Some are sold with the promise of being low-effort and promote fast or dramatic weight loss, while others promise results by offering a more restrictive and depriving plan.
Regardless of which plan you choose, they rarely provide long-term success and tend to emphasize the short-term practices.
Popular programs and products may kickstart weight loss, but they typically only address one aspect rather than helping you form new, healthy habits to achieve lifelong results.
It's common to slowly regain weight as old habits return and life challenges arise. You may find yourself doing these programs several times a year to get back on track, or for longer durations to achieve better results.
But you're probably not looking to yo-yo diet for the rest of your life. There are much more effective and enjoyable approaches to weight loss that involve making lifestyle changes to help you end the dieting cycle and instead focus your energy on enjoying life.
Below are tips to follow for long-lasting results following a weight loss program:
1. Maintain motivation.
Diet programs often make you sacrifice the foods you love or restrict your diet so drastically that the changes are not sustainable. When the program ends, it's common to feel deprived, exhausted and a lack of motivation to keep going, especially if you haven't learned new healthy habits.
Ways to stay motivated are to maintain confidence with a positive outlook, go easier on yourself, stay focused on your end goal and make small changes that will slowly help you achieve that larger goal.
Give yourself credit for how far you've come in losing weight, but also realize that weight loss and maintenance is life long.
Creating a supportive environment with friends and family and trying new, fun ways to live healthier (like new workout classes or recipes) can also help you maintain your motivation when it's lacking.
2. Make a plan so you're prepared for life's challenges.
It is inevitable to experience periods of struggle, but it doesn't have to go hand-in-hand with halting your progress.
It's easy to feel a lack of control with life's challenges, but if you shift your mindset and remember you have control over your food choices and how you spend your free time, you can make your healthy habits fit into your new parameters.
You may have to change your workouts and your go-to meals, but having this control and flexibility along with making healthy choices is empowering, which can help you through the stressful times you don't have much control over.
To ensure you're prepared to stay on track, try to identify potential setbacks that could hinder your progress, like not having enough time, a tighter budget, being tired at the end of a busy day or being pulled in every direction other than living healthy.
Make a plan for how you can continue to make healthy choices if you were faced with these setbacks, like having quick and healthy recipes on-hand, a list of workouts that don't take much time to complete and learning ways to destress and improve your sleep.
This way, if you actually experience a bump in the road, you won't let it stop you.
3. Acknowledge the other factors in weight loss.
Most weight loss programs only provide guidance in diet and/or exercise. Although these are major components, there are many aspects that can greatly influence your results.
Some other factors to consider are how well you sleep, how you manage stress and your mindset.
In order for life following the completion of a program to continue to make positive changes, you'll have to maintain your success at managing your sleep, stress and outlook on life.
4. Keep sustainable habits, drop those that aren't.
The best plan for you is the one you can stick to. Even if you had success with a program, it might not be a good fit for you to continue long term.
Oftentimes, people have an all-or-nothing approach, where if they can't stick to a healthier routine as instructed, they don't follow through with it at all.
To ensure you keep forward momentum, identify what you liked and didn't like about your program, how various components worked/made you feel and if they were sustainable. There isn't a one-size-fits-all diet out there that works for everyone.
It's perfectly fine to choose elements you want to keep and mix and match your favorites from different programs, as long as they help you achieve and maintain your goals.
With so many short-term health and weight loss programs out there to choose from, it's no wonder there's confusion and low success rates for losing weight and keeping it off long term.
Since improving your health and wellness and achieving weight loss is not a race, it's typically best to only use popular programs as a launching point rather than an end point, helping you try new methods and form new habits that set you on a path toward achieving your goals and making it a lifestyle.
To help you learn meal planning secrets that spark creativity in your kitchen so you can plan and create meals that are healthy, easy and delicious, check out this guide.