number of calories you burned. So in the long run exercise for weight loss can leave you with a caloric surplus, which leads to weight gain, not loss, so that is the opposite of what you want.
If you have dieted many times in the past, think about what your particular sticking points have been. Some people have found themselves caving in and having desserts, or getting unusually hungry right before bed and eating lots of high calorie foods late at night. Others find that they follow all the rules they are supposed to and simply don't lose the weight they expect they should be able to lose. Each of these problems is unique and will require a unique form of attention.
If the failure of your previous diet has not been a failure of will and determination but rather a failure of the particular weight loss program that you subscribed to, then the chances are that you really don't need a weight loss boot camp. You probably just need a different type of diet. It may also be worth having your doctor check you out to see that you do not have a thyroid condition or other medical problem which could be causing you undue weight gain.
But if motivation has been the major problem for you, if you are the person who has tried every major diet on the market and still gained weight, if you have cursed yourself for failing to follow through with your plans; well, then a boot camp experience could be exactly what you need to spur you onto good solid weight loss and promote the types of lifestyle changes that will ultimately lead you to enjoy a healthy body weight and attractive physical appearance.
Weight Loss Bootcamp Ideologies
As with any other type of weight loss program, a boot camp is going to have its own specific ideology that it will espouse. In order to have a cohesive system of weight loss you have to also have a theory of weight gain, a theory of how and why the body should store unnecessary fat and what can be done to reverse this process. There are a great number of conflicting theories, and many camps that basically agree with one another but would change a few details here or there.
It is difficult to say which ideology is right or wrong, as there are very respectable figures within each of the major camps who can readily produce research and clinical findings to support their positions. Basically you will have to choose what is your own theory of how people gain and lose weight and then choose a weightloss camp that is compatible with your own beliefs. Or, if you have tried a diet in the past that simply did not cause your body to drop any weight or that you found impossible to follow, you would probably want to choose a camp that would support you in a different model of dieting.
There is no reason to torture yourself, even if you are going to a weight loss boot camp. You should go into the experience confident that it will be what you need to make the short-term adjustments and long-term changes that will correct your erroneous lifestyle and lead you on the long path to health and well-being. So you should definitely do your research on the specific types of diet and exercise that you will be taking part in at each individual camp and then decide from there.
Weight Loss Boot Camp Services
The main types of services that you will be looking for in a boot camp experience are psychological support, nutritional planning, medical attention, and personal training. Those four services form a constellation of effective weight loss that can genuinely get you where you need to be and help you to keep yourself there. So if any one of those services is not available at a given camp, then cross that one off of your list and keep looking.
Psychological support really cannot be overestimated as a factor in efficient and effective weight loss, and even if you decide not to commit to a boot camp experience you should still seek the services of a licensed counselor or psychotherapist to help you on your way. This is because the motivational difficulties and self-defeating nature of unhealthy weight gain and dietary practices are brought about by the mind, and the mind is the domain of the licensed psychotherapist. Those are the folks who can help you to understand why you are doing the things you are doing and how you can learn to do new and healthier things.
Particularly as a part of a weightloss bootcamp experience, you should absolutely be receiving psychological support in order to help you solidify the things you are learning at the camp, and also to help you generalize those learnings into your everyday life back in the real world. No amount of weight loss camping is going to help you if you are unable to put the same principles into practice when you return to normal living. With the proper support and encouragement, you will find this an easy and rewarding process.
Obviously you will also need nutritional planning services, and for much the same reason. Your nutritional counselor at the camp should be providing you with detailed information about the specific reasons for the changes you are making at the camp. They can also help you implement those changes in your normal life by planning out specifically what you will choose and how you will react in the types of situations you typically and atypically encounter. Having a concrete plan of action in place will help you to feel confident and capable, which are key ingredients to long term success.
You should never never never attend a weight loss boot camp that does not have board certified medical personnel on site. Physicians are trained to understand and work with the physiology involved in weight loss and exercise, and any time you are making major lifestyle changes there is a chance of adverse events. Having a doctor on site at the weight loss camps who will regularly see you and check on your physical condition while you are at camp is critical, because the doctor will be able to see the warning signs of any upcoming tragedy and hopefully to prevent problems before they begin. It is a good idea to talk with your primary care doctor before choosing a camp as well, to express your intentions and to ask for advice and recommendations. Your primary care doctor knows you and your history and so is the most qualified to recommend this type of service to you.
Finally, personal training is an important aspect of your weight loss boot camp experience and something you should definitely gain a lot of information about before you decide to enroll in a camp program. You should not simply assume that you will be doing a lot of exercise and that is that, because not all exercise regimens are the same. To lose weight you have to build up your muscle mass (as explained in our article on Quick Weight Loss Diets), so if all you will be doing at camp is a lot of cardio, keep looking. Doing that will only make you hungrier, will make you feel tired, and will not burn as many calories as you think.
So make sure you will be given access to a personal trainer who will help you to build up your important calorie-burning muscle groups and sculpt your body so that you will not only look thin, but fit and healthy as well. That is how you will really build up the physical foundations for sustained weight loss and long term weight maintenance, and so it is a critical part of a successful weight loss boot camp program.