There have been a number of fad diets and fitness exercises that have sprouted left and right over the last few years alone. All of them promise quick and easy shedding of pounds in the shortest period of time possible. Most of their ads even go as far as showing obviously fake “before” and “after” testimonial photos that make you just want to bring out your credit card and purchase whatever their offering ASAP!
But how will you know which one is right for you? Before you start stocking your fridge with 100 cabbages, there are a few things you need to consider:
Does your doctor approve?
I cannot stress enough the importance of a medical consult. Be open and talk to your doctor before starting any weight-loss program. You need to know if these exercises or diet instructions have risks or a direct effect on your current health condition and on the medications you are taking, if any. Do not attempt to withhold any information about what you plan to do.
Your doctor can also help you decide on which program is best, considering your medical history and past weight loss plans you may have tried before. He can even teach you how to safely perform exercises if you have physical limitations or restrictions.
Does it promise safe weight loss?
Beware of weight loss programs that promise you’ll “lose 30 pounds in 30 days”. Unless it will surgically remove excess fat, these kind of weight loss programs aren’t realistic. And even if their claims were true, extreme weight loss programs can pose some potential health dangers.
Ideally, your weight loss program should only target about 0.5 to 2 lbs. a week. Some programs may target more and still be acceptable, but it should be conducted under medical supervision. It also helps to ensure that the programs you are considering come from reputable sources and are all backed up scientifically.
Does it promote balanced nutrition?
Don’t believe fad diets that force you to eat copious amounts of certain foods like pineapples or bananas as well as strict diets that eliminate an entire food groups like carbohydrates. These diets may make you lose weight drastically but they can also result in nutritional deficiencies.
A safe diet should supply all recommended daily amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Low calorie meals need not be low in essential vitamins or minerals, so make sure you choose weight loss program that includes a calorie-restricted but balanced diet composed of good sources of carbs, proteins and fats.
Do you have the budget to stay in the program?
Some weight-loss programs may require you to buy special supplements or food ingredients that are way more expensive than what you’re used to. A trip to the supermarket or pharmacy should give you an idea of how much you’ll be spending more or less per month. Make a realistic assessment from there.
Does the program include physical activity?
A good weight-loss program should include some exercise. You don’t actually need to go to the gym for this. It could be as low intensity as a few minutes a day of walking around or swimming some laps.
Exercise not only can help with weight loss, it also brings with it a long list of health benefits, including improving your cardiovascular system, reducing risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as mood-improvement.
Is the program in sync with your personality, religion, physical state and lifestyle?
You know in your heart you can never last a day without having snacks every two hours or so. If the diet you’re about to try demands you to just survive on one or two meals a day, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Apart from a mismatch with your personality, you also need to check other important factors like religious limitations, physical disability and history:
· Does your faith restrict you from eating certain types of food that are part of the menu? Check out sample meal plans of this program thoroughly first before you sign up.
· If you’ve tried the same diet before and failed miserably, what makes you think it will work this time? You need to be realistic here and decide on something that you know you can sustain.
· Do you have a previous injury or physical disability that would prevent you from performing certain exercises stated in the program? If yes, then perhaps it’s better to move on to the next program
Key to success
The key to achieving weight loss success is your full commitment to your chosen program. Yes, you will be experiencing extreme cravings that would make you want to eat an entire cow, but if you are fully committed to stick to the plan, you can achieve your weight goals.
To further help you with your struggles, join a group forum composed of people who are also undergoing the same weight loss program so that you can swap tips, clarify some of your questions and share words of encouragement to keep you going.