Weight loss is a function of burning more calories from your body than you intake. A successful weight loss plan is measured by its ability to deliver the desired results; its safety, viability, long-term adaptability and its holistic approach.
There are a number of weight loss plans out there - and choosing one that fits you can be daunting. It is important to remember that every individual's body type and lifestyle is unique; therefore any plan should take into consideration your individual body type, weight, metabolic rate and any specific conditions or predispositions that you're facing, and a check on your lifestyle. It is always recommended to speak to a certified health professional or your physician before embarking on a specific diet or weight loss plan.
The elements of a good weight loss plan are as follows:
Sound strategy: a good plan is based on the individual's needs and includes specific short and long term goals. The plan is based on the person's lifestyle, eating and exercise habits, and above all, should be achievable. The end-result of your weight loss plan should be clearly defined, as should be the path to get there.
Reality-check: to find a plan best suited for you, take note of the following parameters: your Basal Metabolic Rate, your current body weight and height, your level of physical activity - sedentary, active or moderate, your lifestyle and your dietary habits. Also be aware of any medical conditions you have - hormonal imbalance, hereditary obesity, etc.
Exercise routine: the role of exercise in a weight loss plan is to get you to work out at an intensity that pumps up your heart rate and maintains it at that level for a period of time. This is conducive to loss of fat in the body. A cardio exercise like brisk walking for 20 minutes to one hour does just that. Along with weight loss, the focus should also be to convert body mass into toned muscle -therefore, weight training is also essential. Your exercise routine should keep building intensity as the days/weeks pass - otherwise your body will 'plateau' out, and there will be no visible results.
Diet: your plan should promote healthy eating to aid the loss of weight. 'Fad diets' can give you short-term results, but their viability and safety in the long term is highly questionable. For healthier eating, switch to unprocessed foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole nuts and grains, whole wheat products, unsaturated fats like olive oil, reduce your intake or red meat, eat lots of fiber (found in foods like cabbage, broccoli, fruits, etc.) and drink plenty of water - at least 10-12 glasses a day.
Monitor progress: maintain a chart of how you're faring. Monitor your short term results and get together a support group to keep you motivated.
Keep stressors at bay: a healthy, happy lifestyle and positive body image is conducive to weight loss. If stress or anxiety is causing you to make unhealthy choices resulting in weight loss, work on those first - either with a therapist or through self-talk and motivation.