There are more varieties of weight-loss
program than we can possibly imagine. I
did a quick search to see what is out there and I was bowled over by the number
of possibilities – all, more or less, contradicting the other! As anybody knows, finding the right one for
you is not something you want to take lightly and knowing what to look for is
probably a great starting place.
Here are 10 things to consider when
evaluating a weight-loss program!
These things are offered to you in no
particular order because what matters to you may not be the same as what
matters to me.
Is it sustainable financially? –There
are programs out there that are so expensive that a few weeks into it, you
can’t see yourself continuing. The
stress/emotions that this single aspect puts on you and your family can easily
become one more reason for you to want to snack or down‑right binge! Some programs know this all too well so they
get you to prepay for the entire program in advance creating an obligation for
you to continue… Really, shouldn’t you be free to continue for the right
reasons? Be sure you don’t fall prey at a time when your emotions are at skin
surface which they most assuredly are when the urgency of losing weight is at a
Is it sustainable physically? – In other
words, are you going to be hungry! This
is one of the most important things to consider. I don’t care whether you have 10 lbs or 100
lbs to loose, you can’t make it through to the end while fighting hunger every
day. Consider that, on certain programs,
1,200 calories aren’t enough to keep hunger away while, on other programs, you
can feel energized and never hungry with only 850 calories. Ever wonder why? That’s because calories are not all the same.
Calories that come from carbohydrates
are not going to sustain you while calories that come from protein will nourish
your muscles and help rebuild your metabolism.
When asking how many calories, don’t be afraid to ask what they are
Is it sustainable emotionally? – I bet
you never considered this aspect. What
do I mean? A great many people who seek to lose weight attest to being
emotional eaters. What gets eaten during
those episodes? Anything and
everything! You want your program to
have answers and solutions for that… Usually your weight-loss coach is your
best resource which means that your relationship with your coach has to be
solid. A good coach will be able to find
adapted solutions for you!
Is it sustainable socially? – Have you
ever noticed that the minute you start a diet, your social calendar fills
up? Doing a weight-loss program from
Monday to Friday and then kicking it as an old habit on Saturday promising to
start again on Monday is NOT the way to do it!
To be successful, you want a program that will carry you through the
whole journey so that you can be done with it!
What is often missing is a knowledgeable coach that can give you good
suggestions and sound advice to get you through those social events. The best part is that those are the very
moments that you will feel the most proud, which in turn will fuel your desire
to be even more successful!
Is the suggested food list something you can work with? – There are two sides to this coin.
Number one, if you don’t like very many vegetables, you may be stuck
regardless of the program you chose, you can’t lose weight eating potatoes and
corn! On the flip side, if you don’t
like most of the food on the program, you are going to be miserable. The one thing to remember is that during the weight-loss
period, your goal is to increase your knowledge and appreciation of the things
that are good for you. Start with the
things you already know and like, then gradually add foods you don’t know and even
some you don’t like. You would be amazed
to find that cooking something you don’t like in a different manner can turn it
into a new favourite just like that! Adding new foods to your favourite list
will avoid you going back to all the foods you used to eat, which were likely
responsible for the weight you put on.
Is the environment one where you feel comfortable? – Some like to be in a crowd, others are very private. If you are of the first kind, doing a group
program is likely for you. The downside
of this is that the “subject of the week” may not really apply to you. If this happens to fall on a week where you
have a personal challenge, you may leave the meeting feeling empty with still
more questions than answers. Having a
personal coach who meets with you one-on-one every week is usually more
beneficial. Think of any learning
process; private lessons are always more effective than classroom… and it
doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
Seek the programs where the coaching is included! If you are at the right place, they will
understand the importance of building a trusting relationship with your coach
so they will assign you one coach for the duration of your journey!
Is there an educational component to the program? – In my 22 years of yoyo dieting, this is the aspect that was
almost always absent! Ever heard the
catch phrase “knowledge is power”?
Learning more about how the body metabolises food and how the body
stores fat… and how it releases it is so important and that’s just the
beginning. What about the role of
protein in your body, and carbs and fat?
There is so much to learn! Think
of the generations to come that will benefit from you learning this. If you are third generation dieter in your
family, isn’t it time you learned all this so that your kids don’t have to be
stuck in the same cycle.
Is the maintenance phase part of the program? – If you have dieted before you know that most programs end when
you reach your goal weight… But wait;
who will tell you if you are doing well or not on maintenance? Who will guide you so that you don’t go back
to old habits? Who will be in your camp so you don’t start feeling guilty if
you put on a pound or two. So be sure that your coach is going to continue to
see you after you reach your goal. This
is, in fact, the most important part of your journey!
Is your centre accessible? – We all work
with someone – especially at this time of year – who seems to be very
successful on a particular diet. In
fact, it is often how we decide which program to do… If they have a coach worth
travelling for, then go for it! We have
had people travel as far as 45 minutes to an hour and a half just to be mentored
by one of our elite coaches. But that’s
not for everyone! Be sure that the
process is sustainable. See if your
clinic has a “sister” location closer to where you work or live!
What about conserving your muscle mass? –
When you lose 3 lbs according to a set of scales, have you ever wondered what
the 3 lbs is made of? Well most of the time,
it will be made of fat, muscle and water.
Although a great number to see on the scales, what you want to lose is
fat, NOT muscle, and NOT water. So how
do you conserve muscle and stay hydrated?
Well that’s part of another article but let’s just say that some diets
aim specifically at conserving muscle which is really important because muscle
is what boosts your metabolism and burns the calories you eat. You don’t want to waste any of your muscle
even for the sake of seeing the number on the scales go down! Know what you are
burning, the best programs will be able to tell you!
priorities are different! You might want
to build an evaluation grid and score the programs you are currently looking at
to get the big picture. Attribute a
value of 1 to 5 to each element and see what you get. Don’t leave anything out!
On a final note,
one of the reliable ways to test an organization you are considering is by
asking what they are willing to share before you make your decision. If all you get is a price, then you may be at
the wrong place! If you get actual,
usable, information, well, think of it this way, it’s like watching a movie
preview, it will help you get a glimpse of what they are really made of!
Owner/Certified Weight Coach
Food-Wise Weight Loss