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First Things First (Part 2)


Updated February 15, 2014

What to Look For

Sensible weight loss programs will include vegetables, whole grains and lean protein among their staple foods.

Focusing on one particular food (or type of food) to provide sustenance is not a good idea. (A recent diet offer left me wondering just who on earth could live on cabbage soup for three meals a day. Not me!)

If the plan sounds like something you'll tire of easily, why waste your time or money? If you already know you don't like a certain food, you're probably not going to develop a taste for it for your diet.

Where's the Bread?

Many of today's popular diets consider certain foods to be "unfavorable." which is a little different from what the average American diet entails.

You may find fruit limited on some diets -- this is due to some fruits' high sugar content; however, some fruits should be re-incorporated into the diet (e.g. even low-carb diets include berries like blueberries and strawberries) at some point.

You'll also hear about refined sugars and "white foods" such as white bread. These are foods, like baked goods, are high-carb and high-sugar.

Other issues you may explore as part of a good weight loss program are sensible snacking, the importance of drinking enough water, quelling emotional eating, and dealing with weight loss plateaus.

A sensible diet will not make wild promises (You've seen the signs: "I lost 80 pounds in one month!"), it will instead suggest that it can help you use one to two pounds a week. Anything else smacks of a fad diet.

And, as far as health professionals are concerned one to two pounds lost per week is a safe and healthy rate at which to lose; and the weight's more likely to stay off when peeled off at this pace.

Get a Professional on the Case

If you're thinking of joining a weight loss club, program, or receiving consultations, be sure to ask about the staff's credentials. What kind of training have they received? Are they certified? Does their training build upon continuing education? How much experience do they have?

You may want to ask what sort of consultation you can expect: Food diary reviews, informal discussions, and group support are all components of popular weight loss programs -- which one is right for you? Only you can say.

Try and Try Again

Much of finding the right weight loss program comes down to trial and error. The important thing is to not give up.

And remember: If you don't find a plan that suits your tastes, you could always create your own "DIY" weight loss plan.

Your first mission should be to target a way to start cutting calories.

By using a Web site like Calorie Count Plus, you can count the number of calories that are in the foods you eat every day. By doing so, you can find ways to cut calories.

Most people can easily adjust to cutting their caloric intake by approximately 500 calories a day. Where you find those "cuttable calories" really doesn't matter. A calorie is calorie.

For some people, cutting 500 calories a day might not even affect what they eat: Soda-drinkers could easily consume 500 calories a day in beverages alone, especially if "free refills" are a part of your daily routine.

A Word to the Wise

No one is exactly the same as you and no two people have identical experiences with losing weight. It is very important that you stay attuned to your body and pay attention to the signals it is giving you.

If you experience illness or unusual side effects while using a weight loss program or product, you should consult a physician immediately. You can also file a report with the Food and Drug Administration by calling 1-800-332-1088.

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