Weight Loss Program

QUESTION: What should I look for in a weight loss program?

ANSWER:

The need for a good weight loss program has increased in recent years. This is due to heightened awareness and education regarding the dangers of obesity and overeating. Individuals seeking to lose weight have two main options: they may choose to go on a crash diet (characterized by rapid weight loss) or they may participate in a weight loss program. A weight loss program, unlike a crash diet which usually consists of unhealthy starvation techniques, is a planned course of action with long-term goals.

There are three main types of weight loss programs: clinical programs, non-clinical programs which may or may not be commercially operated, and do-it-yourself or support group programs.
  • The primary consideration in choosing a weight loss program is health. If you are severely overweight or have other health issues, it would be advisable to enroll in a clinical weight loss program. Obesity is a serious health problem which has physiological, social, and psychological issues. Health professionals, such as dieticians, psychologists, nurses, and doctors are available to you in a clinical program. They will be able to monitor weight loss and give expert advice concerning the dietary affects of other health issues.

  • Every weight loss program should begin with a full health assessment. Good commercially sponsored programs will also offer medical screening at the outset. If you are attempting to lose weight on your own, or perhaps with a job-based support group, you should always see your doctor before beginning the program.

Weight Loss Program – How To Start
Once you have been given guidelines from a health professional, you are now ready to embark on the program.

The simple formula for losing weight is to take in fewer calories (via food) and expend more calories or energy (via physical exercise.) A successful weight loss program will have these two goals as its main focus. Whether you are on a high carbohydrate (low fat diet or a high protein) or a low carbohydrate diet, the emphasis of a good program will be balance. This balance can maintain the proper ratios of carbohydrates to fat, for instance, but ensure that other necessary foods are eaten. Look for programs that offer a varied menu and allow for an occasional treat so that you don’t feel deprived.

The physical exercise component of the program should be manageable and fit into your lifestyle. If you are required to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 times a week, be sure that you can maintain it over an extended period. Some programs will have exercise equipment and gym facilities. A do-it-yourself or support program may suggest a brisk 30 minute walk each day.

Weight Loss Program – How To Maintain
Another factor to be considered when seeking a good weight loss program is maintenance. After the desired weight is lost, the program should provide eating guidelines that will sustain the new weight. The ultimate goal is lifestyle change. The thinking and eating patterns that caused the obesity must be modified to promote continuing good health.

Lastly, but most importantly, a good weight loss program will emphasize an individual’s need to seek divine help in the endeavor to lose weight. Unhealthy eating and thinking patterns are not easily broken; it has taken a lifetime to develop them. Along with expert advice, determination and discipline, we will need to look to God for help to become the healthy individuals that He intends for us to be. “Dear friend, I am praying that all is well with you and that your body is as healthy as I know your soul is” (3 John 2).

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