Sunday, August 19, 2018

Weight Loss Programs: Compare


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Pros
Can customize diet plan to fit almost any person and lifestyle (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc.); teaching nutrition and portion-control from the beginning can make the plan easier to maintain in the long-term; allows for occasional splurges; in-person and online support available; offers pre-made snacks and meals so you can stick to the plan even if you are pressed for time; offers exercise incentives
No calorie counting and you can eat foods that traditionally "off limits" on a diet (i.e. meat, eggs, cheese, butter, etc.); lots of reading material and recipes available; convenience of pre-packaged Atkins food (snack bars, breakfast bars, shakes, and candy)
Ready-made meals delivered straight to your doorstep are hassle-free and take the guesswork out of a balanced diet and portion control; separate meal plans tailored for older people, diabetics and vegetarians; website features how customers rate individual meal choices; free online support with unlimited counseling and support services; offers 2-week trial period
Cons
Flexibility of plan may not work for the undisciplined; counting points can be tedious; have to maintain membership which can be costly
Allows consumption of saturated fat; some studies suggest that the diet could contribute to osteoporosis, high cholesterol, kidney stones or gout due to the increased consumption of protein; side effects of ketosis can include: nausea, headache, mental fatigue and bad breath; side effects of Induction phase include: headaches, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, leg cramps and constipation; doesn't offer full meal plan packages like the Zone; doesn't emphasize that exercise is vital for weight loss; leaving ketosis stage can cause you to regain weight
Expensive (cheaper than Jenny Craig though); calorie intake is severely restricted; pre-packaged meals good for short term weight loss but may be hard for some to maintain; not a good plan for vegans, people with celiac disease or people with mild or severe peanut allergies; eating out is discouraged; if you choose the Select plan (fresh frozen meals), you need a lot of freezer space; some reports of persistent gas and diarrhea
Price
Food and membership costs vary. Currently, it is $30 to sign up, $19/month for online access and $43/month for unlimited meetings.
Food prices vary. You can purchase Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution for about $5 (est.)
$230-$397/month
Diet Type
Low-Calorie, Balanced
Low-Carb
Low-Calorie, Balanced
Diet Goals
Weight Loss and General Health
Weight Loss
Weight Loss
Theory
The idea behind the Weight Watchers Program is that you'll eat less and won't feel as hungry if you make healthier food choices that fill you up for longer.
The idea behind the Atkins Diet is that when you drastically reduce carb-rich foods from your diet, your body enters a metabolic state of "ketosis" where it will start to burn fat for energy instead of carbs (in the form of glucose).
The idea behind Nutrisystem is that prepackaged meals are the easiest way to lose weight since you don't have to worry about balancing nutrition or portion control.
How It Works
Weight Watchers uses a PointsPlus system to help dieters measure daily food intake and to encourage them to make healthier choices. The PointsPlus system assigns a point value to different foods, which is calculated by its protein, carbohydrate, fat, fiber and calorie content, as well as by how difficult it is for the body to work it off. Each dieter is given a unique PointsPlus target according to their gender, height, weight and weight loss goals. You can basically eat whatever you want on the Weight Watchers program, as long as you stay within your daily PointsPlus target, but you are encouraged to eat more "Power Foods," which are considered the healthiest and most filling. "Power Foods" include whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy and (unlimited quantities of) fresh fruit and non-starchy veggies.
Developed by physician and cardiologist Dr. Robert Atkins, the Atkins Diet dramatically restricts the consumption of carbohydrates, while emphasizing an increased consumption of protein, fat (including saturated fat) and leafy vegetables. The Atkins plan includes 4 main phases, during which time the goal is to find your Atkins Carbyhydrate Equilibrium (ACE). Your ACE is the daily amount of carbs you can consume without gaining or losing weight. The 1st phase lasts 2 weeks and is the most restrictive with a carb intake limited to 20 net grams per day. It is designed to switch your body to a metabolic state of "ketosis" and kick start your weight loss. The 2nd phase lasts until you are 5 - 10 pounds from your goal weight. During this phase, you will gradually increase your daily net carb intake to determine how many net carbs you can consume and still maintain a healthy weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. In the 3rd phase, you will determine your ACE, and, in the 4th phase, you will learn how use the good habits you've acquired in the previous phases to make permanent lifestyle changes.
Nutrisystem offers gender-specific plans for adults (Core), diabetics (Nutrisystem D), seniors (Silver) and vegetarians (Vegetarian). You will purchase food shipments in 28-day supplies and can choose from pre-selected menus or pick out specific meals you'd like from more than 130 choices. The prepackaged meals are low in sodium, saturated and trans-fats, and they promote protein and low-GI carbohydrates. They are frozen or shelf-stable and will provide about 60% of your daily calorie intake. The other 40% will come from Nutrisystem-approved foods (i.e. fruits, veggies, protein and dairy) from your local grocery store. Once you've reached your goal weight, you can chat with a Nutrisystem counselor online or by phone if you want help/tips for transitioning away from prepackaged meals and back into the kitchen.
Calorie Intake
Since Weight Watchers uses the PointsPlus system, there isn't a focus on calories, but, no matter what, you will be getting at least 1200 calories a day.
The Atkins Diet doesn't require calorie counting, but some dieters felt that the calorie intake was more restrictive than they had anticipated.
Women's plans average 1250 calories a day, and men's plans average 1500 calories a day (spread across 5-6 meals).
Support
You can sign up to attend group meetings at your local Weight Watchers branch or you can just sign up for the online program. To keep track of the points you are consuming, Weight Watchers also offers a pocket guide, pocket calculator, an online database of 40,000 foods and a mobile app with the database for additional convenience. Weight Watchers also offers recipes that show the PointsPlus value or, if you are making your own dish, you can use the company's online tools to calculate points ingredient by ingredient.
The Atkins Diet sells how-to books with numerous recipes to follow. They also offer free access to a smart phone app and online support tools (i.e. meal planners, progress tracking tools, etc.) to make it even easier to follow the program.
When you sign up with Nutrisystem, you will get free access to registered dieticians and weight loss counselors, as well as to online support tools to track weight loss, a member's community, discussion boards, articles and blogs. In addition, you'll also receive the 13-week Mindset Makeover behavioral guide. This plan will help you better understand your relationship to food and provide the necessary steps for taking control of your eating habits.
Exercise
Physical activity is encouraged, and Weight Watchers assigns different activities a PointsPlus value in order to incentivize dieters. Whether it is an hour of running, dancing or doing laundry, you'll receive extra food points when you exercise to allow for the occasional splurge.
While exercise is encouraged on the Atkins Diet, it is not required.
While exercise is encouraged on the Nutrisystem program, it is not required. That said, Nutrisystem does suggest a range of exercises and stretches on their website (ex. aerobics, yoga and resistance training) to help you get active no matter what your current fitness level is.
Book
Examples of available books include: Weight Watchers All-Time Favorites: Over 200 Best-Ever Recipes from the Weight Watchers Test Kitchens, Weight Watchers In 20 Minutes, Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook.
Examples of available books include: Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, Atkins for Life: The Complete Controlled Carb Program for Permanent Weight Loss and Good Health, New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great, Atkins for Life Low-Carb Cookbook: More than 250 Recipes for Every Occasion
Examples of available books include: NutriSystem Nourish: The Revolutionary New Weight-Loss Program, Simple Success: The Nutrisystem Guide to Healthy Eating, The Low GI Cookbook: 90 Simple, Delicious Good-Carb Recipes to Complement the Nutrisystem Program
 
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