Choosing the Best Weight Loss and Exercise Program for You

When trying to lose weight, choosing the right weight loss program can be confusing and even frustrating for most people. Of course, everyone is different and every weight loss program is unique. Choosing the right one for you is a personal choice that only comes from careful research of the many programs and diets available in the marketplace.

Some people, fortunately, are able lose weight on their own. But this is more the exception than the rule. Others are more successful when they experience the structure, accountability and support of a diet or exercise program that is supervised by a fitness professional such as a Certified Personal Trainer.

There are so many weight loss programs out there today, it can be difficult and confusing to choose the right one. If you are online like most people are these days, the list of diets and programs is endless, and the pros and cons of each are buried in hype and sales copy. So how do you choose?

First of all, finding a realistic plan that you can follow for a long period of time is crucial. A common problem in weight loss is that it is often short-term or temporary. People lose weight but cannot keep it off and continue the bouncing game of fluctuating weight gain and loss, which can slow down metabolism, decrease muscle and tone, and make it even harder to maintain or lose weight over a longer period of time.

Second, it must be a plan that incorporates both diet AND exercise. Merely changing the way you eat is not enough. And a weight loss program that includes exercise does require a commitment and will take time out of your schedule to devote to your weight loss program. It's hard to stay on a routine when you are busy at work and caring for the kids. It doesn't leave much time for you. But finding the time to incorporate cardiovascular exercise and resistance training is important, if you want to maintain a healthy weight loss, and preserve the muscle tone and aesthetic look of your body.

Third, it is important to make sure that you have a good support system and work with someone with a great deal of expertise in fitness and nutrition. Working with a personal trainer (and not just any trainer, but a Certified Personal Trainer with credentials, experience and references) can make all the difference in whether or not you will be successful with weight loss.

When choosing the program or the trainer, make sure the staff consists of qualified fitness professionals and health professionals such as registered dietitians, medical doctors, and exercise physiologists or personal trainers, or at least have access to those should you need them.

Whatever the program you decide it should be a slow and steady weight loss program. Don't fall for programs offering easy, fast weight loss, because although we are seeking weight loss, the TRUE goal is not weight loss, but FAT LOSS. And a lot of programs will deliver weight loss, but at the expense of losing valuable muscle instead of fat. So seek out fat loss programs - not just weight loss programs.

Another factor to consider when choosing a program is to make sure that expectations are clear - right from the beginning. When inquiring about any commercial weight loss program, be sure you are provided with a detailed statement of fees and costs of additional items such as dietary supplements or foods. How often will you meet with a personal trainer? Will you be doing personal training 2 days a week? 3 days a week?

And how long will your personal training sessions be? 30 minute and 60 minute sessions are the norm in the personal training industry - but be sure to ask. Don't assume that a "session" is the same everywhere. A lot of inexpensive personal training programs that are more affordable consist of 30 minute sessions, which can be an adequate amount of time to get a quality workout, if you have a well qualified and experienced personal trainer.

And if that's what you want - great. But if you really want an entire hour long personal training session with a trainer to cover nutrition, diet and stretching, for example, be sure that what you are being sold is a full hour; not just a half hour session.

If you plan to lose more than 15 pounds to 20 pounds, have any health problems, such as diabetes, your doctor should evaluate you before you start a weight loss program. Your doctor may even suggest some specific weight loss programs that would be good for you.

Being overweight is too often viewed as a temporary problem that can be treated for a few months with a diet. But as most overweight people know, weight control must be considered a lifelong effort. To be safe and effective, any weight loss program must address the long-term approach of diet AND exercise, or else the program is largely a waste of money and effort.

To lose weight and maintain the weight loss it's really a mindset for most. It's a new way of thinking. Do you eat to live or do you live to eat? Think about it.

By choosing smart and working with a qualified personal trainer or other medical or health professional to guide you in your weight loss journey, you can lose weight safely, effectively, and keep it off for life.

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