There are many types of weight loss programs to choose from, so when finally decide to make the commitment to get serious about losing your excess weight, it’s important to choose a program that can give you a little structure. You have to have a plan. The problem is, weight loss programs don’t always work for everyone, and if you don’t choose the right one for your body or for your lifestyle, it may do more harm than good. Particularly for those who have tried dieting before, it may leave you wondering, do these weight loss programs really work?
They do. But they only work if you choose the right one. So, how do you know which weight loss program to choose? It’s pretty simple: analyze your lifestyle and realistically determine which of the following categories you fall into, then make a commitment to stick to it and follow through to the end.
1. Pre-made meals/meal plans.
Programs like Jenny Craig and NutriSystem are great for people who have a hard time with portion size and don’t mind eating different items. In fact, this works well for many people. However, for those who have special health problems or for those who crave certain types of foods, this might not work. For the latter, they still end up wanting the food they crave even after they’ve had their meal – and that’s where they blow it and it it anyway.
2. Exercise-driven plans.
Exercise driven programs are those that focus themselves around a specific exercise or workout program. These include the extreme workout programs like “Insanity” and “PB90X” that you might see on late-night infomercials. While this approach definitely works and can yield spectacular results, it is one that you absolutely have to be careful with. There are a lot of exercises that push your body to the limit, which can mean a significant health risk for those who have been sedentary for a while. Additionally, since these programs work you very hard, physically, it leaves you in need of a few more calories than if you were just “walking off the pounds” with your dietary changes. This means you can’t just follow their diet suggestions if you’re not going to do the exercise too – otherwise, you may find you’re not losing weight very fast, or not at all.
3. Niche diets
Niche diets work if you see dieting as a temporary bump in the road. There are people who can power through a weight loss program, telling themselves that when it’s all over, they’ll never have to go through this again. And, as long as they exercise and eat moderately, they probably won’t have to. But this means sacrifice in the short term, and not everyone is up for that. Niche diets include the Atkins Diet, even though many would argue it’s a lifestyle diet; liquid diets, like Optifast (doctor monitored), or any protein shake, meal supplement diet (like Slim Fast); and fad diets like the Hot Dog Diet, The Lemonade Diet, and the Cabbage Soup Diet.
Whichever weight loss plan you choose, you should look beyond just the diet period and focus on overall health. Fad diets don’t always yield results long-term, and exercise-driven weight loss plans may leave you overstressing your body and obtaining injuries that take time to heal. But overall, if you need a fad diet to jumpstart your weight loss and give you a little confidence to continue, go for it! Even if it’s only water loss, some people really need to see that scale drop to motivate them to continue. If you’re one of them, talk to your doctor and see which plan might be a good short-term starter for you.