Check It Out: Weight Loss Programs
Some people lose weight on their own; others like the support of a
structured program. Overweight people who are successful at losing weight, and
keeping it off, can reduce their risk factors for heart disease. If you decide
to join any kind of weight control program, here are some questions to ask
before you join.
Does the program provide counseling to help you change your eating
activity, and personal habits?
The program should teach you how to change permanently those eating habits and
lifestyle factors, such as lack of physical activity that have contributed to
Is the staff made up of a variety of qualified counselors and health
professionals such as nutritionists, registered dietitians, doctors, nurses,
psychologists, and exercise physiologists?
You need to be evaluated by a physician if you have any health problems, are
currently taking any medicine, or plan on taking any medicine, or plan to lose
more than 15 to 20 pounds. If your weight control plan uses a very low-calorie
diet (a special liquid formula that replaces all food for 1 to 4 months), an
exam and follow up visits by a doctor are also needed.
Is training available on how to deal with times when you may feel
stressed and slip back to old habits?
The program should provide long-term strategies to deal with weight problems
you may have in the future. These strategies might include things like setting
up a support system and establishing a physical activity routine.
Is attention paid to keeping the weight off? How long is this
Choose a program that teaches skills and techniques to make permanent changes
in eating habits and levels of physical activity to prevent weight gain.
Are food choices flexible and suitable? Are weight goals set by the
client and the health professional?
The program should consider your food likes and dislikes and your lifestyle
when your weight loss goals are planned.
There are other questions you can ask about how well a program works. Because
many programs don't gather this information, you may not get answers. But it's
still important to ask them: