Thursday, August 16, 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
You don't have to count calories; you can eat snacks and dessert even during Phase 1; lots of reading material and recipes available online; less restrictive and more balanced diet than Atkins in the long term
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
Not great for people who can't eat dairy; phase 1 may be too restrictive for some to follow
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 The South Beach Diet Supercharged: Faster Weight Loss and Better Health for Life on Amazon for about $7 (est.). You can also sign up as a member on their online site for $4- $5/week.
$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 South Beach Diet is that you can lose weight and improve your overall health through a balanced diet consisting of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products and healthy fats. Although it is often classified as a low-carb diet, the South Beach Diet doesn't restrict all carbs or make dieters measure their carb intake. In fact, it encourages dieters to eat "good" carbs that have a low glycemic index (GI), and, unlike Atkins, it discourages them from eating "bad" fats (eliminates trans-fats and restricts saturated fats).
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.
The South Beach Diet was created by Dr. Arthur Agatston, a preventative cardiologist living in Miami Beach, FL and it has 3 phases. The 1st phase of the plan is the most restrictive and lasts 2 weeks. It is designed to eliminate cravings for refined starch and sugar, as well as jumpstart weight loss. During this phase, you are prohibited from all sugars, processed carbohydrates, fruits, alcohol and certain higher-glycemic vegetables. The 2nd phase will last until you reach your goal weight. During this time, you will reintroduce "good" carbs, such as whole grain bread and fruit, and are allowed to have a glass of white or red wine with dinner. The 3rd phase lasts indefinitely and is designed to help you continue using the principles you've learned in the previous phases to maintain a healthy weight for life.
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 South Beach Diet doesn't require calorie counting and encourages 3 meals a day plus 2 snacks.
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 South Beach Diet offers how-to books with numerous recipes to follow. For $4/week, you can also register on their online platform where you can get access to 24-hour support, peer-support discussion groups, customized meal plans and progress tracking tools.
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.
South Beach Diet recommends interval exercise as the best way to keep your metabolism up and avoid weight-loss plateaus.
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: The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Gluten-Aware Plan for Losing Weight and Feeling Great--FAST!, The South Beach Diet Supercharged: Faster Weight Loss and Better Health for Life, The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook: 200 Delicious Recipes Ready in 30 Minutes or Less.
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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