If you want to lose weight, selecting the right weight loss program is absolutely essential to your success. There are a seemingly unlimited number of weight loss programs available on the market today so how can you decide which one is right for you? This is a question I see a lot from both men and women looking for the right program to follow. It’s a confusing situation to be in I can imagine; wanting to lose weight but not knowing which program best serves your needs. So what do you do?
Well, the purpose of this article is to discuss various aspects and concepts surrounding weight loss programs in hopes that it will help you be able to select the appropriate program for you. First things first!
1. Identify what you REALLY want
What do you really want from your physical body? My online fitness coaching clients hear this from me all the time. At first it may seem like a pretty silly question, but it’s not. I’ve learned that the vast majority of people seeking weight loss really aren’t really that interested in losing weight at all. It’s true! In my considerable professional experience, the majority of people seeking professional fitness coaching aren’t looking to lose weight as much as they’d simply like to feel good about themselves and avoid the pain associated with the social pressures of being overweight. Weight loss isn’t their true desire, it simply provides them with the things they are really wanting. In fact, I will go as far to say that most people really want to eat whatever they want to eat, do whatever they want to do and live their life as they deem appropriate. I’m not pointing fingers here, that’s what I’d like to do too. However, being human means we have social pressures and expectations. At this point in history we are told that a lean, toned physique is sexy, attractive and desirable. I believe that this is the reason most people seek weight loss programs, not because of a true desire to be lean, but an intense desire to be wanted, to be sexy, to be considered attractive and to feel good about their body when surrounded by people who’s opinions they consider important.
It’s perfectly alright to seek weight loss for any reason at all; because you want to feel attractive, feel confident in your body or to attract prospective love interests. Whatever your reason for seeking weight loss, it’s very important that you identify your REAL reason for this pursuit. Once you’ve accurately identified this reason/reasons, motivating yourself toward that goal/goals is a much more enjoyable process. Once this happens, the weight loss process is not so much about the weight as much as it’s all about you! And that is exactly how it should be.
2. Determine commitment boundaries
This concept is perhaps the most important of all. I have seen people spend thousands of dollars on weight loss programs only to abandon that effort just days into the program. They over-committed themselves and were not able to follow through. Every weight loss program has a few things in common. Each of these things will vary from program to program, but the basic components remain:
Frequency – how often you must workout
Intensity – how much effort and intensity you must put into your program
Time – how much time you must exercise each workout
Type – the type of exercise(s) you will be doing during a program
This actually has a common name. We in the fitness industry call this the F.I.T.T principle. Beyond these basics which are usually associated with the exercise components of your program there will also be nutritional requirements to any quality weight loss program that fit perfectly into the same acronym:
Frequency – describes how often you will eat each day
Intensity – how rigid or lax your diet is
Time – how long you must eat this way
Type – the kind of food and nutrition methodology being used
These are going to be present in any well-developed weight loss program. Your success is dependent on what you are realistically willing and able to commit to with regard to each of these factors. Let’s face it, purchasing a weight loss program does not guarantee success, you must follow the program to achieve results. For instance, if your program requires a very strict diet with seven days of intense exercise each week but you aren’t a disciplined dieter and have never worked out before, this hypothetical program probably isn’t the one that is going to serve your needs best. Perhaps you need a program that has a more developmental approach and allows you more food and exercise options.
3. Beware of programs that claim to be for everybody
I’m not saying that there aren’t programs that could benefit anyone and everyone, but I am saying that you are more likely to be successful when you sign-up for a program that is directed at people just like you. Programs that attempt to cater to everyone are typically designed to produce sales more than results. These programs tend to be very demanding, have very rigid diet expectations and often lead to injury for those not prepared to handle the demands the program requires. Do your homework and find a program that is designed with you in mind.
When I began developing my Body Fat Meltdown weight loss program for women a lot of people told me I’d make more sales if I would only market it to everyone; men, women, older, younger, everybody. While this is undoubtedly true I couldn’t ethically do that because I know that each of these groups of people have their own unique set of needs and desires when it comes to physical fitness and weight loss. Therefore, I developed the Body Fat Meltdown program specifically for newly motivated women wanting to lose weight without requiring a gym membership so they could work out each day for thirty minutes or less wherever and whenever they wanted. I wanted it to be ideal for the at-home exerciser or for women who need to workout with minimal equipment while traveling. It needed to take away all excuses for a newly motivated weight loss participant and that’s what it does. By providing exact diets and exercise instructions the Body Fat Meltdown program ensures success if a woman will simply follow it for ninety days. This is an example of a program that has a targeted audience, a specific purpose and a meaningful method of progression that will lead this specific group of participants toward their weight loss goals.
4. Make sure the program is challenging, but livable
Be honest about the type of program your lifestyle will allow you to partake in. Fitness is an evolution so where you are in life now may not be where you are down the line, but you must be able to manage your weight loss program within the current boundaries that your life provides. For instance, if you are a single mother with two small children at home you probably are not going to stick to a ninety day program where you have to eat brussel sprout and cabbage soup at each meal while exercising sixty minutes two times each day. It’s just not sustainable. Every program has it’s nutrition and exercise requirements so it’s up to you to make sure that those requirements will challenge you to improve but that also fit into your current living arrangement.
5. The best weight loss program is one you’ll finish
The most effective program in the world is useless if you don’t do it. I know this first-hand. I’ve has women sign-up for my Body Fat Meltdown weight loss program and proceed to lose twenty-four pounds in the first thirty days. On the other hand I’ve had women sign-up and never even attempt the first training program yielding a result of exactly nothing. The best weight loss program you can invest in is one you will participate in, be challenged by and finish. I can name at least a hundred weight loss programs off the top of my head that have produced amazing results for their participants. Conversely, I can assure you that every one of those programs also has people who purchased, then barely participated, quit and spent hard-earned money for no results whatsoever. Ultimately the results you get begin and end with you. They are dependent on the factors we discussed above and are absolutely determined by your participation and completion of the program.
Take these five factors and use them to weed through the vast wilderness of weight loss programs available to you. Find a program where you are the targeted participant, one that you can realistically participate in and sustain from start to finish. If you do these things I firmly believe you will be successful in your effort to lose weight and look and feel great.
Jared Meacham, MS.Ed., CSCS.