Although a healthy lifestyle is always recommended over a so called “diet”, there are people who can adopt good and healthy changes learnt from decent weight loss programs. But how do you know whether a “diet” is trustworthy and not just another fad that is going to leave you gaining more weight than you’ve lost on the diet once stop?

Before joining a weight loss diet, consider the following:

  1. A healthy weight loss program has a weight loss goal of no more than 1 kg / week. (0.5kg is the recommendation)
  2. Is this program nutritionally balanced? The program should include healthy choices from all the food groups: A variety of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, lean protein, legumes, and healthy fats.
  3. Doesn’t involve “cleansing”, skipping meals, or fasting (except for religious reasons)
  4. It is flexible to suit your unique needs (such as food likes and dislikes, eating out, allergies, etc.), sustainable and easy to adopt as a lifestyle, and ideally includes a physical activity plan.

Red flags

If the weight loss program involves the following, please obtain professional advice:

  1. Promises rapid weight loss (more than 1 kg / week)
  2. Very low calorie plan (less than 800kCal/day) without medical supervision
  3. Making you dependent on the company’s supplements and products rather than teaching you how to improve your eating habits.
  4. Does not include realistic long term changes and goals to improve your health and your own personal lifestyle.
  5. Requires you to sign an expensive long term contract.
  6. Does not offer support and follow-up to help you lose weight and keep it off.

Now that you know what to look out for when deciding on a weight loss program, decide if this weight loss diet fits well with your lifestyle. While some positive lifestyle changes may be good, if an eating plan doesn’t fit your lifestyle it is most likely not going to be sustainable. Therefore, ask yourself whether you see yourself following the menu for life without creating unnecessary pressure and disruption.

If a weight loss plan sounds too good and easy to be true, it probably is.

For more information or advice on eating better please contact Melissa Ludick, our FEMINA HEALTH dietician on 0861 336 462.


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