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Choosing the Right Weight-Loss Program

Start feeling great again! Start feeling great again!

You have seen and heard all the pitches—Atkins, WeightWatchers, Biggest Loser, the Raw Food Diet, the South Beach Diet, Isagenix Weight Loss Program, Jenny Craig, the list goes on—but how do you know what weight-loss program is right for you?

The first and most important step is to talk to your health care provider about your weight. You may feel uncomfortable broaching this subject with your doctor, but it is essential to your overall health. Try writing down questions that you want to ask in advance so that you feel prepared. Make sure you take notes of what your doctor says and recommends. Finally, bring along a friend or family member for support during your visit.

You may want to ask your doctor about a specific weight-loss program or specialist. It is important to discuss your options with your doctor because different programs may have a different effect on your body, especially if you have pre-existing health problems.

In choosing a weight-loss program, it is essential that the program promote healthy habits in the long run. Weight loss and management is not just about what you eat, rather it is a lifestyle. Make sure that the weight-loss program offers a long-term plan of how you will maintain your goal weight. The weight-loss program should also offer you guidance on how you can cultivate healthier eating and physical activity habits. Ideally the weight-loss program will offer a level of accountability, with ongoing feedback, monitoring, and support. Programs that have slow and steady weight-loss goals will be more sustainable in the long run.

The rule of thumb in choosing a weight-loss program is that if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Be aware of the false claims. These claims include weight loss without change in diet or exercise routine, 30 pounds in 30 days or similar short-term weight loss claims, weight loss in specific problem areas of your body, and before-and-after pictures that seem too good to be true. One way to evaluate whether a claim is legitimate or not is to be aware of asterisks and to read the footnotes and small print.

It is better to be skeptical of a weight-loss program and to ask questions rather than potentially harm your health in the long run.

Make sure that your weight-loss program is tailored to fit your body’s needs. What works for someone else, may not work for you and vice versa.

In the end, healthy diet and exercise are essential to any long-term weight loss.

Check out the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 published by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion for more information about healthy eating: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/

Check out the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published in 2008 by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion for more information about regular exercise:

http://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/

External References:

  • “Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-loss Program.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Institutes of Health, Dec. 2012. Web.
  • “Weighing the Claims in Diet Ads.” Consumer Information. Federal Trade Commission, July 2012. Web.
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