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Choosing a Diet Program

Which Diet Will Work For You?

No single diet is effective for everyone, so you must choose a diet that will work for you. Different weight-loss programs offer a variety of features designed to help you succeed. Choose a plan that fits your personality and the way you live your life.

Does the program fit your dieting style?

Do you prefer to go it alone, following the advice of a weight-loss book or Web site? Do you prefer to receive one-on-one counseling with a registered dietitian? Or do you prefer to share in group support, either in person or on-line? Choose the format that makes you most comfortable, and you're more likely to succeed.


Does the diet fit your lifestyle?

Do the meal plans require you to spend hours preparing fresh meals in the kitchen but you don't have the time or the inclination to cook? If you eat out or travel often, is it possible to stick with the program?

Does the program allow you to eat the same foods as your family?

If the program restricts your food choices so you have to make one meal for yourself and another for your family, you may find it difficult to stay with the program. A plan that controls portions but allows a wide variety of foods may work best for you and your family in the long run.

Is the weight-loss program flexible enough to accommodate the foods you like or does it feature many foods you dislike?

If the plan eliminates your favorite foods or requires you to eat foods you dislike, how likely are you to stick with it in the long run? You're more likely to stick with a program that offers a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups and that allows you to enjoy moderate portions of some of your favorite foods on occasion.

Can the diet be modified to fit your medical needs?

To lower LDL cholesterol and your risk of coronary heart disease, the weight-loss program should be able to incorporate the diet and lifestyle recommendations of the National Cholesterol Education Program and the American Heart Association. Not all weight-loss programs are low in saturated fat, and some restrict foods that are recommended on a cholesterol-lowering diet. So check out the diet rules and restrictions to help you decide if the program is right for you.

Does the weight-loss program end when you reach your desired weight, or does it continue to help you keep the weight off?

Especially if you relied on pre-packaged, pre-portioned meals, you need to learn how to control your weight while eating store-bought foods that are prepared at home. A good weight-loss program teaches you to adjust your eating plan for weight maintenance, encourages you to engage in regular physical activity, and provides on-going support to help prevent you from re-gaining the weight.

Some people fall into the trap of believing a slick marketing campaign that tells them a diet is right for them. The next page shows you how to separate legitimate diets from fad diets.

For more information about weight loss, see:

  • How to Lose Weight: It's challenging to take off pounds, but it's even more difficult to keep them off. Learn how to change your habits to make your weight loss permanent.
  • Low Cholesterol Diet: The typical American diet, high in fat and calories, is a leading culprit of high cholesterol. Find out how to lower your score through healthy eating.
  • Weight Loss: To stay healthy, you should take off weight gradually. Learn about the medical ramifications of weight loss.