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Published on July 12, 2013

Choosing the "Right" Weight Loss Plan for Success

Dean dietitian Toni Sterry breaks down how to pick the best program for your lifestyle

When it comes to weight loss or dieting, there is an overwhelming amount of advice out there.

Out of curiosity, I Googled "weight loss" and got 367,000,000 hits. I Googled "diet" and got 487,000,000 hits. So there is no shortage of information available.

But what is confusing is just that, the amount of "advice" thrown at us. It can be so overwhelming, we often times don’t even know where to start. The more weight loss articles you read online or in magazines, the more difficult it can be to keep everything straight. With so much conflicting advice and so many weight loss options, how do you know which is right for you? More importantly, which one will REALLY work?

The reality is there is no "one size fits all" kind of a program or diet.

A weight loss of one to two pounds per week is a typical recommendation. But many of us want to see more results; the faster the better, right?

People have been successful with weight loss by following low-carb diets, vegetarian diets or simply eating Subway® sandwiches each day. But what all of these things have in common is that they have helped people cut calories.

People lose weight on these diets, and in each situation succeed in doing so, because they make the commitment to be selective about what and how much they eat. 

It’s not about avoiding particular food groups or fat, carbohydrates or protein necessarily. What makes many of these programs work is the fact that they create a calorie deficit. They make people on these programs have to think more about what they eat and how much they’re eating. Basically, they become more focused and mindful of what they are putting in their mouth.

Whatever plan or weight loss option you chose you need to ask yourself one very important question, "can I see myself doing this for the rest of my life?"

Can I see myself avoiding EVERYTHING "white" (bread, rice, pasta, potatoes) forever?

Can I eat at Subway® subs each day, for every meal for the rest of my life?

Can I avoid cookies, ice cream, chips or (insert favorite food here) every day for the rest of my life?

If the answer to this question is "no," you need to rethink your plan.

Think about what weight loss approaches you have tried in the past. Which ones worked for you and which ones didn’t? Many diets leave us feeling deprived or simply hungry all the time, making it very difficult to stick to them for more than a few days or weeks.

The key is balance.

My motto is, "everything fits." If I told myself I could never have another brownie or cookie, I could do it for a few weeks maybe, but then I would feel deprived that I would eventually "breakdown" and have the brownie or cookie. But I guarantee it wouldn’t be just one!

I like to think of my "calorie budget" like I do my financial budget. I get so many calories to spend each day to maintain my weight. How I spend them is completely up to me. I know I can’t spend them all on sweets because I would be hungry all day, just like I can’t spend my whole paycheck on new shoes. I have to spend some calories on protein-rich food sources, fruits and vegetables for satiety, just like I have to spend some of my paycheck on my mortgage.

What you do to lose weight needs to be what you continue doing to maintain the weight loss.

Remember, if the action for weight loss is temporary, the weight loss is going to be temporary. There is no short-term plan for a long-term problem.

Successful weight loss requires a long-term commitment to making healthy changes to our eating habits and lifestyle. This means you need to find a weight loss plan/program that "fits" and that you can see yourself sticking to long term.

If you need help, please contact us at Dean’s Comprehensive Weight Management Program at 608-824-4457 or online. If you have insurance through Dean Health Plan, you can also check your insurance plan coverage.

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