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My weight gain eventually started causing health problems. By week ten, I was still enjoying all the food and health benefits of Nutrisystem. By the 3rd month, I had lost even more weight and people were starting to notice. This usually resulted in me actually sitting on my hands. People think that since you lost a few pounds, you can go back to eating the way you used too. If I guaranteed no more shipments are coming to my name or my address that should be the end of the story, not with them! Brown rice Tacos are a delicious way to enjoy Mexican cuisine—they're quick, filing, and flavor-packed.
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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. To help members stay on track, Weight Watchers encourages them to attend meetings until they've stayed within 2 pounds of their goal weight for six weeks.
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. There's no face-to-face support, but you get support through online message boards and a mentor program that connects newbies with an experienced member. Also, you can reach a registered dietitian or personal trainer by phone at any time.
The optional meal delivery service offers freshly prepared, calorie-controlled meals delivered by FedEx. But telephone support has some evidence in its favor: Yes, it's a bargain for round-the-clock support.
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 mandatory snacks.
After that, you gradually add "good carbs," such as fruits and whole grains. You can customize menus, search a database of more than 1, recipes and get a personalized shopping list. There's online support from staff dieticians and members plus daily motivational emails. 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.
It doesn't cost much, but you don't get as much support as with Weight Watchers or eDiets. The Zone diet is mostly meat, fruits, and vegetables. You eat three meals per day plus two Zone protein-powder snacks. A study of people in the Journal of American Medical Association found the Zone diet helped people achieve modest weight loss after one year, comparable with those on the Atkins , Weight Watchers and Ornish diets, and improved cardiac risk factors.
Premium-priced Jenny Craig lets you order its heart-healthy, nutritionally balanced packaged food by phone and pick it up at a Jenny Craig center or have it delivered through Jenny Direct. You eat three Jenny Craig meals plus a snack per day, and supplement with fruit, vegetables and dairy. Once a week, you get a weigh-in and pep talk with a consultant - who is not a dietician and who earns commissions from selling you products.
There's also round-the-clock phone support. Jenny Craig has a good track record for short-term weight loss up to one year. In a UC San Diego clinical trial of dieters funded by Jenny Craig , Jenny Craig clients lost 11 percent of their initial weight after 12 months, compared with 3 percent weight loss by those who were dieting on their own.
The "doctor-designed" Bistro M. The price is a cut above the competition, too. The plan tries to help you avoid a weight-loss stall out by varying the daily calorie intake between 1, and 1, By eating a little more some days and a little less on others, you'll supposedly prevent your body from becoming used to the same number of calories every day.
While no university studies support the theory that varying caloric intake aids weight loss, the high quality of the food and the relatively large portion sizes have been praised by Health magazine, Dr. Phil and The New York Times. Some plan users have complained of a lack of choices and menu flexibility compared to other plans, but a company spokesman says they offer more than entrees and can make substitutions to accommodate allergies and food preferences. It's a reasonable price for well-made food with slightly faster average weight loss than with Jenny Craig.
This meal-delivery service, endorsed by Marie Osmond and Dan Marino, emphasizes foods with a low glycemic index. The underlying premise is that controlling blood sugar levels leads to weight loss. The heat-and-eat prepared meals and snacks contain roughly 55 percent "good" carbs, 25 percent protein, and 20 percent fats; like Jenny Craig, you add fruits, vegetables and dairy. Support is available through phone counseling and online chat rooms.
There's plenty of research showing that following a diet of 1, to 1, calories a day, such as Nutrisystem, can cause weight loss. For example, a study by the Obesity Research Center at St.
Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in New York found that postmenopausal women who followed a 1,calorie plan for 16 weeks lost an average of 21 pounds. For a meal-delivery diet system, Nutrisystem is more economical than Jenny Craig.
Although today's program is not as stringent as the original liquid fast Medifast launched decades ago, the low-fat, relatively low-carb plan is designed to bring about rapid weight loss by coaxing your body into a "fat-burning state" known as ketosis.
In result, every time I would go shopping for new clothes, I found myself reaching for a larger size. My weight gain eventually started causing health problems. Eventually my knees started giving me problems. They hurt a lot therefore making it uncomfortable for me to enjoy an afternoon walk.
I also started suffering from acid reflux. Sleeping at night was uncomfortable due to the discomfort and chest pains.
I even noticed poor circulation in my arms and legs. My self-esteem became low and had a bad attitude that I would never be small again. I was miserable most of the time, except when I was eating of course.
I knew I needed to go on a diet. As diabetes runs in my family, I knew I was setting myself up for that path. As a matter of fact, I would start some kind of diet every Monday. I tried several different diets on my own. I cut out carbs, sweets, and calorie intakes. Other diets were boring and felt like a waste of time since I never felt any changes.
I would often kid around with my husband by telling him that he was actually only married to half of me. I finally decided to take control and do something about my weight. It was January 5, I mentioned to my husband that I was going to try Nutrisystem. I was spectacle since no other diets seem to work.
I headed to my local Walmart and purchased a Nutrisystem five day weight loss kit which included fifteen entrees and five desserts. I was a bit embarrassed as I walked through the store carrying a box of Nutrisystem. I felt like people were staring as I left the store. He believed me this time and even made a choice to diet with me.
He wanted to be supportive. One way was by not having tempting foods in the house. This was a big plus. No temptations, no regrets while gritting my teeth as we passed by the doughnut shop. When I got home and opened my Nutrisystem box, there were a few guidelines to follow to achieve my goal.
Wait, do I have a goal? I never really thought about setting a goal, I just wanted to lose weight. The first morning I grabbed my cup of coffee and sat down to a tiny little Nutrisystem muffin and a glass of fusion energy juice.
I was hungry all day. Nutrisystem labels snacks as either Power Fuels or Smart Carbs. The kit included a list of this type of foods and servings allowed for each. The truth is, I was eating the wrong things to achieve any positive results. I added healthy snacks between my meals such as fresh avocado, yogurt and mixed nuts. The days got easier. By the third day of sticking to the plan which was a big accomplishment for me , I was already feeling more energy and less bloating.
This motivated me to do another week. Weeks went on and I continued following the Nutrisystem diet. So, how long does Nutrisystem take to work? It works within the first few days.
Each day I made sure to drink at least 64 oz of water and light exercise, which usually included twenty minutes of hula hooping. With the help of my Fitbit, I made a goal to get in at least steps in per day. I used the MyfitnessPal app to keep a log of my daily food and calorie intake. Here I was able to make other friends from a Nutrisystem support group who were reaching for the same goals.
The weekends were challenging as we chose to go out to our favorite restaurants. I ordered off the Lite menu or A La Carte. The hardest part was avoiding the chips and dip at the Mexican restaurant. This usually resulted in me actually sitting on my hands. Yes the struggle was real here. The second week was easier. I finally set a goal to lose 30 lbs. I really wanted to get into a new Easter outfit.
I was still buying Nutrisystem by the week from Walmart. Does Nutrisystem from Walmart or Costco work? It sure did for me. I looked forward to my next meal. I got hungry between meals sometimes.
This is when I would snack on foods such as almonds, kale chips or nonfat yogurts. I purchased some Nutrisystem shakes to use between meals also. They are delicious and will knock out the hungry feelings or cravings. I only lost 2 lbs the second week but it was still a loss. By the third week, I noticed my health was improving. I no longer suffered from heartburn and acid reflux. I felt good and best of all I was losing weight. By now, I knew this was the diet for me and was ready to keep going.
I decided to give in and purchase through Nutrisystem. While I was online ordering I chatted with a representative about my plan options and payment concerns. She was very informative as she helped me make my first purchase. Once I became a member, there were tools on the website that helped me achieve my goal.
I entered my height and weight, how many pounds I wanted to lose and it set a calorie goal for me. I needed calories a day to achieve my desired weight loss goal of 30 lbs. I was able to choose days worth of food from the menu. A couple days later a large box showed up at my door. I stocked my pantry and the journey continued. After one month the whole diet thing was easier as I was no longer craving foods like before.
The cravings were not completely gone but walking away from a piece of cake or pizza was no longer a challenge. I had my own Nutrisystem goodies such as chocolate, pizza, potatoes, muffins and more.
I stepped on the scales and smiled as I had lost a total of 11 lbs in one month. This earned me a Nutribear. Nutrisystem will award a new bear for every 10 lbs. New eating habits were not my only struggle. To accomplish success, this required me to give up food and wine outings with friends.
I turned down invites as this would lead to binge eating and they would not understand. One day while exercising and listening to music, I began to get emotional and felt alone. I felt like everyone had abandoned me. I was even snubbed by some of my overweight friends and family.
Some of the people I work with picked on me. I would just toss it in the trash and carry on with my day. They can be judgmental as well. Calling someone too skinny can be just as painful as calling someone fat. However, my husband and daughter were my biggest fans on this journey. My husband continued complementing me on how good I look and how proud he is of me. He never complained that we did not go out to eat as much as we used to or that I no longer cooked meals.
He pushed me to exercise and eat healthy. It was definitely an emotional rollercoaster at times. At the same time, reading other people's testimonies and reviews of the Nutrisystem diet was encouraging and inspiring, too. My size twelves were getting too big. Though I was actually enjoying wearing them loose, I knew at this rate I would need some new clothes.
Grabbing a few pairs of jeans in a size 10, and one in a size 8 just for fun, I dashed into the dressing room. They were a little snug but I was still a comfortable ten. However, I did buy a pair of yoga pants to walk in. When I got home, I put on those jeans I had in my closet and took my first ever mirror selfie.
I was half way to my goal and I now had the confidence that I would reach it. By week ten, I was still enjoying all the food and health benefits of Nutrisystem. I still had 10lbs to lose to reach my goal but I started getting discouraged. My weight loss had slowed down. I even gained a pound. Due to financial struggles, I was afraid I would have to cut back on my Nutrisystem food orders.
I was averaging a 1 to 2 lbs weight loss and that was a healthy normal. I decided to measure instead of weigh. Then there was still the money issue. There were other saving options out there as well, like a Nutrisystem promo code for existing customers. By the 3rd month, I had lost even more weight and people were starting to notice.
I was getting a lot of compliments. I bagged up the clothes and donated them to the local Good Will. The weight loss is real to me now. Let me give you some brief Nutrisystem food reviews. Every month I would log onto my Nutrisystem account. From the menu options, I would pick 28 foods of my choice for each of the four meals which included breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. The choices were easy as I loved almost everything they offer. The plan I chose, which is the Core plan, only includes the shelf foods instead of the frozen varieties.
I got to have delicious foods such as doughnuts, pancakes, chocolate muffins, pizza, hamburger, chicken and even cake and brownies. With all the choices, it never gets boring. The meats in the shelf items are conveniently packed in a vacuum sealed wrap but were tender and taste like they are right out of the deli. With so many varieties, I ate something different each day of the week.
It was just perfectly pre-portioned meals to keep me on a healthy track. The food contains no trans fats, and it's low in sodium. And the carbs it contains are of low glycemic index. This is why Nutrisystem food prevents fatique, reduces your appetite, keeps you fuller and energized for longer.
It's safe for diabetics, too. As you will probably read in other Nutrisystem weight loss reviews, the taste is not the only thing great about Nutrisystem foods. Each meal is individually wrapped with cooking instructions which made it easy to toss in my purse and go to work. Some of the meals are easy enough to eat while in the car. When I hear people talk about that pound cake they made the other night or watching those Tasty videos on Facebook, I am not fazed.
I stopped going to buffets and doughnut shops. I do not have the appetite for those places any longer. People have asked me how do I stick to the diet during holidays or when family decides to go out to eat.
But I can say I now have control. I allowed myself to enjoy all the foods that were offered. However, since being on Nutrisystem, I have a pretty good idea on the right foods to stay clear of, and how big of portions I should have. I even enjoyed some bacon, a piece of cheese cake and a peep. The day after that Easter, I was nervous about stepping on the scales. A few weeks later, I had a birthday and, well, you know how that goes.