On Your Side: Avoiding weight loss scams

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Thursday, January 3, 2018
News 12 @ 6 O’clock / NBC 26 at 7

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The weight loss industry is a 68-billion dollar industry. That means we, consumers, spend 260 times the amount of money on trying to lose weight than eating at McDonald's every year. We will pay almost anything to get skinny and the industry knows it.

For every push and press, Olly Axon has tried a program or a pill.

"Some gave you some terrible side effects....well just some bad side effects,” Olly laughs.

Remember ALLI? You certainly remember the side effects. It's the only over the counter diet drug that's FDA approved.

"I've tried every over the counter thing from Wal-Mart, CVS."

Most weight loss supplements are marketed as herbal supplements. The FDA does not verify weight loss claims on herbal supplements.

Weight loss products reach you through all kinds of claims. "Lose up to 15-20 pounds" claims one. "Top rated diet" another states and, "Three times more weight loss.

Three-time more compared to what?

"They use advertising to lure you to their product," says Gigi Turner the Regional Director at Better Business Bureau at Central Georgia and the CSRA.

Gigi says she gets the same complaint about weight loss products over and over again. The product didn't deliver on its claim.

"If there was a drug or a powder out there that would make you skinny or made you bulk up we would all be taking it,” she says.

Axon quit trying to find a quick fix two years ago. He looks at it from a different perspective.

"It's a life change, a lifestyle that I needed,” he says.

She started coming here three times a week. She made gym friends. They and the trainers at Epic hold her accountable.

"Oh yes it is amazing to me,” she explains. “I really thought you get to a certain age, a certain point you can't lose it but yes you can!"

She's lost ten pounds of body fat and gained four pounds of muscle.

"I am stronger now that I ever thought I would be at my age."

For someone with multiple sclerosis, you would never know it.

Axon says she had issues with even the simplest tasks. "I couldn't pick up a bag of cat food to feed my cats," she admits.

"Everyone needs a goal something to work for and my long-term goal at that point was to go on a Washington DC trip field trip with my daughter which was non stop walking."

She made a lifestyle change, she made new friends and she made her goal.

"My balance is better my strength is better my outlook on life is better."

Getting involved in a gym is considered a great way to commit to exercising, but the most common mistake people make when joining a gym or weight loss program is not reading the contract or policy.

What someone tells you is not always the same as what is written in the contract.