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When you're looking for a weight loss program, it's wise to look for one that will meet your needs and set you up for long-term success.

In general, look for programs that focus on steady weight loss -- about 1-2 pounds a week.

While you're choosing a program, ask these questions:

  • Does the staff include qualified counselors and health professionals such as registered dietitians, doctors, and exercise physiologists?
  • How limited are the food choices?
  • Who sets your weight loss goal: you, or someone else?
  • What percentage of people complete the program?
  • What is the average weight loss among people who finish the program and at one year?
  • What percentage of people have problems or side effects? What are those problems?
  • Is there a maintenance program to help keep the weight off once you lose it? Maintaining weight loss is important, so there should be a plan for this.
  • What is the total cost, including any foods or supplements that are required?

If you plan to lose more than 15 to 20 pounds, have any health problems, or take medication on a regular basis, talk to your doctor before you start a weight loss program.

If you plan to use a very-low-calorie diet, definitely see your doctor first and check in with them throughout your diet.

WebMD Medical Reference

The WebMD Diet Guide is your ally on your journey to your ideal weight -– with timely, credible healthy eating and weight loss information; unbiased reports on diet plans from A to Z; personalized tools for counting calories, assessing your diet, and evaluating portion sizes; and much more.

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Tools and Calculators

These tools will help you assess your weight, track your food calories and activity calories burned, and learn about portion sizes. 

BMI Calculator

The BMI Plus Calculator is an innovative health and weight calculator that gives personal results on 6 different weight and fitness measurements.

Food and Fitness Planner

Set your own personal goals and WebMD's Food and Fitness Planner will help you manage and achieve the healthy weight and lifestyle you're looking for.

Calorie Counter

Find nutrition facts including calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein, sugar, fiber in over 37,000 foods and beverages.

Portion Size Plate

Portion control is a critical part of successful weight loss and weight management. The WebMD Portion Size Plate gives you easy-to-understand guidelines to help you avoid some common portion-size pitfalls.

Diet Support

Get answers to your diet and nutrition questions by talking to our experts as well as to people who are trying to eat more healthfully. Also, visit other web sites that offer diet and nutrition information.

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Organizations

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Healthy Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

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