Considering a Commercial Weight-loss Program? Ask these Questions First!

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Utilizing a commercial weight-loss program or center is one of the most popular options for someone who is trying to manage their weight. These centers often provide various resources, such as pre-packaged meals, support and more. Centers also usually offer a 1,000 to 1,500 calorie-per-day diet plan, which can provide quick weight-loss results. But as the weight-loss slows down, it’s easy for people to become frustrated and discouraged.

Commercial programs usually fit into two categories — those who use meal placements and those that do not. Here’s a quick rundown of the two:

Meal replacement

Meal replacement through pre-packaged meals can be appealing because of the convenience and ease of choice they offer; however, when meals are pre-packaged, participants may not learn the basics of nutrition and healthy eating for themselves. In such a case, weight management can become difficult, and people regain the weight they originally lost. Pre-packaged meals are also known for being more expensive than prepping your own food at home. There’s also liquid meal replacements, which if used for too long, can be harmful because they can cause nutritional deficiencies. These types of plans may not help you in the long run, because when you go back to your regular lifestyle after the plan, you may not stick with the principles of healthy eating and portion control.

Non-meal replacement

Some commercial weight-loss centers do not utilize meal replacement as part of their program. Their main goal is to teach you how to nutritiously feed your body and how to make smart food choices on your own. While this is helpful in the long term, many individuals find it hard to adjust at first.

Questions to ask before starting a commercial program

Overall, a safe and effective commercial weight-loss program will offer educational materials that have been reviewed by a licensed healthcare professional. Before starting any commercial program, ask the following questions to a program representative:

  • How much weight, on average, do clients regain in the long-term?
  • What is your maintenance and follow-up program?
  • What rate of weight-loss does your program aim for?
  • Does the program emphasize balanced food choices and exercise?
  • Are you required to buy specially formulated foods or supplements?
  • What are the costs of membership, weekly fees, brand food, supplements and counseling?
  • What are the credentials of those running the program?
  • What are the health risks of this program?

Interested in learning more about your weight-loss options and how to take the first step to better health? Sign up today to take the Your Weight Matters Challenge, and receive a FREE “Your Weight, Your Health,” Toolkit to get the conversation started with your healthcare provider about how your weight impacts your health.

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