What Should I Look for When Choosing a Weight Loss Program?

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Answered by: Casey, An Expert in the Diet Plans Category
Once you make the decision to lose weight, you have to decide how you are going to lose that weight. The choices you make affect not only how much weight you lose, but can also affect your overall health. You have to know about all of your weight loss options so you can make the most informed decision possible when choosing a weight loss program.

Healthy Diets

A healthy diet is a diet that provides you with all or most of the nutrition you need each day through a balanced diet. These diets include foods from each of the five major food groups: dairy products or vegan alternatives, proteins, vegetables, grains and fruits. It must also include at least 150 to 300 minutes of exercise each week. When choosing a weight loss program, a healthy diet plan should be on the top of your list.

Fad or Crash Diets

An unhealthy diet, also known as a fad or crash diet, is a diet that encourages very rapid weight loss by requiring unhealthy eating habits. These diets don’t provide adequate nutrition because they often don’t include all of the food groups. Exercise isn’t usually required at all. Because of the lack of nutrition these diets provide, they shouldn’t be followed at all; however, if you can’t resist the rapid weight loss, you must follow this diet only for a short time – ideally not more than two weeks.

Diet Supplements

Diet and weight loss pills available over-the-counter aren’t approved or regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The only exception to this is the drug Alli, which is approved for weight loss. Other supplements haven’t been studied sufficiently to be proven safe or effective – and some are downright dangerous. If you opt to use weight loss supplements, you still have to follow a healthy diet that includes exercise.

Other Products

Some products like magnetic bracelets and weight loss patches are available in many stores; however, it is unlikely that these products will help you to lose weight. In fact, most of these products state that you have to follow a healthy, reduced calorie diet and exercise regularly to lose weight. It is best to avoid these products so you don’t waste money when choosing a weight loss program.

Prescription Drugs

You can work with your doctor to help you to lose weight. A variety of prescription weight loss drugs, including orlistat and sibutramine, are available with a doctor’s prescription. With the exception of orlistat, all prescription weight loss drugs are meant for short term use of up to 12 weeks.

Weight Loss Surgery

If you are obese, weight loss surgery may be an option for you. Gastric bypass and gastric banding are two of the options available. While these procedures can be laparoscopically, they are still invasive procedures that cost a considerable amount of money and require significant healing time. As is the case with any weight loss product or plan, you will still have to follow a reduced calorie diet to lose weight following any weight loss surgery.

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