In most cases, the specific weight loss program you choose has little to do with either you will lose weight or not. Weight loss occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body is using. As a result, it does not matter if you choose to follow a low carb diet or a vegan diet or a vegetarian diet or a high protein diet, your own special homemade diet or any of the many commercial diet programs. So long as the plan you choose to follow results in your burning more calories than you are eating, you will lose weight. Therefore, the optimum diet program for you will be the one that fits in best with your personal and cultural preferences relating food choices and exercise requirements as well as your reason for dieting in the first place.
The fact of the matter is that there is no single best weight loss plan (or even one best set of weight loss tips) for everyone. Every person is different, both physiologically as well as psychologically. Your body and you mind are going to react to stimuli differently whether that stimuli is food or thought. The type of eating and / or exercise plans that work well for one person may not be workable at all for another. Same goes for motivation: what motivates (or discourages) one person may have the exact opposite effect on another. The main reason diets fail is not a lack of determination; it is because the dieter chose the wrong plan and simply could not continue to follow that plan. To give yourself the best chance of being successful, you must consider all aspects of any program you are considering and determine how well each component (food, exercise and motivation / support) fits into your lifestyle.
Determining Which Weight Loss Program Is Your Best Fit
The first thing you must do when searching for a weight loss program is to ignore the commercials you see for all the "new" and or "improved" diet plans. That is not to say you can not consider one of these programs; it is just that the advertising can (and is designed to) sway your decision-making and you should not consider any advertising claims when selecting a plan to follow.
To find the best fit for you, we suggest that you take the following into consideration:
- Are you self motivated? If so, then support groups (online or off) and weekly meetings should not factor into you decision. However if you are a private person, then plans, such as weight watchers, that emphasize support groups and meeting should probably be avoided. On the other hand, if you need the support, this component (including the quality of the support as well as the frequency) should be one of the first things you look for.
- Do you like to cook? If so, you will probably not do well on any of the delivery delivery programs. However, if you do not cook or live a life on the go, following a pre-packaged meal program may be a better choice.
- Same thing goes for certain foods and food types. If you have cultural or religious preferences or just foods you can not or will not eat, then you have to determine if the program has adequate substitutions for those foods. If not, then you should avoid those programs.
- What is your feeling about exercise? Do you like to exercise or do you hate it? Do you have time to exercise or will it be something you have to make time for? If you have a physical limitation or lack of time or just hate the thought of exercise, then you will not want to choose a plan that derives most of its benefit from an exercise plan. Note: even a little increase in the exercise you are getting will aid whatever diet plan you do choose and will help make you healthier; however, if the plan is really an exercise plan with a diet component, you should really look elsewhere if exercise is not your cup of tea.
- Are you looking for fast results without a real concern for long-term sustainability? If so, diet programs that use supplements (natural, over the counter or even prescription), severe calorie restriction diets (never a good idea long-term) or gimmicky diets like the Birmingham Cardiac Diet may be a good choice.
- How much time do you have? If you are well-organized or have ample free time, then a simple program where you make your own menus, buy you own groceries and cook your own food may be a better (and certainly cheaper) choice. If you need someone else to tell you step by step what you need to be doing and eating, then a more disciplined program will be needed.
- How are your finances? Weight loss programs cost money to buy (or access), money to maintain (for food, supplements, gym memberships etc) and money to continue (in some cases, the programs have a continuing fee for as long as you are on the program) . You have to find out what it will cost you (at least an estimate) to reach your target weight goal and decide 1) if you have that money to spend and 2) if that cost is justified by the results you expect to receive. Many times the additional cost involved with a plan makes it a bad choice alike. Sometimes there are just better alternatives from a monetary standpoint. However, sometimes, the cost of the program is not an issue or the benefits outweigh the cost however high that cost may be. There are programs out there that have only a onetime cost and there are those that have a recurring cost. You must decide which one will not only fit your budget but one one you will be able to continue to justify in your mind.
- Are you looking for long-term sustainability? If so, the fad diets and the rapid weight loss diets are probably not the option you are looking for. Permanent weight loss requires you to replace the habits that led you to become overweight with healthier habits. If you want to diet once and be thin forever, you have to choose from weight loss programs that emphasize education and behavior modification. Do you want to gain knowledge and information on how to lose weight and keep it off for life? Do you feel that learning to make better food and exercise choices is more important than just losing weight? Then, you just might be a holistic dieter. The more you learn about healthy eating and exercise choices and the more you strive to make those healthy choices a part of your life, the greater the likelihood that you will be able to maintain your ideal weight.
The list above is certainly not all-inclusive and I am sure you can think of other personal preferences that you need to consider. The point is that you must consider these preferences when choosing a diet to follow. When you are ready to start what will hopefully be next (and last) weight loss, do not just go for the sexy, popular, new diet plan but sit down with a pre-made list of criteria and pick the program that best fits you. Without question, the easiest weight loss programs to follow (and the one which you will be most successful with) are the program (s) that fit your life and your goals the best.