a Weight Loss Program
from the US National Institutes of Health)
Check It Out
Before You Sign Up For Any Weight Loss Program
lose weight on their own; others like the support of a structured
program. Overweight people who are successful at losing weight,
and keeping it off, can reduce their risk factors for heart disease.
If you decide to join any kind of weight control program, here are
some questions to ask before you join.
- Does the
program provide counseling to help you change your eating activity,
and personal habits?
The program should teach you how to change permanently those eating
habits and lifestyle factors, such as lack of physical activity
that have contributed to weight gain.
- Is the
staff made up of a variety of qualified counselors and health
professionals such as nutritionists, registered dietitians, doctors,
nurses, psychologists, and exercise physiologists?
You need to be evaluated by a physician if you have any health
problems, are currently taking any medicine, or plan on taking
any medicine, or plan to lose more than 15 to 20 pounds. If your
weight control plan uses a very low-calorie diet (a special liquid
formula that replaces all food for 1 to 4 months), an exam and
follow up visits by a doctor are also needed.
- Is training
available on how to deal with times when you may feel stressed
and slip back to old habits?
The program should provide long-term strategies to deal with weight
problems you may have in the future. These strategies might include
things like setting up a support system and establishing a physical
- Is attention
paid to keeping the weight off? How long is this phase?
Choose a program that teaches skills and techniques to make permanent
changes in eating habits and levels of physical activity to prevent
- Are food
choices flexible and suitable? Are weight goals set by the client
and the health professional?
The program should consider your food likes and dislikes and your
lifestyle when your weight loss goals are planned.
There are other questions you can ask about how well a program
works. Because many programs don't gather this information, you
may not get answers. But it's still important to ask them:
percentage of people complete the program?
is the average weight loss among people who finish the
percentage of people have problems or side effects? What
there fees or costs for additional items, such as dietary
Remember, quick weight loss methods don't provide lasting
results. Weight loss methods that rely on diet aids like drinks,
prepackaged foods, or diet pills don't work in the long run.
Whether you lose weight on your own or with a group, remember
that the most important changes are long term. No matter how
much weight you have to lose, modest goals and a slow course
will increase your chances of both losing the weight and keeping
Voluntary Weight Loss and Control. National Institutes of Health
Technology Assessment Conference. Annals of Internal Medicine.119(7,
Part 2), October 1, 1993.
Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-Loss Program,
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service,
National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes &
Digestive & Kidney Diseases, NIH Publication No. 94-3700, December
Note: This article is not intended to serve as medical advice.
For advice specific to you, please contact a physician.
Also: Weight Loss - Possitive Results