A weight loss plan only works if you stay with it. And as any successful dieter can tell you, it's much easier to lose weight and firm up when the diet plan you choose fits your lifestyle and personality. Hate to cook? You won't last long on a diet plan better suited to budding gourmets. Living in a house full of kids and big eaters so you're constantly surrounded by food? A weight loss plan for you will have to face the problem of snacking head on.
With any endeavor to lose weight, most women think they need to go on a diet, says Lisa Sanders, MD, a clinician-educator in primary care at Yale University and author of The Perfect Fit Diet. But that's not exactly true. A diet is simply what you eat, which means you're already on one. That diet either works for you so you achieve and maintain the weight you want, or it doesn't.
Weight loss type 1: The support seeker
You're the one who turns to friends and pros for answers. (If it worked for Oprah, it can work for you, right?) In college you had study buddies, shopping partners, and best friends who consoled you after miserable dates and psyched you up to try your hand at love again. You'd never have made it down the aisle without the help of a few older, wiser friends, and you couldn't handle colic and postpartum blues without those 1 a.m. phone calls to your sister-in-law.
Your ideal diet plan. Your perfect weight loss plan involves plenty of support from women who've been there - sharing your battles with chocolate fudge and meeting you for late-night walks around the block. Check out weight loss programs that meet weekly for fun, camaraderie, and tips on nutrition, or go the fitness route and join an aerobics or Pilates class with a core group of members. Sessions with a personal trainer can give you regular, one-on-one help with your unique weight loss demons.
If you're a stellar follower, but not so good at coming up with methods yourself, choose a diet plan that offers sample meals and grocery lists, says Suzanne Farrell, MS, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and owner of Cherry Creek Nutrition in Denver. Or start your own diet support group, choosing dependable friends who actually have time to offer weight loss help and won't let you get away with making excuses. A group of three or four friends can keep you firmly on the fitness wagon even when one member can't show up. Designate a leader, set a plan of attack and be sure to let your supporters know exactly what you need most from them, whether it's gentle encouragement or the toughest of love.