February 21, 2017

Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Weight-Loss Program

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Obesity has been shown to increase the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, respiratory issues, gallstones, diabetes and more. Not only does being overweight increase your chances of developing serious illnesses, but it can also dramatically shorten your lifespan.

While the thought of the hard-work it will take to lose weight can be extremely daunting, it is important to remember that there are numerous programs that have been created to make the journey a lot easier.

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With so many weight loss programs around it is imperative that you pick the program that suits your goals and lifestyle perfectly.

Here are a few questions that you should take into consideration before choosing between weight loss programs.


1.  Is counseling available to help me change and manage my everyday eating habits and lifestyle?

  • Quick fix, fast weight loss diets can work in the short term, but keeping the weight off and continuing a healthy lifestyle can take more work. Look for a program that teaches you how to permanently change your eating habits and lifestyle.

2.  Does the staff consist of licensed, professional, or extremely experienced health professionals, nutritionists, dietitians, doctors or exercise physiologists?

  • While you can be an excellent weight-lost specialist without having medical credentials, it is important to have training and experience in helping people with healthy weight loss. Anyone can give you tips on how to lose weight, but losing weight in a healthy fashion is definitely something that requires a bit of expertise. Remember: if you currently have health issues, are taking medications or are trying to lose more than 15 pounds, you should see a doctor before making any serious lifestyle changes.

3.  Is there training or counselors who can be there and help when you feel like giving up or when you simply need support?

  • It takes longer to break a habit than to start a healthy routine. Many people do not successfully reach their weight loss goal because they are unable to make the long-term changes. Lifestyle adjustments are often easier to maintain when you have a good foundation and support system to lean upon for help and encouragement.

4.  Are the food choices flexible and easy to incorporate into your lifestyle?

  • Drastic, strict diet changes are harder to maintain. Try to find a program that has food options that you find appetizing and that fit within your budget. Oftentimes people get tired of eating the same diet food every day and then cheat and eat foods that are not a part of the program.  Try to find a program that includes a variety of food choices. Most people consider a variety of food choices to be important to the success of a weight-loss program.

5.  What percentage of people successfully complete the program?

  • While statistics can be affected by many factors, a low success rate may show that the program was not properly created.

6.  What is the average weight loss among people who finish the program?

  • While seeing the number may be an indication of how successful the program is, you should not necessarily consider a low average weight loss among users of the program as a poor sign. The program may be more realistic in helping people set weight-loss goals and steadily but gradually accomplishing these goals. Slow, gradual weight loss is more likely to be maintained.

7.  Are there any additional or hidden fees or costs?

  • Some weight loss programs seem too good to be true, and there is a possibility that they truly are. Be sure that there are not extra fees that will come about after a certain period of time. Also, check to see the cancellation process.


This article is from NorthShore University HealthSystem. NorthShore is an integrated health system with dedicated medical offices and hospitals in Chicago. NorthShore offers comprehensive, compassionate, certified nutritionists who will work with you to develop a customized nutrition plan to help meet all your health needs. Explore our personalized wellness services today at www.northshore.org.


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