The familiar question, “which weight loss plan is right for you,” is becoming an everyday habit. The phrase appears in many places including TV news channels, newspapers, in health and weight management articles, web sites, books, etc… Contrary to the claims and statements regarding fad diets and weight loss plans, no one food plan is magical, and no specific food must be included or avoided in a weight management program.
Weight Loss Plan Options
There are unlimited weight loss plans available today. A few of the researched and well-documented plans include the following:
- Weight Watchers
- Curves Fitness And Weight Management Plan
- Atkins Diet
- South Beach Diet
- The Special K Challenge
- Nutri System
- Jenny Craig
- Dash Diet
Many more plans are available and can be researched on line or by book review.
In choosing or designing a plan, you need to adjust the plan to fit your life, not your life to fit the plan. You need to consider only the foods you enjoy or can learn to enjoy, foods that are readily available, and foods that are within your means. You can continue to eat out and enjoy your favorite foods.
Important Factors to Consider
Be realistic about energy intake: the most common characteristic about a weight loss plan is that it provides less energy or calories than you need to maintain present body weight. If calorie intake is restricted too severely, you may not receive enough nutrients which will result in the loss of muscle. Rapid weight loss usually means excessive loss of lean tissue, lower body metabolism levels, and a rapid weight gain to follow.
A weight loss plan that provides an adequate intake of nutrition supports a healthier and more successful weight loss than a restrictive plan that causes feelings of starvation and deprivation. Nutritional adequacy is hard to achieve on less than 1200 calories a day, and most healthy adults do not need to consume any less than that.
Learn Portion Control: portion sizes at the market, at restaurants, and even at home have increased dramatically over the years. People have come to expect larger portions, and as a result, have learned to eat everything in front of them. If you are going to be successful on a weight loss plan, it is relevant to learn to eat less by practicing portion control techniques.
Remember Water: most weight loss plans emphasize the importance of water. Water helps with weight loss and weight management in several ways. One example is that foods with a high water content increase fullness and reduce hunger. Another example is that drinking water between meals fills the stomach and eliminates food drive. Finally, water consumption helps the GI tract adapt to a high-fiber diet.
Focus on Complex Carbohydrates. Vegetables, fresh fruits, legumes, and whole grains offer abundant vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are very low in fat. Therefore, healthy meals and snacks are made up of complex carbohydrate foods. Foods made up of complex carbohydrates tend to be relatively low in energy or calories and high in nutrients.
Be sure to choose fats sensibly. A well-rounded weight loss plan will be both high in fiber and low in fat. Lowering the fat content of a food also lowers the energy density or caloric intake of that food. Less fat in the diet means less fat in the body. However, limited fat is needed for healthy eating and a well-balanced plan. Choose fats sensibly, and be sure to pick the right kinds of fat, aka unsaturated fat.
In choosing the weight loss plan that will work for you, it is important to consider all the factors listed above. In addition, exercise, strength training, and fitness programs play an important role in the overall weight management process. Certain weight loss plans include exercise recommendations that produce effective results when followed in accordance with the plan.
Make sure the weight loss plan you choose allows for the foods that you are accustomed to and an exercise regimen that you can engage in regularly. Set yourself up for success and a new way of healthy living!