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Jan 22

Weight loss: Choosing a diet that’s right for you – Mayo Clinic

Weight loss: Choosing a diet that's right for you

Don't fall for gimmicks when it comes to weight loss. Evaluate diets carefully to find one that's right for you.

When it comes to weight loss, there's plenty of advice. Magazines, books and websites promise that you can lose all the weight you want for good. To do this, they suggest that you use diets that get rid of fat or carbs. Or use superfoods or special supplements.

With so many options, how do you know which approach might work for you? Here are some suggestions for choosing a weight-loss program.

Before you start a weight-loss program, talk to your health care provider. Your health care provider can go over your medical issues and the drugs you take that might affect your weight. Your provider can guide you on a program that's right for you. And you can discuss how to exercise safely. This is important if you have physical or medical challenges or pain with daily tasks.

Tell your health care provider about your past efforts to lose weight. Be open about fad diets that interest you. Your provider might be able to direct you to weight-loss support groups or refer you to a registered dietitian.

There's no one diet or weight-loss plan for everyone. Think about your preferences, lifestyle and weight-loss goals. Pick a plan that you can tailor to your needs.

Before starting a weight-loss program, think about:

It's tempting to buy into promises of fast and amazing weight loss. But a slow and steady approach is easier to keep up. And it often beats fast weight loss for the long term. A weight loss of 0.5 to 2 pounds (0.2 to 0.9 kilograms) a week is the typical recommendation.

Faster weight loss can be safe if it's done right. Examples include a very low-calorie diet with medical supervision or a brief quick-start phase of a healthy-eating plan.

Successful weight loss requires a long-term commitment to making healthy lifestyle changes in eating, exercise and behavior. Behavior change is vital, and could have the greatest impact on your long-term weight-loss efforts.

Be sure to pick a plan you can live with. Look for these features:

Flexibility. A flexible plan uses a variety of foods from all the major food groups. It includes vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean protein sources, and nuts and seeds.

A flexible plan allows a treat now and then if you like. The plan should include foods you can find in your local grocery store and that you enjoy eating. But limit alcohol, sugary drinks and high-sugar sweets. The calories in those items don't provide enough nutrients.

The table below lists some of the more common diets. There's overlap, but most plans can be grouped into a few major categories.

Studies comparing different weight-loss programs have found that most programs result in weight loss in the short term compared with no program. Weight-loss differences between diets are generally small.

Before you dive into a weight-loss plan, take time to learn as much about it as you can. Just because a diet is popular or your friends are doing it doesn't mean it's right for you. Ask these questions first:

Successful weight loss requires long-term changes to your eating habits and physical activity. This means you need to find a weight-loss approach you can embrace for life. You're not likely to keep off the weight you lose if you go off the diet and back to old habits.

Diets that leave you feeling deprived or hungry can cause you to give up. And many weight-loss diets don't encourage permanent healthy lifestyle changes. So even if you do lose weight, the pounds can quickly return once you stop dieting.

You'll likely always have to remain careful about your weight. But mixing a healthier diet with more activity is the best way to lose weight, keep it off for the long term and improve your health.

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Weight loss: Choosing a diet that's right for you - Mayo Clinic

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