Starting a weight-loss plan
Starting a weight-loss plan may take a lot of work but there are many long-term health benefits to taking this step. There are a variety of medical and commercial weight-loss programs to choose from. The right weight-loss plan for you is one that meets your body's nutritional needs and helps you make beneficial lifestyle changes. It's also important that you find a plan that you can stick with as long as necessary.
Choose a plan
You should look for a plan that's reputable and helps you lose weight at a safe pace of about one to two pounds per week. Christie Ferriell a registered dietitian and nutrition manager at Reid Health recommends that you avoid programs that promote quick fixes or fad dieting so you can set realistic and achievable goals. If you're prone to emotional eating you should choose a program that offers behavior modification strategies.
Start losing weight
Effective weight loss generally requires you to eat fewer calories on a daily basis. Reducing your current intake by about 500 calories per day - by cutting high-calorie sweets sugary drinks and refined grains like white bread from your diet - is a good place to start. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reports that increasing fruits vegetables low-fat dairy foods and protein in your diet may help you lose weight and keep the weight off.
Commercial weight-loss plans
There are several commercial weight-loss programs that are backed by research as being safe and effective for long-term healthy weight management. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig are effective for weight loss even after 12 months. The researchers who conducted this study note that health care providers may refer overweight and obese patients to these two commercial weight-loss programs.
Weight-loss apps have gained in popularity and "a variety of apps are great tools for people to use as they work toward weight loss" notes Ferriell. Such apps allow you to track your calorie intake and expenditure which helps you reach measurable weight-loss goals. A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research reports that phone apps focusing on self-monitoring of diet and exercise such as My Meal Mate and MyFitnessPal appear to improve adherence and aid in weight loss.
The bottom line
The key to starting a weight-loss plan is choosing a program that fits your needs and allows you to set and reach achievable weight-loss goals. You should pick a plan that helps you control your calorie intake and make lifestyle changes you can stick with indefinitely.