Weight Loss Programs Sold By Friends

November 9, 2020   17 Comments

Have you received this message from one of your friends on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media?

Weight Loss Programs Sold By Friends

“I just lost 20 pounds in two months! PM Me and I’ll be glad to tell you all about how this program will work for you?”

I bring this up because I am asked about different weight loss programs and I am reticent to even take a look.

There is a confluence of two trends right now:

  • Some of us have put on the pounds because our lives have been upended.
  • Multilevel marketing programs are taking off because people are losing their jobs.

I will be the first to admit that these 6 months have been challenging for my waistline. Why? I am moving less because because I am doing less social activities and I have been eating for comfort. But, at the age of 51 - I have been though ups and downs all my life and I have faith that I will get it together.

In other words, I don’t fear the pounds. Let me tell you what does scare me - a friend who I trying to sell me on a weight loss program that will change my life.

First, I find it awkward when a friend tries to sell me something. I don’t care if it is makeup, fitness clothes, hair products, or diet shakes. I like to keep my friendship and commerce separate if possible.

But, people are hurting right now and they need a side hustle to pay their bills. Multilevel marketing programs (MLMs) are an easy way to try to make money. You are non-salaried and make commissions on your sales and your recruitment of other distributors. So, you sell stuff and you recruit other people to sell stuff.

Unfortunately, 99% of people who join an MLM lose money but that doesn’t stop people from trying.

For example, there is the MLM Optavia. Optavia is a more sophisticated Slimfast program. It is based on shakes and bars and you lose weight because you cut calories.

Optavia converts customers into sales people who then claim they are “health coaches”. Be aware that anyone can call themselves a “health coach”. When looking for a person to help with eating - it is best to talk to a credentialed registered dietitian nutritionist.

The coaches pressure clients to stick with the program because the more you buy - the more money the coaches make. This is a clear conflict of interest if the coach was an actual health coach.

I am not going to review Optavia because you will not catch me spending $425 per month on shakes and bars. Also, it is a low calorie diet and I tend to get HANGRY. My kids need a stable mom (or an almost stable mom).

This would be me on Optavia:

Abby Langer, a registered dietician nutritionist, has written a great review of Optavia where she states:

Optavia is a low-calorie diet that relies on pre-packaged food, tiny portions, and unqualified ‘coaches’. It appears, according to the research, that many people regain the weight they lost on this program, if they don’t drop out of it before that.

The financial, emotional, social, and possibly physical costs of Optavia appear to be very high.

What do you do if a friend tries to sell you Optavia or something similar?

I would be polite and firm. No, thank you! Also, you might say that you are working on all the things that lead to lasting weight loss such as eating healthy food, exercising, maintaining close relationships, and sleeping.

Have you encountered friends that want to sell you weight loss programs? What do you say?

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Yes!! Optavia! And no thanks!

I have been hit up to try Optavia and Isagenix.

They are both expensive. I would rather eat healthy foods instead of bars or shakes.

To each their own but I’ll stick to WW which has always worked for me.

Great article.

No quick & easy methods. Balance is key. WW is a chosen winner!

I have a heart arrhythmia. Most of the shakes, happy coffee, teas, etc work by calorie restriction and additives that cause racing heart conditions trying to up your metabolism. Most coaches can’t tell you if they have the additives or what they do.

I'm not a fan of meal replacement programs, but in my desperation, I've bought a month of Isagenix. I have felt insanely run down in the past year, I think due to menopause. I've checked everything with my docs...nothing's "wrong" with me. After my first day with Isagenix, I have felt better. And I am the first person to be skeptical. But my energy level is normal again. I'm not sure if I'll do it past one month for weight loss, but I probably will continue in some form, because I do feel much better than I have felt in a year.

@Melissa - Thank you for sharing. You sound like an educated consumer with her head on straight - and I am sure you will get the benefits of your program without the downsides.

Thank you for sound advice and good science.

I own a small business (retail) and I do not push products on friends. I figure if they really want something they will buy. I am hoping that people in general are realizing that there is no way around healthy eating and exercise!

There is a woman in my church, we used to teach religion classes together to our kids, so I know her somewhat, different grades. She's selling something now, I never take the time to stop and chat with her- she's very aggressive with her food sales-- because I have zero desire to buy food in the parking lot. I find it really annoying and run the other way when I see her now. Awkward is a good word, yes. Money is tight everywhere but there has to be a better way. Thanks for a great post.

I agree - another super aggressive one is “the pink drink” mlm, I cant remember the name... I started Optavia just when the pandemic started and it’s been helpful in reducing grocery store trips and realizing I needed to eat more often, BUT the high deprivation has lead to binging like never before. 😓 When I stick to plan it works, it’s mild ketosis, I feel good - but I now have to deal with realizing I may have binge eating disorder by how crazy out of control my portions are when I go off plan 😅 My coach is sweet but definitely a sales lady, not a healthcare provider.

Thanks for sharing this sound advice.



I would like info on your weight loss.

Here is a post about losing 10 pounds -

I didn't lose 20 pounds - someone messaged me that they had lost 20 pounds.

Mary, I agree that using meal replacement shakes may lead to binging. Although I am doing Isagenix, I do feel uncomfortable about replacing meals with a shake. I'm trying to use this as a "reset" month just to be less obsessed with food, but we'll see if it works. So far, I'm doing well, but I do miss breakfast and lunch food!

I've been invited to too many jewelry parties and houseware parties where I have gotten things I didn't need just to support friends and family. No longer. I refuse to spend money I don't really have just to be a people pleaser. There's other ways to lose weight than these MLM schemes. Thanks for shedding the light on how most of these schemes fail. There's other ways to make money and I've never fallen into them.

I started using a protein shake once a day instead of a meal, but fortunately I found a good one on Amazon that is both healthy and cheaper than investing in one from an MLM scheme. Someone was trying really hard to get me to buy Shakeology - and I did buy a sample pack, but didn't really like it - and it is insanely expensive! I also tried some Arbonne samples and liked them, but haven't given in to buying a whole month's worth. I am just trying to improve on what I was drinking, which was Core Power shakes. They taste amazing, but no wonder - the ones I like have 26 grams of sugar! I tried Juice Plus nutrition bars to help out my daughter, who is a distributor, but I sent them back because they tasted like cardboard.

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