Weight loss programs are advertised on newspapers, TVs, on the web, magazines and on radio. Is it a wonder then that over half of the American population diet in a bid to lose weight every year yet, obesity continues to take the lead? What is the best weight loss program? Here are some things to look out for before embarking on any program that purports to help you lose weight:
It should include all the RDAs- recommended daily allowances for minerals, protein, and vitamins. It should only be low in calories and not in essential nutrients. It should also encourage a visit to your doctor before embarking on it. Your doctor is able to offer any guidelines or precautions based on your health. The health practitioner will also screen your body to determine how ready you are for exercise.
What exactly does the program entail? Does it include keeping food records or following special meal plans? If it entails following special meal plans, do I make choices based on dislikes and likes as well as allergies if any? Does it fit into my lifestyle and cultural needs? Does it deal with changes to work schedules, injury, illness, social or holiday eating, and lack of motivation? Does it include a program to help me maintain my weight after shedding some pounds off? Will it entail following a specific physical activity plan or will it provide guidelines for exercise? Do I need to buy supplements? Are there group classes or one-to-one counseling to help one develop healthier habits?
The providers should have professional credentials, for instance, they should be certified fitness professionals, behavioral health specialists, registered dietitians, certified wellness coaches, as well as medical professionals like registered nurses and physicians. Peer-led programs offer support and guidance via the program functions, but usually do not have staff that has an educational background in nutrition, behavioral change or exercise.
4. Steady and slow weight loss
A quality weight loss program should aim at slow and steady weight loss, unless your doctor feels that your health condition would benefit more from rapid weight loss. You should lose a pound for the first week or 2. This is normal as calorie-restricted diets result in initial rapid weight loss, due to the large amount of fluid lost. If you return to a normal calorie diet, you will regain the fluid, thus the weight too. By week 3, the rate of weight loss should be between 1/2 a pound to 2 pounds weekly. Don’t go for programs that claim to help you lose 20 pounds in one week. Ask to see any outcomes that the program has had on other people- average amount of weight loss, as well as long-term follow up results. If there is no available data, or if they are not ready to share it, then it is undoubtedly smells of fraud.
Weight loss programs men versus weight loss programs women
Well, there is a bone of contention on whether men and men should have similar programs for weight loss. Well, initially men lose more weight than women, but over time, the rate becomes even. This is because men have more muscle than fat, which gives them a head start. The programs may differ a little in terms of number of calories required by the 2 sexes. In terms of exercise, both sexes can do the same exercises, but women may have to cut down on the volume, due to slightly reduced recovery capacity.
You now know what to look out for in a weight loss program. Other factors to consider is cost, and who sets weight loss goals.