Why do so many people jump from one weight loss program to another, year after year, with minimal results and more money out of our wallets? You can not help seeing the ads. The tabloids, the late night infomercials, the latest diet program sweeping the offices. The list goes on and on. Most of the time, the lack of preparation and planning are the root cause to minimal results and failed dreams.
You may not know what to look for in a weight loss program or what questions to ask. Help is here! This article will guide you in talking to your doctor and the providers of the seemingly endless weight loss programs available today.
As with any weight loss program, fitness exercise or nutritional plan, see your health care provider before you decide on a weight loss program.
When you visit your doctor, tell them about your concerns with weight loss. Share your feelings about medical conditions you have or medicines you are taking. Do not forget the "herbal" remedies and vitamins or other over the counter pills you take.
Write down your questions in advance. Take a notepad and pen to capture key points of information. Bring a friend or family member along for support if this will make you more comfortable.
Make sure you understand what your doctor is saying. No medical speak here. Ask for other sources of information.
So, with your weight loss program in site, here are the top 10 questions you MUST have answered:
1) Does this program address "mindset" and motivation issues? We are what we eat. How many times have you heard this line? Our mind controls our every action. Positive thoughts in and positive actions out. Negative thoughts in and negative actions out. "My whole family has always been fat, it is in our genes." This self talk over time will put extra weight in those jeans! Be aware though that motivation and support are the KEY to a successful program. Do not consider any program and run from any program that does not address motivation and mindset.
2) What is my ideal weight goal and why? Your height and bone structure help determine your optimal weight. Many body fat (mass) tables are available to assist you and your program leader in setting realistic targets starting out. Remember, you did not get overweight overnight so don't try to lose it overnight either.
3) What goals will I set? Do not start a plan without a specific set of measurable goals written down. What will my benefits be exactly by getting to X pounds in 1 year? Also, losing more than 2-3 pounds per week can be very dangerous. Do not believe the claims of massive weight loss in some programs. Always the fine print will read "results are not typical." Need I say more?
4) How does nutrition and physical activity affect my goals? How should I change my eating habits? What kinds of physical activity can I do starting out? How much physical activity do I need now and within the next year? Each of these questions is vital in laying out a weight loss program. Safe and effective weight-loss programs should include:
* Healthy eating plans that reduce calories but do not forbid specific foods or food groups.
* Tips to increase moderate-intensity physical activity.
* Tips on healthy behavior changes that also keep your cultural needs in mind.
* Slow and steady weight loss. Depending on your starting weight, experts recommend losing weight at a rate of 1/2 to 2 lbs per week.
* Medical care if you are planning to lose weight by following a special formula diet, such as a very low- calorie diet.
* A plan to keep the weight off after you have lost it.
5) Should I treat my weight loss medically? With some exceptions for overly obese people and others under the direction of their doctors, a weight loss program should start with proven techniques for losing weight. This is why your doctor is critical in your decision making process.
6) What are the components of the weight loss program?
* Does the program offer one-on-one counseling or group classes?
* Do you have to follow a specific meal plan or keep food records?
* Do you have to purchase special food, drugs, or supplements?
* Does the program help you be more physically active, follow a specific physical activity plan, or provide exercise instruction?
7) What are the staff qualifications?
* Who supervises the program?
* What type of weight management training, experience, education, and certifications are required of the staff?
8) Are risks associated with this program? If so, to what degree and how will it affect me?
* Could the program hurt you?
* Could the recommended drugs or supplements harm your health?
* Do participants talk with a doctor?
* Does a doctor run the program?
* Will the program's doctors work with your personal doctor if you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure or are taking prescribed drugs?
9) How much does the program cost? Ongoing fees? Does it include everything I need?
* What is the total cost of the program?
* Are there other costs, such as weekly attendance fees, food and supplement purchases, etc.?
* Are there fees for a follow-up program after you lose weight?
* Are there other fees for medical tests?
10) What results do participants typically achieve?
* How much weight does an average participant lose and how long does he or she keep the weight off?
* Does the program offer publications or materials that describe what results participants typically have?
BONUS #11 question: (We saved the best for last)
11) What is the referral rate from others that finished the program? Most people NEVER ask this question. Most providers may be caught off guard with the question. If any program is successful in the long term, referrals are the best indication the programs works. Otherwise, simply moving large amounts of people through the program gives a sense of success even if none exist.
To review, remember, you and your doctor are the key to success. Motivation is powerful. Do you have children? A spouse? Extended family? Picture them if you are not around in your later years. Do it for them! Do it for yourself! DO IT!