Choosing a Weight Loss Program

Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on March 06, 2023

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 percentage of weight loss among people who finish the program?
  • 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 any amount of weight, have any health problems, or take medication on a regular basis, talk to your doctor before you start any weight loss program.

If you've considered a very-low-calorie diet, definitely see your doctor first and check in with them throughout your diet. They may be able to suggest a healthier choice to help you reach your long-term fitness goals.

Show Sources


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-loss Program," "Weight Loss for Life."

Mayo Clinic: "Weight loss: Choosing a diet that's right for you."

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