Many people turn to weight-loss programs for help in planning a daily diet and changing lifestyle habits. Before you begin a weight loss program, see your doctor for advice about your overall health risks and the weight loss options best for you. Health experts agree that the best and safest way for most adults to lose weight and improve their health is to modestly cut calories, eat a balanced diet and be physically active each day.
What you weigh is the result of several factors:
- The food you eat / how much food you eat
- Age and health status
- Lifestyle (includes regular physical activity)
- Whether you use food to respond to stress and other situations in your life
- Physiologic and genetic make-up
You need to take these factors into consideration when choosing a weight loss program. Successful weight loss and weight management should address all of these factors. When shopping for a weight loss program, ask for details about what foods and how many calories you'll eat each day, and whether the program includes regular physical activity. Avoid any weight loss programs that claim that you can lose weight and keep it off without changing the foods you eat or increasing your physical activity.
A sensible weight loss program encourages you to follow advice from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, such as eating at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, and choosing grains (including whole grains), lean meats and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. A good weight loss program will provide information that will help you make an informed decision.
Before you sign up for any weight loss program, make sure you have enough information about the following:
- Their staff members training, experience and credentials
- The risks of using the product or services
- All the costs of the program
- Studies that show what percentage of all customers have completed the program, how much weight they lost, and how successfully they've kept the weight off over a one-year period or longer
The program should teach you how to change permanently those eating habits and lifestyle factors, such as lack of physical activity that have contributed to weight gain.
To improve your chances for success, you should choose programs that focus on long-term weight management; provide instruction in healthful eating, increasing activity, and improving self-esteem; and address the potential health risks from weight loss. Some people lose weight on their own; others like the support of a structured program. Whether you lose weight on your own or with a group, remember that the most important changes are long term. Quick weight loss methods don't provide lasting results. Unless your health is seriously at risk due to complications from being overweight or obese, gradual weight loss should be your rule and your goal.