Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Efficacy of Popular Weight Loss Programs

People frequently ask me what I think of various weight loss programs.  Marie Osmond endorses Nutrisystem, Valerie Bertinelli lost her weight with Jenny Craig, and Charles Barkley credits Weight Watchers for his weight loss.  How about Sensa, HCG or Alli?

I’m always skeptical about weight loss products, because they are usually not regulated and have not gone through the rigorous scrutiny prescription medications have. Those that have often get pulled from the market after long-term harmful results start to surface.   Diet “supplements” are not FDA regulated, and typically they are evaluated by the manufacturer, not a neutral third-party, so the not-so-favorable studies never get reported to the public.

Weight loss programs, such as those mentioned above, are a safer, usually more effective way to go.  The key to long term success with any of these programs is not to view them as a short term diet, but rather as a method for facilitating a lifelong shift in life style.  Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig provide food, allowing customers to learn portion control and nutritional balance, ideally.  This can be helpful initially, as long as the skills for managing weight without the company’s food are ultimately mastered.  Most people are not in a position to purchase diet foods for the rest of their lives, and we have to learn how to handle buffets, vacations, holidays, and visits from the in-laws.

There are proven habits that facilitate losing and maintaining weight.  These include doing regular, healthy food shopping; making wise choices when dining out; exercising most days of the week; and eating consciously.  Learning, practicing, and teaching these habits have been my passion for almost twenty years.  It’s been a great journey; why not join me?

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