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How Does Fat Camp Work?
Invented in the mid 1900’s, fat camps are summer camps that maximize weight loss opportunities for overweight children, teenagers, or adults. Meal portion sizes are reduced, and attendants of the camp are given a wide range of daily activities to engage in. The combination of reduced calories and increased activity creates a daily caloric deficit, resulting in substantial weight loss. In recent years, new terms such as “fitness camps”, “nutrition camps”, or “weight loss camps” have been introduced to protect those who may be self-conscious by being called “fat”. Fat camp works by teaching campers healthier ways of eating, how to think positively about themselves, and how to maintain healthy living long-term; all under the guidance of counselors, professionals, and dieticians.
New Foods, Healthier Foods
Fat camps cut caloric intake by limiting portion sizes of meals, and by offering snacks consisting of low-calorie options such as veggies, fruits, popcorn, or popsicles. Some camps will offer foods usually considered to be unhealthy, but instead, prepare them in healthier ways by either grilling or baking (as opposed to frying).
In an attempt to instill healthy living tips that will extend beyond the duration of the camp, most weight loss camps offer cooking classes. Attendees of the classes will learn new low-calorie recipes, as well as healthier ways of cooking. Emphasis is usually placed on the importance of eating fresh produce and using them on a daily basis in recipes.
Another simple reason success is often achieved at fat camp is due to the increased level of physical activity the campers engage in. Camps offer several physically engaging activities, from high-paced games such as basketball or racquetball to the slower paced canoeing, horseback riding, archery, or bowling. Some fat camps also have work out facilities, group fitness classes, and dance classes.
Positive Self Image
Those who attend a fat camp are usually self-conscious of their appearance, and in truth, the majority of all individuals (including those not overweight) struggle with body image issues. Those wrestling with weight problems are met with a self-deprecating circle: depression due to being overweight leads to overeating, leading to more weight gain, leading to more depression – and it is a cycle that is difficult to break alone or without professional assistance. For this reason, fat camps are starting to offer one-on-one psychological assistance, where campers learn how to be confident and think positively about themselves.
After Camp: Avoiding the Backslide
Statistics have shown that a significant percentage of fat camp attendees relapse and experience significant weight gain within a few months of returning home. In an effort to combat this, modern fat camps are trying to create more and more long-lasting impressions on their attendees, whether it is by offering one-on-one counseling, cooking classes, or by introducing the camper to a new sport or physical hobby. Statistics have also shown that fat camp participants are more likely to stay slim if the values learned at fat camp are reinforced at home. If you’re a parent of a child attending a fat camp, be prepared to say “No” yourself to unhealthy foods when your child returns. Encourage your child to help you cook one meal a week, and continue your child’s culinary prowess by seeking out new recipes. By expanding on the principles learned at fat camp, you can help lay the groundwork for healthy living for the rest of your child’s life.