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Best Diet Plans To Lose Weight

Updated on October 3, 2011
"A Voluptuary" by James Gillray. Courtesy of Library of Congress.
"A Voluptuary" by James Gillray. Courtesy of Library of Congress. | Source

Weight Loss Support, and Success, Are Out There

It's hard to lose weight. If it were easy, so many Americans wouldn't be obese and the weight loss and diet industry wouldn't be the multi-billion-dollar behemoth it is today. But it is hard, so people spend loads of every money every year buying every promise in their quest to take off pounds.

People looking to lose weight spend money in all kinds of ways: On gym memberships or personal trainers, on diet pills and drinks, on special low-carb or high-protein or other scientific-sounding food product, on exercise videos, on books, and even on the diets themselves.

People desperate to shed a few pounds also try many fad diets, from the Atkins Diet to the Cabbage Soup Diet to the Master Cleanse and Juice fasts to coconut oil cures to Blood Sugar Diets to eating a├žai berries like they are going out of style. Many of these fad diets will result in weight loss, but they don't necessarily create the behavior changes necessary to keep the weight off and for general improved health.

All diets are not created equal; some work better than others. This hub will help cut the good from the fat, so to speak, and highlight the most effective popular diet plans out there.

Truly successful diets, those in which people lose real weight and keep most of it off for over one year, teach people new eating habits that are a lifelong affair. Many involve some sort of support component. And all require cutting calories.

Studies have shown that people in group counseling have better weight loss success than those who receive no counseling. Low carb diets work, but an extremely low-carb diet may not be sustainable as a lifestyle. Also, low-carb diets make some dieters feel sluggish.

Online and In-Person Diet Support

Studies have proved that people who get weekly in-person support lose weight more effectively than people who do not receive such support. Whether online or phone support works as well as in-person support is not yet known, but it seems that having support as you undertake something so daunting, hard and important as weight loss can only be a good thing.

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers has one of the longest track records of success of any diet program out there. People who have reached their target weight through Weight Watchers cite the support they receive in weekly meetings, or online if they sign on for an online-only program, and also the nutrition lessons they learn through Weight Watchers points system. No food is off limits with Weight Watchers, but each food has a points value, and a person is allotted only so many points a day, depending on their weight, age, gender and activity level. This helps people learn to make choices and about portion control. People who follow the Weight Watchers diet to the letter can safely lose up to 2 pounds a week.


Studies suggest that phone support can be as effective as in-person support groups for people trying to lose weight. By that logic, online support such as that provided by eDiets should also give dieters the encouragement, support, information and help they need to safely and effectively drop the pounds. Edieters can lose between 1 and 2 pounds a week.

Eating Free

Nutritionist Manuel Villacorta developed his Eating Free philosophy in which, as with Weight Watchers, no food is off limits. Rather, his program considers portions, food combinations and getting the right assortment of nutrients over a day or week, and understanding why our bodies need certain foods. His program includes online and phone support, loads of recipes and information and a simple formula to help you understand what you need to eat for a healthy diet and achieve your weight loss goals. With Eating Free, you can lose up to 2 pounds a week, depending on your goals and how much weight you have to lose.

South Beach Diet

An oldie but a goodie. People who strictly follow the South Beach Diet can lose over 5 pounds in the first 2 week extreme phase of the diet (essentially, no fruits, breads, grains or pastas), and they can continue losing over one pound a week throughout the second, weight loss, phase which includes some fruit and "good" carbs. Phase three is about maintenance and a new, low-carb lifestyle. There is an inexpensive online version of the diet that provides menus and shopping lists, but very little in the way of support.

Lose It

This iPhone and smart phone app is totally free and is an easy way to stay honest about what you eat in a day, and to keep track of calories consumed as well as burned. Study after study has shown that people who keep journals of everything they eat are far more successful at losing weight than people who do not log what they eat. Having such an app on your phone makes it easy to keep track of what you eat wherever you are, and if you are someone who eats the same lunch every day, there's a feature to create a quick key for favorite meals. You enter your current and ideal weights, and how many pounds you want to lose in what period of time. Lose It coughs out a daily calorie count. You can lose over 1 pounds a week.

Meal Delivery Diets

Doubt that you can do it on your own? Too busy to cook? To apt to add butter to the veggies? In the age of FedEx and the Internet, you can get nutritionist-planned, calorie controlled meals delivered right to your door. Meal delivery diet plans generally cost more than the do-it-yourself with some support kinds, but they also take the guesswork and calorie counting out of the equation. (Of course, that means they also teach the dieter less about changing their lifestyle.)

In the Zone

In the Zone is based on the Zone Diet, in which 40 percent of calories come from carbs, 30 percent from protein and 30 percent from fat, which supposedly is the ideal nutrient mix and promotes weight loss, increases energy and stabilizes insulin levels. This delivery program costs $40 or $50 per day for three frozen meals and two snacks, depending on which plan you choose, plus a $10 delivery charge. You can lose 1 to 1.5 pounds a week.

Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig's plan combines prepared meals that take out the guesswork with some in-person support and counseling and a weekly weigh-in. The program costs about $25 a day if you pick up the packaged foods yourself at a Jenny Craig center, and about $65 a day if you have it delivered to your home. The meal delivery includes three meals and a snack, and you add your own fresh fruits, veggies and dairy. You can lose 1 to 2 pounds a week.


The Nutrisystem diet is based on low glycemic foods, and it costs over $300 for four weeks of non-perishable meals. You can do a cheaper program in which one-third of the meals are frozen. You will lose between 1 and 2 pounds a week.

Bistro M.D.

This delivery program provides portion-controlled frozen meals. The idea here is that the number of calories varies from day to day so that your body doesn't get used to a set number of calories so you don't plateau. It costs around $150 for 5 days of meals or $180 for seven days, along with a $25 delivery charge. You can lose 1 to 3 pounds a week.


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    • s.carver profile image

      s.carver 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, Michael. And you are so right about the other very real HEALTH benefits that come from losing weight. I have a sister who tried for years to get pregnant without success -- until she lost 75 lbs. The extra weight made it impossible for her to conceive, and she is now the happy mother of a little girl, thanks to hard work and Weight Watchers. Losing weight is about so much more than looking good, as nice as it is to look good.

    • profile image

      Michael Lambert 7 years ago

      Thanks for the write-up. My spouse and i have usually noticed that a lot of people are desperate to lose weight simply because wish to look slim in addition to looking attractive. Even so, they do not constantly realize that there are other benefits to losing weight as well. Doctors insist that over weight people experience a variety of ailments that can be perfectely attributed to their excess weight. The great news is that people who're overweight as well as suffering from several diseases can reduce the severity of their own illnesses through losing weight. It is easy to see a slow but marked improvement with health when even a minor amount of fat reduction is attained.

    • mojefballa profile image

      Ikeji Chinweuba 7 years ago from Nigeria

      Cool hope which has vital information that is well shared and properly presented.I really learnt a lot from this work.

    • s.carver profile image

      s.carver 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks Kent and ultimatekboxing. Immediate results are so tempting, but changing your behavior is key to successful, long-term weight loss! If it sounds too good to be true, you are right - it usually is.

    • ultimatekboxing profile image

      ultimatekboxing 7 years ago from New Barnet, North London

      Good post - and I have to agree about the effectiveness of 'diets' like the master cleanse - they just seem to be destroying the body's long term health for the sake of short-term benefits. Not really the way to do it!

    • profile image

      Kent Mcgee 7 years ago

      good news .. :)

    • s.carver profile image

      s.carver 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for your comment, hubpageswriter1.

    • profile image

      hubpageswriter1 7 years ago

      great hubpage you have got some really useful info on here. I always thought a great thing to drink when maybe feeling hungry or thinking about having a fizzy think is to drink a fruit smoothie because first of all smoothies are quite a thick drink that normally fills you up an so it will stop your hunger for unhealthy snacks and lastly it's made out of fruit witch of course is filled with vitamins minerals etc which are very healthy for you. People often also find that they do not like the texture of fruit so a smoothie is a great way to consume fruit without the texture of it. So i don’t know if you would be interested but i have got a hubpage on fruit smoothie recipes if you would like to take a look at it. There are some really tasty smoothes on there so make shore you take a look here is the URL

      fruit smoothie recipes -

      ps thanks for sharing all of the useful info s.carver

    • s.carver profile image

      s.carver 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, Harlan. You are absolutely right that all these modern conveniences — including computers and social networks! — have made us as a society far less active than our ancestors were. And it shows!

    • Harlan Colt profile image

      Harlan Colt 7 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

      Good Hub,

      I think what has happened to America is we have gone from plowing fields to pushing pencils. In the old days the average person could eat like a horse and burn it off the very same day. Today we spend so much time at a desk going to the water cooler is like a mini-vacation.

      I think you have done a great job helping people like me rethink our approach to trimming the waist-line. I am going to bookmark this one!

      - Harlan

    • s.carver profile image

      s.carver 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, BMG. I hope this helps some people!

    • BMG profile image

      BMG 7 years ago from timor laste

      nice tips....people will thanks for this.

    • s.carver profile image

      s.carver 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, pinkdaisy. That Victorian man should serve as my muse-slash-inspiration. I should post his picture on my fridge!

    • pinkdaisy profile image

      pinkdaisy 7 years ago from Canada

      Great hub! I love the picture of the Victorian man.

      This is useful weight loss information.

    • s.carver profile image

      s.carver 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks crystolite. If you choose the right diet plan and FOLLOW it, you will lose weight healthily and, as you say, without negative side effects.

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 7 years ago from Houston TX

      Great piece of work that has vital information on best diet to lose weight without side effect.


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