I worked at quite a few different health clubs in my years in New Orleans. I am guessing that what goes on in New Orleans in no different than what goes on in other gyms around the country. In 34 years in the fitness business, this is what I have observed every January. The first two weeks, the gym is filled to capacity. There are a lot of new faces. I remember my first year working with a guy who was 290 pounds. He told me he would be doing the butterfly across the pool in six months. He came into gym for hours every single night for five nights in a row. The next week I didn't see him, and I never saw him again. The second two weeks, the gym thins out a bit. The second month, things are pretty much back to normal. There are the same faces you see the year round, plus there are some new faces.
The average renewal rate at health clubs is 30%. Those who use the club regularly are about 30% of the membership. The average stay with a personal trainer is about six months. People have good intentions, but very few people stay for the long haul. They have high expectations. When those expectations are not met they get frustrated and quit. They return to their former lifestyles.
They got out of shape gradually. One can easily gain five pounds of fat a year. Five pounds of fat for 20 years is easy enough to do. Pretty soon a 180 pound male will be 280 pounds and living a compromised lifestyle. During that 20 year period there were probably attempts to lose weight.
Try reversing the trend gradually. Lose 1 to 2 pounds of fat a month. Strength train once or twice a week for 25 minutes. Commit to sprint training on a stationary bike 8 to 15 minutes twice maybe three times a week. This will take a little over an hour of your time a week. Make modest changes in your eating.
A year from now you will have a lower resting pulse, lower blood sugar, lower blood pressure, you will be 15 to 20 pounds lighter, you will be wearing different clothes, you will look better, you will not tire as easily, and best of all you will feel much better. You could go for the big weight loss, but chances are you will gain it all back and then some.