The rep I dealt with was very knowledgeable and helpful. And, as we all know, getting a treat every now and then makes dieting a little more enjoyable. I started the program four weeks ago and was talked into taking the extended plan instead of the 20 for She and I—with around twenty other women and the occasional man —met in a church basement on Saturday mornings. The food was good and I felt success from the plan overall.
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With the holidays over, you may be looking down at the bulging evidence of too much merriment around your waistline. If you've resolved to lose weight in , you might be considering signing up for a commercial diet plan, such as Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, or Jenny Craig. The TV ads, filled with celebrity endorsers and regular people holding out their enormous "old jeans," make the diet plans sound terribly tempting. Although an FTC rule now requires testimonial ads to cite typical results, the looming question still remains: Which of these diet programs are worth your money?
To find out, MoneyWatch analyzed eight of the biggest diet plans. Three are support-only plans that don't require you to buy their food, and five are food-delivery plans. We interviewed leading nutritionists and weight-loss professionals, pored through clinical studies, and tallied up membership fees and food costs to determine the ones most likely to help you slim down and to see how much you'd pay to drop 20 pounds.
Our favorite for value and efficacy is Weight Watchers , designed to help you change your eating habits for good. Nutrisystem is the least expensive meal delivery plan we reviewed Medifast is cheaper, but you have to provide one meal a day on your own.
And the silver-spoon award undoubtedly goes to In The Zone Delivery , a white-glove service for people who'll spare no expense to drop the pounds. Here's how the plans stack up. See the handy chart at the bottom of the page for a side-by-side comparison. The oldest national weight-loss program, its members rave about the encouragement they get at weekly meetings led by former Weight Watchers dieters. Nutritionists praise the portion-control points system: Each food is assigned points based on its serving size, calories, fiber, and fat; and no foods are forbidden.
Your point allowance is based on your weight, height, gender, age, and activity level. A recent clinical study in the New England Journal of Medicine linked group counseling sessions to weight-loss success.
That explains why Weight Watchers has impressive short-term results. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed participants lost an average of about 5 percent of their body weight 10 pounds in six months. Two years later, they had kept about half the weight off. After that, you get free lifetime membership.
The company says members using its online tools in addition to attending meetings lost 50 percent more weight than those going to meetings alone. Cost to lose 20 pounds: We looked at two plans from eDiets — one that offers support alone, and another with meal delivery. You can choose from among more than 20 diet plans, including ones for diabetics and vegetarians.
Online tools let you set goals, plan menus and generate shopping lists. The optional meal delivery service offers freshly prepared, calorie-controlled meals delivered in a cooler. But telephone support has some evidence in its favor: Cost per pound of weight loss: No — for about the same money, other services offer better track records.
For the first two weeks, you eat three extremely low-carb meals a day plus two snacks. You can customize menus, search a database of more than 1, recipes and get a personalized shopping list.
Studies have shown that after one year, carb-restricted diets led to greater weight loss and increased heart health than low-fat diets. However, the advantage disappeared over the long term. How much can you expect to lose? Figure on 8 to 13 pounds during the two-week kick-start phase, then 1 to 2 pounds a week thereafter. The majority of the participants on Weight Watchers stuck to the diet and lost twice as much weight as the doctor-diet group. Finally, the American Diabetes Association has studied Weight Watchers and found that meeting attendance combined with an emphasis on healthy eating—including veggies, fruit and high-fiber, low trans-fat foods—makes it a good commercial diet choice with better, and healthier, results.
How about Weight Watchers reviews? A picture is worth a thousand words, and for me the before-and-after of performer Jennifer Hudson is all you need to see to know Weight Watchers works. She lost 80 pounds. And though she ended her relationship with the company after about four years, she lost the equivalent weight of a healthy year-old and said in interviews that Weight Watchers changed her life.
What each of these has in common, too, is that all successfully lost quite a bit of weight on Weight Watchers, and in the case of most—if not all—have kept the weight off, in some cases for years.
But what about regular people? The most candid and compelling review I located was posted on SparkPeople. So my humble opinion on WW, I believe it works great if you stick with it. She said while on Weight Watchers she ate a lot of high-fiber foods, a lot of vegetables, lean meats and fish, light breads, fruit and drank a lot of water.
I would like to lose 76 pounds. I know this woman. I am this woman. But trinkets, tools, and good old-fashioned customer service help the spell work. The allure, or Weight Watchers charms, are many. I loved the gadgets and many I still have, including the old Points slide thingamajig. Back in the day, free recipe cards and cookbooks, coupons, and trinkets to help remind me that I was accountable; a key chain, pocket guide, measuring cup, and non-toxic plastic water bottle with Weight Watchers emblazoned on it—those little talismans made a difference.
She had no problem canceling and she said Weight Watchers customer service was great. Based on our research people frequently try to compare Weight Watchers to other brands. Often the brands and their products are different in many ways which makes it hard to compare apples-to-oranges. This is our attempt to compare below 5 and pick the winner. Please take this information with the grain of salt and do your own research.
If making dietary changes we recommend consulting with your medical doctor. Coaching and networking, weighing in and showing up, online or in person—like I did back in the day in a church basement with a couple of dozens other folks fingers-crossed on the scale, chatting together, sharing recipes, and listening to a motivational leader. I understand the attraction to Weight Watchers. Been there, done that, and, I have been successful. And that's the point; the weight didn't stay off so I, like millions more, yo-yo diet.
On the Trim Down Club website, club members like the women I met every Saturday morning at weigh-ins in the days of yore meet up with other club members; the supportive and active Trim Down Club community. More than 1 million members and a social media following of nearly , cannot be wrong.
Many people who search for diet information about Weight Watchers also check out the Ketogenic system. Like many, I have done similar diets where you put your body into Ketosis—like Atkins. Comparing it to Weight Watchers is a bit of a stretch though given Weight Watchers does not severely restrict carbohydrate intake. But the two are pretty dissimilar.
Not a good match. Nutrisystem is another diet that pops up in searches for diets similar to Weight Watchers likely because of the prepared, packaged or ready-made meals and snacks. Weight Watchers has really cornered the market on prepared foods found in nearly all of your supermarket aisles.
Nutrisystem , though extremely popular, relies on pre-made, processed and packaged foods. As I mentioned, Weight Watchers encourages but does not restrict carbs. Just about every frozen Weight Watchers entree has white pasta or white rice with a smattering of protein and lots of carrots. I know this because for years, on and off, I ate them regularly. And finally, the 21 Day Fix is a diet that often appears when people are surfing the Web for diets like Weight Watchers. But they are about as close as fifth cousins.
The 21 Day Fix is wildly popular and trendy and among the most searched diets. And at 21 days, it couldn't be more dissimilar to Weight Watchers which has only your goal weight defining the duration. The Trim Down Club helps folks make the change for life. If you follow the diet religiously —and it is very doable—you absolutely will lose weight, usually in the neighborhood of a pound or two a week.
But hopefully the habits learned while on Weight Watchers will stick. I mean you can , you can lose. In , Nidetch sold Weight Watchers to R. I suppose that was a smart move on her part and made her filthy rich. Heinz, obviously, is a mega-food producer and one of the kings of processed foods, and while it sold most of Weight Watchers to a European entity about 17 years ago, it still produces Weight Watchers packaged foods under the Weight Watchers label and Smart Ones brand.
And I am here to tell you, I ate my share and then some of those so-called Smart Ones frozen pepperoni pizzas, and I did not do myself any favors. So go on, try Weight Watchers.
But please buy and prepare your own meals using fresh whole foods. Do not buy their crap Sorry, Oprah. And finally, since loss-gain-return, loss-gain-return is the cycle for the vast majority of people on Weight Watchers—and the money-counters hope you do keep coming back—consider this a word to the wise: I know; they are speaking out of both sides of their mouth.
If you try Weight Watchers and gain the weight back, you are not a failure. So, yes, Weight Watcher is worth a try, if you are one of the actual smart ones who does not buy into the product line and works to maintain your weight loss. Trust me on this, sisters. Fit page, Weight Watchers Australia website, accessed 15 October , https: Plans Page, Weight Watchers website, accessed 15 October , https: Anyone Use Weight Watchers Before? Information on this website is not to replace the advise of the doctor, but rather for general education purposes.
It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and should not be considered as medical advice. Aways consult your doctor before starting any diet or taking any dietary supplements. Articles, reviews and investigations are our own opinion, and written based on the information publicly available or simply contacting the companies. We try our best to stay up to date with constantly changing information.
This means that if you purchase an item following one of the links, we will receive a commission. Regardless of that, we only recommend the products or services, that we strongly believe will benefit our readers. Read full disclosure here. What Is Weight Watchers? You go off the diet. You regain the weight. You go back on the diet. The Big Idea Then after being on a diet recommended by health officials, Jean had an epiphany and figured out what would work.
My Firsthand Experience In my first experience with Weight Watchers, I lost 23 pounds in three months; I still feel proud of that today. Weight Watchers Point System Weight Watchers implemented a points system in the s, where foods were given a numerical value based on nutritional profile. Weight Watchers says it wants people to not diet per se, but adopt a Weight Watchers lifestyle: Doing the Math on Points Weight Watchers explains that it takes the complex nutritional information of a food and gives it a single number—the SmartPoints value—so people can make smarter food choices while eating the stuff they like to eat.
Sticking to Fit FitPoints is also a smart idea. Weight Watchers explains it this way: But, as of fall of , there are three plans: The study found that …use of the WW program yielded significantly greater weight loss than a self-help approach, suggesting it is a viable community-based provider of weight loss treatment, as recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force.
The Lancet British journal The Lancet published a study which followed several hundred people for a year; half on a diet recommended by their doctor and the other half on Weight Watchers.