Thursday, April 08, 2010

Top 10 things to look for in a weight loss program

Unfortunately not everyone involved in weight management utilize evidence-based practices. Fraud, both well-intentioned but misinformed and overtly unethical, runs rampant in the weight loss industry.

To help navigate your way through the unregulated maze of commercial weight loss options, have a peek at the following list and unless a program meets all 10 criteria, don't join!

1. The program is not a one-size-fits-all diet and has individualized nutritional, exercise and behavioural components.

2. Nutritional advice is provided by a physician or a registered dietitian (in Quebec, nutritionists can also be added to this list).

3. Exercise is encouraged but physical activity is promoted at a gradual, rather than at an injury-inducing rapid pace

4. Reasonable weight loss goals are set encouraging at most a 3lb per week pace and the program does not promise or imply dramatic, rapid, weight-loss as an outcome

5. The program does not require large sums of money at the start or make clients sign contracts for expensive, long-term programs without the option of at least partial refunds (which you should discuss with them before enrolling)

6. The program does not promote diets lower than 800 Calories daily and if less than 1200 daily are supervised by a physician.

7. The program does not require the use or purchase of any products, supplements, vitamins or injections

8. The program does not make outlandish claims such as, “you will only lose fat” or that they are able to, “target” problem areas.

9. The program has an established maintenance program optionally available.

10. The program is able to provide you with statistics that include the percentage of clients who drop out, the average percentage of weight loss and the average weight loss sustained following completion of their maintenance program.

The Federal Trade Commission in the States also has a resource to help and here you can read their how to choose a weight loss program recommendations.