Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-loss Program

Reviewed Aug 19, 2016

Close

E-mail Article

Complete form to e-mail article…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

Separate multiple recipients with a comma

Close

Sign-Up For Newsletters

Complete this form to sign-up for newsletters…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

 

Summary

  • Find out as much as you can about your health needs before joining a weight-loss program.
  • Look for one that is based on regular physical activity and an eating plan that is balanced, healthy, and easy to follow.

Talking to your health care provider about your weight is an important first step. Doctors do not always address issues such as healthy eating, physical activity, and weight control during general office visits. It is important for you to bring up these issues to get the help you need. Even if you feel uneasy talking about your weight with your doctor, remember that he or she is there to help you improve your health.

He or she can review any medical problems that you have and any drugs that you take to help you set goals for controlling your weight. Make sure you understand what your doctor is saying. Ask questions if you do not understand something.

You may want to ask your doctor to recommend a weight-loss program or specialist. If you do start a weight-loss program, discuss your choice of program with your doctor, especially if you have any health problems.

What should I look for in a weight-loss program?

Successful, long-term weight control must focus on your overall health, not just on what you eat. Changing your lifestyle is not easy, but adopting healthy habits may help you manage your weight in the long run.

Effective weight-loss programs include ways to keep the weight off for good. These programs promote healthy behaviors that help you lose weight and that you can stick with every day.

Safe and effective weight-loss programs should include:

  • a plan to keep the weight off over the long run
  • guidance on how to develop healthier eating and physical activity habits
  • ongoing feedback, monitoring, and support
  • slow and steady weight-loss goals—usually ½ to 2 pounds per week (though weight loss may be faster at the start of a program)

Some weight-loss programs may use very low-calorie diets (up to 800 calories per day) to promote rapid weight loss among people who have a lot of excess weight. This type of diet requires close medical supervision through frequent office visits and medical tests.

What if the program is offered online?

Many weight-loss programs are now being offered online—either fully or partly. Not much is known about how well these programs work. However, experts suggest that online weight-loss programs should provide the following:

  • structured, weekly lessons offered online or by podcasts
  • support tailored to your personal goals
  • self-monitoring of eating and physical activity using handheld devices, such as cell phones or online journals
  • regular feedback from a counselor on goals, progress, and results, given by email, phone, or text messages
  • social support from a group through bulletin boards, chat rooms, and/or online meetings

Whether the program is online or in person, you should get as much background as you can before deciding to join.

What questions should I ask about the program?

Professionals working for weight-loss programs should be able to answer questions about the program's features, safety, costs, and results. The following are sample questions you may want to ask.

What does the weight-loss program include?

  • Does the program offer group classes or one-on-one counseling that will help me develop healthier habits?
  • Do I have to follow a specific meal plan or keep food records?
  • Do I have to buy special meals or supplements?
  • If the program requires special foods, can I make changes based on my likes, dislikes, and food allergies (if any)?
  • Will the program help me be more physically active, follow a specific physical activity plan, or provide exercise guidelines?
  • Will the program work with my lifestyle and cultural needs? Does the program provide ways to deal with such issues as social or holiday eating, changes to work schedules, lack of motivation, and injury or illness?
  • Does the program include a plan to help me keep the weight off once I've lost weight?

What are the staff credentials?

  • Who supervises the program?
  • What type of weight-control certifications, education, experience, and training do the staff have?

Does the product or program carry any risks?

  • Could the program hurt me?
  • Could the suggested drugs or supplements harm my health?
  • Do the people involved in the program get to talk with a doctor?
  • Does a doctor or other certified health professional run the program?
  • Will the program's doctor or staff work with my health care provider if needed (for example, to address how the program may affect an existing medical issue)?
  • Is there ongoing input and follow-up from a health care provider to ensure my safety while I take part in the program?

How much does the program cost?

  • What is the total cost of the program?
  • Are there other costs, such as membership fees, fees for weekly visits, and payments for food, meal replacements, supplements, or other products?
  • Are there other fees for medical tests?
  • Are there fees for a follow-up program after I lose weight?

What results do people in the program typically have?

  • How much weight does the average person lose?
  • How long does the average person keep the weight off?
  • Do you have written information on these results?
Source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/choosing.htm

Summary

  • Find out as much as you can about your health needs before joining a weight-loss program.
  • Look for one that is based on regular physical activity and an eating plan that is balanced, healthy, and easy to follow.

Talking to your health care provider about your weight is an important first step. Doctors do not always address issues such as healthy eating, physical activity, and weight control during general office visits. It is important for you to bring up these issues to get the help you need. Even if you feel uneasy talking about your weight with your doctor, remember that he or she is there to help you improve your health.

He or she can review any medical problems that you have and any drugs that you take to help you set goals for controlling your weight. Make sure you understand what your doctor is saying. Ask questions if you do not understand something.

You may want to ask your doctor to recommend a weight-loss program or specialist. If you do start a weight-loss program, discuss your choice of program with your doctor, especially if you have any health problems.

What should I look for in a weight-loss program?

Successful, long-term weight control must focus on your overall health, not just on what you eat. Changing your lifestyle is not easy, but adopting healthy habits may help you manage your weight in the long run.

Effective weight-loss programs include ways to keep the weight off for good. These programs promote healthy behaviors that help you lose weight and that you can stick with every day.

Safe and effective weight-loss programs should include:

  • a plan to keep the weight off over the long run
  • guidance on how to develop healthier eating and physical activity habits
  • ongoing feedback, monitoring, and support
  • slow and steady weight-loss goals—usually ½ to 2 pounds per week (though weight loss may be faster at the start of a program)

Some weight-loss programs may use very low-calorie diets (up to 800 calories per day) to promote rapid weight loss among people who have a lot of excess weight. This type of diet requires close medical supervision through frequent office visits and medical tests.

What if the program is offered online?

Many weight-loss programs are now being offered online—either fully or partly. Not much is known about how well these programs work. However, experts suggest that online weight-loss programs should provide the following:

  • structured, weekly lessons offered online or by podcasts
  • support tailored to your personal goals
  • self-monitoring of eating and physical activity using handheld devices, such as cell phones or online journals
  • regular feedback from a counselor on goals, progress, and results, given by email, phone, or text messages
  • social support from a group through bulletin boards, chat rooms, and/or online meetings

Whether the program is online or in person, you should get as much background as you can before deciding to join.

What questions should I ask about the program?

Professionals working for weight-loss programs should be able to answer questions about the program's features, safety, costs, and results. The following are sample questions you may want to ask.

What does the weight-loss program include?

  • Does the program offer group classes or one-on-one counseling that will help me develop healthier habits?
  • Do I have to follow a specific meal plan or keep food records?
  • Do I have to buy special meals or supplements?
  • If the program requires special foods, can I make changes based on my likes, dislikes, and food allergies (if any)?
  • Will the program help me be more physically active, follow a specific physical activity plan, or provide exercise guidelines?
  • Will the program work with my lifestyle and cultural needs? Does the program provide ways to deal with such issues as social or holiday eating, changes to work schedules, lack of motivation, and injury or illness?
  • Does the program include a plan to help me keep the weight off once I've lost weight?

What are the staff credentials?

  • Who supervises the program?
  • What type of weight-control certifications, education, experience, and training do the staff have?

Does the product or program carry any risks?

  • Could the program hurt me?
  • Could the suggested drugs or supplements harm my health?
  • Do the people involved in the program get to talk with a doctor?
  • Does a doctor or other certified health professional run the program?
  • Will the program's doctor or staff work with my health care provider if needed (for example, to address how the program may affect an existing medical issue)?
  • Is there ongoing input and follow-up from a health care provider to ensure my safety while I take part in the program?

How much does the program cost?

  • What is the total cost of the program?
  • Are there other costs, such as membership fees, fees for weekly visits, and payments for food, meal replacements, supplements, or other products?
  • Are there other fees for medical tests?
  • Are there fees for a follow-up program after I lose weight?

What results do people in the program typically have?

  • How much weight does the average person lose?
  • How long does the average person keep the weight off?
  • Do you have written information on these results?
Source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/choosing.htm

Summary

  • Find out as much as you can about your health needs before joining a weight-loss program.
  • Look for one that is based on regular physical activity and an eating plan that is balanced, healthy, and easy to follow.

Talking to your health care provider about your weight is an important first step. Doctors do not always address issues such as healthy eating, physical activity, and weight control during general office visits. It is important for you to bring up these issues to get the help you need. Even if you feel uneasy talking about your weight with your doctor, remember that he or she is there to help you improve your health.

He or she can review any medical problems that you have and any drugs that you take to help you set goals for controlling your weight. Make sure you understand what your doctor is saying. Ask questions if you do not understand something.

You may want to ask your doctor to recommend a weight-loss program or specialist. If you do start a weight-loss program, discuss your choice of program with your doctor, especially if you have any health problems.

What should I look for in a weight-loss program?

Successful, long-term weight control must focus on your overall health, not just on what you eat. Changing your lifestyle is not easy, but adopting healthy habits may help you manage your weight in the long run.

Effective weight-loss programs include ways to keep the weight off for good. These programs promote healthy behaviors that help you lose weight and that you can stick with every day.

Safe and effective weight-loss programs should include:

  • a plan to keep the weight off over the long run
  • guidance on how to develop healthier eating and physical activity habits
  • ongoing feedback, monitoring, and support
  • slow and steady weight-loss goals—usually ½ to 2 pounds per week (though weight loss may be faster at the start of a program)

Some weight-loss programs may use very low-calorie diets (up to 800 calories per day) to promote rapid weight loss among people who have a lot of excess weight. This type of diet requires close medical supervision through frequent office visits and medical tests.

What if the program is offered online?

Many weight-loss programs are now being offered online—either fully or partly. Not much is known about how well these programs work. However, experts suggest that online weight-loss programs should provide the following:

  • structured, weekly lessons offered online or by podcasts
  • support tailored to your personal goals
  • self-monitoring of eating and physical activity using handheld devices, such as cell phones or online journals
  • regular feedback from a counselor on goals, progress, and results, given by email, phone, or text messages
  • social support from a group through bulletin boards, chat rooms, and/or online meetings

Whether the program is online or in person, you should get as much background as you can before deciding to join.

What questions should I ask about the program?

Professionals working for weight-loss programs should be able to answer questions about the program's features, safety, costs, and results. The following are sample questions you may want to ask.

What does the weight-loss program include?

  • Does the program offer group classes or one-on-one counseling that will help me develop healthier habits?
  • Do I have to follow a specific meal plan or keep food records?
  • Do I have to buy special meals or supplements?
  • If the program requires special foods, can I make changes based on my likes, dislikes, and food allergies (if any)?
  • Will the program help me be more physically active, follow a specific physical activity plan, or provide exercise guidelines?
  • Will the program work with my lifestyle and cultural needs? Does the program provide ways to deal with such issues as social or holiday eating, changes to work schedules, lack of motivation, and injury or illness?
  • Does the program include a plan to help me keep the weight off once I've lost weight?

What are the staff credentials?

  • Who supervises the program?
  • What type of weight-control certifications, education, experience, and training do the staff have?

Does the product or program carry any risks?

  • Could the program hurt me?
  • Could the suggested drugs or supplements harm my health?
  • Do the people involved in the program get to talk with a doctor?
  • Does a doctor or other certified health professional run the program?
  • Will the program's doctor or staff work with my health care provider if needed (for example, to address how the program may affect an existing medical issue)?
  • Is there ongoing input and follow-up from a health care provider to ensure my safety while I take part in the program?

How much does the program cost?

  • What is the total cost of the program?
  • Are there other costs, such as membership fees, fees for weekly visits, and payments for food, meal replacements, supplements, or other products?
  • Are there other fees for medical tests?
  • Are there fees for a follow-up program after I lose weight?

What results do people in the program typically have?

  • How much weight does the average person lose?
  • How long does the average person keep the weight off?
  • Do you have written information on these results?
Source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/choosing.htm

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical or health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

Close

  • Useful Tools

    Select a tool below

© 2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.