There is no magical formula for losing weight. Fad diets and quick fix solutions will not work. Despite the quackery pervasive on the internet, there has never been in the history of weight loss "medicine," a 100% proven product for losing weight and keeping it off. Shammers only capitalize on peoples' concern over their image as a means to make money, with no proven results or FDA backing. The dangers of crash dieting are ingrained in us, yet in our desperate attempt to lose weight fast, we ignore all risks, putting ourselves in harm. My advice to you is; save your money and pass the quacks by, because much of what you need to know about safe weight management is common sense, though admittedly, common sense seems to be at a premium these days.
Safe and slow: There is nothing wrong with losing weight quickly, as long as you do it safely. You may not drop 15-20 pounds a week, like some of "the Biggest Loser" contestants, unless you have trainers like Jillian or Bob, are severely obese, and are attending boot camp; but you can safely lose over 3 pounds a week, with the right amount of exercise and a well thought out eating plan. Studies have shown though, that losing weight slowly - no more than 2 pounds a week, is the safest and most effective for maintaining that weight loss long term.
Readiness: Being successful in your goals depends on your motivation and readiness to make permanent changes to your lifestyle and health habits. Before you even think about a weight management program, you need to make sure that you are in the right mindset to take on this challenge. Knowing you need to lose weight for health reasons, and feeling ready to take this plunge, are two very different things.
Set realistic weight loss goals: Having a realistic weight goal is vital to your success, so if you are substantially overweight or obese, talk to your doctor first about how much weight you can safely lose. Know your ideal body weight based your height and build, and what you need to lose to get to that goal. At a 2 pound loss a week, you can figure out how much you can lose in six months. If you are 100+ pounds overweight, then aim for a year from now. Being unrealistic in your goals serves no purpose and will only cause you to sabotage your efforts.
Motivation: Once you set these goals, you need to understand your motivation behind them. Do you have an event, a reunion or date? Those can be great motivators, as long as the weight loss plan you follow is one you can keep up with after that event is over and done with. Maybe you're just tired of double digit sizes, and craving the new and improved single digit you? Then use that as motivation, by hanging up a photo of the ideal body you crave, alongside a current photo of you. That should be motivation enough!
Weight is just a number: Your weight reflects many things; calorie consumption, composition of the foods you eat, metabolic rate, and how much physical activity you get, but it doesn't tell the whole story - how much of that weight is muscle, fat, water, bones and organs. If you are going to see any real results, it is important that you understand your body composition and its' makeup, rather than obsessing about dropping pounds, which will only leave you frustrated and discouraged. After numerous trips to the gym and endless hours of cardio and strength training, you may consequently find yourself losing body fat and inches, but not necessarily dropping pounds.
It's okay - this is normal and logical. Initially, when you start exercising, your fat mass is converted to muscle mass, which is denser and weighs more, so your weight may not have dropped or you may have even gained a few. I know what you're thinking, but don't lose sight of what's important here; which is that you are changing your body composition, and converting fat into lean muscle, which gives you that toned and defined look. That is what you should be aiming for - doesn't everyone want a svelte figure?
Exercise and eat right: There are no shortcuts. Losing weight safely and sustainably requires a simple approach; burning more calories than you consume, setting realistic goals, committing to a lifetime of nutritional eating, a good grasp of moderation, and plenty of exercise. By combining a healthy diet of fewer calories and increasing your physical activity, you can expect to lose 2+ pounds weekly, which most importantly can be effectively maintained for the rest of your life.
The only way to be successful is to be smart and safe; so steer clear of any weight loss programs promoting diet pills, laxatives, supplements, colon cleansing or fasting, as these are all potentially life threatening methods of losing weight.