Have you heard about the weight loss grant being advertised on the radio? The ad claims that if you have 20 lbs or more to lose, you could receive up to $2000 to help you lose it. What they should actually be saying is you could receive up to $2000 once you’ve lost it.
Money is tight for me right now. And from the combination of losing a close friend and having unhealthy coping strategies (namely stress eating), I’ve become pretty overweight. So I naturally got excited when I heard this radio ad. Here’s the process:
Step 1: Fill Out a Form
First you go to the website and fill out their form at www.weightlossgrants.org. It’s just your name, where you’re from, your email, and phone number. You click to accept the applicant agreement, and then submit the form.
Step 2: Receive Email
You get an email from the organization pretty quickly. It includes a reference number and a phone number.
Step 3: Call Them
You have to call them, which kind of makes steps 1 and 2 feel like unnecessary work. They ask about your weight, what you’ve tried previously, and your goals. They ask you if you have a plan or need a referral. And they explain the program more thoroughly.
So I’m on the call with this organization, and they tell me I pay for all of my weight loss efforts up front. Then if and only if I lose my goal amount of weight within my goal time, then they will reimburse 80% of what I paid out for the program. So I’m really not sure how this helps people who are prevented from using weight loss programs by the cost, because it still costs you just as much anyways. Sure the reimbursement could be a great motivator, but it really comes across as scammy.
Now that I realize I need to pay for this out of pocket, I ask how much it’s going to cost. The woman on the phone doesn’t know, she tells me I’d need to go to the consultation to find out. So I ask to go to the free consultation to find out, so I can save up. But if I go to the consultation I am essentially setting that as my start date, and my goal constraints set in (I have 18 months to lose 40 lbs- 18 months is the maximum time limit you can choose for any amount of weight). If I don’t go to the consultation yet then I can put off the start date to save up, but I have no idea how much money I need to save.
This whole thing is setting off some alarm bells in my head. It does come across like a scam “hey- we’ll give you money to lose weight!” is actually “you give us money to lose weight and then if you lose it all by the deadline, we’ll give you some money back”.
I have an appointment for my first consultation in a week. I still haven’t paid anything or given them any payment information, so I figure I’ll check it out further and see how I feel after that. Losing weight is something I was going to spend money on anyways, and if there is that motivation to get most of it back then maybe this will be more successful than other programs.
The one thing that is telling me this isn’t a scam is that you can pick your program, you don’t have to use their referral (though presumably it needs to be cleared with them). They mention allowing programs that I am familiar with- like Weight Watchers, and they also mention that you can work with a dietitian.
To Be Continued….
I’ll go to the appointment next week, and I’ll come back and write about my verdict then.
Check out part 2 here
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