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Fat Camp and Weight Loss Retreats

Updated on June 30, 2011

Compulsive overeating

Let’s face it as a culture; we are struggling with weight issues. The question most overweight people have is can I lose weight? All of the diets and weight loss programs on the internet clearly indicate there are a lot of people out there who want to lose some pounds. Whether it’s 30 ponds, 50 pounds, or 150 pounds, it compulsive overeating is an issue that a lot of people are facing. Over eating is an eating disorder. There is no debate and a lot of us suffer from an overeating disorder.

Many of us fat people (hold on there before you get all offended, I will explain why I use the term fat people shortly) suffer from an eating disorder. We know we are overeating because the simple truth is we take in more calories than our body needs. In many cases we are also eating the wrong types of foods and we don’t exercise properly. This is something most of us already know. The problem is when it is an eating disorder it is not just a habit, it is a serious and even potentially life threatening psychological problem.

Getting real about body fat

When we start to have a level of body fat that begins to interfere with our daily functioning we have a problem. If we are parents, we may have trouble playing with our kids or we may have difficulty doing certain jobs and repairs around the house. We are may be very self-conscious so we start to avoid certain social situations. This may keep us from exercising in public places like going to a gym or swimming pool. So what can someone with an eating disorder like over compulsive eating do?

The first thing is to be honest and recognize there is a problem. I don’t refer to excess body weight as fat for no reason. I simply recognize that a part of the process of starting a weight loss program is to begin to make ourselves uncomfortable about our weight. If we really want to lose weight we don’t need to beat ourselves up but we do need to feel bothered enough to want to do something about it.

Imagine being a relatively fit and healthy person suddenly transported into the body of a significantly overweight person. What would you do? Seriously? Would you be comfortable and just say oh well I guess this new body is just big boned? Would you rationalize or deny the fact this new body has a health problem? I can’t speak for other people but I know that it is sometimes hard for us to honestly see how big we have become. Maybe we don’t notice until we see a video or a photo of ourselves. It can be devastating but it can also be the event that gives us the resolve to do something about it.

Fat camps, weight loss retreats, and eating disorder clinics

We all deserve to be healthy. The one thing that is truly upsetting for me is how many people begin to believe they must somehow deserve their fate and just accept being overweight. Sometimes we just come to accept what we know. Sometimes overweight people even get lost in their own pity. The worse they feel the more they seek out ways to change how they feel. For people with a compulsive eating disorder this often means turning to food rather than exercise or some other activity to change our state. The truth is we have to believe we deserve better and we deserve to be healthy, but that getting there is not always going to be easy.

Fat camps and weight loss retreats are designed to change your environment and daily routine and help you begin to focus on making a serious change in the habits that led to your current situation. Fat camps are not a cure all and they don’t come cheap. However, attending a fat camp for an eating disorder like compulsive over eating can be the start of a change in habits and thinking that may help you realize how to begin to live a healthier lifestyle.

Another option is to seek help from an eating disorder clinic either on an outpatient or inpatient basis. Some people prefer the fat camp approach because of the social environment that can provide a positive experience and unique support from others with similar issues. While most people think of fat camps as being only for kids there are also fat camps for teens and fat camps for adults. Deciding which of these options you prefer is up to you. Remember fat camps tend to be for people who have tried other weight loss programs that have not been successful.

Fat Camp: Who should go?

TV shows like the biggest loser show us that  people can overcome a compulsive overeating problem but that it requires dedication and hard work. To obtain weight loss of a significant magnitude it usually means we need support. We need someone kicking us in the butt when we backslide and encouraging us when we are on the right track. Weight issues can be caused by a variety of factors. There are often medical reasons for being overweight, such as thyroid problems, but no matter what the cause we all owe it to ourselves to be as healthy as we can be. Some of us will need to consult with a doctor before beginning a weight loss program and may also need to lose weight under medical supervision.

Who should go to fat camp or a weight loss retreat? People who know that they are significantly overweight who have tried various diets and other programs and have been able to change their routine or diet enough to make a noticeable difference. If you are only ten to fifteen percent above your ideal weight you really don’t need to attend a fat camp and the truth is you will only make those around you who have significant weight loss problems feel worse. For someone who is seriously overweight seeing moderately overweight individuals who believe they are fat can be a truly discouraging experience. They already have a huge hill to climb and would be more than happy to be a mere 20 or 30lbs overweight.  Sure some fat camps will take a marginally overweight person's money but do they really need to be there?

How to choose a fat camp, weight loss retreat or eating disorder clinic

How do you choose a fat camp? Try to find a camp that understands overeating is an eating disorder. The camp should have a psychological component as well as a diet and exercise component. Try to find a place that will focus on long term change and not just a boot camp quick loss approach. The Boot camp format can be helpful but there needs to be a focus on long term goal setting and ongoing support. Often boot camps take people who are only marginally overweight and don't always have a psychological component.

Choose a fat camp or weight loss retreat that is realistic. If the goal of the camp is to make you comfortable and make it seem like you’re going on holiday well then as the saying goes if it’s too good to be true it probably is. The commitment required in making a significant change in our approach to eating and fitness means being committed to being uncomfortable. In many cases it can be comfort that got us to this place in the first place. Comfort foods, comfortable habits, and comfortable friends and family who let us know we are OK no matter how we look or feel.

If you want to go on holiday and eat healthy while there then there are weight loss retreats that do provide this type of service. However for serious change in habits make sure the place you plan to attend has a comprehensive long term program. If you can't find what you need then consider a weight loss clinic where there is almost always a comprehensive long term strategy that focuses on healthy eating, exercise, and psychological needs.

Be commited to getting outside your comfort zone

When I was almost 60 pounds above my ideal weight I was comfortable (I currently hover around 20 lbs above my ideal so I consider my lifestyle change to be somewhat of a success). Believe me I had a lot of comforts. I even drove three blocks to go to the store. I would walk my dogs to the flat park not the grade park with the stairs. I ate often and I ate whatever foods I wanted. I dealt with every emotion I had by abusing food and I was surrounded by people who kept convincing me I wasn’t fat. But I was. I was 35% above my ideal weight and when I was honest I admitted that I felt it. Throughout this period I was coaching sports and not completely inactive but when I was honest with myself I admitted I was no longer in good physical condition and that I was fat. I needed to call it that to care enough to do something about it. I know a lot of men like me who were fairly athletic in their younger days. But as their metabolism slowly decreased and their exercise regimen was reduced they failed to decrease their food intake as well.

So whether you need to become fit for the first time in your life or you want to get back to a feeling of fitness you once experienced, you need to know there are ways to get there and you deserve it. Positive thinking alone won’t get you there. You cannot simply will off the pounds. I have never believed in trying to motivate people with sugary positivity. Honesty will always have more staying power. The one thing that should motivate us is a belief that we deserve better as do our family members and anyone else who cares about us. If we have to tell ourselves we hate being fat to get us going then that is what we need to do. Often our kids are following in our footsteps so we need to show them the hard work and commitment it takes to get there.

Pushing for Commitment: Warning this isn't pretty!

We all deserve to live a healthy life.

So consider going to a fat camp. Yes I call it fat camp because we want to go there to lose fat, not bone or muscle, just fat. OK maybe fat loss camp is more appropriate but either way we need to be honest about it. All of those ads telling you there are ways to lose weight easily while sitting on your couch are lying. Plain and simple. They are patronizing and insulting. The subtext of these ads that they know how much the need for comfort and comfortable habits played in getting you to your situation in the first place, and they are more than willing to exploit that need to separate you from your hard earned money.

There are no weight loss plans that will really work long term if they don’t have a psychological component, a fitness component, and a healthy eating component. If we are honest and admit we really don’t want to be overweight and we really don’t think we are as healthy as we could be, then we will find a way to make the change necessary to change our lives permanently. This means changing the story about who we are, how we are, and who we want to be. Because whatever that story is, it’s not working if we find ourselves in a place we don’t like. We can try various weight loss programs, attend a fat clinic or weight loss retreat, or even go to an eating disorder clinic, but the truth is it will only work if we are committed.

I personally continue to  challenge myself with trying to live a more healthy lifestyle. It's still a work in progress. I don’t obsess about how I look or the fact that I don’t look like some physical ideal. I just have an idea of how healthy I want to be and how much I want to be able to enjoy my life while I am here on this planet. I want to be relatively active and I don’t want to cringe every time I see a picture of myself. I think we all deserve to feel as good as we can. If we accept a very low standard simply because it is in our comfort zone we are doing ourselves a disservice.


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    • profile image

      heather (again) 7 years ago

      im not really fat im 5'6 and 149 pounds but i wanna get skinnier and healthier.

    • profile image

      heather  7 years ago

      i actully just have a question. ha

      im 149 pounds and i wannna lose weight would i be allowed to go to a fat camp?


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