WayBetter's Guidelines for Losing Weight Safely.

All WayBetter games are intended to give you a motivational boost, but they do not serve as a weight-loss, health, wellness, or fitness program. On our DietBet website, we aim to make it fun to lose and maintain weight but since we don't know you personally (and even if we did) we are agnostic as to how you should go about accomplishing your weight goals. Everyone's different and so we can't advise you properly on how to lose or maintain weight. In fact, we suggest developing a customized plan just for you with a registered dietician, nutritionist, trainer, or doctor. Note that we may recommend certain approaches and products from time to time on our site and in our emails but you should consult a professional before acting on our advice.

Although we leave it to you on how to win your game, we will tell you how not to do that. As tempting as it may be to engage in short-term tactics to win, we discourage such practices, not only because it's unsportsmanlike and your friends will resent you for it, but because it may be unhealthy and even dangerous. Plus, it won't help you get what we all really care about: a sustainably healthy lifestyle over the long run.

Don't forget that the point of the game is to improve your health. Sweating out five pounds of water weight like a college wrestler is not going to help you over the long run and you may even end up getting renal problems along the way. Don't do dumb things just to win your game.

If you're caught engaging in the following practices, you'll be disqualified:

  1. Binging
  2. Purging
  3. Excessive fasting
  4. Hydration or dehydration for the sole purpose of manipulating your weight
  5. Undergoing any kind of bariatric surgery, liposuction, or other weight-loss procedures

Assessing such practices may entail subjectivity. WayBetter retains the right to decide if any unhealthy behaviors are being practiced and can eject players without a refund at any time.

As you know, the best way to reach a healthy weight is to follow a sensible eating plan and engage in regular physical activity. Weight loss programs should encourage healthy behaviors that you can maintain over time. Here are some wise guidelines from the US Department of Health and Human Services:

Safe and effective weight loss programs should include:

  1. Healthy eating plans that reduce calories but do not rule out specific foods or food groups
  2. Regular physical activity and/or exercise instruction
  3. Tips on healthy behavior changes that also consider your cultural needs
  4. Slow and steady weight loss of 1 that also consider your cultural needsfoods or food groups engage in regular physical activity.
  5. Medical care if you are planning to lose weight by following a special formula diet, such as a very low-calorie diet
  6. A plan to keep the weight off after you have lost it

Furthermore, if you decide to join or engage in a weight loss program, here are some questions to ask before you join.

Is the diet safe?
The eating plan should be low in calories but still provide all the nutrients needed to stay healthy, including vitamins and minerals.

Does the program provide counseling to help you change your eating, activity, and personal habits?
The program should teach you how to permanently change those eating habits and lifestyle factors, such as lack of physical activity, that contributed to your weight gain.

Is the staff made up of a variety of qualified counselors and health professionals such as nutritionists, registered dietitians, doctors, nurses, psychologists, and exercise physiologists?
You need to be evaluated by a physician if you have any health problems, are currently taking any medicine, or plan to lose more than 15, nurses, psychologists, and exercislan uses a very low-calorie diet (a special liquid formula that replaces all food for 1–4 months), an exam and follow-up visits by a doctor are also needed.

Is training available on how to deal with times when you may feel stressed and slip back to old habits?
The program should provide long-term strategies to deal with weight problems you may have in the future. These strategies might include things like setting up a support system and establishing a physical activity routine.

Is attention paid to keeping the weight off? How long is this phase?
Choose a program that teaches skills and techniques to make permanent changes in eating habits and levels of physical activity to prevent weight gain.

Are food choices flexible and suitable? Are weight goals set by the client and the health professional?
The program should consider your food likes and dislikes and your lifestyle when your weight loss goals are planned.

There are other questions you can ask about how well a program works. Because many programs don't gather this information, you may not get satisfying answers. But it's still important to ask them the following:

  • What percentage of people complete the program?
  • What is the average weight loss among people who finish the program?
  • What percentage of people maintain their weight loss after 1, 2, and even 5 years?
  • What percentage of people have problems or side effects? What are they?
  • Are there fees or costs for additional items such as dietary supplements?

Remember, quick weight loss methods aren't sufficient to achieve lasting results. Weight loss methods that rely on diet aids like drinks, prepackaged foods, or diet pills don't work in the long run. Although a WayBetter game may be a catalyst for changing your habits, the most important changes are long term. No matter how much weight you have to lose, modest goals and a slow course will increase your chances of both losing the weight and keeping it off.

We want to thank the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for these tips.