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Are Paid Diet Plan Worth It?

  Got a few (or more) pounds to lose? One of your first impulses may be to head toward an established diet plan to help lose that excess weight. The problem: there are literally hundreds of plans to choose from, and each argues that they’re the best and most effective. Do you choose the plan based on its price and ease of use? Or should you rely on the celebrity spokespeople these companies have hired to promote their products? 

     This article reviews some of the most popular diet companies, and compares their effectiveness.

are paid diet plan worth it?

Nutri-System

According to the  Top Diet Review site’s ‘Top Twenty’ ratings,  Nutri-System rates the highest, in terms of customer satisfaction. This diet plan is one of the very easiest to follow — all you need to do is eat the food delivered to you. (As of this writing, a basic plan geared to women is $8.21 a day, and a more specialized program tailored to your individual taste is $9.64 daily. (Men’s plans are about a dollar more. There are also plans for vegetarians and diabetics.)

The My Weight Loss blogger swears by Nutri-System for her 65-pound weight loss. It took her eight months, incidentally. You should be doing some multiplying now — just one month of food at the cheapest price equals $229.28! (That figure doesn’t include extra costs for the “fun, fresh grocery items” you’re supposed to incorporate into the daily diet plan.) But the blogger also attributes her success to “getting the correct portions, drinking water and exercise–” all typical parts of many plans.  This is particularly interesting, when compared to the ‘success stories’ on the Nutri-System website: they range from 20-30 pounds, and always accompanied by those magic words: “results not typical.” (You’ll find this phrase often in small print on every site.)

Final assessment: easy to use, but on the expensive side. The custom-geared plans give you food that’s more to your taste; on the other hand, they also cost more. Does it work? Many customers say yes — at least while they’re still eating the food provided.

Medifast

Next in popularity on Top Diet Review is the Medifast diet.The primary weight loss program is known as “5 plus 1:” five daily Medifast meal-replacement drinks or food, plus one “lean and green” meal of lean meat or fish plus salad or green vegetables. The plan is high-protein and low in carbs, giving approx. 800-1,000 calories a day. (The Medifast people say you’ll lose 2-5 pounds a week.)

Weight loss varies according to stage of the program, how much you have to lose and physical activity,” explains Lisa Davis, PhD, Medifast vice president of research and development. “Initial weight loss is usually much greater than amount lost in later weeks.” Medifast has all sorts of plans tailored to age (teens to seniors), as well as new moms and people who’ve had weight loss surgery. There’s even one for gout sufferers! Meal replacements will cost about $80 weekly, or $300 a month. That cost doesn’t include the daily “lean and green” meal, however.

 Final assessment: good, as long as you use the items provided, and don’t mind sticking to the program during the ‘plateau’ period. The drinks and snacks are tailored to provide the nutrients you need, without losing muscle mass, according to the company. Faster weight loss is advocated than many other programs. Expensive? You bet.

 Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig is another weight loss program often mentioned, and in a very interesting context — it’s said to have the tastiest food. The meals are also delivered; average cost is $15-20 a day. It’s easy: just eat the food provided. But like the others, your success depends on following the program rigorously. On one of the forums, ‘BKW’ commented, “My brother-in-law tried it.  I don’t know how much weight he lost, but he looked good.  Then as soon as he didn’t have the little pre-measured Jenny Craig meals, he put the weight right back on and then some.  Personally, I think that the Jenny Craig meals are like a crutch and if you don’t have the willpower to continue healthy eating habits after Jenny Craig, it won’t work.  But, that’s just me.”

Final assessment: Jenny Craig has a lot of fancy celebrity spokesmen, and a reputation for delicious, though skimpy meals. If you eat the food provided, you’ll most likely lose weight — but you’ll also pay for it. This is the most expensive plan, by far.

Slimfast

If you’re looking for a more do-it-yourself approach, Slimfast products are one of the easiest to find. Think of this program as a riff on Medifast — you’re to substitute a can or serving of ‘milkshake’ (approx. $1.25-1.50 each) for two meals, then eat ‘sensible’ portions of meat, greens and veggies for meal #3. Three snack bars or servings of ‘bites’ are also part of the plan (50-75 cents per serving).

The Slimfast program has been around for quite some time, and many people swear by it. On one of Yahoo’s public forums, ‘Rhiannon’ comments, “its quick to shed bu to keep it off you have to have better eating habits. the 3-2-1 has shown me to be careful with calories. Instead of a shake sometimes i eat the equivalent in calories. its awesome. i also work out 20 min a day.”

 Final assessment: Slightly less expensive than the other plans. Weight loss can be achieved, as well…as long as you stick to the diet and the products. (This is the only plan this writer has actually tried, but it didn’t last long — the milkshakes tasted like chalk.) 

Weight Watcher

Our final consideration is Weight Watchers. Although it also has a line of frozen foods similar to Nutri-System and Jenny Craig and a line of snack bars, similar to Medifast and Slimfast, this program also lets you craft a diet plan from foods you purchase at the local grocery store. A “points” system assigns values to a wide range of foods; this gives you more access to your favorites, lets you include a wider variety of food, and also makes it easier to cook for family and friends who may not be planning or needing to lose weight.

Regular meetings are part of the plan. (Jenny Craig also encourages regular participation, and even has a range of forums you can post on, including “Val’s Pals,” a group connected with their spokeswoman Valerie Bertinelli.) The kicker is the reasonable price: as of this writing, Weight Watchers requires a $29.95 signup fee and a monthly $18.95 participation fee. If you’re willing to pay for three months upfront the plan cost drops to $56.85. (Obviously, this doesn’t include any of the actual food costs.) Geeta Dhavale comments on the Buzzle site: “Many people find the point system and certain complex formulas…confusing and complicated. According to a few experts, Weight Watchers is not effective for extremely overweight or obese people as it allows them to eat some fatty foods in large quantity. This results in putting on more weight, if not, does not help at all in weight loss process. Apart from this, the importance of exercise is not stressed as much as it should have been…”

Final assessment: Probably the most reasonably-priced of all the diet plans mentioned here. Certainly it’s one of the more realistic ones for the long run, since it makes use of foods that can be used in your everyday diet. The company says you won’t feel hungry or lack necessary nutrients. (On the other hand, every one of these companies says the same thing.) Going to the meetings may be an encouragement or not, depending on your temperament. 

Other Plans

There are plenty of other diet plans to explore out there. (Good Housekeeping has a wide-ranging list you should particularly check into. Go here for more.)  And all of them, regardless of specifics, seem to emphasize certain tenets:

  • Eat more greens vegetables and lean meat
  • Exercise more    (20 minutes a day was a popular suggestion)
  • Drink water
  • Watch your salt, and get a balanced vitamin intake
  • Include a few snacks to help with hunger pangs

And of course, the golden rule of weight loss:

  • Eat less. Period.

Note: To learn more about these programs, add “.com” to their names for their websites. Or do a Google search. Their products, including weight loss shakes, bars and snacks, are often available for delivery, or via grocery stores and Amazon. Coupons and other discounts are not uncommon. Be sure to do a “Does —- work?” search, then read the comments. That will help you make a better-informed decision for your particular situation.

10 Responses to Are Paid Diet Plan Worth It?

  1. The common thing I’ve usually seen is that they seem to work while people are on them, but after you ‘finish’ the program and go back to a non-controlled environment, you have a pretty big chance of reversing the progress you made. I guess it seems like a short term fix that works pretty well, but not convinced about its long term applicability from what I’ve seen.

  2. We’ve had friends who have paid for diet programs and sure they lost weight and looked great but it never lasted. Most people pay for motivation and support than anything else, many need guidance and need to be told what they can and can’t eat. Plenty of that information you can get on the internet unless you have a health or medical concern then it’s best to talk to a professional. Eating right, exercising, and drinking lots of water always seemed to work for us and that’s what we do. It’s our body for life and any changes we make to our diet should be lifestyle changes not fad or in the moment to get to a goal weight and then forget about it. It’s much easier when what we do is a natural way of life, no thinking involved. When we feel like we are doing something because we have to sometimes it sets us up to fail. One should Do it because they want to stay healthy for the rest of their life. Great post

  3. So what you’re both saying, in many ways, is that the change has to come from within YOU. All the premade meals and snacks in the world don’t change the fact that you have to be willing to change your dietary habits, exercise and so on.

    And that’s a lot harder than just scarfing down a Weight Watchers brownie. It takes discipline and time.
    I’m working on doing just that…but it’s tough, especially when it’s been a long day and I can see a package of Tostitos in the pantry. (Lesson to future self: just don’t buy the things. You’re ok when they’re not there, tempting you.)

    Thanks so much for writing.

  4. I know a few prole who paid for that too. Maybe they needed an extra motivation because of the fact that they paid for it but there’s no difference form what you can get online for free.

  5. I’m following the Weight Watchers plan now and find it works the best for me. First of all, it’s real food so you learn how to eat for life; not just while you buy prepackaged food.

    I also need the accountability of weighing in regularly to others. This works for me although I know it wouldn’t motivate others.

  6. I’ve tried Weight Watchers (actually for several years on and off after I had kids), but I never took all the weight off, and what I did take off I gained back.

    I finally lost all the weight following the Paleo diet. I eat real food, and I’m not hungry in between meals.

  7. Even my friend had tried and succeeded in losing weight with the paid diet plan. But the success didn’t last long. After she stopped using the diet plans, regained the weight she has lost previously. I think people who couldn’t control their anxiety it’s hard to lose their weight. At last she was able to lose some weight by using some natural weight loss supplements hoodia.

    • I am one of the persons who cannot control their appetite when they had seen mouthwatering foods. Once I had gone through this paid diet plans and I lost 10 pounds of weight too. But when I stopped paid diet plan I gained all of my weight which I lost. Now I am controlling my appetite and maintaining a healthy diet plan with green coffee (2 times in a day) which is helpful to me my weight loss journey.

  8. Hello Kevin…. Previously I tried paid diet plans and I have lost my weight but when I stopped the paid diet plan, I regained the weight. Now I came to know that natural supplements are safe for weight loss without side effects and we can’t regain the weight. One of my friends suggested me to take green tea for effective weight loss. I changed my diet plan completely and I included green tea in diet that helped me in losing weight.

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