Professional nutritionists, personal trainers, fitness instructors and doctors offer a huge variety of weight loss programs. By choosing one of several hundred universal weight loss programs, obese person should understand that it might be ineffective.
After all, the ideal weight loss program is considered only that developed for each particular case. An effective weight loss program should be created taking into account a variety of factors, the key ones are:
- reason and history of obesity
- weight, sex and age of the obese person
- presence or absence of other diseases
Highly effective weight loss programs that could help absolutely every obese person do not exist. Therefore, to find weight loss programs that really work, an obese person will have to experiment and to use different ways and methods to combat obesity.
You should realize that even the most modern weight loss program would not provide the desired result, if it does not include regular physical exercise. In fact, increased physical activity is the key factor that allows enhancing the efficiency of weight loss program by several times.
- When developing weight loss programs for kids, it is necessary to consider that their musculoskeletal and bone systems are not yet formed. Therefore, the intensity of physical activity for obese children should be low.
In addition, remember that for normal growth and development of the child, it is required a sufficient amount of vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids. Therefore, weight loss program for kids should include a balanced diet containing vital nutrients.
- Weight loss programs for teens are very similar to weight loss programs for kids. The only fundamental difference between weight loss programs for children of different age is the intensity of physical activity.
Sport activities can be replaced by active games for little obese children, and weight loss programs for teenagers should include swimming, cycling, running, fitness training or youth sports.
Just as kids’ diet, the diet for teens should be balanced. When calculating daily calorie intake, take into account not only the age and weight of a teenager, but his energy expenditure during physical activity.
- A distinctive feature of weight loss programs for adults is that obesity-related diseases should be taken into account when they are planning.
Besides the fact that obesity-related complications may limit physical activity of an adult, an observance of special diet may be required during their treatment.
One more factor attention should be paid to is a profession of obese person.
- If obese men and women are physically active throughout the day, they can be recommended weak to moderate exercise.
- If women or men suffering from obesity lead a sedentary lifestyle, the weight loss program should include daily intense physical exercise.
It should be noted that in majority of obese men, fat is localized in the upper body and around the waist, but in obese women – in the lower body and around the hips.
Therefore, to achieve the maximum fat burning effect:
- Weight loss programs for women should necessarily include exercises for lower body
- Weight loss programs for men should necessarily include exercises for upper body
Besides diet and physical exercise, weight loss programs may include OTC supplements or prescription drugs. If medical methods are used to fight obesity, a part of the cost of weight loss program can be covered by insurance.
The advantage of medical or combined weight loss program is that by its means it is possible to lose weight in just a few weeks. The disadvantage of drugs for obesity treatment is that they are prescribed only in clinics.
Highly effective anti-obesity drugs may cause severe side effects. Thus, intensive medical weight loss program should be carried out under the doctor’s constant supervision.
- If safe OTC diet pills were recommended for weight loss, weight loss program can be conducted at home.
When choosing weight loss programs, pay attention not only to their efficacy and safety, but also the cost. Weight loss programs developed by a personal trainer or advertised on TV are very expensive. Therefore, the vast majority of obese people are trying to find free weight loss programs online.
In order to find an effective weight loss program, you need to pay attention to methods to combat obesity it includes. The most effective weight loss programs include:
- A complex of physical exercise for different muscle groups
- Low-calorie diet containing a small amount of fat and plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Using RX or OTC diet pills providing an anorexigenic, thermogenic and (or) metabolic effects.
If weight loss program is conducted at home, family and friends have to motivate the obese person to lose weight. If several family members have overweight, they should conduct a course of obesity treatment simultaneously.
A successful weight loss of one family member will motivate other obese family members to achieve the same high results. Thus, competition between obese spouses, obese children or obese parents and their children will provide a more rapid reduction of body fat percentage in every family member suffering from obesity.
You must understand that any weight loss program requires a lot of time and effort. Especially important the fact that the more effort a person makes to fight obesity, the less time he needs to lose weight, to get a perfect body and significantly to improve his health.
If you want to lose weight quickly and safely, you can find feedbacks about popular weight loss programs on various forums and blogs. If you have already achieved success in fighting excess weight, leave a review about your weight loss program and help other obese people to lose weight without any harm to the health.
Do you 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 have obesity1 —and many of them try to lose the extra pounds through different kinds of weight-loss programs. A number of these programs are advertised in magazines and newspapers, as well as on the radio, TV, and internet. 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 health care professional about your weight.
Your health care professional may be able to help you make lifestyle changes to reach and maintain a healthy weight. However, if you’re having trouble making these lifestyle changes—or if these changes aren’t enough to help you reach and stay at a healthy weight—you may want to consider a weight-loss program or other types of treatment.
Where do I start?
Talking with a health care professional about your weight is an important first step. Sometimes, health care professionals may not address issues such as healthy eating, physical activity, and weight during general office visits. You may need to raise these issues yourself. If you feel uneasy talking about your weight, bring your questions with you and practice talking about your concerns before your office visit. Aim to work with your health care professional to improve your health.
Prepare for your visit
Before your visit with a health care professional, think about the following questions:
- How can I change my eating habits so I can be healthier and reach a healthy weight?
- How much and what type of physical activity do I think I need to be healthier and reach a healthy weight?
- Could I benefit from seeing a nutrition professional or weight-loss specialist, or joining a weight-loss program?
You can be better prepared for a visit with a health care professional if you
- write down all of your questions ahead of time
- record all of the medicines and dietary supplements you take, or bring them with you
- write down the types of diets or programs you have tried in the past to lose weight
- bring a pen and paper, smartphone, or other mobile device to read your questions and take notes
During your visit, a health care professional may
- review any medical problems you have and medicines you take to see whether they may be affecting your weight or your ability to lose weight
- ask you about your eating, drinking, and physical activity habits
- determine your body mass index (BMI) to see whether you’re overweight or have obesity
People who are overweight have a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9. People with obesity have a BMI of 30.0 or higher, and those with extreme obesity have a BMI of 40.0 or higher. You can use this online tool or chart to see what your BMI is.
If a health care professional says you should lose weight, you may want to ask for a referral to a weight-loss program, dietitian, or weight-loss specialist. If you decide to choose a weight-loss program on your own, consider talking with the health care professional about the program before you sign up, especially if you have any health problems.
Ask questions if you don’t understand something your health care professional has said, or if you need more information.
Questions to ask a health care professional
You may want to ask a health care professional the following questions:
- What is a healthy weight or BMI for me?
- Will losing weight improve my general health, as well as specific health problems I have?
- Could any of my medical conditions or medications be causing weight gain or making it harder for me to lose weight?
- Are there any types or amounts of physical activity I should not do because of my health?
- What dietary approaches do you recommend I try or avoid?
What should I look for in a weight-loss program?
To reach and stay at a healthy weight over the long term, you must focus on your overall health and lifestyle habits, not just on what you eat. Successful weight-loss programs should promote healthy behaviors that help you lose weight safely, that you can stick with every day, and that help you keep the weight off.
Safe and successful weight-loss programs 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.2
Some commercial weight-loss programs have all of these components for a safe and successful weight-loss program. Check for these features in any program you are thinking about trying.
Some weight-loss programs use very low-calorie diets to promote quick weight loss—3 or more pounds a week for several weeks—in people with a lot of excess weight. You should be monitored closely by a health care professional if you are on a very low-calorie diet that provides 800 calories a day or less.
Although these diets may help some people lose a lot of weight quickly—for example, 15 pounds in a month—they may not help people keep the weight off long term. These diets also may have related health risks, the most common being gallstones.3
For people who are overweight or have obesity, experts recommend a beginning weight-loss goal of 5 to 10 percent of your starting weight within 6 months.2 If you weigh 200 pounds, that would amount to a loss of 10 pounds, which is 5 percent of starting weight, to 20 pounds, which is 10 percent of starting weight, in 6 months.
Changing your lifestyle isn’t easy, but adopting healthy habits that you don’t give up after a few weeks or months may help you maintain your weight loss. Read how to change your habits for better health.
What if the program is offered online?
Many weight-loss programs are now being offered partly or completely online and through apps for mobile devices. Researchers are studying how well these programs work on their own or together with in-person programs, especially long term. However, experts suggest that these weight-loss programs should provide the following:
- organized, weekly lessons, offered online or by podcast, and tailored to your personal goals
- support from a qualified staff person to meet your goals
- a plan to track your progress on changing your lifestyle habits, such as healthy eating and physical activity, using tools such as cellphones, activity counters, and online journals
- regular feedback on your goals, progress, and results provided by a counselor through email, phone, or text messages
- the option of social support from a group through bulletin boards, chat rooms, or online meetings
Whether a program is online or in person, you should get as much background as you can before you decide to join.
What questions should I ask about a weight-loss program?
Weight-loss program staff should be able to answer questions about the program’s features, safety, costs, and results. Find out if the program you’re interested in is based on current research about what works for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.
A first and very important question to ask of commercial weight-loss programs is, “Has your company published any reports in peer-reviewed, scientific journals about the safety and effectiveness of your program?”
If the response is “yes,” ask for a copy of the report or how you could get it. If the answer is “no,” the program is harder to evaluate and may not be as favorable a choice as programs that have published such information. If you have questions about the findings, discuss the report with your health care professional.
Here are some other questions you may want to ask:
What does the program include?
- Am I expected to follow a specific meal plan?
- Am I encouraged to write down what I eat each day?
- Do I have to buy special meals or supplements? If so, what are the daily or weekly costs?
- Does the program offer healthy meal-plan suggestions that I could stick with?
- If the program requires special foods, can I make changes based on my likes, dislikes, and any food allergies I may have?
- Does the program include a physical activity plan?
- Does the program offer ways to help me be more physically active and stay motivated?
- Does the program offer one-on-one or group counseling to help me develop and stick with my healthier habits?
- Does the program include a trained coach or counselor to help me overcome roadblocks and stay on track?
- Does the program include a plan to help me keep off the weight I’ve lost?
- What does that program include? Will there be ongoing counseling support?
- How long is the actual weight-loss program?
- How long is the weight-loss maintenance program?
- Does the program require that I take any kind of medicine?
- Can I speak with a doctor or certified health professional if I need to?
- Can I change the program to meet my lifestyle, work schedule, and cultural needs?
- Will the program help me cope with such issues as stress or social eating, getting enough sleep, changes in work schedules, lack of motivation, and injury or illness?
- Is the program in person? Is there an online part to the program?
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.
What are clinical trials, and are they right for you?
Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Researchers also use clinical trials to look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.
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