Find a Weight Loss Program That Works For You
When you‚re looking for a weight loss program, it’s wise to look for one that will meet your needs and set you up for long-term success.
Millions of people struggle with weight issues every year-and despite claims that a wonder diet can „work for everybody”, the fact is that each of those individuals have a medical history, a personality, or a lifestyle issue that affects whether or not that weight control technique will help them shed those pounds.
You’ve tried different diets — and have even been exercising regularly — but those extra pounds won’t budge. Don’t give up. It may be that you haven’t yet found the weight-loss strategies that work for you.
But while nothing works for everybody, there is something that will work for you… and the challenge is to find it, identify it, and stick to it.
For some people, appetite control is extremely difficult. Some weight loss programs try to tackle that problem by delving into the psychological issues behind food (these are the total lifestyle body makeovers, whose techniques include keeping a food journal and coming to terms with one’s body image). Others address the problem through metabolism, introducing or removing certain foods in one’s diet that are said to either trigger appetite. Still others, like diet pills, act as appetite suppressants. Other programs rely on nutritional substitutes, like heavy shakes that make one feel full and provide adequate vitamins and minerals, while reducing calories.
For others, it’s not appetite that’s problematic, it’s the kind of food they eat. Certain diet programs give very strict diet regimens that promote weight loss, because of the way the body digests the food. Some are short-term, meant to shed pounds over a limited period of time; others are long-term lifestyle changes. The success of these diet programs depend largely on the person’s weight loss goals and level of commitment. Needless to say, if you just want to drop a dress size for your wedding, you may not be ready to go into something long-term. But if you have health problems, and need to control cholesterol levels, then a short-term solution would not be very effective.
„Successful weight loss requires long-term changes to your eating habits and physical activity. This means you need to find a weight loss approach you can embrace for life. You’re not likely to maintain whatever weight loss a diet helps you achieve if you then go off the diet and revert to old habits.”
Consider your personal needs
There’s no one diet or weight loss plan suits for all. But if you consider your preferences, lifestyle and weight loss goals, you’ll likely find a plan you can tailor to your needs.
Before starting a weight-loss program, think about:
- Diets you’ve tried. What did you like or dislike about them? Were you able to follow the diet? What worked or didn’t work? How did you feel physically and emotionally while on the diet?
- Your preferences. Do you prefer to do a weight-loss program on your own, or do you want support from a group? If you like group support, do you prefer online support or in-person meetings?
- Your budget. Some weight-loss programs require you to buy supplements or meals, visit weight-loss clinics or attend support meetings. Does the cost fit your budget?
- Other considerations. Do you have a health condition, such as diabetes, heart disease or allergies? Do you have cultural or ethnic requirements or preferences regarding food?
Look for a safe, effective weight-loss program
It’s tempting to buy into promises of rapid and dramatic weight loss, but a slow and steady approach is easier to maintain and usually beats fast weight loss for the long term. A weight loss of 0.5 to 2 pounds (0.2 to 0.9 kilograms) a week is the typical recommendation.
In some situations, faster weight loss can be safe if it’s done right — such as a very low-calorie diet with medical supervision, or a brief quick-start phase of a healthy-eating plan.
Successful weight loss requires a long-term commitment to making healthy lifestyle changes in eating, exercise and behavior. Behavior modification is vital, and could have the greatest impact on your long-term weight-loss efforts.
Be sure to pick a plan you can live with. Look for these features:
- Flexibility. A flexible plan doesn’t forbid certain foods or food groups, but instead includes a variety of foods from all the major food groups. A healthy diet includes vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean protein sources, and nuts and seeds. A flexible plan allows an occasional, reasonable indulgence if you like. It should feature foods you can find in your local grocery store and that you enjoy eating. However, the plan should limit alcohol, sugary drinks and high-sugar sweets because the calories in them don’t provide enough nutrients.
- Balance. Your plan should include adequate nutrients and calories. Eating large quantities of certain foods, such as grapefruit or meat; drastically cutting calories; or eliminating entire food groups, such as carbs, can cause nutritional problems. Safe and healthy diets do not require excessive vitamins or supplements.
- Likeability. A diet should include foods you like, that you would enjoy eating for life — not ones you can tolerate over the course of the plan. If you don’t like the food on the plan, if the plan is overly restrictive or if it becomes boring, you probably won’t stick to it, so long-term weight loss is unlikely.
- Activity. Your plan should include physical activity. Exercise plus fewer calories can help give your weight loss a boost. Exercise also offers numerous health benefits, including countering the muscle mass loss that occurs with weight loss. And exercise is an important factor in maintaining weight loss.
The mistake that many people make is that they don’t consider their own lifestyle or personality when they try a diet. They go with what everyone else is doing. While it’s okay to experiment with different protocols, ultimately it is a search to find what is personally appealing.
Another secret to maintaining a diet or exercise regimen is to have very clear and realistic goals. „Be thin” is too general to be meaningful; pinpoint a number, and a date: „Lose 10 lbs by October.” And to avoid discouragement, that goal must be achievable and should never compromise with one’s health.
The keys to weight loss success.
Successful weight loss requires long-term changes to your eating habits and physical activity. This means you need to find a weight loss approach you can embrace for life. You’re not likely to maintain whatever weight loss a diet helps you achieve if you then go off the diet and revert to old habits.
Diets that leave you feeling deprived or hungry can cause you to give up. And because many weight loss diets don’t encourage permanent healthy lifestyle changes, even if you do lose weight, the pounds can quickly return once you stop dieting.
You will likely always have to remain watchful about your weight. But combining a healthier diet with more activity is the best way to lose weight, keep it off for the long term and improve your health.