The first week of November 2004 I joined LA Weight Loss in Manassas, Virginia. I've always had an extremely difficult time losing weight. I'm disciplined and can stick with a diet but do not lose easily. I chose LA Weight Loss because several years ago a woman whose judgement I trusted told me she had lost weight with the system when all else had failed for her.
I explained to the counselor who enrolled me that other weight loss systems such as Weight Watchers had not worked for me. She assured me LA Weight Loss succeeded when all else failed.
She said LA Weight Loss worked without exercise and despite hormone changes. I told her I had tested positive for diabetes earlier in the year. She said they had nutritionists on their staff who would customize a diet for me.
Soon after joining I developed bronchitis and lost my appetite. I lost five to six pounds that month. After that I lost no other weight. My weight bounced up and down from 175 to 178 throughout December and January. I complained repeatedly to the staff that the diet was not working for me. They changed the diet to include more calories after their nutritionist decided I was too active for the number of calories they were advising me to eat. By February I told the counselors that the diet was not working for me and I wanted to end the program and they should cease taking money from my account. I called their customer service department and repeated the request to them. They continued to take money from my checking account and ignored my requests that they stop. I had signed an agreement that they could be paid by a draft from my bank account. The customer service department and Alicia, the Manassas manager, told me they would extend my program by ten weeks, but would not release me from the agreement. Later on, I reread the agreement I had signed with them and discovered it said I could attend for an indefinite period of time until the weight was lost. Their offer of an additional ten weeks was as bogus as everything else they did.
By February I was becoming angry that I'd lost no weight. Alicia announced I certainly looked smaller, pulled out a tape measure, measured me all over and announced I had lost 14 inches. Since January of the preceding year I had been exercising regularly at a spa where they measured me monthly. In twelve months I had lost only twenty inches so I found Alicia's assurance that I had lost fourteen inches in three months an insult to my intelligence. In April she pulled the same trick when I complained about no weight loss. She again measured and announced I had lost three more inches. Her conclusion was, you are not losing weight, you're losing inches. My doctor said that was impossible.
They always had excuses about why I was not losing weight: I was exercising too much, the weather change had caused water retention, I wasn't following the diet properly, etc.
Sometime in March I began to wake repeatedly during the night thirsty and needing to urinate, both symptoms my sugar was too high. At that time I checked the ingredients of the supplementary bars they had sold me and discovered they contained from 12 to 18 grams of sugar each. I was instructed I must eat two of these bars per day and it was suggested I eat a third, a breakfast bar. The agreement I signed with them stipulated I must eat the bars to fulfill the contract. At the time I signed up no mention had been made of supplements that must be bought to fulfill the contract. The counselors pushed sales of the bars every time I went in. The agreement with them required that I must report to the office three times per week.
When I enrolled in LA Weight Loss a young woman working there attempted to draw blood from me. I objected and asked her if she was a nurse. She said, of course. You don't think we hire anyone off the street and have them draw blood from our clients. Shortly, before I quit going to LA Weight Loss she confided in me that she was not really a nurse. I'm very doubtful that their nutritionists are really nutritionists.
After I stopped LA Weight Loss, which I believe was in early April, I sought out a nutritionist who was recommended by the American Diabetes Association. As soon as she heard my story she said she was sure they were recommending too many calories for me. After perusing the diet they had recommended and the ingredients of the bars she signed a paper for me stating that they were recommending too many carbohydrates for a diabetic. At her office I was given a metabolic rate test and it was determined my metabolic rate is 30% to 35% lower than what is the norm for someone my weight, height, and age. She said LA Weight Loss works for people who are extremely obese because it takes a large number of calories to maintain weight that is 50 pounds are more above what is normal for them. I'm only about 30 pounds overweight. The nutritionist said I would have to eat
1200 calories a day and exercise vigorously for 30 minutes a day to lose a half pound per week.
The last time I reported to the office in Manassas, Alicia, the manager told me she would talk to their nutritionists about me and I should return on Saturday. I drove over again on Saturday to find Alicia was not there and there was no email from their corporate office from a nutritionist. I told Melissa, the bogus nurse, that she must tell Alicia to call me. That is the last contact I've had with the Manassas office. I never heard from Alicia. By then they had all the money they could legally draw from my account.
I believe LA Weight Loss defrauded me by misrepresenting what they could do for me. Alicia, the manager, assured me I would lose a minimum of four pounds of weight per month with them. I believe they committed fraud when I was told the woman who wanted to draw blood from my arm was a nurse. They made fraudulent claims when they told me my diet would be customized for me as a diabetic. The diet they advised me to follow included white flour, rice, and potatoes. These foods all turn to sugar as soon as digested and my doctor said I should avoid them. After consulting the American Diabetes Association nutritionist I'm doubtful LA Weight Loss ever consulted a nutritionist about me. The real nutritionist identified readily what was causing me to not lose weight. Since following her recommendations I've been losing a half pound per week.
I consulted an attorney who advised me to search them out on a web page www.badbusinessbureau.com. I found there many stories from former LA Weight Loss clients who believed as I do that I have been the victim of fraud.
I want LA Weight Loss to return the $716.40 I paid for their program. I spent an additional $200. approximately for the supplementary bars. I want that refunded and I want reimbursement for the car expenses to drive two to three times per week from my home to their store in Manassas.