By Barbara Floria, Pure Matters
The not-so-secret secret to weight loss is to burn more calories than you eat. This can be done safely and effectively by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, according to the Weight-Control Information Network, part of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Although many people can lose weight on their own, others believe they'll be more successful if they enroll in a weight-loss program that provides support, information and diet and exercise guidelines.
Keep the following suggestions in mind when checking into weight-loss programs.
All weight-loss programs should encourage healthy behaviors that help you lose weight and maintain the weight loss over time.
They should include:
- Eating plans that reduce calories
- Guidelines for regular physical activity and/or exercise
- Tips on how to make healthy behavioral changes
- Slow and steady weight loss of about 1 to 2 pounds a week
- Medical care if you'll be following a very low-calorie diet
- Plans to help you keep the weight off after you have lost it
Questions to ask
Gather as much information as you can before deciding to join a program, and seek answers to the following questions.
What does the weight-loss program consist of?
- Does the program offer individual counseling and/or group classes?
- Do I have to follow a specific meal plan or keep food records?
- Do I have to purchase special food, drugs or supplements?
- Does the program encourage me to be physically active?
- Does the program help me make healthful behavioral changes?
What are the staff qualifications?
- What types of weight-management training, experience, education and certifications does the staff have?
- Does the product or program carry any risks?
- Are there risks related to using recommended drugs or supplements?
- Does a medical professional oversee the program?
How much does the program cost?
- Are there recurring costs, such as weekly attendance fees, or costs of food and supplement purchases?
- Are there additional fees for a follow-up program or to reenter the program for follow-up after you lose weight?
What results do participants typically have?
- How much weight have average participants lost and how long have they kept it off?
Losing weight with the help of a program can be expensive but may be more effective than trying to do it on your own. Having answers to your questions can help you decide the best way for you to reach a healthy weight.