Asking each other about weight loss programs has become as common as asking something like ‘Hey, which school is best for ICSE or CBSE?’ Knowingly or unknowingly we spend thousands or even lakhs of rupees on weight loss programs and products but ironically obesity rates are only increasing! Each of us have been trained since birth by our parents and grandparents on the do’s and don’ts of eating. Still, humanity has reached a pitiful state where we need experts to suggest/monitor our food habits and supervise our eating schedules because of our capricious eating styles and personal choice of foods.
Some of you might have faced bitter experiences with your weight loss trials by choosing a random program after coming across advertisement in social media sites, books or newspapers. Its high time but we are not at a point of no-return when it comes to health and fitness. If you are one of the hundred million expecting to lose weight you have hit the bull’s eye by stumbling upon this article. Reading further gives you a clear picture on how to go about choosing the right weight loss program and stay healthy thereon.
A One-on-One with the Family Doc
You can approach any physician for a health-related problem but its always advisable to have a family physician who cares about your well-being beyond medications and injections. Even if the physician doesn’t bring it to the table it upon you to voice your concerns. Talking about weight corrections is embarrassing but ignoring to change is even more discouraging. Its better to write your concerns in a piece of paper/smartphone and read it to your doc. Before visiting the doc, make a note of the medicines/supplements you consume, any attempts of weight loss during earlier times, all queries you have on a piece of paper and if you face any restrictions in eating/doing any weight-loss related activities.
Take a while to understand your requirement, analyze whether it would be beneficial to meet a registered dietitian nutritionist and relate to different physical activities that can help you become fitter and lose weight. The physician might question you on food habits, lifestyle and exercise schedules after assessing your weight and determining BMI ranges. Be prepared to answer them accurately. If the physician suggests for a weight loss, its better to ask him/her for a referral. If you have thought upon some program it is 100% essential that you discuss about it with the physician before enrolling.
Hitting the Bullseye
There are endless weight loss programs available but be careful to choose one that offers healthy weight loss goals, is suitable for your health and lifestyle and seems to offer goals and restrictions that can be followed every day of your life. Simply put, look for the following elements in a program:
Sensible results: Programs that promise clients in helping them lose 10 kilograms in 10 days seem out of the world, but healthy and effective weight loss is when the individual loses not more than one kilogram in one week. Don’t be misled by ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of clients. We are well-aware of the filters, cropping options and techniques available to beautify pictures these days. I don’t mean to say that all such pictures are misleading but use logical skills to decipher the truth.
Right nutrition composition: Don’t choose a program that asks you to eat too much of certain foods, ignore any of the food groups altogether or seem to have more foods listed in the ‘disallowed list rather than the ‘allowed’ list. These programs might enable weight loss, but they are missing out on essential nutrients and relying on certain foods for weight loss. Such food habits cannot be followed for a lifetime.
Behavioral changes: Any valuable program includes counselling on eating healthy, sticking to portions and exercising regularly which chisel your lifestyle for the better. Please note that alongside food habits daily physical activity is crucial for better quality of life. An ideal weight loss program balances both food and exercise equally and ensures that you exercise every single day of life. The client is motivated to think positively and work hard towards his/her health goals. Also, any good program motivates clients to maintain a food journal recording day-to-day eating and exercise schedules with weekly weight measures entered. Even studies support the fact that individuals who use food journals lose more weight compared to those who don’t.
Flexibility: This is extremely essential in any program for the client to stick to it for long-term. If any plan seems too rigid or commands intense exercising or too much time, they are never going to accompany you for life. What each of us expect from a weight loss program is a lifestyle change that they can sustain for a lifetime. Look for those that connect with your food choices and exercise possibilities.
Reliability: A credible weight loss program offers the support of registered dietitian nutritionists approved by the concerned dietetic association. Such programs never rely on a quick-fix for weight loss and hence never recommend clients to buy or use supplements, weight loss pills, powders or superfoods. Keep it a thumb rule to walk away from those programs that persuade clients to buy their pills/powders/weight loss shakes or use machines to decrease body fat.
Follow-up: A good weight loss program is one that keeps offering support to the client in terms of monitoring and supporting their program, appreciating their efforts, motivating the client to work harder and stays with the client until weight loss occurs. This can be done either through face-to-face contact, online support, phone call or by combining all these together.
Maintenance: Losing weight is a strenuous task as you are aiming to take something off your body that has piled up for years together. Maintaining your weight loss is an even greater task which many programs fail to offer. Ensure to choose a program that comes with weight maintenance instructions to follow. Also probe whether the team of dietitians/nutritionists would be following-up on your maintenance for some time after the program ends.
Weight loss is no magic and losing even 5-10% of your body weight within 6 months of a program is a great start for overweight/obese clients. There are some programs that are also 100% online programs. There is no harm in taking up such programs but ensure that these programs too offer regular support from credible staffs, monitor weights weekly, encourage/give feedbacks on your improvements, send modified changes via mails/chat, track your eating habits, exercise schedules and lifestyle improvements via phone, mail or chat and follow-up your efforts until you reach the goal. For effective weight loss programs that enable individuals to lose weight in the scientific way without any gimmicks or so-called superfoods please get in touch with reputed dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com.
Apart from the above-mentioned points, check whether there are feedbacks from clients, information about the programs and the charges for them mentioned transparently in the concerned website. Use your discretion and choose a program that suits your requirements. Good luck with your choice!
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.