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dumbellsIf you’re looking for the best weight loss program around, there’s just no getting around it – you’re going to have to do your homework. 

Whether it’s Jenny Craig, Medifast, Weight Watchers, or Atkins, every program is different, and it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach. People are unique. Our challenges are unique. Our health histories are unique. So shouldn’t a weight loss program also fit you like a glove? We think so. 

No matter what you’re looking for, there are some important things to consider before you shell out the money, time, and energy on another program that may or may not work. So whether your goal is to lose 100+ pounds or just to finally shed that baby weight for good, here are five tips for finding the best weight loss program:

1. Ask yourself, “Who are the people running this place?” A fancy website, sleek marketing materials, and even a good sales pitch that promises fast weight loss can really draw you in. But who are the people behind all of that? Who’s running the company – and with what expertise? A lot can be learned from health coaches, nutritionists, or even fitness experts when it comes to weight loss, but, in truth, there’s a science behind lasting weight loss – a science that is best understood by doctors and medical providers who can translate this science into a practical, working program. We believe the best weight loss program is one that is staffed with medical obesity experts who can work in tandem with nutritionists, coaches, and other experts to provide a well-rounded strategy that’s holistic in nature. Many people don’t realize that underlying medical issues are often part of the reason they can’t lose weight, which is precisely why working with a medical professional is important. Even if you’re eating right and exercising, it’s crucial to know how your hormones, health conditions, or hereditary factors are coming into play to either assist or sabotage your results.

2. Look for a program that has you eating real food. Shakes. Supplements. Pills. Juicing. These are all temporary ways to lose weight – the operative word being “temporary.” The problem with weight loss programs that have you eating food that isn’t what you would normally eat is that it’s not really a sustainable way to keep the weight off in the long term – in order to do that, you have to learn how to eat differently. Otherwise, you’re about 80 percent more likely to gain the weight back. Energy bars or protein smoothies certainly can have a place in a weight loss program – they’re great for when you’re on the go and need to make a healthy decision – but they should only be a small part. If you’re truly looking for the best weight loss program that’s going to deliver you lifelong results, find one that will focus on having you eat real food.

3. Make sure you’re learning how to operate in the real world – for the long term. Along the same lines of eating real food, a good weight loss program will focus on teaching you how to set yourself up for lasting weight loss. Not only that, but you’ll learn how to operate in the “real world.” How do you navigate temptations? How do you get back on track after an indulgent vacation? How do you order the right foods at a restaurant? While you won’t be in the weight loss phase for the rest of your life (hopefully), learning how to live on what we call the “maintenance” phase is just as important. Why? This ensures you don’t gain the weight back! It’s about learning how to find that balance of eating right but not depriving yourself. Of making lasting changes but recovering from slip-ups when they happen (because they will happen!). Of learning how to live a different way that supports total health and well-being. Crash diets, 90-day plans, or similar programs won’t work for you in the long run. Period.

4. It’s not how much you eat, it’s what you eat. It’s not uncommon for us to hear, “I lost 50 pounds on X diet eating cookies!” And then these same people end up at our door, signing up for our program. Why? For diets that use “point systems,” many times no food is off limits. So as long as you’re counting calories or “points,” you lose weight. The problem? You never learn what to eat for lasting weight loss. You’re just counting how much. We’re not saying that calories or portion sizes don’t matter – they do. But more important is the macronutrient balance you’re eating in terms of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Carbohydrates raise your blood sugar and make you hungry, while protein and fat keeps you full and can actually suppress your appetite. Study after study reveals that low-carb, high-protein diets are one of the most effective ways to lose weight fast. And monitoring carb intake after you’ve hit your goal weight until you find your carb intake threshold (the amount of carbs you can eat per day without having cravings or gaining back the weight) is an important part of maintaining your results.

5. Individual attention is key. Finding the best weight loss program is also about considering what type of attention you’ll be getting from the educators and medical providers in the program. What do previous clients have to say? Does the company have a reputation for being attentive and passionate or just so-so about client care? Do you get to develop a trusting relationship with one person or are your ushered to whomever is available to see you? These are truly the factors that will set apart a mediocre weight loss program from a great one. While group settings, lectures or classes can be helpful, we see that the biggest transformations take place one-on-one. If you’re willing to spend the money, the best weight loss program will be one that offers you individual attention and support to help you meet your goals.

Keep these five tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to making an educated decision when you’re ready to commit to a program. And if you have questions about our weight loss programs? Contact us today for more info – we’re happy to talk.

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