For some fortunate people a formal weight loss program simply isn't necessary. Either they don't really have a weight problem or, if they gain a few pounds, they can summon the willpower, do the research and carry out the needed actions independently.
This article is for the rest of us who require the benefit of support, guidance and a helping hand.
So you have decided that it's time to do something about the size of your butt or your thighs or your tummy...whatever...and you begin to wonder whether you should try that weight loss program you heard about from a friend. Here are a number of important questions you will want the answers to.
The first question is "What are the facts?" Is the weight loss program just another fad diet? Is the exercise program for real or just junk science designed to sell a book or DVD?
If you are not trained in science to sort the fact from the bull you can use common sense and some persistence to fairly quickly find one or more sources of reliable information. Scientific studies don't stand in isolation, they either support or contradict others. As a general rule, when a number of different sources agree, there's a better chance that the information is reliable.
Here I'm going to give another shameless plug for personal trainers. The certification process for fitness trainers is rigorous and training in nutrition and exercise science is based on proven science. It takes a lot of hard work to earn the fitness trainer certification from a reputable organization and we are trained to provide the guidance you need to lose weight and get fit.
Once you find a personal trainer who can offer you guidance and moral support, you'll get added benefits. A trainer can help remind you, when the going gets tough, of why you chose to make the effort in the first place. It's difficult to adhere to a long term program when the progress is slow.
Your weight loss program must be oriented toward lifestyle changes that will help you lose the weight and keep it off, and keep you healthy and fit in the long run. Counseling provided by fitness and nutrition professionals can help you do that. You probably need to unlearn some bad habits and acquire better habits which is a lot easier with someone to encourage you and to be accountable to.
You'll need to monitor your progress without weighing yourself everyday, so you need to ask where and what are the tests and tools to do that. You'll need food charts for measuring calories and types of nutrients. You'll need a BMI calculator and other tools. Your personal trainer will help you with all this.
Some of those tools are as simple and inexpensive as a scale, a flexible tape measure and a mirror. Others may be a heart rate or pulse monitor, a device that measures body fat percentage and other things that often accompany a treadmill.
Many of my clients sign up for a 12 week program and learn what they need to know to carry on by themselves afterward.
You'll want to judge any weight loss program by how many people have actually found success using it, of course. But beware the hype. A few unsolicited opinions from people you don't know won't tell the whole story. Find out how many finished, and how much they lost, and whether there were any downsides or side effects.
It's your health and it's worth doing your homework to find the right weight loss program for you.
If you don't think you can afford a personal trainer, an online weight loss program from a personal trainer is an inexpensive alternative