We may have lots of reasons for starting a weight loss program, such as to improve our health, lose the beer belly or maybe lose weight after pregnancy. But there is only one way that we judge if it has been successful, did it result in permanent long term weight loss? If the weight simply returns, we can be left more frustrated and depressed than ever.
Choosing the right kind of diet and making sensible healthy changes isn't easy, not with the sheer amount of diet plans and slimming products on the market (all claiming to be the best thing since sliced bread).
But before you put your heart and soul (and your cash) into a diet plan, make sure it includes the following 5 vital ingredients: -
1. Does It Promote Healthy Eating?
Does your weight loss program promote sensible changes to your eating habits, or does it call for drastic changes like excluding certain food groups or cutting out carbohydrates? If your program is far to restrictive (with not enough calories), you will be hungry all day, making you feel miserable and prone to over-eating. You need a plan that encourages permanent changes to your daily eating habits, while providing enough calories and nutrition to get you through each day.
2. Does It Educate You?
A weight loss program should make you analyse your relationship with food, and educate you to make permanent changes for the better. You should find out what circumstances and situations trigger your bad eating habits. Are there certain foods that once you start eating, you just can't stop? It is not just about cutting calories, but also understanding and changing your behaviour towards food. Why are you overweight and what is causing you to eat too much, and the wrong kinds of food?
3. Does It Involve Exercise?
A good quality diet plan should incorporate regular exercise, as this is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. Any plan that ignores or dismisses exercise is one that you should avoid. Half an hour of regular cardiovascular exercise 3 -4 times a week will vastly improve your physical amd mental well-being.
4. Is It Based On Gradual Weight Loss
Any plan that encourages you to lose weight too quickly, can't be good for your health. Crash and fad diets are far too restrictive and rarely lead to permanent weight loss. After the initial weight loss in the first two weeks, you should be aiming to lose no more than 2 pounds a week.
5. Does It Involve A Long Term Plan
A healthy diet should not just show you how to lose weight, but also how to maintain your healthy weight in the long term. A healthy lifestyle should always be a work in progress and never a final destination.
Now that you know what makes a successful weight loss program, choose wisely before investing your valuable time and effort.