Safe Weight Loss Programs

girl on body weight scale

Today, millions of Americans as well as individuals throughout the world are grossly overweight or obese. This epidemic of obesity has severe health consequences and has contributed to increases in virtually all debilitating diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, cancer and diabetes, to name a few. In addition, there are several negative mental and psychological aspects associated with obesity like depression, apathy and bulimia.

Stated quite simply, safe and effective weight loss is very achievable for virtually anyone that is overweight. However, individuals that are searching for a fast and easy way to lose weight typically find that they are continually trying to lose weight, always frustrated with their weight loss results, and, in the end, give up on their weight loss efforts altogether.

There are no magic weight loss pills or potions. However, when viewing weight loss as a modification in lifestyle, a healthy body weight can be achieved and maintained over time. In many cases these negative affects can lead to employee absenteeism, drug abuse, alcoholism, and even suicide.

In general, weight loss is associated with consuming less calories than your body burns. For example, if you consume 2,000 calories in food in a given day and your body burns 2,500 calories during that same day, you will create a 500-calorie deficit. Doing this over a seven day period would create a 3,500-calorie deficit (500 calories per day x 7 days), and would result in one pound of excess body weight being lost. A deficit of 3,500 calories equates to losing one pound of excess body weight. When viewing weight loss from this perspective, it really is that simple.

A Safe and Effective Program

There are four primary aspects associated with putting together a safe and effective weight loss program. Each of the four items to consider are as follows:

  1. Determine Your Ideal Weight: The first step in defining your weight loss program is to determine exactly how much body weight you would like to lose. This is a critical first step in that many individuals set an unrealistic weight loss goal that would be dangerous to pursue in the first place. Setting an unrealistic body weight goal will not only lead to frustration in trying to achieve your goal, but may be unhealthy as well.

    There are several approaches to determining your ideal body weight for your height, structural frame and body composition. By doing so, you will not only be more apt to set a realistic weight loss goal, but a weight loss goal that is much more achievable as well.

  2. Determine Your Approach to Safely and Effectively Losing Weight: There are five primary approaches to embarking on a weight loss program. Each of the five approaches to weight loss are listed below:

    • Food Intake: There are a couple of approaches to safe and effective weight loss through monitoring your daily food intake. First, there are dietary programs in which the weight loss company provides you with pre-cooked meals that are frozen and shipped to your door. This approach is ideal for individuals that do not have time to regularly prepare meals and are not overly picky about what foods they consume. Second, there are weight loss companies that provide food recipes that are low in calories, nutritionally balanced and conducive to weight loss. This approach is ideal for individuals that enjoy cooking, prefer a wider variety of food choices and have the time to prepare their meals.

    • Exercise: Adding an exercise routine to your daily lifestyle is not only effective at promoting safe and effective weight loss, but improving your overall health at the same time. As previously mentioned, weight loss is centered around creating a daily caloric deficit. By adding an exercise routine to your daily schedule, you will increase the total number of calories that your body burns each day. If the number of calories burned per day exceeds the total number of calories that you consumed for that same day, then you will begin to lose weight.

    • Appetite Suppressant: Appetite suppressants can be an effective approach to weight loss in that they diminish your food cravings. However, it is important to ensure that you are consuming enough high quality foods each day to meet your body's requirements for vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Many individuals that pursue this course of weight loss become nutrient-deficient, fatigued, ill and mentally lethargic. It is important to remember that the entire reason for consuming food is to provide the body with the nutrients that it requires to perform optimally. Hence, caution should be used if this course of action is pursued. In addition, it is highly recommended that you consult your medical physician prior to beginning an appetite suppressant weight loss program.

    • Stimulate Metabolism: Stimulants that increase your metabolism increase the number of calories that your body burns per day. By increasing the number of calories that your body burns per day, you may burn more calories than you consume. If this is the case, you will begin to lose weight. Again, caution should be used if you pursue this approach as increasing your metabolism will most likely increase your heart rate as well. In addition, there may be side effects including a feeling of nervousness, jitteriness and insomnia. Again, caution should be used if you intend to pursue this weight loss approach. Always consult your medical physician before beginning a metabolism stimulant weight loss program.

    • Surgery: There are several medical surgery approaches designed to facilitate weight loss. However, as with any form of surgery, there are varying risks associated with each of the different weight loss techniques. When pursuing this avenue of weight loss, it is imperative that you thoroughly research the different weight loss surgery approaches, the pros and cons of each, and the long-term effects associated with each technique.

  3. Set Your Weight Loss Goals: Once you have determined your ideal body weight and your chosen approach to safely and effectively lose weight, you will need to define your specific weight loss goals. This step is extremely important in that you will want to define exactly how much weight you plan to lose and the timeframe in which you will do so. Once you have defined your specific weight loss goals, you will want to continually monitor your progress and make adjustments whenever necessary.

  4. Commit to Your Weight Loss Program: Above and beyond every aspect of your safe and effective weight loss program is the fact that you must commit yourself to your weight loss efforts. In other words, you must maintain a high level of determination, focus and a belief that you can and will achieve your personal weight loss goals. As the old saying goes, "nothing is free in life," and this could not be any more true when performing a weight loss program.

    While there may be times when you become discouraged and feel like quitting, it is important to maintain your desire to successfully lose weight. For this reason, you should monitor and compare your weight loss progress to your personal weight loss goals to ensure that you are on schedule. In addition, it is recommended that you attach minor and major milestones to your weight loss goals. Each time you achieve either a minor or major milestone, take a moment to reward yourself. Not only is this approach motivating, but it reaffirms that you are making progress and that you are well on your way to achieving your personal weight loss goals.

Do's and Don't's of a Safe and Effective Weight Loss Program

There are several items to consider when beginning a safe and effective weight loss program. While the overall intent of a weight loss program is to lose weight, it is imperative that you do not decrease your level of health in the process. Below is a list of several "Do's and Don't's" associated with a healthy, safe and effective weight loss program:

    healthy food groups
  • Add an Exercise Routine to Your Weight Loss Program: Adding an exercise routine that you regularly perform to your daily lifestyle will promote safe weight loss, increase the rate at which you lose weight, and improve your physical and mental health and condition.

  • Get Plenty of Sleep: Make sure that you receive 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Getting an adequate amount of sleep will not only improve your energy level, but your attitude as well. If you are adding an exercise routine to your weight loss program, you will want to ensure that your muscles have enough time to recuperate and repair themselves.

  • Do Not Starve Yourself: Many individuals begin a weight loss program in which their dietary intake does not provide their body with the appropriate amount of nutrients to perform optimally. Consuming a diet that leads to malnutrition will only decrease your energy level, your mental capacity, and increase your probability of contracting a debilitating disease.

  • Consume a Healthy and Well Balanced Diet: The best approach for safely and effectively losing weight is to consume whole foods that are nutritious, well balanced and calorie-conscious. Eating highly processed foods that are high in fats and simple carbohydrates will only lead to spikes in your blood sugar level, erratic energy and mood swings and excessive weight gain.

  • Don't Be Perfect Everyday: The human body is very forgiving. To this end, you do not have to be perfect. There will be days when you do not consume the right foods, consume too many calories, or miss your workout. Instead of being too hard on yourself, try to understand why you deviated from your plan and work to correct it going forward. As you achieve any of your minor or major milestones defined within your weight loss goals, you may want to celebrate with friends or a family member by eating a rich treat. This is perfectly acceptable as long as you understand that it must not become a habit.

  • Find a Weight Loss Partner: Exercising or performing a weight loss program can be easier with a partner. Several clinical studies have shown that individuals that participate in a weight loss program with a partner have a higher probability of achieving their personal weight loss goals. Partners can assist in helping you to stay on track, increasing your motivation and determination level, and holding you accountable for your actions.

  • Make Your Dietary and Exercise Habits a Part of Your Lifestyle: Ultimately, the best approach to achieving your personal weight loss goals, and thereafter maintaining that level of body weight, is to modify your current lifestyle to one that is healthier and more active. Good health and fitness should be viewed as a lifelong endeavor. This being said, focus on changing your lifestyle to include regular physical activity and a healthier nutritional intake. By doing so, you will eliminate the frustration of continually having to lose weight.

  • Consider Taking Supplements to Improve Your Nutritional Intake: Adding nutritional supplements to your daily food intake is an excellent way to ensure that you are providing your body with the nutrients required to perform at a high level. If you are adding an exercise routine to your weight loss program, you will place a higher level of stress on your body. Adding nutritional supplements, coupled with your dietary food intake, will offset the additional demands that your exercise routine is placing on your body.

  • Avoid Diets Pills: Diet pills that either increase your metabolism or reduce your appetite are only moderately effective and can cause more harm than good. The human body requires nutritious whole foods to function and perform optimally. While various diet pills may assist you in the rate at which you initially lose weight, it is important be aware of any side effects that may occur. All in all, the best approach to safe and effective weight loss is to ensure that you receive plenty of physical activity and that you consume a healthy, balanced diet. This approach is conducive to supporting a lifestyle filled with good health, fitness and mental well-being.

  • Avoid Gimmick Diets: At best, gimmick diets work only in the short term and with limited success. In some cases, gimmick diets can be detrimental to your health as well. It is best to think of your weight loss goals and your overall health from a long-term perspective. In other words, if you live a healthy, active and nutritionally-balanced lifestyle, there will be no need for a gimmick or "fad" diet.

  • Consult Your Physician: It is highly recommended that you consult your medical physician to discuss your weight loss approach and plan prior to beginning your program. Your medical physician will be able to determine if your weight loss program is appropriate for you and may even suggest an alternative approach as well. Your medical doctor will also be able to determine if your current level of health and fitness is able to undergo the stress of a weight loss program.

  • Evaluate Your Eating Habits and Modify Where Necessary: Many individuals that are looking to lose weight find that the core of their weight gain problems centers around the fact that they consume the wrong types of foods, overeat when their stress level is high, continue eating long after they are full, and/or binge eat. Each of these symptoms are correctable if you are able to recognize them. Addressing and resolving any of these eating conditions will facilitate your weight loss efforts and reduce the probability of gaining back the weight over time.

  • Embrace a Healthy and Nutritious Lifestyle: The single best approach to safely and effectively losing weight and living a healthy life is to modify your daily lifestyle to include plenty of physical activity and the consumption of whole foods that are balanced and healthy. By doing so, you will be embracing a lifestyle that will promote good health and fitness, reduce the probability of contracting a debilitating disease, and center and calm your mind.

family biking outside

Achieving your personal weight loss goals and thereafter maintaining your optimum weight is really quite simple. In fact, all that is typically required is that you consistently consume healthy whole foods and perform an exercise routine with regularity. By doing so, you will create either a caloric-neutral or caloric-deficient environment.

However, the hard part is having enough discipline to consume only whole foods that are well balanced and nutritious, and to ensure that you regularly perform one or more types of physical activity.

Today, most lifestyles are hectic and busy. This leaves little time to prepare a healthy meal, perform an exercise routine or relax and calm the mind.

However, if you place the same priority on your health and fitness as you do on your work performance and your dedication to your children, family and household, you will find that you're able to implement a system that is conducive to good health and fitness.