Obesity is rampant in the world. It can be attributed to high sugar and carbohydrate diet as well as a sedentary lifestyle. However, as more people learn and understand the risks associated with obesity, they are keen to lose the excess weight. Often, they opt for weight loss programs.
While some weight loss programs are well planned and effective, others are overhyped and promise drastic results. In most cases, their effect is unsustainable, and the used method may harm your health.
The following are tips for choosing a safe and effective weight loss program.
Research Various Weight Loss Programs
Familiarize yourself with the different types of weight loss programs. You can buy an online program or participate in one of the local programs. Some popular platforms are WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers), Noom, Beach Body workout plans, etc.
Weight loss programs include:
- Wellness, detox, and weight loss retreats;
- nutritional programs and supplements;
- yoga retreats;
- management of chronic diseases programs designed by doctors;
- bariatric surgeries;
- metabolic and hormonal regulation programs, etc.
Identify the leading programs in the market for each category. Then do a thorough research of the prospective programs to establish their credibility. Check online reviews for each of the programs on different review websites. Go through previous consumer reviews to see their feedback on the weight loss plan, the effectiveness of the program and products, customer service, and if there are any harmful side effects.
For instance, a look at the It Works reviews on Pissedconsumer.com indicates that although the company claims that they have the best weight loss products, nutritional supplements, and skincare products, customer reviews show that the products are not effective.
Establish Your Goals
Start by assessing your health status. You can do this on your own or with the help of a physician. Weigh yourself and calculate your BMI. If your BMI of 25-29.9 is considered overweight, and if it is 30 or higher, you are considered obese.
There are free online tools where you can enter your weight and height to calculate your BMI. Some indicate how much weight you need to lose to be within a healthy BMI range.
Aside from calculating your BMI, take account of any diseases or health conditions that may have caused or resulted from your weight gain. Your choice of weight loss program should help to improve your health condition and not make it worse.
For example, if you have heart disease, a program incorporating high-intensity training is unsuitable. On the other hand, you may have a hormonal condition such as hypothyroidism or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which could make it harder for you to lose weight.
Therefore, it should need to be addressed medically before or in the course of a given slimming program. Besides, there may be dietary restrictions or guidelines specific to a given disease, which your preferred program should not contradict.
What to Look for in a Weight Loss Program
For a weight loss program to be effective and sustainable over the long term, it should have the following elements:
1. Behavior Management
If you do not correct the behaviors that led to your weight gain, you will gain it back. Or, you may find it difficult to follow through with the program.
Behavior management can involve daily tracking of food and exercise to help you eat healthily and move more. If you have eating disorders, it could involve psychological treatment and lifestyle counseling.
2. Accountability and Support
Research shows that programs, where participants have personalized ongoing monitoring and support from a third party, are more effective than those that do not. The follow-up and support could be one-on-one or in a group setting either in person, online, or via phone.
3. Slow and Steady Results
The results should be consistent throughout the program and even afterward. The recommended average weight loss rate is 1-2 pounds per week. However, the process may be faster at the beginning of the program.
Some nutritional supplements, weight loss, and beauty products may not be safe. For example, slimming teas that promise to help you shed all your belly fat in a few weeks. Most of them contain a laxative known as senna that can cause nausea, weakened colon, constipation, reduced potassium levels, etc.
Others prescribe extremely intense workouts with minimal rest, which could result in injuries, increased cardiovascular stress, fatigue, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. Ideally, the program should encourage you to check in with your doctor before starting.
4. Fits YOU
The program should suit your needs, health condition, and lifestyle. It should give you leeway to choose your preferred foods and exercises within a set of guidelines.
No product can cause you to grow thinner The best weight loss programs are well-rounded. They incorporate healthy eating, exercise and movement, and behavior modification.
6. Additional health benefits
If you have an underlying health condition, a program should improve the symptoms. It should also help to normalize your vitals, such as blood pressure, oxygen circulation, bad cholesterol, and blood sugar. Ultimately, it may boost your vitality, reduce stress, and improve sleep.
7. Weight maintenance
The program should provide you with a guideline and tools for keeping the weight off once you complete it. For example, regular check-ins with the program coaches or coordinators, group and forum support, goal setting and monitoring tools, journaling, etc.
Look Out for Red Flags
Some red flags to beware of in weight loss programs include:
- Promises drastic changes, e.g., losing 30 pounds in 30 days.
- Promises you to lose weight with no exercise while eating whatever you want.
- Hypes the effectiveness of a single product or a group of products.
- Recommends or requires complete elimination of certain food groups.
- Does not provide tools and information for behavior modification.
Weight loss programs can be beneficial for regaining your health and wellbeing. However, you must do your research to identify a safe and effective one. Check weight loss program reviews to establish their reliability and choose from the highly rated ones. The best weight loss programs are well-rounded, personalized, offer tools for behavior management and progress monitoring, and improve your overall health.