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Over the past several years the number of online diet programs has exploded. Currently, there are three main groups providing weight loss services online.
1. Commercial weight loss centers like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.
2. Online-only companies such as e-diets.com
3. Registered dietitians.
You should investigate each online weight loss program carefully to determine if their weight loss plan meets your needs. The best online diet programs provide all of the features found in its clinic-based counterpart including nutrition education, personalized menus, exercise schedules, daily/weekly goals, and a comprehensive support structure. The program you select should be tailored to your needs based on an initial health screening that includes nutrition, fitness, and medical conditions. Your online weight loss program should allow self-monitoring of your exercise and dietary habits. It also needs to provide you with feedback related to daily calorie intake, energy expended and progress towards your goals. Choose an online weight loss program that frequently updates its website with current articles and up-to-date weight loss information. Make sure the website is printer-friendly and that you receive both peer and expert feedback via online chats, message boards and/or e-mail. Investigate each online program to assess their fee structure. As the number of services increase, so will the subscription rate. Take advantage of the free trial period offered by some online weight loss programs. After you have thoroughly examined each program you can make an educated, well-informed decision as to the program that is right for you.
One common, but very unsafe practice, used for weight loss is extreme dieting. Extreme diets, such as a seven day crash diet, promotes rapid weight loss which is not only unhealthy but in some instances dangerous. The use of fasting or extremely low calorie diets still doesn't work for long term weight loss. For permanent weight loss you must change your lifestyle. Extreme diets promise you almost magical results within just a few days. As the old saying goes, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Extreme diets have been around for centuries but their results are still the same. You primarily lose muscle tissue and water weight instead of fat. Crash dieters lose pounds because their diet program is essentially self-imposed starvation. It is simple math: if more calories are burned than eaten weight loss occurs. Extreme dieting results in low energy levels due to inadequate calories. This influences your ability to perform normal daily activities, you just don't have the energy you need. There is no energy for exercise and your job performance may suffer as well.
Crash dieting depletes vitamins and minerals that are important for normal body functions. As these important nutrients become depleted, imbalances may occur increasing your risk of serious medical complications. So, avoid these risks and the yo-yo effect of crash dieting by losing weight safely. Eat a healthy diet and getting plenty of regular exercise and you will be on your way to successful weight loss.
One big weight loss challenge for many individuals is having social support. If you aren't getting the support you need from family and friends, look online. An online weight loss plan has social support in the form of nutrition and fitness experts, chat sites, message boards or forums. Online you will find support by meeting people who are also trying to get healthy and lose weight. Even if you are getting support at home, more is better. The support gained online can be particularly helpful. You can pose questions to a message board and get advice from others who have been in your shoes. You can obtain support from online members who share a common interest and experience, such as members over the age of 50 or those aspiring to lose 50 or more pounds. Also, there are support groups for those with health conditions related to their weight, such as a high blood pressure support group or a diabetes group. Take full advantage of social support because it is extremely important for weight loss success.
Meal planning is one feature frequently offered by popular online weight loss programs. Daily menus provide online weight loss help for dieters who want to take the guesswork out of healthy eating. Some programs will customize meal plans by having you answer questions about food preferences. The program will also use your personal information to estimate daily calorie needs for weight loss. Menus are then designed to meet this target calorie level as well as provide you with adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. To ensure that the menus are safe and effective, find out if the menus are written by a registered dietitian (RD). An RD is a food expert and the only licensed professional that is legally able to write menus. Using your daily menu is easy. You have access to your foods and recipes well in advance. This allows you time to review and print them out if necessary. Some programs will even put together grocery store shopping lists. Using meal plans is a fun, easy way to watch what you eat while also learning how to prepare healthy foods.
When searching for an online weight loss diet program, try to find one that has a journaling component. The use of an online weight loss journal is helpful for several reasons. Keeping an online diary allows you to create a written scrapbook of your path to weight loss. To spice up your journal you may want to include digital pictures showing improvements over time. These pictures can provide additional weight loss motivation for yourself and to others. Another key benefit of keeping a diary is stress reduction. Expressing your feelings honestly, overcoming obstacles, and dealing with setbacks in a journal can help you release the stress you may normally bottle up inside. An online journal can also be used to record goals. Writing down your goals in a journal makes your online weight loss diet aspirations seem more concrete and can increase your level of commitment. Some individuals like to use daily entries while others prefer writing on a less frequent basis. The more open you are the better you will understand issues that keep you from achieving your weight loss goals.