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Choosing a Weight-Loss Program - Topic Overview

If you decide to join a weight-loss program, here are some questions to ask before you join:

  • Does the program provide counseling? A good program teaches you how to permanently change your eating and exercise habits with group or one-on-one support.
  • Is the staff qualified? All program staff should have training and experience in helping people with healthy weight loss. Weight-loss goals should be realistic and should be reviewed by a health professional. Find out if there are doctors, nurses, licensed psychologists, and/or registered dietitians.
  • Will the weight stay off? The program should help you get past common difficulties in keeping the weight off, like setting up a support system, making exercise routine, and offering a good plan for maintenance.
  • What can you eat? The program should consider your food likes and dislikes and your lifestyle.
  • What type of exercise will you do? A good program will include a variety of physical activity for fitness.
  • What are the risks? Find out if there are side effects from using the program.
  • Does it work? What percentage of people get to the maintenance phase of the program? What is their average weight loss? How long do they keep the weight off? How much do they gain back?
  • What is the total cost? Are there fees or costs for tests, food, or dietary supplements?

To lose weight and keep it off, a lifestyle change that uses healthy eating and increased activity levels is needed. For more information on healthy eating and activity, see the topics Healthy Eating and Fitness.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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