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.
In general, look for programs that focus on steady weight loss — about 1-2 pounds a week.
While you’re choosing a program, ask these questions:
what to do instead.
Does the staff include qualified counselors and health professionals such as registered dietitians, doctors, and exercise physiologists?
How limited are the food choices?
Who sets your weight loss goal: you, or someone else?
What percentage of people complete the program?
What is the average weight loss among people who finish the program and at one year?
What percentage of people have problems or side effects? What are those problems?
Is there a maintenance program to help keep the weight off once you lose it? Maintaining weight loss is important, so there should be a plan for this.
What is the total cost, including any foods or supplements that are required?
If you plan to lose more than 15 to 20 pounds, have any health problems, or take medication on a regular basis, talk to your doctor before you start any weight loss program.
Losing Weight Without Fad Diets
Eat a variety of foods. Make sure your diet includes lean protein; complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; and “good” fats like omega-3 fats from fish and monounsaturated fats from avocados, nuts, and olives or olive oil. When you go on a fad diet and exclude necessary nutrients, you’re putting yourself at risk for becoming ill. Getting too little of any nutrient may not cause an immediate problem. But if it’s lacking for a long time, you may find you have health problems
Say no to bad fats. Minimize how much saturated fat you get from animal sources, and eliminate trans fats from the fried foods, snacks, and fast-food products you eat.
Get Plenty of fruits and vegetables. How many depends on your age, sex, and activity level. A good reference point for adults is 2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1.5 to 2 servings of fruits a day.
Exercise at least 150 minutes each week. This can be divided into smaller blocks of time. For example, you could do a brisk walk for 10 minutes three times a day for 5 days to reach 150 minutes.
Clean out the kitchen! Toss out high-calorie, high-fat, sugary foods that will tempt you to overeat — chips, cookies, crackers, ice cream, candy bars, and the like. Then, fill your fridge and cupboards with lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, good fats, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
Eat smaller meals more frequently. Aim for five to six mini-meals per day. Space your meals every 3 to 4 hours. Try taking low fat cheese and whole-grain crackers to school or work for a snack, or eat a tablespoon of peanut butter with one slice of whole-grain bread. Find foods that are healthy and that keep you full.
Fill up on the good stuff. Pile on the salad and super servings of green beans, broccoli, cabbage, kale, or other low-calorie vegetables instead of high-fat foods, breads, pasta, and desserts. If you’re still hungry after a meal and you want seconds, go for veggies.
Snack on berries. Dark berries (blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and raspberries) are rich in healthy antioxidants. They’re also low in calories and fat and high in fiber.
Avoid “empty calories.” Steer clear of sugar-containing sodas and fruit drinks.