Which Weight Loss Program Should I Choose?

Copyright 2006 Adam Waxler

Anyone who is focused on weight loss has seen the before and after photos from various weight loss programs along with testimonials from people who have lost weight and look great.

Do these weight loss programs really work? The answer is both “yes” and “no”. It all depends on what kind of dieter you are and which weight loss program works best for you.

Of course, the question then becomes how to decide which weight loss program to choose?

First, you have to remember that “yo-yo” dieting puts stress on your body that can make losing weight more difficult and putting weight back on far too easy. The ultimate goal of any weight loss program is not just to lose weight, but to lose weight and keep it off. That is why it is important to choose a weight loss program and diet plan that will help you make changes to your eating habits that will last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, too many people who are trying to lose weight jump back and forth between a very restrictive diet and then returning to “normal” eating after they have experienced some weight loss.  All this will do is lead the dieter to put the weight back on. Instead, what you need to do is re-educate. Instead of choosing a strict weight loss plan that you’ll abandon when the diet is done, commit to the recommendations for healthy eating from the USDA, and add half an hour of exercise to your daily routine five times a week. You’ll establish healthy habits that will take off the pounds – and help you keep them off forever.

Secondly, decide just how much help you need. What motivates you? Are you a private person by nature, or do you do best with a lot of social support? Are you a strong-willed person who can decide to do something and ‘just do it’, or will you need help overcoming temptation?

If you thrive on social motivation, joining a weight loss program like Weight Watchers might be the best option for you. You’ll have social support, motivational rewards, and weekly check-ins to help you stay on track and give you weight loss goals to aim for.

Next, do you do best with regimented, strict instructions that tell you exactly what you should do step by step, or are you happiest and more comfortable with a little flexibility?

If you do best when you have strict guidelines to follow and like routines, then look for a diet plan or weight loss program that gives you daily menus with precise measurements. While that may feel restrictive to many people, the trick is to choose a weight loss plan that works for you.

If restrictive diets and inflexible menus aren’t for you, then try a diet that gives you the option of mixing and matching your meals within certain parameters. Whether you count carbs or calories, diets like the Atkins diet or Zone diet give you some flexibility within the prescribed ‘allowed foods’.

Finally, what is your weight loss goal? How much weight do you want to lose? How long have you been trying to lose weight? Will quick results keep you motivated, or is slow-and-steady progress all you really need?

If you are looking for quick weight loss, try a quick-start with the Atkins diet to strip off the early weight – a lot of it water weight – so that you will see results immediately. When your results from such restrictive eating are slow, pick up the activity by adding a little more exercise and vary your diet a little. Most weight loss experts agree that your weight loss goal should aim for a steady 1-2 pounds per week, but if you need an extra boost, drop back to a more restrictive pattern to give your metabolism a little kick. However, be careful…if you stay with an extremely low calorie diet for too long you will actually slow your metabolism and it will become more difficult to lose weight.