The difference between weight loss programs – which one is for you?
Weight loss programs provide structure to achieving your weight goals. They generally fit into one of three categories:
1. Self-guided - You’re given a plan or resources and sent on your way to figure it out yourself.
2. Online - Often include online individual or group support, nutrition information, recipes and exercise prescriptions.
3. In person - Usually the most costly, and involve regular check-ins in-person to assess progress and provide support.
All weight loss programs direct you to make changes to what and how much you’re eating, and most include exercise recommendations.
Another weight loss tool that is readily available is a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) for example, Optifast. These involve a huge calorie deficit by replacing 2-3 meals per day with shakes. A VLCD can be useful for rapid weight loss pre surgery for example, or to kick start a weight loss journey when you have a lot of weight to lose. VLCDs should always be done under the supervision of a medical professional and are not designed to be used long-term.
Weight loss programs – what to watch out for
- Avoid programs claiming to ‘detox’ your body, using either food restriction or expensive products. ‘Detoxing’ is a widely spread myth and is not something you need to do. Luckily as humans, our liver is a fantastic organ that does the detoxifying for us without us even knowing!
- Check the qualifications of the program creators/contributors. Anyone can call themselves a ‘health coach’ or ‘wellness expert’, they don’t need any qualifications. Look for the term Accredited Practicing Dietitian - the experts in the field of nutrition in Australia.
- The option to tailor it to you is important. The more prescriptive or ‘one size fits all’ that a weight loss program is, the less likely that it will suit you. Having the option to tailor it to your goals, your starting point (in terms of food and fitness levels), and your food preferences are important things to look for.
- Promises of quick fixes and drastic weight loss are something to be wary of. The key to keeping weight off for good is taking it slow and steady, with realistic changes you can maintain. If a program suggests you can lose a massive amount of weight in a short amount time, the chances are it is very restrictive and therefore either nutritionally inadequate and/or very difficult to stick to long-term.
- Support - Regular contact and support when trying to lose weight has been shown to increase people’s accountability and improve weight loss outcomes. Look for a program that offers the right amount of support for you.
- Exercise is an important part of any weight loss plan and healthy lifestyle. Look for a program that includes exercise that is at a level you can achieve, and a type you’ll actually want to do.
The Paleo diet, Lemon Detox and Atkins are examples of very restrictive diets that result in quick weight loss but do not give you the tools or eating plan to keep it off long term. These diets are not nutritionally balanced.
In-person weight loss programs such as Weight Watchers provide support and education for as long as you need it. The constant tracking of points can however take a lot of time and energy.
Online programs such as TIFFXO, Michelle Bridges 12WBT and 28 by Sam Wood provide a good mix of diet prescription, recipes, support and exercises.
Depending on your goals, the best weight loss program for you is one you can afford, one that fits in with your lifestyle, and one that is realistic long term.
This is why Strictly You has seen so many people succeed on their weight loss journeys. Based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines, no foods are off limits meaning drastic food deprivation is not included.
The ability of Strictly You to be uniquely matched to your nutritional needs makes it even more sustainable, and our beginner friendly, dance-based workouts are so much fun that you won’t even notice you’re burning calories!
Thousands of people form our online community, giving you the support and encouragement you need whenever you need it.
Prepared by Kara Vogt – Accredited Practicing Dietitian