What to Look for in a WeightA balanced, reduced-calorie eating plan.
Look for a plan that promotes eating sensible amounts of a wide variety of foods from every food group so you get important nutrients and the right balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Some examples are the USDA MyPlate and the DASH eating plans or plans recommended by health authorities such as the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association.
Weight Management 101
Plenty of activity. A sensible plan encourages regular exercise, which helps you burn calories and reduces risk of health problems. Work toward at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity most days of the week, preferably every day. For weight loss, you might need closer to 90 minutes. Learn more about starting a fitness plan.
A good fit with your tastes and lifestyle. Choose a plan you can live with long-term—not one you can’t wait to end. Make sure the plan suits your food and activity likes and dislikes, time available to shop and prepare food and other lifestyle factors.
A format you like. You can find safe, reliable plans in many forms—books, online or meetings and support groups. A registered dietitian can create a custom plan for you To find an RD near you, go to the American Dietetic Association Web site and click on Find a Nutrition Professional.
Plans to avoid: Five red flags
- Rigid rules and drastic changes. A good plan will help you gradually adopt healthful new habits that work for you.
- Ban on a certain food or food group. A nutritionally unbalanced plan won’t give you all the nutrients you need for good health.
- No physical activity.
- Promise of huge weight loss in a short time. Experts recommend losing 1/2 to 1 pound per week.
- A “miracle” pill, product or potion that supposedly makes you lose weight without cutting calories or exercising.