Weight Loss Camps – Do “Fat Camps” Really Work?

Being the fat kid in school is tough. Children who weigh noticeably more than others often become the butt of jokes, a target for bullying and mean comments, and become too socially awkward to gain any meaningful experience in school. At times, going to the gym or exercising outside makes these children even more conscious about their body, which doesn’t do too well with motivating them to continue exercising.

Children who are constantly made to feel that there’s something wrong with them just because they are fat also battle with depression, poor self-esteem and poor body image. As a result, most children who feel something is wrong with the way that they look turn to emotional eating and disengages themselves socially, perpetuating a vicious cycle that is hard to break. Aside from the emotional strain it puts on a person, being overweight also brings with it a lot of health problems. Children may not particularly recognize it because they won’t feel the effects of obesity until later in life, but how can parents help them realize that losing wealth for the sake of your health (versus losing weight for the purpose of social acceptance) is a very important decision to make?

Parents who force their children to exercise and lose weight often find out that children can always find excuses to get out of anything. If their parents are overweight, children can find even more of an excuse not to lose weight, but the truth is that they feel unhappy about it and they feel they cannot do anything to change their situation.

Fat camps before are different from weight loss camps these days. Fat camps used to be focused solely on losing weight, and are often quite stressful places to be in because of this. Because of all the negative feedback that such fat camps received in the past, most of them have rebranded themselves as weight loss camps and have overhauled their programs to be more effective on a more encompassing level. Weight loss camps put emphasis on teaching children why they need to maintain a healthy diet and regular physical exercise.

When children are sent to a weight loss camp, they feel less self-conscious about themselves because they see other children who have the same struggles as they do.

However, tackling the issue of weight problems is not just about eating the wrong things and not getting enough exercise. There are underlying issues that affect the decisions of children who have weight problems, and while weight loss camps help with that, getting a program with a more holistic approach could also be helpful.

Wilderness programs, for example, also teaches participants about the importance of physical activity, a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, the activities, counseling and therapy sessions are geared towards helping participants identify self-esteem and self-image issues. As a result the experience is not just about losing the excess pounds but also about learning to love and accept one’s self enough to choose a healthy lifestyle. There’s no excessive focus on weight issues, but there’s a lot of focus on underlying factors that could cause children to gain weight and an unhealthy self-esteem and self-image.

Once these important primary concerns are addressed, it’s a lot easier for children to be receptive to ideas that can help them improve their lifestyle. It helps them realize that they are empowered to make a true and significant change in their life. Taking them to a nutritionist afterwards to structure a healthy diet, for instance, would be just the kind of family support that would benefit them after camp. Cleaning out the junk food from the cupboards and making sure that there are healthy options to pick from at home would also help a lot in helping your child keep his/her personal commitment to healthy living.