Choosing a Commercial Weight-Loss Program

Weight loss is not as easy as it sounds for some people, who find they need some outside help. It is important to be aware of the different types of programs and options available so that you are able to make an informed choice. Do your homework before you sink your money into a program, and select a weight loss program that works for you. A responsible and safe weight-loss program should feature the following:

  • The program should take into account your individual nutrient needs and supply your daily recommended levels of vitamins, minerals, and protein.

  • The program should be moderate in calories (not too low) and should not leave out entire food groups.

  • The program should encourage a safe, personalized physical activity program.

  • The program should be directed toward a slow, steady weight loss of about ½ to 2 pounds per week and ½ to 1 pound if breastfeeding.

  • If you are breastfeeding, the program should offer an eating plan especially for breastfeeding moms that is tailored to their special needs.

  • The program should include plans for weight maintenance after the weight loss phase is over. Weight maintenance is the most difficult part of controlling weight and is not consistently implemented in weight-loss programs.

  • The program should provide help in permanently changing your dietary as well as your exercise habits. The program should make changes to your previous lifestyle (before pregnancy) if that contributed to some of your weight gain.

  • The program should provide behavior modification, including education in healthy eating habits and long-term plans to deal with weight problems.

  • The program should provide you with a detailed disclosure of all fees and costs, including hidden fees for items such as special foods and supplements.

  • Most importantly, make sure the program is sensible and realistic. Make sure it is something you can (and will) stick with. You have a newborn at home now, so make sure the program fits your busy lifestyle, too.

    Facing Fad Diets

    No matter how eager you are to lose your pregnancy weight, fad diets are not the answer. Quicker and easy is not always better. That is doubly true for women who are breastfeeding and who need extra calories and nutrients for successful breastfeeding. There are hundreds of fad-type diet books and programs on the market today that lure people by promising quick and easy weight loss. These fad diets come and go quickly, with each one having a different twist: low fat, high carbohydrate; high fat, low carbohydrate; high protein; liquid supplements; food combining; eat for your blood type; and many others.

    In general, fad diets have one thing in common — a point of restraint. Some of these restraints come in the form of carbohydrates; some are calories, specific foods, food groups, or fat. These restrictions can lead to severe nutritional deficiencies over time.

    Fad diets do not touch on the emotional and behavioral ties that are associated with overeating, and they are usually so restrictive and unrealistic that most people can't stick with them very long. These diets do not help people establish healthful eating habits, and as a result many end up going back to old eating habits as soon as they are finished. Most people who use these diets end up gaining back most, if not more, of the weight they lost. This lays the foundation for an endless circle of diets without ever achieving successful long-term weight loss. This can cause a great deal of frustration, guilt, and feelings of failure.

    Few fad diets encourage exercise, which is essential to losing weight and maintaining weight loss over a long period of time. Most people who lose weight and maintain weight successfully do not rely on a single strategy. In addition, many of these diet crazes are not backed up by scientific research and/or credible organizations. Your rule of thumb should be that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

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