Everyone has heard the term “fat camp,” but what exactly does this term mean, and where did it come from? It can come across as a derogatory term, but the ultimate goal of most “fat camps” operating today is to help kids eat better and move more. While there are many successful and helpful weight loss camps functioning today, the traditional fat camp term is pretty outdated.

Where Does the Term Fat Camp Come From?

Children started attending sleep-away summer camps all the way back in the 1800s, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that camps began to specialize. This is when fat camps originated. Multiple TV shows and movies have also capitalized on fat camps, and it was a 2006 MTV show called Fat Camp that really popularized this term. Unfortunately, the scenarios depicted on TV and the connotations behind the term fat camp are not always positive nor accurate.

What Are Fat Camps?

Before we continue, let’s make it clear that fat camp really shouldn’t be called fat camp for various reasons. The word fat itself can bring up a lot of negative emotions. Simply calling a child fat can make them want to quit before they even start, and it can set them up for a lifetime of body image issues. It can be embarrassing for a child to say that they are going to fat camp, and for this and other reasons, there are many terms that are better to use, such as fitness camp, weight loss camp, or wellness camp.

The term fat camp is also a misrepresentation of what actually happens at weight loss camps. When people think of a traditional fat camp, they often imagine a big group of morbidly obese people being forced to do torturous exercise all day and eat paltry amounts of unpalatable food. This boot camp model is a very outdated way of thinking and it simply isn’t accurate. The terms fitness and wellness, specifically, better represent what Camp Shane does and stands for.

Why Are Fitness and Weight Loss Camps Better?

Fitness camps are a far cry from the fat camps you may have seen depicted on TV. The model that Camp Shane focuses on is living an active and healthy lifestyle, nourishing both the body and the brain. Weight loss and fitness camps help children lower their risk for many diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, sleep apnea, and more. They also provide kids with the tools they need to sustain their results and truly fall in love with living a healthy lifestyle. By helping kids learn how to live a better lifestyle at such a young, impressionable age, fitness camps are able to make a lasting impression on a child for the rest of his/her life.

The best thing about fitness and weight loss camps is that they’re fun! They are not restrictive or punishing, in fact, quite the opposite. At Camp Shane, kids get to experience activities such as rock climbing, horseback riding, swimming, mountain biking, and so much more. They learn that it can be fun and rewarding to move their body and that there are so many ways to be healthy other than living a restricted and regimented lifestyle. We also teach parents and children about nutrition and how to enjoy preparing delicious and healthy food. The best part is that they do all of this with other kids who are going through the same thing. This support system is huge both at camp and when kids return home.

Not Your Typical Fat Camp

Camp Shane offers a great place for kids and teens to truly start living their best lives. When kids stay at Camp Shane, they get to have fun, take a break from their everyday life, connect with themselves and other kids facing the same struggles, and best of all, they get to do it in a healthy and supportive environment.

At Camp Shane, we educate children about nutrition and help them find ways to move their body that are fun and effective. We want to set them up for a life of success, so they don’t have to struggle with the same issues for the rest of their lives. Children are highly impressionable, so this is a great time to instill good habits and teach them how to be healthy. We also help children get to the root of their struggle with weight, whether it’s an emotional attachment to food or unhealthy habits that have developed over time. Most fitness and weight loss camps have therapists on hand to help children work through their weight loss journey. At Camp Shane, we use a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program to help children change their thinking and thus, their behavior.