Here's the Skinny: New Beginnings

It’s here … the biggest month on the weight loss calendar. Resolutions stand like mountains across America. Do you have a plan?

These days “diet” commercials saturate the media, promising quick and easy weight loss, resulting in finely honed bodies and the disappearance of cellulite. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but they all claim to have answers for those seeking smaller sizes and better health.

Part of the confusion is, many of them do have answers. There are a lot of very good diets out there mixed in with a lot of unhealthy ones. So how do you choose a weight loss program that’s right for you? There are three things I think everyone should consider when selecting a diet plan.

First of all, is it healthy? Does it incorporate all the food groups and provide enough calories for your age, weight and activity level? Note: Most medical experts recommend a minimum of 1,000 calories daily.

Second, is it livable? Ask yourself, Is this something I can do for the rest of my life? If the answer is no, then it’s not the plan for you. Unless the structure of the diet can be lived out, it will never become that new lifestyle we are seeking. Livability is the gateway to that new lifestyle.

Now, there are many programs that are healthy and livable. The last thing to consider when choosing the diet that’s right for you is, Does it fit my personality, my needs, who I am? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

• Is there a cost? Does it fit within my budget? You might love having meals arrive on your doorstep, but can you afford it?

• Is the kitchen your least favorite room in your house? There are programs that offer pre-packaged meals, but the volume is often small and you have to watch the sodium content. At our center in Shelton we have a full-time chef preparing freshly made meals that are factored for most major weight loss programs.

• What about support? Do you need the accountability of stepping on a scale each week? That was a necessity for me, but everyone is different.

• Are there other dietary restrictions in the household to take into consideration? Are you single? Cooking for a crowd? For a diabetic or someone with allergies? What about your work environment, your social life?

Weight loss all boils down to one thing: managing your calories. The many diet plans on the market simply present different ways of managing calories in and calories out. Finding the method that’s right for you is the first step to a healthier, new life.

Do your homework. In the end, an educated dieter is the most likely to be a successful one.

Kim Bensen, author of Finally Thin, was a lifetime yo-yo dieter who lost 200+ pounds and has kept it off for more than 10 years. She owns the Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center and just opened Kim’s Light Café on Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton. For more information, tips and recipes, go to