But the weight loss testimonial can be misleading. As I have said before, I think almost all weight loss programmes work, if you stick with them. But this doesn’t mean that they are all good for you or that you will have a high chance of succeeding with them.
The successful testimonial is also self-selecting. Only people who have succeeded will be featured on the promotional literature. If many didn’t succeed, you almost certainly won’t hear about them.
So, with all weight loss programmes making promises and with so many success stories, how do you know which to choose?
I am of course, slightly biased, because I happen to have some strong views against a dieting based approach. But with that in mind, here are the four attributes that I think every weight loss programme should have:
1. Long term
Most diets are short term in nature. If the weight loss programme you are doing is not one that you would be happy following in 5 years time, then choosing it is a bad move. Let’s say that you stick with it for 6 months and lose weight. If you are not willing to stick with it for the rest of your life, then what are you going to do? If you are like most people in the similar situation, they stop the diet and go back to their old habits and lifestyle. The weight starts increasing again. Welcome to yoyo dieting!
This should go without saying but ideally the weight loss programme should work. As I have said, most programmes will work, if you stick with them.
The fact is, if you decided to go on a hamburger diet, where you only ate hamburgers day in and day out, you would probably lose weight. How? Because how many hamburgers could you eat before you got absolutely sick of them? If you stuck to the diet and ate nothing else, you would probably start eating less (“I’m so sick of hamburgers”) and then lose weight. But as you know this would be a horrifically unsafe thing to do. The hamburger example is an extreme one, but many people go on diets that are very limiting. The ideal is a balanced diet. If you are limiting yourself too much, then you are either putting yourself at risk, physically or you will end up only lasting on the diet for a short time and so violating principle 1.
People who use unpleasant methods to lose weight are less likely to stick with them for the long term. The more unpleasant you make your weight loss regime the less likely you will stick with it. If your weight loss method is so depriving or borders on starvation, then you will not want to stick with it. Eating is something you intend to do for the rest of your life (I hope!) so make sure that you choose a method that allows you to enjoy life.
Next time you are deciding on a way to lose weight, go over this list. If the programme you are considering doesn’t fulfil these criteria, then find another one.
Dr. Khandee Ahnaimugan is a medical doctor who provides a bespoke behavioural programme for weight loss. To book a comprehensive assessment at his Harley Street Clinic please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +44 (0) 20 3130 4770.