Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight Loss Program

Weight loss

Weight loss

A Responsible and Safe Weight-loss Program

Experts agree that the best way to reach a healthy weight is to
follow a sensible eating plan and engage in regular physical activity.
Weight-loss programs should encourage healthy behaviors that help you lose
weight and that you can maintain over time. Safe and effective weight-loss
programs should include:

  • Healthy eating plans that reduce calories but do not rule out specific foods
    or food groups
  • Regular physical activity and/or exercise instruction
  • Tips on healthy behavior changes that also consider your cultural needs
  • Slow and steady weight loss of about ¾ to 2 pounds per week and not more than
    3 pounds per week (weight loss may be faster at the start of a program)
  • Medical care if you are planning to lose weight by following a special
    formula diet, such as a very-low-calorie diet
  • A plan to keep the weight off after you have lost it

Ask Questions

Gather as much information as you can before deciding to join a
program. Providers of weight-loss programs should be able to answer these
questions:

  • What does the weight-loss program consist of?
  • What are the staff qualifications?
  • Does the product or program carry any risks?
  • How much does the program costs?
  • What results do participants typically have?

What does the weight-loss program consist of?
  • Does the program offer individual counseling and/or group classes?
  • Do you have to follow a specific meal plan or keep food records?
  • Do you have to purchase special food, drugs, or supplements?
  • Does the program encourage you to be physically active, follow a specific
    physical activity plan, or provide exercise instruction?
  • Does the program provide information on how to make positive and healthy
    behavior changes?
  • Is the program sensitive to your lifestyle and cultural needs?

What are the
staff qualifications?
  • Who supervises the program?
  • What type of weight management training, experience, education, and
    certifications does the staff have?

Does
the product or program carry any risks?
  • Are there risks related to following the program’s eating or exercise plans?
  • Are there risks related to using recommended drugs or
    supplements?

  • Do participants talk with a medical professional?

  • Does a medical professional oversee the program?

  • Will the program providers work with your personal health care
    provider if you have a medical condition or are taking prescribed
    medications?


How
much does the program cost?
  • What is the total cost of the program?
  • Are there recurring costs such as weekly attendance fees, costs of food and
    supplement purchases, etc?
  • Are there additional fees for a follow-up program or to re-enter the program
    for follow-up after you lose weight?
  • Are there additional fees for medical tests?

What results do participants typically have?

If you are interested in locating a weight-loss program in your area, ask
your health care provider for a referral or contact your local hospital. For
additional general information, contact:

Weight-control Information Network (WIN)
1 WIN Way
Bethesda, MD
20892-3665
Toll-free: 1-877-9464627
Tel: (202) 828-1025
Fax: (202)
828-1028
E-mail: [email protected]
http://www.win.niddk.nih.gov

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