13 01 lose weight fast tbFour things you need to know before making a plan to lose weight.

Whether you’re trying to drop those pesky five pounds you put on over the holidays or you’re still working to get rid of a few dozen pregnancy pounds having we all know that losing weight–and keeping it off–isn’t easy.

If you’re sick of dieting and have extra pounds to drop, here are a few things you should before trying a new weight-loss method.

1. Losing weight permantently is hard work.

“There’s no quick fix. Once people decide they want to lose weight, they expect it to come off–and stay off–now,” says Jennifer House, a registered dietitian and owner of First Step Nutrition in Calgary. No matter how you do it, House says, “one to two pounds per week with forever lifestyle changes” is what’s most doable and maintainable.

2. Beware of low-calorie diets.

Besides hitting the gym, cutting calories and seeking a physician, dietitian and/or personal trainer’s help (if you need a crash-course in living a healthy lifestyle), there are many treatments, diets and programs that promise weight loss. The problem with many, says House, is that people end up failing these fad diets. “Dieters lose water right away, think they’re succeeding at losing fat and of course can’t always maintain their diet. After spending a few days on an extremely low-calorie diet, their metabolism decreases, which leads them to gain weight. Hence, the yo-yo diet.”

3. If a diet is unsustainable, you'll gain back everything you've lost.

Vancouver registered dietitian and nutrition consultant Lindsay Jang says fad diets aren’t sustainable because they “require extreme calorie restrictions, cutting out entire food groups or eating the same things day after day. The best diet is a diet you can stick to.”

A study conducted in 2010 by the Heart and Stroke Foundation found that, in a five year period, 62 per cent of the 2,000 Canadians surveyed who had lost five pounds ended up gaining the weight back. And 70 per cent of the overweight respondents who lost weight ended up putting it all back on… and then some.

Of the programs and treatments on the market, House says Weight Watchers is one of the better options for most people. “They’re pretty good at teaching the basics of calories with the points system,” she says. “Meal programs are unsustainable, as you can’t eat a company’s frozen meals forever.”

4. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

As for treatments like acupuncture and vibration therapy, House says there’s no physiological evidence that these methods can produce results.