The term “fat farm”, as also with the term “fat camp”, carries with it a decidedly pejorative tone, but does that mean the concept behind them is bad? Indisputably not, as it turns out. As long as the participant is attending of their own free will, the idea behind these weight loss resorts and camps is wonderful, and well worth considering for anyone having difficulty shedding those unwanted pounds.
The difference between a weight loss camp (or fat camp) and a weight loss resort (or fat farm) is simple: the former is for children and teens, the latter for adults. Both provide accommodations, fresh and delicious supervised meals, trained health and fitness professionals on staff (usually including a health clinic or at least a nurse on premises), and lots of supervised exercise.
Most weight loss camps for kids and teens include nutrition classes, supervised aerobic activities, and regular weigh-ins, and report an average weekly weight loss ranging from 2 to 6 pounds. Camp Shane one such weight loss camp, one of the more popular ones, and it emphasizes developing improved physical skills that campers can carry back home into their regular lives. Another such camp, Camp Empire Lake, eschews the whole idea of weigh-ins altogether, equating them with the defeatist attitudes like guilt and shame that get in the way of being happy in whatever body campers currently live in.
Weight loss resorts for adults add to this mix of elements more advanced and esoteric methods of weight loss, like yoga, acupuncture, and meditation. Many also employ medical professionals, nutritionists, life coaches, and physical therapists available for participants to consult. Some resorts even hold hands-on workshops in the kitchen, teaching attendees how to cook more healthy and balanced meals for themselves.
What all these short-term homes-away-from-home for young and old alike really provide, however, far more than a little structure and supervision to a person’s day, is the supportive and encouraging environment of a group of people all dedicated to the same goal of losing weight. In a world where overweight people are besieged by outside judgment, these weight loss resorts and camps provide an atmosphere free of judgment, where a person is valued for who they are and encouraged to be all the desire to be.
Taking a break from everyday society to be surrounded by other people with weight issues of their own is one of the safest ways imaginable to face your own weight issues head on.
MTV shed a bright light on this phenomenon with its acclaimed documentary feature Fat Camp: An MTV Docs Movie Presentation. The movie follows 5 teens as they attend Camp Pocono Trails in the Poconos, Pennsylvania. The show received such widespread attention and acclaim that it airs its second season (following 5 new teams and their experiences at the same camp) starting November, 2007.
As all captivating drama should, the MTV Fat Camp doc highlights the thrills of victory and the agonies of defeat. But the real fat camps and fat farms aren’t about victory or defeat. Their about support and encouragement. About loving who you are so much that it finally starts to show in how you look.
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