With so much conflicting information about weight loss and how to be healthy, Wellspring goes the extra mile to stay current and informed with the most up to date and effective methods of weight management.

Wellspring’s weight loss and lifestyle change program is based on decades of scientific research and continued studies on Wellspring participants that analyze our program’s effectiveness for initial and long-term weight loss success.

Obesity Research

Wellspring’s approach to changing the behavior and lifestyles of participants has a long-studied and solid scientific basis. Wellspring has gathered and sorted through decades of research on effective obesity methods, behavioral theory, nutrition research, addiction research and much more. The result is what we feel is the most effective clinical immersion treatment program for producing long-term, sustainable results.

Our extensive scientific advisory board includes some of the greatest and well-known minds in obesity treatment, food addiction and behavior change. Researchers such as Dr. Mark Gold, Dr. Nicole Avena, Dr. Robert Lustig and Dr. Ashley Gearhardt are just a few of the leading experts that have directly contributed to our program.

Data Monitoring And Tracking

Wellspring evaluates the effectiveness of the program every year. Participants and parents complete standardized questionnaires assessing factors such as mood, self-esteem and satisfaction/dissatisfaction with weight change. We also collect data about height and weight throughout a camper’s time at Wellspring, and at follow-up periods after camp. Other measures are taken during camp to evaluate the process of change, such as consistency of self-monitoring (record keeping pertaining to eating and physical activity) amongst others. No other similar program is as thorough and closely monitored as the Wellspring program.

Psycho-Social Impact Of Obesity

We know that the psycho-social impacts of obesity and overweight can include things like:

  • lower self-esteem
  • increased social isolation
  • increased rates of depression
  • lower reported quality of life

Research shows that, in turn, young adults struggling with obesity can be:

  • less likely to graduate high school
  • less likely to enter college
  • less likely to graduate college
  • less likely to get married
  • more likely to occupy a lower socio-economic status

At Wellspring, we know that these effects are due to a correlational and not causational relationship. We know that addressing the psycho-social impacts of obesity is just as important as addressing the physical impacts of obesity. So we have a dedicated clinical program that addresses the long-term effects of obesity, and goes much further than the scale.

Self-Regulatory Skills

Successful management of eating and activity depends on the ability to manage various life stressors. Many self-regulated behaviors or habits deteriorate when stressors become overwhelming. In other words, if the demands of everyday life become excessive, tasks which take more of our energy and time begin to feel less important. Unsurprisingly, the first habits to go are the healthy ones as they typically take the most energy and effort.

A successful clinical environment strives to build in prompts to exercise, to walk rather than drive, to stay active rather than passive, and to eat in a controlled and intentional way. It also works to limit exposure to sugar-laden, processed foods and foods high in saturated fat in excessive amounts. Not to mention our readily available specialized nutrition and behavioral education and therapy in an individualized setting.

A maximally effective program for overweight teens and young adults would take several steps to ensure that consistent self-monitoring becomes the norm and that the environment facilitates the development of an important attitude of healthy obsession.

Wellspring programs aim to provide exactly that. Each Wellspring program provides for an extraordinarily wide range of physical and athletic activities, and the food plan focuses on real, whole foods (with minimal to no processing) as well as very appealing meals and snacks. A multidisciplinary staff, including dietitians, counselors, therapists and medical personnel, embrace the mission of the program and its goals and teach it to every participant.

Wellspring also actively pursues the self-regulatory aspects of weight control. Campers have three cognitive-behavior therapy sessions per week with camp therapists. These sessions include establishing specific goals pertaining to eating and activities, reviewing self-monitoring and journaling entries, as well as developing a “super-normal” focus and stress management skills.

All foods in the dining hall are labeled for nutritional content and prompts for self-monitoring/journaling are provided toward the end of each mealtime. In addition, entrée and snack portions are controlled, but participants have to show awareness (and monitor) portions of extra (“self-controlled”) items at every meal (e.g., fruit and yogurt at breakfast; salads and soups at lunches and dinners).

Family Workshops and various after-care tools for at least a year after camp are also key elements that help to promote both self-regulatory skills and external control after campers return home.