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For some, weight-loss program passes ‘piece of success’ test

The sluggish economy moved 37-year-old Keisha Gilliam to look for ways to bring extra money into her household.

by Sonya Young
Special to the Tri-State Defender

The sluggish economy moved 37-year-old Keisha Gilliam to look for ways to bring extra money into her household. About a month ago, her pastor told her of a new venture that was bringing him great success.

 
 Keisha Gilliam says she has shaken up her life for the better with the Body by Vi program that includes meal replacement shakes and supplements. (Photo by Sonya Young)

Gilliam was invited to attend a convention for Body by Vi, a weight-loss program, with her pastor, Bishop Brandon Porter, as his personal assistant.

“I was really stressed about my finances and I asked God to send me an opportunity,” Gilliam said. “Body by Vi was the answer to my prayers.”

The Body by Vi program includes meal replacement shakes and supplements. Additionally, participants can build a home business selling the products and recruiting new sellers. With a minimum investment of $49, a participant can potentially earn up to 20 percent of product revenue, signing bonuses, shares of the company, and even a late model BMW for personal use.

With every person she brings in, Gilliam said she can earn up to $100, plus residual income and a portion of the proceeds from products she sells on her personal web site provided by the company. After two weeks in the business, Gilliam had recruited three people. Once she has recruited six people, and they each have recruited three, Body by Vi will hand her the keys to a 2008 or later BMW.

Porter’s BMW was parked outside.

“Bishop earned his Beemer in six days,” Gilliam beamed.

The mom of three added that besides the perks of being an independent distributor, Body by Vi wants its distributors to become living endorsements.

“You get enough products when you join to use yourself,” Gilliam said. “My husband lost ten pounds in just a couple of weeks and I feel re-energized.”

Body by Vi is a product of Visalus Science, a health and wellness company launched in 2005 with the goal of promoting Life, Health and Prosperity worldwide. According to the company website, its mission is to “improve world health, combat obesity . . . and ensure Prosperity” for its members. Just the things he wants for his congregation, Porter said.

During a Body by Vi Challenge Party held Monday (Feb 27) in the fellowship hall of his church, Greater Community Temple East, Porter shared his passion for the business and its products. He told those gathered that not only had he lost 13 pounds, he was no longer suffering from symptoms of high blood pressure. Porter said his biggest motivation is to help his congregation get healthy and earn money.

“You’re working for yourself,” he told the crowd, “but you’re not in it by yourself.”

One by one, church members came forward with testimonials about how the shakes had “changed my life” by alleviating old pains and symptoms.

Porter was introduced to the business by health and wellness coach Norma Darby when they bumped into each other in California. Porter told her that he wanted to lose 30 pounds. She shared with him how he could lose weight and help his congregation.

Darby told The New Tri-State Defender that she discovered Body by Vi after losing her parents and sister to cancer. Not wanting to see others sick and dying from disease, she entered a fast during Lent 2011 asking God for something “that was going to help his people.” His answer, she said, was the Body by Vi program.

After learning about the weight loss shakes and the business, Darby said she was so passionate about the product she instantly joined. A year later, she said she feels 20 years younger, has recruited seven doctors, and helped 15 people put BMWs in their driveways.

Sound like a multi-level marketing scam?

TSD checked with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and found that Visalus Science is accredited and has an “A” rating. There have been 23 complaints filed with the company since 2007, all of which have been resolved, according to the BBB.

Are the products safe to take?

While Body by Vi hasn’t been approved by the FDA, the product information sheet shows a long list of vitamins and natural ingredients, including daily value percentages.

Porter said he wouldn’t bring an opportunity to his congregation that wasn’t legitimate.

“We’ve seen people get off of diabetes and blood pressure medicine,” he shared. “We have several members already making money. I wouldn’t lead my sheep to something poisonous,” adding that he uses the products himself and has seen improvements in his own health.

As far as it being just another get-rich-quick scheme, Darby said, for her, it’s not about the money.

“I didn’t focus on the money,” Darby confessed, “I focused on who needs this product.”

Gilliam now helps her church members get signed on and navigate their way through the program. Excited about the possibilities, Gilliam adds that she would like to see the African-American community take advantage of the very lucrative business.

“At the convention, there were so many people sharing success stories,” she said, “making tons of money. But very few were our people. I’d love to see the black community in Memphis get a piece of the success.”

(For more information, visit www.kegilliam.bodybyvi.com or call 901.864.3002. As with any diet program, consult your doctor before starting.)

 

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