The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Health & Fitness

February 24, 2013

The right fit important in weight-loss programs

Dietitian says it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when only focusing on the numbers on the scale

We’re a couple months into the new year and, if you’re like many Americans, you’ve been grappling with your weight.

You’ve also probably seen hundreds of television commercials, newspaper or Internet ads, or heard radio pitchmen trying to lure customers to one of the many diet centers available.

And maybe you’ve thought to yourself, “Mmmm ... Would a diet center work for me? Or can I buckle down and just get it done myself?”

The answer, unfortunately, is about as simple as your body’s metabolism. In other words, it’s not simple at all. Americans, however, will try anything. And with 65 percent of the population overweight, it’s not surprising that we spent more than $42 billion annually on weight-loss programs, pills and products.

But do they work?

“I believe there are some programs that people pay for and do work,” said Linda Carruthers, registered dietitian at Mayo Clinic Health System. “But you don’t need it. If you have the discipline, you can do it on your own and be healthy.”

In the Mankato area, many options exist for people interested in getting help from a diet or weight-loss center or program. There are a lot to choose from — Complete Nutrition, Jenny Craig, Ideal Weigh To B, The Slimmer Weigh, Body Beautiful Weight Loss Spa, NutriSystem, Weight Watchers.

For smartphone users, there are dozens of apps that can help you manage your weight loss — My Fitness Pal, Noom. They’ll let you log your meals and calorie intake, give you nutrition advice and recipes, even keep track of your exercise. Some will also assist in getting you in contact with other users who are fighting the same fight you’re fighting.

Weight-loss centers can be helpful.

“Paying for them can make people feel committed,” Carruthers said. “Some offer support because there are other people doing it and people available for help and support. And some programs aren’t necessarily healthy.”

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