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How to Pick the Best Weight Loss Program


Are you one of the one-third of American adults who are overweight, or are you just trying to shed a few excess pounds? It's no wonder weight loss is a multimillion-dollar industry. We're bombarded with promises of easy and effortless weight loss on a daily basis. Despite what some advertisements claim, there are no magic bullets or sure things. What's more, some diets are unsafe and can cause dehydration, nutrient deficiencies and fatigue. To separate the unrealistic from the sensible, look for the following red flags.

If "lose 10 pounds in 2 days" or "eat all you want and still lose weight" sounds too good to be true, that's because it is. People who have successfully shed pounds and kept them off know that maintaining a healthy weight requires education, effort, and constant work.

If you’re looking for an effective weight-loss program, keep an eye out and steer clear of ones that contain false promises, such as:

Impressive testimonials and success stories. How do you know those people are real? You don’t! Testimonials are unreliable. Many people are paid to give a positive recommendation, and others are professional actors.

Instant dramatic results. Sure, you'll drop pounds fast if you eat only grapefruit or cabbage soup for three weeks. But when you lose weight too quickly, you’ll lose some muscle along with body fat. When you lose muscle, your metabolism slows, making it harder to continue losing and easier to put the pounds back on. Diets that promote rapid weight loss, such as liquid diets, should be medically supervised.

Easy weight loss. The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume, and that requires self-discipline. To shed those pounds, you’ll either need to eat less or exercise more—preferably both.

A “magic bullet.” There is no such thing as one special potion or supplement that will magically melt away the fat. While there are some supplements that do aid in weight loss, to see real results you also have to change how you eat, what you eat, and your exercise habits.

Money-back guarantee. A program that offers a money-back guarantee if you don't see results (often the case for unscrupulous mail-order weight-loss supplements) is betting that no one will want to go through the trouble of returning the product. This is just a ruse designed to inspire confidence in what is likely to be a shady, ineffective product.

Once you sift through the scams, there are plenty of sound, safe weight-loss programs to choose from. If you need further help, consult with a nutritionist or ask your healthcare provider for advice.

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