There are lots of ways to lose weight quickly, but few of these extreme methods receive health professionals’ stamp of approval. Dramatic diets, many people’s go-to weight loss solution, leave most of us feeling hungry, anxious and dissatisfied.
Instead, experts recommend gradual weight loss to achieve and maintain health. Reasonable, steady weight loss enables dieters to maintain hydration, muscle mass, bone density throughout their weight loss journey, instead of placing them at-risk as people do when they lose weight too quickly.
Thankfully, there are plenty of safe, practical and effective methods that promote progressive, sustainable weight loss.
Certified or registered health professionals are a great place to turn if you’re looking for a little help! They can teach you about healthy habits, help you measure progress and adjust your routine to ensure the weight keeps coming off until you’ve reached your goal weight.
Here are five health professionals that can help you lose weight more healthfully:
1. Personal Trainer
Studies show that combining diet and exercise is the most effective way to lose weight.
Incorporating daily activity helps you build lean muscle mass, which makes you look more toned, athletic and healthy. People with more muscle mass also have a higher metabolism so they burn more calories (even at rest), which helps them lose weight faster.
Working out regularly also fosters discipline, promotes continued commitment to healthy living and activates feel-good endorphins.
However, showing-up to the gym or track without a plan doesn’t make much sense. To get the most out of a workout, most of us benefit from a little outside guidance, companionship and motivation. That’s exactly what a personal trainer does.
A certified personal trainer (CPT) is qualified and able to design a personalized training plan – just for you. He or she will work with your strengths, weaknesses and goals, and then adjust the plan as you progress. A personal trainer will help you push the limit of your abilities and get the most out of your sweat sessions so that you can achieve your goals faster.
2. Registered Dietitian (Nutritionist)
Another critical piece of the weight loss puzzle is a registered dietitian nutritionist. Registered dietitians (RD/RDN) are nutrition professionals that specialize in designing personalized diet plans based on a patient’s goals, medical condition and dietary restrictions. They can also diagnose and help treat any nutritional imbalances.
It is important to find an RD/RDN as opposed to a nutritionist because the later is not guaranteed to have any sort of formal or reliable training in nutrition. Dietitians, on the other hand, must pass board exams and obtain national accreditation. If you’re not sure where to find a dietitian, click on the link above or ask your doctor for a referral!
Together with the trainer, a dietitian can help you build healthy habits that promote long-term, sustainable weight loss and overall health.
Before undertaking any new weight loss program, it’s advisable to undergo a thorough medical evaluation. It’s important to know if you should incorporate (or avoid) any special exercises or diets for health reasons, as well as ensure that you do not damage overall health with while slimming down.
A doctor can also help identify and diagnose diseases that may interfere with weight loss, or even contribute to weight gain, such as hypothyroidism or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Finally, if you have already been following a strict diet and exercise routine for several months and still aren’t seeing the results you’d hoped for, a doctor can also prescribe short-term medications – such as Adipex (phentermine) or Xenical (orlistat) – to jumpstart your weight loss.
4. Physical Therapist
Physical therapists are trained to help you prevent, treat and move past any injuries that hider your ability to stay active. If joint or muscle pain is keeping you on the couch, a physical therapist can help you find exercises you can do now, and build strength safely so that you can eventually return to a full range of activity.
A doctor can refer you to a physical therapist in your area and, many times, health insurance will even cover therapy if you have an existing injury/condition.
Last but not least, a mental health professional can help you address psychological barriers to health.
More often than you might guess, weight problems stem from emotional distress as opposed of physical or lifestyle issues. Identification and proper management of mental health problems proves key for many people hoping to reach and maintain a healthier weight.
More, psychologists (alongside registered dietitians) are trained to help patients adopt healthier habits and develop a healthier relationship with food. A physiologist may prove especially useful if you struggle with emotional eating, bingeing and/or restricting.
If you’ve been trying to lose weight on your own and find yourself struggling or yo-yoing – or don’t know where to start with healthy weight loss – make an appointment with one or more of the experts above to get your weight loss journey back on-track. They will help you lose weight steadily, consistently and healthfully, and give you the tools to keep it off long-term!