How to Choose a Successful Weight-Loss Program.

Do yu think you need to lose weight? Have you been thinking about trying a weight-loss program? 

You are not alone. More than 70 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or are obese —and many of them try to lose weight through different kinds of weight-loss programs. We are constantly exposed to advertisement of weight loss programs but are they safe? And will they work for you?

Here you’ll find tips on how to choose a program that may help you lose weight safely and keep it off over time. You’ll also learn how to talk with a healthcare professional about your weight.

A Safe and Successful Weight-loss Program Should Include:

  • Behavioral treatment, also called lifestyle counseling, that can teach you how to develop and stick with healthier eating and physical activity habits—for example, keeping food and activity records or journals.

  • Information about getting enough sleep, managing stress, and the benefits and drawbacks of weight-loss medicines.

  • Ongoing feedback, monitoring, and support throughout the program, either in person, by phone, online, or through a combination of these approaches.

  • Slow and steady weight-loss goals—usually 1 to 2 pounds per week (though weight loss may be faster at the start of a program).

  • A plan for keeping the weight off, including goal setting, self-checks such as keeping a food journal, and counseling support.

  • The most successful weight-loss programs provide 14 sessions or more of behavioral treatment over at least 6 months—and are led by trained staff.

Tips to Prepare for your Visit with your Healthcare Provider:

1. Track What you Eat, Drink and the Amount of Exercise you Get Per Day

Start by tracking or writing down what you eat and drink in a week. Be honest, this is to help your provider get a real look at areas that could use improvement. If you like technology there are a bunch of food tracking apps like, MyFitnessPal or YouAte. Don’t be afraid of starting your journey out with a dietician or a nutritionist. You can also ask your doctor about referrals or recommendations on providers that specialize in diet and weight-loss.

2. Schedule a Physical with your Doctor

Ask your doctor if you are healthy enough for certain exercise programs and what is safe for your body and age. This is also the time to review medical problems you might have or medications you take that may be affecting your weight or your ability to lose weight.

3. Schedule Monthly Check-ins with your Healthcare Team

Scheduling a visit with one or more of your healthcare team members during your weight-loss journey can help keep you accountable. This can also be a time to get additional motivation or advice if you hit a plateau in weight loss.

The good news is that no matter what your weight loss goal is, even a modest weight loss, such as 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight, is likely to produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.