If you want to lose weight or need to lose weight, chances are that you’re thinking about incorporating a weight loss program into your daily life. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In just the United States, more than 70% of the adult population are either over weight or struggling with obesity.
To be honest, deciding that you need help and acknowledging that you need to get on a weight loss program is already half the battle. The next time lies in choosing what program you should start. But how do you choose one? Will the program be safe for you? Will it even work? These are just some of the questions that you may ask yourself when you face the multitude of options that the health industry has to offer. Here are some things you should think about and ask yourself as you pick a weight loss program for you.
First Things First
Before you even start researching or figuring out the different kinds of weight loss programs that may work for you, it’s important to start by getting a holistic picture of where you’re at physically.
The only truly effective way to do this is to visit your family doctor or health care specialist to run some baseline tests and talk about your current state of health. Bear in mind that sometimes even doctors may forget to address issues like healthy eating and exercise during general visits, so raise the issues yourself or ask specifically for a physical exam with the goal of improving your health. Some questions that you can ask your doctor are:
- In what ways should I change my eating habits?
- Do you think I would benefit from joining a weight loss program?
- How much physical activity do you think I can handle and what type of exercises should I be doing?
If you think you may have a tough time articulating the things that you want to ask your doctor, write them down ahead of time. You can even make sure to bring a pen and paper so that you can note down the things your doctor recommends.
What Information Should You Leave Knowing?
After your visit to the doctor, there are certain bits of information that you should be sure that you leave with. The most important is to find out if you have any pre-existing medical problems that could hinder or affect your ability to lose weight and join a weight loss program. If you do have any problems, you should ask what medications you will need to take and what restrictions you’ll need to take note off in terms of programs that you can or cannot join.
You should also know what your body mass index is so that you can gauge whether or not you’re just overweight, obese or morbidly obese. In the same vein, you should ask your doctor what the ideal BMI is for your weight and height so that you have a number to shoot for. Your doctor’s appointment is also a great time to ask if there’s a particular program that he or she is ready to recommend. It could save you tons of time.
What to Look for in a Weight Loss Program
Ultimately, our goal at the end of any weight loss program is to hit a healthy weight that we can maintain for the rest of our lives. As such, the real focus should be on a change of lifestyle and health habits for the betterment of our bodies. When looking at weight loss programs, it’s important to look for parameters that will promote healthy habits that can be stuck to in the long term. Some of the things to look out for in particular include:
- Lifestyle Counseling: This can mean a lot of things, but at the end of the day your weight loss program should come with some form of guidance that will teach you how to eat healthier and incorporate more exercise into your routine. Some examples of lifestyle counseling include keeping food journals or exercise logs.
- Pros and Cons: Your weight loss plan should tell you about the pros and cons of the program and be up front about it.
- Time Frames: The program should come with a realistic time frame for weight loss. Generally speaking, a safe approach is to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. If the program promises more weight loss in the first few weeks, don’t worry. This is normal. What’s important is to track the projected weight loss over the following weeks and/or months.
- A Post-Program Maintenance Plan: You obviously can’t live on a strict diet plan forever. Once you hit your goal weight, you need to have a plan to shift to that will enable you to maintain your weight while still returning to a more inclusive diet.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, the weight loss program that you pick will depend entirely on what your goals are. For example, do you have over a 100 pounds to lose or are you needing to cut weight quickly for a competition or a special occasion? Obviously, there are diet plans that will help you reach your goals faster if you’re in a hurry or if the matter is urgent.
However, when it all comes down to it, we always recommend that you choose a diet plan that will help you achieve concrete and lost lasting results in a time frame that is realistic. Your diet plant should also be one that isn’t far too restrictive. Slow and steady weight loss is ideal as it also gives your body the chance to normalize once the fat starts to melt off.
Losing weight too quickly can result in a number of undesirable results like loose skin or health complications. As you browse through the many diet plans that the health industry peddles, remember to keep a solid head on your shoulders and prioritize your long term health over “quick results”.