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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 any weight loss program.

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

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