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Women's Health

Mercy Women's Care at St. Anne
3404 W. Sylvania Avenue
Toledo, OH 43623

Mercy Women's Care at St. Charles
Navarre Medical Plaza
2702 Navarre Avenue
Suite 101
Oregon, OH 43616

Mercy Women's Care at St. V's
2213 Cherry Street
Toledo, OH 43608

Losing Weight with Outside Help

separator If you've been trying to motivate yourself to eat well and exercise, but aren't having a lot of luck, maybe it's time to think about getting help from an outside source. There are a lot of ways to do this.

Sometimes, just telling someone else you're trying to change the way you eat can help you make the changes you need to make. Better yet, find a friend who also wants to eat well and maintain a healthy weight, and start your program together. Peer pressure has its value, and the two of you (or three or whatever number you choose to work with) can devise a way to support each other.

Another excellent approach to take is to visit a nutritionist or dietitian. These professionals can evaluate your current way of eating and suggest what kinds of changes you need to make. They may be able to point out some simple changes that aren't even that difficult.

Additionally, they can help you to find an eating and exercise plan that works well for your lifestyle. They can tell you how big your portions should be, whether you might do better eating several small meals a day rather than three larger ones and other helpful suggestions.

Weight Loss Programs

You may want to do something more structured and join an actual program. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) describes the best way to lose weight:

  • Make small changes over time
  • Eat a variety of foods
  • Balance what you eat over several days
  • Enjoy all types of foods, but don't overdo it
  • Be active

If you're interested in joining a structured group, make sure it adheres to the ADA's guidelines.

Weight Watchers® has a reputation for being one of the more reliable, successful weight loss programs because it promotes the same moderate approach as the ADA. Foods receive a point value, and participants are "allowed" to eat all kinds of foods as long as their point total stays within a certain range. Group meetings and peer support are another important aspect of Weight Watchers®. Those weekly "weigh-ins" provide strong incentive to keep weight down. Weight Watchers® also emphasizes the importance of exercise.

One thing to watch out for is that the point system makes it easier to have an unbalanced diet. It's possible to eat nothing but dairy products every day, for example, as long as you stay within the point range.

Any other weight loss program you consider should have the same moderate approach that you find in programs like Weight Watchers®.

Watch Out for Fraudulent Claims

When you're looking into weight loss programs, be sure to avoid the ones that use words like "breakthrough, miraculous, guaranteed, secret, exotic," etc. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And certainly don't be fooled by claims that special gadgets, such as earrings or bracelets, can help you lose weight.

When you're evaluating a weight loss program, ask the following kinds of questions

What are the health risks of this diet?

Do you have actual data that prove this program works?

What percentage of your customers keep the weight off?

What are the costs for membership, food, supplements, maintenance and counseling?

What if I drop out? Do I get a refund?

Do you have a maintenance program? Does it cost extra?

What kind of professional supervision is provided? What are the credentials of these professionals?

What are the program's requirements? Are there special menus or food, counseling visits or exercise programs?

When you're investigating potential programs, be sure to listen to your intuition. Don't let your desire to lose weight cloud your good judgment. If you're trying to talk yourself into believing you're doing the right thing, something about the program may not be right for you.

Food and Drug Administration, December 2001
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