Your body weight is really controlled by the number of calories you eat and the number of calories you use each day through things like exercise and physical activity. This means that to lose weight, you actually need to take in fewer calories each day than you use so that there is a deficit in calories consumed.
There are two ways to do this – by becoming more physically active or by eating less each day. Following a weight loss program that helps you to become more physically active and also decrease the number of calories that you eat, is the best way to achieve successful weight loss.
To lose weight and keep it off, you should be aware of the different types of programs that are available. You should also look at what makes up a good program. Knowing this information can help you select a weight loss program that will really work. The four types of weight loss programs include:
- Any effort to lose weight by yourself or with a support group either on or offline fits in the “do-it-yourself” category. People using a do-it-yourself program rely on group support, and products such as diet books, for advice.
- These programs tend to be commercially operated, such as privately-owned, weight loss chains. They often use books and pamphlets that are prepared by healthcare providers but use counselors who are not usually trained healthcare providers. Some of these programs require participants to use the program’s food or supplements.
- This type of program is usually provided in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital, by licensed health professionals, including physicians, nurses, dietitians, and/or psychologists. In some clinical programs, a health professional works alone; in others, a group of health professionals works together to provide services to patients. These clinical programs offer services such as nutrition education, medical care, behavior change therapy, and physical activity. Clinical programs may also use other weight loss methods, such as very low-calorie diets, weight loss drugs, and surgery, to treat severely overweight patients. All of these programs would be carefully supervised during implementation.
- Gastric bypass surgeries are combination procedures that use both restriction and malabsorption to achieve weight loss. Because it is a combination approach, it tends to be more successful for weight loss than purely restrictive surgeries. Gastric bypass surgery may be an option if you are significantly obese and have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight on diet and exercise programs and are unlikely to lose weight successfully with non-surgical methods.
If you are considering a weight-loss program and you have medical problems, or if you are severely overweight, then programs or surgery run or conducted by trained health professionals are probably your best option. These professionals are more likely to monitor you for possible side effects of weight loss and will help you to lose weight successfully and safely.
Whether you decide to use the do-it-yourself, non-clinical, or clinical approach, the program you opt for should help you lose weight and help you to keep it off by teaching you healthy eating and exercise habits that you will be able to use for years to come.