If you are trying to find a diet plan to help you achieve your weight loss goals or just to get your health in order, there is a lot to consider. But no matter what your goals are, make sure you choose a plan that you will be able to stick with so you have the greatest chance of success.
In this article I have put together a list of the top 5 diet plans that work, according to the U.S. News and World Report. I am going to explain what each diet is, how it works, the price and what’s included in that price, and a few other facts about each one, so that you can make an informed decision on which one would be the best for you.
The Weight Watchers diet plan program isn’t just a diet plan program, it’s a lifestyle changing program. It is a SmartPoint system which was designed to guide you towards an overall healthier eating pattern, that is lower in calories, saturated fats, and sugars. And higher in protein.
They give you a daily SmartPoints target number, which is based on your gender, weight, height, and age. They assign each food a SmartPoints value. Nutritious food that fills you up have fewer points than junk foods with empty calories. The Weight Watchers plan steers you towards fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, while making it easier to change your habits, long-term. If you decide to go with Weight Watchers, you should expect to learn how to shop, cook healthy meals, and dine out in ways that keep you on track with your weight loss goals.
Weight Watchers is one of the most well researched diet programs available. They have over 200 zero points foods. You combine your zero points foods with your SmartPoints values and that allows you to have more freedom when building out your meals and snacks. The website offers thousands of recipes, each one has a SmartPoints value to show you how they fit into your daily eating plan.
They have a few different options to choose from. First you pay $20 starter fee, then you choose the offer that best fits you.
The first option is called OnlinePlus, which gives you constant support right at your fingertips with their easy to use app and website which allows you to track your food, activity, and weight at anytime with digital tools. You will have access to their database of over 4,000 recipes, 24/7 chat services, and encouragement from the community. This option cost $3.99 per week.
The second option is meetings with OnlinePlus. This option gives you OnlinePlus and weekly in person meetings with fellow members in your area. This option is $7.99 per week.
The last option is personal one-on-one coaching with OnlinePlus. With this you get OnlinePlus, along with as much support as you need through unlimited phone calls and messages to the personal coach of your choice. Your personal coach will set a plan that works with your lifestyle, schedule, and habits. The price of this option is $12.69 per week. If you choose to subscribe for more than 1 month, the price goes down a small amount for each option.
The Volumetrics diet plan is more of an approach to eating than it is a structured diet plan. It is based on low energy density foods. The menu items are low in calories but also large in volume, thanks to a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, non fat dairy, and lean meats. Foods high in water, play a big role in volumetrics, since water increases the weight of food without adding any additional calories.
Volumetrics divides food into four groups:
- Group 1 (very low density)- this group includes non-starchy fruits and vegetables, non-fat milk, and broth based soups.
- Group 2 (low density)- this group includes starchy fruits and vegetables, grains, breakfast cereal, low fat meats, beans and lentils, and low fat mixed dishes, like spaghetti or chilli.
- Group 3 (medium density)- this group includes meats, cheese, French fries, pretzels, pizza, salad dressing, ice cream and cake.
- Group 4 (high density)- this group includes chips, crackers, cookies, nuts, butter, oil, and chocolate candies.
You go heavy on groups 1 and 2, watch your portion size on group 3, and keep group 4 choices to a minimum, but don’t worry, if there is a group 4 food that is a favorite, that you can’t do without, indulge, as long as you make a trade off somewhere else. Exactly how strict you follow it, is up to you. The focus is to make smart, sustainable changes to your eating habits, that lower your overall caloric density of your diet. And since Volumetrics doesn’t strictly limit entire food groups, your chances of sticking with it are better.
Alcohol is ok in moderation. Wine coolers, and light beer are the lowest density, while margaritas and pina coladas are the highest density. Women should stick with one a day, men no more than two. And eating out is even acceptable on this diet as long as you stick to the diet guidelines.
There is no monthly fee, but you do have to purchase the book, “The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet, ” which is $11.24 on Amazon This book will teach you how to decipher a foods energy density, and how to cut the density of your meals. The book contains meal planning, grocery shopping and dinning out guides, a crash course in nutrition basics, and even advice for staying motivated.And since there are no exotic ingredients required, groceries shouldn’t cost more either.
The Jenny Craig program was designed to provide structure and support to help their members learn how to lose their weight and keep it off, by providing personalized meal and exercise plans, plus one-on-one counseling sessions with a Jenny Craig consultant of your choice.
Your diet, which ranges from 1,200-2,300 calories a day, is designed around your current weight, fitness habits, and motivation level. They have a nutritionally balanced menu, which include 100 delicious entrees, desserts, and snacks, developed by registered dietitians, nutritionist, and food technologists.
Their consultants will teach you portion control, as well as how to implement strategies in behavior change to help drive weight loss and health improvements such as self monitoring, planning for social events, and incorporating more physical activity in your life. Your consultant will work with you to identify your strengths, challenges, and personal goals in order to create a unique weekly meal and activity plan to fit your needs.
Jenny Craig offers 2 types of programs. It’s standard program, and Jenny Craig for Type 2, which is designed for people with type 2 diabetes. This program includes a lower carb menu, reinforcements on self monitoring of blood sugar levels, consistent meals and snacks, and other great strategies for weight loss and support for diabetes control.
They offer a 12-week trial program, which cost $16 plus your cost of food (average cost $156/ week). This includes eating 5 times per day plus one snack of your own, and weight loss coaching and support from a dedicated personal consultant for 12-weeks.The Premium 12-month program has a $49 enrollment fee, $19 per month, plus cost of food (average cost $156/ week).With that you eat 5 times per day plus one snack of your own, weight loss coaching and support from your dedicated personal consultant, for 12-months, plus you get $49 cash back when you reach your goals.
The Vegan Diet
Veganism takes a lot of work and creativity. You have to do all your meal planning around plant protein instead of animal protein. Vegans go further then vegetarians by not only keeping meat, poultry, and fish out of their diet. They also exclude all animal products from their diet, such as milk, eggs, and gelatin. Fruit, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils are their staples.
They aim for 6 servings of grains; examples include calcium fortified cereals and bread; 5 servings of beans, nuts, and other types of protein, such as peanut butter, chick peas, tofu, potatoes, and soy milk; 4 daily servings of vegetables; 2 servings of fruit; and 2 servings of healthy fats, such as sesame oil, avocado, and coconut. There is no need to give up desserts, because vegans eat baked goods made with out butter, eggs, and dairy milk.
There is no monthly fee. The internet is full of good free information or you can purchase a book to follow. An example of a good book you can follow:” Vegan Weight Loss Manifesto: An 8 Week Plan to Change Your mindset and Thrive,” it is $9.99 on Google Play. Groceries for the diet are moderately pricey since you are filling your buggy with fruits, vegetables, and soy products which are more expensive than heavily processed foods, like white bread, sugary cereal, and sweets. But bypassing the butcher will help a little too.
The Flexitarian Diet
A registered dietitian, Dawn Jackson Blatner, wrote a book, “The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegitarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years To Your Life,” from that a word was born. Flexitarian which is a combination of two words, flexible and vegetarian. In her book, Blather says, “you don’t have to eliminate meat completely to reap the health benifits associated with vegetarianism. You can be vegetarian most of the time and still chow down on a hamburger or steak when the urge hits.”
The diet is revolved around 1500 calories a day. It is about adding 5 food groups to your diet, instead of taking any away.
Alcohol is allowed in moderation. Stick with drinks that are around the 100 calorie or less range. This can be a 12 oz light beer, 5 oz glass of wine, or a shot of liquor in club soda. One drink for women and no more than two for men.
There is no membership fee with this diet plan but you do need to purchase the book,” The Flexitarian Diet”, and you can get that online, on Google Play for $10.98 with free shipping. This book is packed with advice, strategies to help make healthy changes, tips to tame cravings, and how to clear up some common diet hurdles. It also has a 5 week meal plan that provides breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recipes. You can follow as outlined or swap recipes from different weeks to meet your preferences. She even outlines how to view the world as your gym, how to maintain motivation, and overcome exercise barriers.
There are no exotic ingredients required, so groceries shouldn’t cost to much more and bypassing the butcher helps to keep the tab down too. The diets individualized nature gives you financial wiggle room. Blather stresses that you don’t have to follow it exact, it is about progress, not perfection. You can also visit her website which includes recipes, grocery lists, FAQ, and other information on the diet.
No matter which diet plan you decide to go with, an important part if your plan should include daily excersise. The CDC says, you should ultimately work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic acrivity, or an equivalent mix of the two, per week.
If you need more information on one of these top 5 diet plans that work, feel free to leave a comment below.