Improve Your Health

Five Questions to Ask When Picking a Weight Loss Plan

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Dr. Robert Kitsis

Family Medicine

Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Milwaukee at Brown Deer

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It’s the American way: Try the latest diet. Lose 10 pounds. Gain back 15 pounds. Repeat.

Yo-yo dieting is frustrating, not to mention terrible for your health. It’s actually worse than being overweight or obese.

One reason so many diets fail is that they aren’t set up for long-term success. They may help you quickly drop a few pounds – but remember, the faster you lose weight, the quicker you can gain it back.

A better approach is making lifestyle changes that will help you lose 1-2 pounds per week until you achieve your goal weight. Here are five questions to ask yourself when selecting a weight loss plan:

  • Does it include the major food groups? Some diets eliminate major food groups making it difficult to get enough of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs on a daily basis.
  • Can I easily access the food? Make sure the plan you select includes foods that are affordable and that you can easily find at your local grocery store.
  • What type of prep work is involved? Find out if you’ll need to do prep beyond the basic cleaning and cutting of veggies and fruit. If you’re constantly crunched for time, you may not be able to commit to a weight loss plan that requires you to prepare complicated meals and snacks.
  • Is exercise part of the plan? Working out is an important part of the long-term weight loss equation so make sure you pick a plan that includes at least a bit of sweat time, most days of the week.
  • Is this sustainable? Find a weight loss plan that includes food and activities you enjoy. Success depends on you being able to stick with the plan over time.

One weight loss plan that works for nearly everyone is the Mediterranean Diet. This plan includes eating mostly plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Consuming lean protein, including poultry and fish, is also encouraged, as is using healthy fats, such as olive oil and canola oil. Instead of using salt to season foods, you’ll use herbs and spices.

If you’re interested in losing weight, a primary care provider is a valuable resource. Your doctor can answer questions and help you set achievable goals, as well as check in periodically to make sure you’re on track for weight loss. He or she can also refer you to a dietitian if you need further help planning and preparing meals.

To learn more about picking a weight loss plan, contact your primary care provider. To find a primary care provider near you, reach out to your health insurance provider.

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