Do you need to lose weight? If so, you’re not alone. More than half of American adults are overweight or obese, and more than one in three Americans are trying to lose weight.
Perhaps you’re planning to try one of the many a vailable weight loss products or services, but aren’t sure which one is right for you. It’s easy to feel lost in the maze of choices out there - each promising the best results.
Before you begin a weight loss program, see your primary health care provider for advice about your overall health risks and the weight loss options best for you.
Health experts agree that the best and safest way for most adults to lose weight and improve their health is to modestly cut calories, eat a balanced diet and be physically active each day. Depending on your health and weight, your primary health care provider may recommend additional methods, such as medication or surgery, which carry greater risks. Consider all your choices seriously.
When you start shopping for a weight loss program, ask providers whether they follow the Voluntary Guidelines for Providers of Weight Loss Products or Services from the Partnership for Healthy Weight Management.
Participating programs will answer important questions about how their product or service works, how much it costs, how well it works and any risks involved in following the program.
Ask for details about what foods and how many calories you’ll eat each day, and whether the program includes regular physical activity. A weight loss program that claims you can lose weight and keep it off without changing the foods you eat or increasing your physical activity is selling a fantasy.
A sensible program encourages you to follow advice from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, such as eating at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, and choosing grains (including whole grains), lean meats and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
Revision date: June 20, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.