In a few short months, millions of people will make a resolution to lose weight and get into better shape. While this is a popular and great resolution to make, most people will go about it completely in the wrong way.

Many will go out and buy the newest, hottest and most talked about diet. Others will join a gym, hire a Personal Trainer or hire a Nutritionist. Some will seek out a Hypnotherapist in this quest for weight loss.

I’d like to break down the pros and cons of each, and then I'll give you some idea of what the best approach to make would be in my opinion.

1-Going on a diet.
This is the worst possible move you can make if you're trying to lose weight and keep it off. If you want to lose weight fairly fast and don't mind gaining it all back, then it may be for you. But the short term gratification of losing weight from dieting will wreak havoc on your body and mind, both physically and mentally.
In a government study, it was shown that over 96% of people who go on a diet regain all their weight within 3 years. Most will weigh more than they did before they went on the diet.
In a different study, it was shown that people who dieted gained more weight over a period of 3 years than those who didn't diet with both groups weighing the same initially.
So with that being said, "Why in the world would somebody go on a diet?"
Well, the dieting industry spends billions of dollars each year on advertising revenue to make you believe their product will work for you. They work very hard to produce powerful emotions of fear, lust, and greed to its viewers. As a result, consumers spend nearly $40 Billion Dollars each year on products that are proven to not work.
So let's get diets out of the picture.

2-Joining a gym.
There's nothing wrong with joining a gym as long as you have the right expectations. A study showed that over 90% of people who join a gym have no idea of what they're doing once they get there. Most people will pay between $40.00-$100.00 each month, go a few times and never go back, all the while being locked into a year long contract in most cases.
If you're already in pretty good shape and you're one of the less than 10% of people who know what to do, then the gym may be for you.
But if you're one of the over 90% of people cited in the study, understand that gyms bank on the fact that you will not know what you're doing once you get there. You'll either hire a trainer because you may get hurt, see no results or you won’t go back. Either way, the gym makes out.

3-Hire a personal trainer.
This could be an incredible investment as long as you find the right Personal Trainer or Personal Training Company. Unfortunately, the standards of the Personal Training Industry are extremely low. Attempts have been made recently to improve the standards, and it is working; however too many trainers are still falling through the cracks. Nowadays one can call themselves a Personal Trainer after taking a one day online course and earning a certification.
An experienced Personal Trainer can help you attain results in a safe and fast manner. You just need to be sure you're getting the right person or company. Some of the best questions to ask a potential trainer are:

What is your experience and credentials?
Insist on a highly trained professional in the field of exercise physiology. Today there are literally hundreds of personal training certifying agencies, most of which do not require hands on experience or a comprehensive exam and evaluation. Certifications that we recognize as acceptable are: NPTI (National Personal Training Institute), ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), ACE (American Council on Exercise), AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, and NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association). A personal trainer must also have experience in the field. What makes a personal trainer acceptable is their ability to handle and design programs for people of all ages, sizes, and disabilities. This not only comes from proper education, but from experience dealing with many different clients as well.

Are you insured?
Statistics show that 85% of all personal trainers who operate under their own name do not carry adequate professional liability insurance. This not only shows a complete disregard for the integrity of the Personal Training Industry, it shows a lack of professionalism for the trainer or company.

How long have you been in business?
This is very important. Most personal trainers work part time for a company, or are sole proprietors struggling to make ends meet. The last thing you'll want is to see amazing results with a trainer, but then find out they have to find another job. Find an experienced trainer who has been doing this for at least 2 years, or find a Personal Training Company that's been in business for over 5 years. By hiring a Company, if one trainer quits or becomes unavailable, they'll more than likely have someone else to step in so you won't skip a beat.

How will you measure my progress?
Any Personal Trainer who wants you to see results and stick with the program will offer some type of fitness evaluation and progress checks. This is a very important element to a personal training program. Most people want to see not only visually, but on paper what they’re spending their hard-earned money on.

What's your availability?
One of the key elements for getting results is consistency. When hiring a personal trainer or personal training company, an important consideration is the availability and flexibility of the trainer or company. If you need to reschedule an appointment, the trainer or company should have the flexibility to either reschedule at an appropriate time, or have another trainer available to fill in your extra day.

What are your rates and terms?
One of the reasons that the personal trainer is not ranked up there with other professionals in their fields in terms of respect and credibility is the fact that too many sell themselves short. Back in the 70’s, health clubs offered personal training for free. Today you can find a personal trainer for $40.00-$200.00 per session. The bottom line is that you get what you pay for. If you are seeking a lower cost personal trainer, most of the time you will get a less experienced individual who is in jeopardy of having to switch careers. On the other side, if you come across a trainer who is charging very high rates, they should not only have many years of experience but something else to offer besides exercise instruction only.

While hiring a Personal Trainer can give you tremendous benefits, please beware of who you invite into your home and your life. Make sure the Trainer or the Company is reputable, is insured, has been in business for a good length of time, charges an appropriate fee and can provide their credentials and references.

4-Hiring a Nutritionist or Dietician.
Let's face it; most people who want to lose weight already know what food is good for them and what food is bad for them. They already know that pizza is high in fat and fast food is high in calories. They know they should be drinking water, eating smaller meals through their day and avoiding high fat foods. Why then would one spend $50.00-$200.00/hour on a Dietician or Nutritionist?
Well, if you need accountability, they can help. If you have any allergies to food, or medical or digestive issues they can help. If you have absolutely no idea of what's good for you or bad for you, then they can help.
The same standards you’d apply to questioning a personal trainer should apply to Nutritionists and Dieticians. Make sure you ask the same questions before inviting someone to help you with what you put into your mouth.

5-Going to see a Hypnotherapist.
You may be surprised, but this is one of the most effective ways to lose weight and keep it off. Hypnotherapy helps to engage one's subconscious mind, and input healthy suggestions so one would take automatic actions to help them lose weight. Now, I only have one problem with many Hypnotherapists or Self Hypnosis tapes out there. Again, Hypnotherapy helps to engage the Subconscious Mind. But what about somebody's conscious mind?
I've seen Hypnotherapists and Self Hypnosis tapes telling someone that they look slim, weigh 120lbs, and are wearing a size 1 dress while they're in a state of hypnosis. Well, while the subconscious mind may be able to allow this information in, if someone weighs 300lbs, and is a size 30, their conscious mind will definitely have a problem with this.
If someone's conscious mind is working against their subconscious mind, the results will be lessened greatly. A good Hypnotherapist for Weight Loss should have a background in Nutrition, Exercise, or both. Then they'll be able to provide you with an easy to follow plan, and help to embed the appropriate information into your subconscious mind. They'll also give you realistic expectations that both your Conscious and Subconscious mind will be able to accept.

So, what's the absolute best way to lose weight and keep it off? Well, that depends on your situation. If you're in decent physical shape, and want to lose a couple of vanity pounds, then go join a gym or hire a personal trainer. If you have no idea of what foods are good and bad for you, or have a digestive, medical or allergy issues, then seek out a Nutritionist or Dietician.
If you have more than 30lbs to lose and have struggled with your weight for a good length of time, then either a Personal Trainer or a Hypnotherapist may be a good fit for you.
Whatever You Do, Do Not Go On A Diet!

Whichever route you decide to take for your resolution, I wish you the best of luck. Please do not waste your time, your money, or your metabolism on dieting. It doesn't work and you'll probably be worse off than if you did nothing.

Best of luck and I hope you achieve whatever it is that you desire.

Author's Bio: 

Damien Young is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Sports Nutritionist, and Master Personal Trainer who has over 17,000 hours of one on one experience. Damien is a contributing writer for the Philadelphia Examiner and the CEO of one of the Nation's first In-Home Fitness Companies, employing over 20 of the top experts in their respective fields. Damien was an instructor at one of the world's largest and most comprehensive Personal Training schools, successfully certifying hundreds of personal trainers and nutrition counselors. He is the creator of the Instinctive Weight Loss System and Train Your Brain for Weight Loss Audio products, which have sold in 15 countries worldwide. His technique of combining Clinical Hypnotherapy, Nutrition, and Fitness has been proven to be extremely effective. This Mind-Body-Fitness approach has inspired thousands of people to achieve successful weight loss.

Damien Young has been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Main Line Magazine, and his Company has been featured on CNN’s AccentHealth Television Network and several popular radio stations. He travels extensively across the Country bringing his message into the hearts and lives of his loyal fans.