If you’ve decided it’s time to get serious about losing weight and getting healthier, you’ve probably noticed there are scores of diet plans to choose from. To help you navigate the process of choosing a weight loss plan that will complement your fitness center workouts and health goals, here are a few tips.

1. Recognize That There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Plan for Everyone.

There are many things that play into which diet plan is best for each person: physique, genetics, health conditions, weight loss needs, etc. Just because a friend has success with a certain plan doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Trying every plan that’s out there until you find the right one isn’t advisable, either. Yo-yo dieting can wreak havoc on your metabolism and make it even harder to lose weight. Your body and your need are unique, so don’t fall for claims that any one diet is guaranteed to work for everyone.

2. Consult with a Health Professional or Certified Trainer.

The best way to determine which weight loss plan is best for you is to seek the advice of a well-educated, experienced professional. Your primary care physician is a good start. Doctors and nutritionists can assess your current physical condition and recommend a healthy goal weight. They may also be able to steer you in the right direction of safe weight loss plans they’ve seen work with other patients with similar needs as you.

You might also want to check around at your fitness gym to see if there are certified trainers who can help cater a diet plan to your condition and goals.

3. Look for a Plan that Focuses on Setting Healthier Eating Habits, Not Just Short-Term Weight Loss.

Some diet plans concentrate on results to the point of neglecting to teach people how to change the way they eat. You may need a stricter diet for a while to meet certain weight loss goals, but the core of a weight loss plan should be about learning to make better choices, even after the diet “ends.” Anyone can follow a strict plan for a short period of them, but unless you learn how to enjoy healthier food options, the weight will come back as soon as you go back to your old eating habits.

4. Avoid Extreme Diets with Questionable Supplements.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where some companies take advantage of people’s desire to lose weight and get healthy to sell expensive products that don’t yield results and even risk endangering your health. That’s why it’s important to use caution whenever you’re considering a plan, even if it’s something a friend is enthusiastically recommending.

An extreme diet is one that severely limits either your calories or your intake of certain food groups. It might also include weight loss supplements that aren’t FDA-approved or have alarming potential side effects. An extreme diet might also promise you very rapid weight loss and speak in absolutes that aren’t backed by solid evidence or case studies. Any of these signs should raise red flags.

5. Choose a Diet Plan That Encourages You to Exercise Instead of Promising You Won’t Have To.

Some diet plans get attention because they appeal to people’s desire to get something for nothing – weight loss and fitness without eating right and exercising. Steer clear of plans that promise you won’t have to exercise, because exercise is the very thing that can boost your weight loss efforts. Some diets are so restrictive that they may cause you to lose muscle mass instead of fat; exercise encourages muscle building, which speeds your metabolism to burn more calories even when you’re not working out.

Following these 5 tips can help you choose a weight loss plan that helps you reach your goals and maintain them, set healthier eating habits for life, and works hand-in-hand with a fitness center routine that maximizes your health and gives you results that last.