Weight Watchers vs. Nutrisystem vs. Jenny Craig

Diet Books

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Diet books have been around since at least the mid th century, so clearly there is an enduring market for those seeking to improve their weight and health in this way. First, the Jenny Craig Diet is a three-level diet program that first started in Australia in and later launched operations in America in According to WebMD , possible side effects of a low-calorie diet include: Some research finds a small weight-loss advantage for low-GI diets over high-GI ones, but other studies find no difference. Another benefit they have overall all the other programs…they are the only one who is recommended by the American Heart Association. Everything is still on the menu with SmartPoints, but it does encourage a healthier pattern of eating with more fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, and less sugar and saturated fat. Another concern is that participants using pre-packaged meals do not necessarily learn good nutrition, which makes maintaining weight-loss difficult once they return to buying food on their own.

What Is Weight Watchers?

Weight Watchers FitPoints (Activity Points): Exactly How Do They Work?

One is by wearing an activity tracker, such as the highly popular Fitbit, which integrates with your Weight Watchers account. The advantage of wearing an activity tracker is that you'll earn the most FitPoints this way.

Just make sure that your tracking app is synced to your Weight Watchers account so that your tracked activities are automatically converted and credited as FitPoints.

Just log in to your My Day online dashboard, go to "Activity," and there you'll see where to input your activity. Even if you don't want to shell out for an expensive tracker, you can download a free pedometer app on your phone to count your steps for you.

Once you get the hang of reaching your weekly FitPoints goals and for some people, WW is right in saying that this can be addictive , your goal will likely be changed to match your new lifestyle. If you reach your goal for two weeks straight, Weight Watchers will automatically recommend a higher goal for you. And if you keep racking up those points, you get more bragging rights — and other perks, like say, a leaner, healthier body.

Plus, you can exchange those FitPoints for more SmartPoints, which means that you can eat a little more if you want to.

FitPoints is a goal system, so you want to earn more points here to achieve your target. In fact, 1 FitPoint is equal to 1 SmartPoint. The question now is, should you eat your FitPoints? In a way, this makes sense. And, as we all know, getting a treat every now and then makes dieting a little more enjoyable. A similar thing may happen with tracking apps, especially if more than one app is synced to your WW account.

Overestimated FitPoints means that you could then be swapping for more food than you worked for, and that completely throws the diet. The equivalent FitPoints for each activity depends a lot on its intensity and duration, and your weight also factors into it.

A basic "average" approximation would be 1, walking steps equals 1 FitPoint, but this could increase or decrease for you, depending on your weight, etc.

It does take a bit of meticulous fine-tuning to figure out FitPoints for your particular weight. The Weight Watchers Pocket Guide provides a comparison:. A pound person earns 1 FitPoint after 10 minutes of low- to moderate intensity movements.

Meanwhile, a pound person earns 1 FitPoint after 10 minutes of low-intensity, but 2 FitPoints after 10 minutes of moderate-intensity activity. The pound person would get 6 FitPoints while her pound friend would get And since FitPoints are meant to encourage us to move, maybe Weight Watchers wants to give more encouraging pats on the back i. But will the FitPoints system really help you on your weight loss? We think it can, as long as you track diligently, swap wisely, and eat accordingly.

Too busy to prepare your own low calorie meals? This affordable dietitian-designed program will save you time and money. You'll eat specially-chosen frozen meals from popular brands that you'll buy in your supermarket. When you're not in the mood for a frozen entree, you'll eat salads and low calorie recipes. Exactly How Do They Work? Should I eat my FitPoints or not? A little secret from me: Once you have done Weight Watchers, you know how to do Weight Watchers—so as some say, you can do it without paying.

Remember I said that accountability, motivation, community, and support are the secrets to Weight Watchers? In fact, Weight Watchers itself—even in this day and age where everything is online—recommends the plan you go with is the one with meetings: But, as of fall of , there are three plans:.

Just read the fine print. If you follow it. If you fall off the tracks, you just get back on. When I did my first round with Weight Watchers, I lost 4 pounds the first week and I have to tell you, I remember that day like it was yesterday.

I stuck with it for 11 more weeks and ended up dropping 23 pounds. But it can work for you. We chubbies will do anything, try anything , to lose weight! I can say that: Just the facts, and the facts are that Weight Watchers ticks most of the good boxes— most being the operative word there.

The study found that. Further, high usage of 3 access modes was associated with greater weight loss results. In other words, the meetings, the online support, the App, all make a big difference. 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. 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. While it is helpful long-term, behavior change does not happen overnight and can be a challenging adjustment at first. Overall, a safe and effective commercial program will offer educational materials that have been reviewed by a licensed healthcare professional.

These materials will include information on healthy eating plans, exercise and behavior therapy. Nutrisystem features portion-controlled foods and structured meal plans that are both high in protein and low in glycemic index GI. Low-GI means means that the foods do not cause your blood sugar to rise sharply. For people with diabetes, a low-GI diet can help keep blood glucose in control. Nutrisystem plans, tailored for men and women, encourage you to consume three meals and two or three snacks per day.

The plans offer about different pre-packaged to choose from. Foods are home-delivered, typically in shipments every four weeks, after you place an order online or over-the-phone. You have to purchase additional fruits, vegetables and dairy products on your own.

These are grouped into three categories: Smartcarbs nutrient-rich, high-fiber carbohydrates , PowerFuels lean proteins and healthy fats and vegetables non-starchy ones which can be eaten freely.

A meal planner explains how and when to add these foods into your diet. The program has an active online community, including discussion boards and dietitian-led chats. Counseling, for those who want it, is available and included with most Nutrisystem programs.

With the recommended fruits, vegetables and dairy products, this diet plan can be considered well-balanced. Research on Nutrisystem customers showed an average weight-loss of 18 pounds at three months and 27 pounds at six months.

Some research finds a small weight-loss advantage for low-GI diets over high-GI ones, but other studies find no difference. So, this should be a healthy way to lose weight. Another concern is that participants using pre-packaged meals do not necessarily learn good nutrition, which makes maintaining weight-loss difficult once they return to buying food on their own.

Counselors are also available throughout the program and during transition and maintenance to educate about good eating habits. The final concern is the cost of the food. This does not include the additional fruits, vegetables and other foods that you must purchase on your own. Although Nutrisystem claims that the full cost of eating while on the program is about 15 to 40 percent less than what the average American spends on food, some consumers would rather buy food week-to-week.

Some employers and health plans subsidize or reimburse program costs. The program is developed by registered dietitians in consultation with an expert Science Advisory Board. The program is delivered by trained personal consultants in weekly motivational one-on-one consultations, in center, over the phone or via Skype.

Consultants partner with members to identify personal motivators, set weekly menu and activity plans, monitor progress, overcome obstacles and positively reinforce success. A typical menu day on Jenny Craig consists of three meals and three snacks per day, which, in combination with the added grocery items, adds up to an individualized menu calorie level that is based on your gender, age, height, weight and level of physical activity.

The standard menu caloric distribution is percent carbohydrate, percent fat and percent protein. For the Jenny Craig for type 2 diabetes menu, the caloric distribution is 45 percent carbohydrate, 30 percent fat and 25 percent protein. For the first half of your program, you primarily follow menus that include Jenny Craig foods for seven days a week.

For special events or other times when you need an alternate option, your consultants will offer guidance for meals on your own. When you have lost half of your total weight-loss goal, you make the transition to five to six days of menus that include Jenny Craig foods and one to two days of your own foods.

Throughout your program, you work with your consultant to utilize behavioral strategies to address challenges like emotional, social and unconscious eating and dining out, as well as to build an enjoyable, active lifestyle. Jenny Craig is a well-balanced, scientifically proven program on which you can expect to lose pounds per week on average. A clinical trial of people with type 2 diabetes demonstrated a 9 percent weight-loss at one year with greater improvements in diabetes control and heart risk factors as compared to usual care.

For both programs, Jenny Craig participants achieved three times greater weight-loss when compared to usual care. The daily menu is a model for learning nutritional balance, variety and moderation in food choices. Counselors are not dietitians. However, they have been trained to deliver an evidence-based program that is developed by registered dietitians and recommended by the Obesity Guidelines.

SLIM-FAST Available in supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies Slim-Fast has been around for more than 25 years and offers relatively quick weight-loss by substituting a calorie-controlled, sweet-tasting fortified meal replacement shake or bar for some of your regular meals.

The program offers online support that includes weight, diet and exercise charting, chat rooms with online buddies, chat sessions with registered dietitians, a weekly newsletter, exercise programs and meal planning.

The diet plan is centered around two Slim-Fast meal replacements. A snack of calories is also offered during the day. Fruits and vegetables about servings are encouraged in addition to the meals and snack. Overall, if followed correctly, the plan does encourage additional fruits and vegetables and it stays at or above 1, calories a day, leading to a more balanced consumption than traditional liquid diets.

Meal replacement diets such as Slim-Fast are appealing because of their simplicity and convenience. If you plan to use Slim-Fast, you should consider doing so under the supervision of a healthcare professional who can help teach you how to transition yourself from the the shakes and who can monitor for potential complications of a fast weight-loss.

The biggest drawback is that dieters may not receive comprehensive information about nutrition, which means that as they transition back to regular foods, which they are likely to do eventually, weight gain may be inevitable. Also, the recommended calorie level may be too low for some dieters. The plan emphasizes a well-balanced diet and encourages lifestyle changes and increased physical activity. The Weight Watchers program is called Beyond the Scale, which still emphasizes weight-loss but does it in a broader context of eating healthier, moving more and making more time for yourself.

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