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Before You Diet: 10 Empowering Questions

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Many popular weight loss programs include substantial information about nutrition, food, and meal plans – but fail to address aspects of lifestyle.

Without addressing these issues before changing your diet – even the very best program can fail.

1. What are your current eating habits?

Do you eat at desk? Maybe in the car or on the bus? What do you eat during these times? How will it be compatible with your new food choices?

2. Are you prepared to eat differently than your friends at social functions?

Eating often accompanies many social gatherings. How do your friends eat? Do they consume foods that you know will not be compatible with your lifestyle? How will you address this?

3. Are you prepared to change your home environment?

Does your home environment work with your new plans? You may have chosen to eat mindfully and leisurely. The trouble is, your home is utterly chaotic, noisy, and messy – with barely a place to sit down – let alone have a large pleasant space to indulge in your new gourmet meals. What will you do to change this?

4. How do your current habits fit?

What if your leisure activities always involve eating junk food. What happens if you start a diet that completely rules out junk food? What will you do? Change your habits? Find a different comfort food? Divide up your packets of chips or other snack foods? Think about it.

5. What about eating out?

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Do you eat at restaurants a lot? Which restaurants do you go to? Will they fit with your new style of eating? Are you prepared to leave food on your plate if their portions are too big?

6. Is your kitchen set-up properly?

Take a look around your kitchen. You’ve decided to try the Sonoma Dietand you need to actually cook and prepare food. Trouble is, all you have are 3 forks and a corkscrew… Or maybe you’re going to start making a smoothie every day. Now where do you fit a blender? After all, will you actually use it if it’s stored in a cupboard 10 feet up? Or maybe you plan to portion up your meals. Do you actually have enough fridge/freezer space? Enough containers? Enough time?

7. Are you being totally honest with yourself?

You read about a new diet in a magazine, and it requires eating a lot more vegetables. On the surface you are busting to lose “10 pounds in 2 weeks”, but deep down you know you cannot stand vegetables. Which part of you will win out in the end? Probably the voice that says you hate vegetables. This must be addressed. Why do you hate veggies? Are you prepared to cook more, or learn different ways of cooking veggies? Is it the taste? The texture? The time taken to prepare them?

8. Can you accept the things you cannot change?

You cannot change the way other people act and the way they speak – “oh, so you’re on another health kick again are you?”… But you can choose how you will respond inwardly and outwardly – ahead of time.

9. Will you continue monitoring yourself objectively?

Many people reach their ideal weight, and then let old habits creep back in. However there are a few warning systems in place – one is the waistband in your pants. Will you choose to conveniently ignore it if it gets tighter? Or will you be objective?

10. How the lifestyle of family and friends affect your weight loss efforts?

If your whole world is filled with people who are couch potatoes – how do you plan to work against this culture? Will they influence you to be more active or more sedentary.

Weight Loss: Top 7 Excuses

How to beat them.

1. “I Hate Exercise”

Health authorities recommend a minimum of 30 minutes exercise per day. Many people plan exercise but then fail to commit to it.

Try introducing more ‘incidental’ activity into your day. Take the stairs, walk instead of taking the car. Try wearing a pedometer to see how active youreally are.

2. “I Don’t Have Time to Eat Healthy”

Do you have the time to be sick? Taking time out to look after your body is time well spent. This includes always making adequate time for breakfast.

3. “I Cannot Live Without Chocolate / Ice Cream”

When you think of certain foods as ‘bad’ – whenever you eat those foods you will feel guilty. If you can eat those foods in a positive environment – then you will have a better chance at choosing a small portion size.

Also consider swapping the food for something with a similar flavor – but less calorie-dense

4. “I Don’t / Can’t Cook”

Most supermarkets offer many pre-made foods – frozen meals, prepared salads and pastas. Learn to understand food labels. You do not have to be a chef to cook healthy food.

5. “I Don’t Have the Support of Family & Friends”

Sometimes you may need to tell people what you are trying to achieve. This is important in social situations where food is on the agenda. Communicate with those around you exactly what you are expecting from them – don’t try and second-guess their responses.

6. “I Eat Out All The Time”

It is possible to lose weight while eating out a lot – but you must become very adept at selecting your food.

  • Avoid chips, fried rice, wedges as an accompaniment. Order a side salad or vegetables instead.
  • Choose a medium/small portion
  • Avoid entrees – they are typically high in fat
  • Drink plenty of water with the meal
  • When choosing a main meat – choose fish, followed by chicken, then red meat. Grilled or poached is usually the best option.

7. “I Have to Cook Meals for my Family”

Rather than having one person on a strict diet – try gradually altering the eating style of the whole family. This will mean substituting regular meals with healthier options – such as skinless chicken breast instead of beef mince, and vegetables instead of large portions of starchy carbohydrates.

How Body Fat Is Lost

How Body Fat Is Lost

Layer by Layer

Many people compare subcutaneous fat to the layers of an onion. Rather than disappearing from a particular place, it comes off layer by layer from the whole body.

Moreover, the way fat is shed is different from person to person. It tends to go from the most recent place it appeared. If your tummy started gaining first – this will be the very last place for the fat to disappear from.

This is why, for example, a man may complain of getting too thin in the face – and yet still have a small ‘spare tire’ around his waist. Or a woman may complain of a smaller bust, and yet the hips may have barely moved in inch.

Excess skin is also an issue after excessive body fat loss. Unfortunately this skin won’t just disappear, so many who have lost 100′s of pounds may have to resort to surgery. A tummy tuck can be expensive, therefore those that have a lot of weight to lose should start saving from the beginning of the fat loss journey.

Complications of Cellulites

This is further compounded by cellulite. With cellulite tissue, fatty acids are contained in a net of fibrous connective tissue. As fat loss occurs the net becomes compressed – making it difficult for the blood supply to readily remove the fat from these stubborn areas.

Targeting Certain Areas

There are variations between men and women, and with the use of exercise.

  • Obese men tend to lose more visceral (internal) fat while obese women lose more subcutaneous fat.
  • Exercise seems to result in more subcutaneous fat loss. Diet alone results in more visceral fat loss (and less surface fat loss) (reference). This explains how you can lose weight – but not necessarily have any radical change in appearance.

Spot Reduction Is Not Workable

There is very little you can do to influence specific subcutaneous fat distribution. Exercise should always be a part of any fat loss program – but vigorously exercising a specific body part will not have any influence on local fat in that area.

This myth has been debunked again and again. Neither will high-repetition (e.g. 20-30 reps) weight training lead to greater fat loss. In fact the loss of intensity may ultimately result in less fat loss than lower-reps with heavier weights. Higher reps are good for muscular endurance.

Everybody is Different

It can be very frustrating but everybody is different. Stay committed to your training and nutrition – and don’t be dissuaded by the commercials and images that show perfectly proportioned clones.

Understand how your body works, and set achievable goals accordingly.

See also: Body Shape or Somatype

Body Types (weight loss info)

If you are looking for information about Apples and Pears - read the article about Body Shape.

Every person has unique genetic traits. Every piece of advice you receive regarding weight loss must be applied against your knowledge of your own constitution, metabolism, and genetic makeup.

The study of somatyping classifies body types into 3 main groups -ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph (the suffix morph comes from Greek morphos, and means form, shape, or structure). Of course, it is rare to find a person whose body type falls completely into one of these groups. Most of us share a mix of these genetic traits.

The Mesomorph

The mesomorph is the person we all love to hate – and are secretly jealous of. They have the following characteristics:

- Naturally muscular
- Naturally lean
- Broad shoulders
- Lose fat easily
- Gain muscle and strength easily
- Efficient and fast-burning metabolism

These people are generally gifted bodybuilders and athletes. If you found your way to this web site, the chances are you are notpredominantly mesomorph.

The Endomorph

This body type stores fat very easily, and finds it hard to lose the fat. An endomorph often has a sluggish metabolism, and must be particularly careful with their diet. Here are some common characteristics of the endomorph body type:

- Tend to be naturally overweight
- Gain fat easily
- Find it difficult to lose the fat
- Larger around the waist
- Possibly sensitive to carbohydrates (particularly processed and refined carbs)
- Slow metabolism
- Body shape is more rounded or pear shaped
- Often has reasonable strength levels

If you are predominantly endomorphic – you will probably find that diet alone (i.e. diet without exercise) will not be enough to bring down your weight levels. Because you have a slow metabolic rate, it must be boosted with aerobic exercise and weight training.

You will probably need to be careful with carbohydrate consumption (and we are not saying here that carbs are the “enemy”). The traditional American Heart Association recommendations may not be the best thing, as they are typically high in carbohydrates. A balanced lower carb diet such as the Zone diet or South Beach Diet may be best. See our editorsTop 5 diet plans for weight loss.

Although it seems like the hardest thing to do - good aerobic exercise in the morning will be very helpful. Unfortunately it seems like a cruel genetic “roll of the dice”, that means endomorphs must work so much harder to keep the fat off.

The Ectomorph

Ectomorphs are naturally lean and thin. They seem to eat all sorts of unhealthy foods, and yet stay slim. However endomorphs are also low in muscular strength, and find it difficult to gain muscle. Here are the common characteristics on an ectomorph:

- Fast metabolism
- Naturally thin or wiry
- Find it hard to gain weight
- Naturally lower in strength levels
- Often high energy levels, and tend to be overactive.

Ectomorphs can get fat! Fat Loss for the Ectomorph is a different undertaking to other body types. Read this post at Diet-Blog.

Can you change your body type?

This is a difficult question. Most body types are genetic traits – they are the way we were born, and genes don’t change. However many other things do change with age – such as metabolism and hormonal activity. Many people often find that as they get older they can tend to get more “endomorphic” in nature. It gets harder to lose fat (particularly around the stomach or waist), and eating unhealthy foods seems to pack the weight on more easily than it did when younger.

As a general rule, metabolism slows down as we get older (the “middle age spread”). Unfortunately most of us slow down our activity levels too – which can in turn worsen our metabolism even more. This can be rectified by maintaining cardio and weight training right into old age.

Abs – How To Get The Six-pack

Abs – How To Get The Six-pack

6 Second Abs8 Minute AbsAbs of Steel.

There are few things in the weight loss industry that are more annoying than the infomercials selling machines to give you a flat stomach or six-pack.

To look like those infomercial models takes a lot more than using the latest ab machine. But a long-term commitment to careful diet and nutrition, resistance/strength training, and other forms of fat-loss exercise – in other words it’s hard work.

This article may be very disappointing to some. It is the truth. If you want nice abs you are aiming for an entire body transformation. Period.

How do I get my abs of steel?

Have you ever seen anyone with well-defined abs who also had fat thighs, “man boobs” or flabby hips? The chances are you haven’t. That’s because it’s near impossible to achieve localized fat loss. The body tends to burn fat from all over the place, and generally you have no control over which body part will slim down first.

  • Lower Overall Body Fat

    To see the abs you’ve got to burn the fat first. Generally you have to get your whole body to <= 10% body fat (men) or <=14% body fat (women) before you start seeing any definition. Coupled with the regular resistance training to build and define the abdominal muscles.

  • Train the Abdominals

    To burn more fat you need to increase cardiovascular exercise. Abs can be trained like every other muscle (e.g. twice a week). Also note that our muscular structure is individual – that is why some can only get a ’4-pack’, while others show off an ’8-pack’.

Should I do hundreds of crunches?

Any muscle definition in the body comes from the right nutrition, and the right mix of cardio and weight training. Repetitive abdominal exercise will give you great endurance, but probably won’t give you that washboard you’re wanting.

If you want to be inspired – have a look at how natural bodybuilder Tom Venuto got his abs – in his Burn the fat, feed the muscle program (see our review) — he gives the following basic guidelines:

  1. Eat about 15-20% below your calorie maintenance level
  2. Spread your calories into 5-6 small meals instead of 2-3 big ones.
  3. Eat a source of complete, high quality protein with each meal.
  4. Choose natural, complex carbs such as vegetables, oatmeal, yams, potatoes, brown rice and whole grains. Start with at least 50% of your calories from complex carbs and reduce carbs slightly (esp. late in the day) if you are not losing fat.
  5. Avoid refined, simple carbs that contain white flour or white sugar.
  6. Keep total fats low and saturated fats low. Aim for only 15-20% of your total calories from fat. A little bit of “good fat” like flax oil is better than a no fat diet.
  7. Drink plenty of water – a gallon is a good goal to shoot for if you are physically active.

Ab Exercises

There are 3 main abdominal regions that should be worked:

Upper Abs
Basic crunch, Swiss ball crunch, Decline crunch, Bench crunch, Cable crunch

Lower Abs
Reverse crunch, Hip up, Reverse Decline crunch, Hanging Leg Raises, Swiss ball leg lift

Obliques
Side crunch, Cross crunch, Swiss ball side crunch, Decline twist, Twisting Cable crunch.

Tip: When working the abs, suck your stomach in (imagine pulling your navel towards your back) and concentrate on feeling your stomach muscles being worked. It is very easy to use bad form and end up working the hip flexors.

Ab Programs

The most popular abs program available on-line is The Truth About Six Pack Abs- by Mike Geary.

This program ignores conventional long cardio routines, favoring more intense body weight exercises that provide more of a metabolic response – leading to more fat loss.

At 117 pages – this book is highly recommended.

Total 6 Pack Abs

Teaches how to achieve the 10% body fat ratio and how to build the abdominal muscles properly.

Weight Loss Guide for the Perplexed

Weight Loss Guide for the Perplexed…

Nutri-this, diet-that, Atkins, Zone, South Beach, weight loss can all be very confusing – if not overwhelming.

Here are some basic principles to start you off in your journey of transformation.

Weight loss or Fat loss?

When we talk about losing weight, we really want to focus on losing fatWeight loss can be muscle, water (fluid), or fat. Standing on the scales gives you no clue as to your body composition – so don’t weigh yourself too much – it can really play mind games. Instead:

  • Measure your Body Fat Percentage and track how it changes.
  • Measure your body with a measuring tape.
  • Take photographs of yourself each week.
  • How your clothes fit can be another good measure.

Our weight is always fluctuating (often due to hydration levels). So the scale is the worst method to measure weight loss, yet we cling to its results.

How Do I Lose Fat?

In a nutshell, it’s a simple law of energy intake and expenditure. Eating more than you are using means you gain weight. Burning more than your eating means you lose weight…

Unfortunately the real outworking of this is not so simple. Losing fat (for most people) is hard – get used to the idea then you won’t struggle so much with disappointment.

success

There are 5 principles to keep in mind:

  1. Diet (Nutrition): A healthy portion controlled meal plan is essential.
  2. Cardio (Exercise): Working your muscles and elevating your heart rate burns extra calories.
  3. Dedication (Consistency): Those who find a diet they can stick with are the winners.
  4. Goals: Shoot for realistic weight loss goals like 1-2 pounds a week.
  5. Weight training: Keep muscles growing and repairing for added calorie burn and to avoid muscle weight loss.

It is possible to lose fat with correct diet alone (for some people) – but the best chance of success will be to apply all these principles. Even the perfect diet plan can fail if you cannot stick to it.

Do I Have To Do Weight Training?

Weight (or strength) training is not essential to lose fat – but it helps.

A weight (or body weight) training workout boosts metabolism for the whole day and helps build lean muscle. Muscle is metabolically active – it needs fuel – and therefore helps you burn more calories all the time. If you are thinking about weight training – think on this:

Do I want my body to be strong and useful, or is my body only for people to look at?

Can’t I Just Skip Meals?

It’s naturally what seems like the easiest thing to do – but it’s not quite right.

“I must lose weight so I’m gonna starve myself”.

This is where things get a bit confusing.

Starve the body too much, and it gets the hint and slows down – you’ll feel irritable, fatigued, and begin to lose muscle as well as fat. After clawing your way through hunger pangs and dreams of food, the chances are you will binge, or start eating back how you used to.

Guess what happens next? The weight piles on because your body is still in “slow” mode. Fat loss is all about calorie reduction, but a calorie intake that is too low will cause problems.

Do I Need to Exercise?

There are few people that have lost fat (and maintained it), without making exercise a part of their life.

Cardiovascular fitness has many health benefits – primarily keeping your heart strong. Including some form of exercise as a natural part of your life will give you an even bigger chance of success.

Just remember consistency! Cardio exercise could be something like; brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, treadmill, elliptical trainer.

Click here to find out how many calories can be burnt doing various exercises.

Do I Have to Spend Money to Lose Weight?

No. If you have enough nutritional knowledge and a whole lot of motivation you can sort out your own lifestyle change. However most of us don’t have the time or know-how to go-it-alone — so we pay someone else to design, explain, orcustomize a fat loss program.

Do Online Weight Loss Programs Work?
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) decided structured on-line weight loss programs worked better than “just browsing around”. (Vol. 285 No. 9, March 7, 2001). “Participants who were given a structured behavioral treatment program with weekly contact and individualized feedback had better weight loss compared with those given links to educational Web sites.”

There Are So Many Diets to Choose From?

There are hundreds of diets. Some diets work for some – others don’t. There are other diets that are clearly faulty.

too many dietsHere’s some simple guidelines.

  • Avoid extremes (e.g. very-low-carb or very-low-fat).
  • Learn about carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
  • Learn about whole foods and learn how to reduce your intake of processed foods.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all weight loss program.
  • There are no magic bullets or miracle instant cures.
  • There is absolutely EVERY chance that you can transform yourself.
  • It is completely possible for you to lose the fat and get healthier.
  • Believe in yourself.

We have a number of reviews of many popular weight loss programs. We do our best to try and have some objectivity, but the reality is – two different people can get two different results from the same program!

Where Do I Start?

  1. Clean up your diet: Get rid of sodas, refined sugars, and refined carbs. Eliminating processed foods usually takes care of all three.
  2. Get moving: Start exercising even if it’s just a little each day.
  3. Get support: having the support of family, friends, or a weight loss community can really help.
  4. Choose a good diet plan: For those that struggle with designing their own.

Can it work for me?

Here’s the trick – we are all unique. Different physical characteristics, different genetics. This is why each of us will have to do slightly different things to get the fat loss going. Be prepared for a long-term commitment, a belief in change, and a new lifestyle. Weight loss will not only help you to feel emotionally and physically better, but it will also save you money by lowering health and life insurance costs.

You can do it. Say goodbye to being a victim. Small step by small step, you can achieve your goals. You may trip up, you may have setbacks – but remember – failure isn’t fatal !

Calories in Fruit

Fruit Calories are made up of mostly simple carbohydrates, some proteins, and typically very little fat – of course there are exceptions such as avocado.

Fruit is nature’s sugar (the sugar fructose), and can be thought of as a “healthy” carb. However during a fat-reducing program, all simple sugars should be eaten in moderation. But don’t go too overboard – fruit contains many healthy nutrients – antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.

Fruit Calories and Macro-Nutrients

Fruit Serving Calories Carbs
(g)
Protein
(g)
Fat
(g)
Apple raw, with skin, 100g = 1 small 52 (218 kj) 13.8 0.3 0.2
Apricot raw, with skin, 100g = 3 apricots 48 (201 kj) 11.1 1.0 0.4
Avocado raw, no skin, 100g 160 (670 kj) 8.5 2.0 14.7
Banana 1 medium 94 (393 kj) 21.7 1.1 0.3
Boysenberries raw, 1 cup 75 (312 kj) 18.4 1.0 0.6
Blueberries raw, 1 cup 81 (339 kj) 20.5 1.7 0.6
Dates 1 cup, pitted, chopped 490 (2047 kj) 130.8 3.6 0.7
Grapefruit 1 medium 82 (343 kj) 20.5 1.5 0.3
Grapes 1 cup, seedless, red or green 114 (475 kj) 28.3 1.0 1.0
Kiwi fruit 1 medium, 2.7oz, no skin 46 (194 kj) 11.2 0.8 0.3
Lemon 1 medium, 2oz 17 (70 kj) 5.4 0.6 0.2
Melon Cantaloupe, 1 medium wedge, 2.4oz 24 (101 kj) 5.7 0.6 0.2
Nectarine 1 medium 67 (279 kj) 15.9 1.2 0.5
Oranges 1 large, 6.5oz 86 (361 kj) 21.5 1.7 0.2
Peaches 1 medium, 3.5oz 42 (176 kj) 10.8 0.7 0.0
Pear 1 medium, 5.8oz 98 (410 kj) 25.1 0.7 0.7
Pineapple 1 cup, diced, 5.5oz 76 (318 kj) 19.2 0.6 0.6
Plums 1 medium, 2.3oz 36 (152 kj) 8.6 0.5 0.4
Raspberries 1 cup, 4.3oz 60 (252 kj) 14.1 1.2 0.6
Strawberries 1 cup, halves, 5.4oz 46 (190 kj) 10.6 0.9 0.5
Watermelon 1 wedge, 10oz 92 (383 kj) 20.6 1.7 1.1

Loosing Weight

Introduction

Do you need to lose weight? Have you been thinking about trying a weight-loss program? Diets and programs that promise to help you lose weight are advertised everywhere—through magazines and newspapers, radio, TV, and websites. Are these programs safe? Will they work for you?

This fact sheet provides tips on how to identify a weight-loss program that may help you lose weight safely and keep the weight off over time. It also suggests ways to talk to your health care provider about your weight. He or she may be able to help you control your weight by making changes to your eating and physical activity habits. If these changes are not enough, you may want to consider a weight-loss program or other types of treatment.

Questions to Ask Your Health Care Provider

About your weight

  • ??What is a healthy weight for me?
  • Do I need to lose weight?
  • ??How much weight should I lose?
  • Could my extra weight be caused by a health problem or by a medicine I am taking?

About ways to lose weight

  • What kind of eating habits may help me control my weight?
  • How much physical activity do I need?
  • How can I exercise safely?
  • Could a weight-loss program help me?
  • ??Should I take weight-loss drugs?
  • Is weight-loss surgery right for me?

Where do I start?

Talking to your health care provider about your weight is an important first step. Doctors do not always address issues such as healthy eating, physical activity, and weight control during general office visits. It is important for you to bring up these issues to get the help you need. Even if you feel uneasy talking about your weight with your doctor, remember that he or she is there to help you improve your health.

Prepare for the visit:

  • Write down your questions in advance.
  • Bring pen and paper to take notes.
  • Invite a family member or friend along for support if this will make you feel better.

Talk to your doctor about safe and effective ways to control your weight. (See call out box for sample questions.)

He or she can review any medical problems that you have and any drugs that you take to help you set goals for controlling your weight. Make sure you understand what your doctor is saying. Ask questions if you do not understand something.

You may want to ask your doctor to recommend a weight-loss program or specialist. If you do start a weight-loss program, discuss your choice of program with your doctor, especially if you have any health problems.

 


What should I look for in a weight-loss program?

Successful, long-term weight control must focus on your overall health, not just on what you eat. Changing your lifestyle is not easy, but adopting healthy habits may help you manage your weight in the long run.

Effective weight-loss programs include ways to keep the weight off for good. These programs promote healthy behaviors that help you lose weight and that you can stick with every day.

Safe and effective weight-loss programs should include

  • a plan to keep the weight off over the long run guidance on how to develop healthier eating and physical activity habits
  • guidance on how to develop healthier eating and physical activity habits
  • ongoing feedback, monitoring, and support
  • slow and steady weight-loss goals—usually ½ to 2 pounds per week (though weight loss may be faster at the start of a program)

Some weight-loss programs may use very low-calorie diets (up to 800 calories per day) to promote rapid weight loss among people who have a lot of excess weight. This type of diet requires close medical supervision through frequent office visits and medical tests. For more guidance on this type of diet, read the WIN fact sheetVery Low-calorie Diets.

 


What if the program is offered online?

Many weight-loss programs are now being offered online—either fully or partly. Not much is known about how well these programs work. However, experts suggest that online weight-loss programs should provide the following:

  • structured, weekly lessons offered online or by podcasts support tailored to your personal goals
  • support tailored to your personal goals
  • self-monitoring of eating and physical activity using handheld devices, such as cell phones or online journals
  • regular feedback from a counselor on goals, progress, and results, given by email, phone, or text messages
  • social support from a group through bulletin boards, chat rooms, and/or online meetings

Whether the program is online or in person, you should get as much background as you can before deciding to join.

 


What questions should I ask about the program?

Professionals working for weight-loss programs should be able to answer questions about the program’s features, safety, costs, and results. The following are sample questions you may want to ask.

What does the weight-loss program include?

  • Does the program offer group classes or one-on-one counseling that will help me develop healthier habits?
  • Do I have to follow a specific meal plan or keep food records?
  • Do I have to buy special meals or supplements?
  • If the program requires special foods, can I make changes based on my likes, dislikes, and food allergies (if any)?
  • Will the program help me be more physically active, follow a specific physical activity plan, or provide exercise guidelines?
  • Will the program work with my lifestyle and cultural needs? Does the program provide ways to deal with such issues as social or holiday eating, changes to work schedules, lack of motivation, and injury or illness?
  • Does the program include a plan to help me keep the weight off once I’ve lost weight?

What are the staff credentials?

  • Who supervises the program?
  • What type of weight-control certifications, education, experience, and training do the staff have?

If it seems too good to be true…it probably is!

In choosing a weight-loss program, watch out for these false claims: ??

  • Lose weight without diet or exercise!
  • Lose weight while eating all of your favorite foods!
  • Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!
  • ??Lose weight in specific problem areas of your body!

Other warning signs include

  • very small print
  • asterisks and footnotes??
  • before-and-after photos that seem too good to be true

For more background on false claims used by some weight-loss programs and products, see the items from the Federal Trade Commission listed in the Resources section.

Does the product or program carry any risks?

  • Could the program hurt me?
  • Could the suggested drugs or supplements harm my health?
  • Do the people involved in the program get to talk with a doctor?
  • Does a doctor or other certified health professional run the program?
  • Will the program’s doctor or staff work with my health care provider if needed (for example, to address how the program may affect an existing medical issue)?
  • Is there ongoing input and follow-up from a health care provider to ensure my safety while I take part in the program?

How much does the program cost?

  • What is the total cost of the program?
  • Are there other costs, such as membership fees, fees for weekly visits, and payments for food, meal replacements, supplements, or other products?
  • Are there other fees for medical tests?
  • Are there fees for a follow-up program after I lose weight?

What results do people in the program typically have?

  • How much weight does the average person lose?
  • How long does the average person keep the weight off?
  • Do you have written information on these results?

 


What if I need more help?

For more tips on how to choose a safe and effective weight-loss program, see the Federal Trade Commission items listed in the Resources section.

If a weight-loss program is not a good option for you, ask your health care provider about other types of treatment. Prescription drugs, combined with lifestyle changes, may help some people lose weight. For some people who have obesity, bariatric surgery on the stomach and/or intestines may be an option. See the Resources section for more information on these two types of treatment.