Weight Watchers vs. Nutrisystem vs. Jenny Craig

Video of the Day

Jenny Craig
In regards to their meals, they had yellow for breakfast and green for lunch, but I didn't like that they mixed them all together and I didn't like their tuna kits. I usually go there every four weeks, but this summer, I've been on a holiday so sometimes it's five weeks. But for the most part, the menu plan is pretty good. Jenny Craig has a good track record for short-term weight loss up to one year. You gotta be consistent and it's a mindset. Been there, done that, and, I have been successful. I have gone back to them over the years several times.

Online/Web-based Diet Programs

The Best Ways to Lose 20 Pounds

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 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?

What is the purpose of the weekly FitPoints "Goal" that each member is given? 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.

Beyond the Scale offers an approach to healthier living that allows people to personalize the program and define their own success both on and off the scale. The Weight Watchers food plan, SmartPoints, is consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to make healthier eating simple by translating complex nutrition information into one simple number, giving each food and beverage a SmartPoints value.

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.

Members are given a personalized daily SmartPoints target based on their height, weight, age and gender and also receive weekly SmartPoints to provide flexibility for occasions when members may eat more than usual.

With SmartPoints, people can choose the foods they want to eat at home, in restaurants, in the workplace — or anywhere else food shows up in their lives. Fitness is also a core component of Beyond the Scale. The focus is on helping members fit fitness into their lives. Each member gets a personalized FitPoints goal based on their current level of activity and encourages using tools such as the WeightWatchers FitBreak app. Weight Watchers also has supportive tools, including helpful content and a social media community within its app called Connect.

Members can follow the program in-person at weekly group meetings or privately through its OnlinePlus or personal coaching offerings. Overall, Weight Watchers nudges members toward a healthier pattern of eating and members typically lose pounds per week.

Weight Watchers is one of the few commercial weight-loss programs whose ability to produce weight-loss has been clinically proven repeatedly through research studies. Weight Watchers has multiple programs that range in cost: While Leaders have lived the experience all Leaders have lost weight on Weight Watchers and kept it off and are trained in behavioral methods to support weight-loss, they are not licensed dietitians.

Therefore, if there are special dietary requirements, it is always best to consult with a dietitian. Another concern is that foods that are zero in point value can have as much as calories in them. Eating a lot of these zero point value foods throughout the day can slow or stop weight-loss, especially for smaller older women or for people with slower metabolisms. If you are in the market for a commercial weight-loss program, you will find that you are faced with hundreds of choices, many with claims sounding too good to be true.

It is important when choosing a commercial program to evaluate them based on what will work for you. What is Obesity Treatment? Diet Books It is not uncommon for people to turn to popular diet books when seeking to lose or manage weight.

Examples of popular diet books that advocate weight-loss methods generally deemed by dietitians to be safe and reasonably effective include:

Notifications