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By Angela Young
Choosing a Weight Loss Program
During any one year, more than half of all Americans go on a diet to lose weight. For many people, it is difficult to lose more than a few pounds, and few succeed in remaining at the reduced weight. The difficulty in losing weight and keeping it off leads many people to turn to a professional or commercial weight loss program for help. When considering joining a weight loss program, choose wisely.
Almost any of the commercial weight loss programs can work but only if they motivate you sufficiently to decrease the amount of calories you eat or increase the amount of calories you burn through physical activity each day (or both).
What Should I Look for In a Weight Loss Program?
When inquiring about a commercial weight loss program, be sure you are provided with a detailed statement of fees and costs of additional items such as dietary supplements or foods. Other important questions to ask of any potential weight loss program include:
If you plan to lose more than 15 pounds to 20 pounds, have any health problems, or take medication on a regular basis, your doctor should evaluate you before you start a weight loss program. A doctor can assess your general health and medical conditions that might be affected by dieting and weight loss.
Also, a doctor should be able to recommend appropriate programs and help you come up with a sensible weight loss goal. If you plan to use a very-low-calorie diet, you definitely should be examined and monitored by a doctor.
Your weight loss program should include plans for weight maintenance after the weight loss phase is over. It is of little benefit to lose a large amount of weight only to regain it.
Weight maintenance is the most difficult part of controlling weight and is not consistently implemented in weight loss programs. The program you select should help you improve your dietary habits, increase your physical activity, and help you change other lifestyle habits that may have contributed to your weight gain in the past.
Being overweight is too often viewed as a temporary problem that can be treated for a few months with a strenuous diet. However, as most overweight people know, weight control must be considered a lifelong effort. To be safe and effective, any weight loss program must address the long-term approach or else the program is largely a waste of money and effort.
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