By Lauren | July 25, 2013
Frequent readers of this blog know I’m not a big fan of the fitness and weight loss industry. Business ethics are my “thing,” after all, and I think one of the most fundamental elements of ethics in business is to provide products that actually produce results. For some reason, however, weight loss and fitness companies seem to consider themselves immune from that basic obligation, content to promise the moon while undercutting those promises in print so fine an ant couldn’t read it even as they charge desperate customers billions of dollars for products that work less often than not.
That’s why I was particularly interested in Andrew Dixon’s blog, “Seduced by the Illusion: The Truth About Transformation Photos” in the Huffington Post today. Mr. Dixon, a certified personal trainer, decided to see for himself whether those ”before and after” shots in the weight loss ads were valid. With a few lighting adjustments and a little flexing, Mr. Dixon was able to pose for pictures that made him look as if he’d lost a lot of weight and rebuilt his physique. Interestingly, though, the pictures were taken in only an hour or so, meaning that Mr. Dixon had experienced no physical transformation at all.
Andrew Dixon’s experiment doesn’t prove that all of the “before and after” shots in weight loss and fitness ads are bogus, but it certainly demonstrates that they could be. Personally, I have to question the ethics of any company that sells a product by using photos that purport to show amazing results while cautioning that those results aren’t “typical” when the product is used as intended. Obesity is a growing health concern in this country, and people who struggle with their weight deserve real help. They don’t deserve to have their problems compounded by manipulative ads featuring false promises and deceptive photographs.
To read Andrew Dixon’s blog, click http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-dixon/weight-loss-secrets_b_3643898.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular.