3 Of The Best Overall Diets For Weight Loss

By:    Published: January 13, 2012

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Whether you want to lose 10, 20 or even 100 pounds, there are a wide variety of diet programs out there to choose from. With all these options, it can be difficult to know which one is best for your personal needs, preferences and weight loss goals. Here is some information about some the top overall diets for weight loss to help you make a decision based, not just on results, but also on food choices, dieting strategies, and short and long-term goals. Read on to find out which diet is the best choice for you.

1. Weight Watchers

  • How it works: The Weight Watchers weight loss program is based on a points system. All foods are assigned a specific number of points, and a total number of points per day are allotted to each individual. Though this system focuses on cutting calories, it has also been updated in recent years to include a focus on protein and fiber-rich foods, with no limits on foods like fresh fruits and non-starchy vegetables. With the points system, program participants are also expected to include regular exercise in their routine to maximize weight loss results.
  • What to expect: Weight Watchers has developed an excellent reputation for helping individuals to lose weight both in the short-term and the long-term. Because the points system helps program participants to alter their behaviors - while seeing real results from those changes - they are more likely to stick to them over time. However, it does take commitment, including the added responsibility of counting calories, measuring out portions and adding up points day after day, so for people who want a "quick and easy fix," it may not be the best option.

(For more information on calorie reduction, read 9 Easy Tips For Cutting Calories Every Day.)

2. Slim Fast

  • How it works: Although Slim Fast is most commonly associated with its specialized diet shakes, the program now includes a range of food products, including soups, snacks and meal bars. The overarching goal of "meal replacement" remains the same, however. Along with the food products, the Slim Fast program also provides educational information about including portion control and exercise into their routine to lose weight.
  • What to expect: Slim Fast is generally helpful for quick weight loss goals. Participants may drop one or two pounds a week at the beginning of the program. However, the success of the program is largely dependent on what foods participants eat when they are not replacing a meal with a Slim Fast product. The program encourages fruits, veggies and lean proteins for the best results. Those who do well with combining the Slim Fast products with smart food choices tend to do well with both short and long-term weight loss.

(To get more information on how to make smart food choices, read 10 Easy Ways To Eat Healthier To Stay Happy And Fit.)

3. Jenny Craig

  • How it works: Using a three-step system and one-on-one counseling support, Jenny Craig has created a strong weight loss program which takes a more individual approach to shedding pounds. The steps introduce portion control, exercise and maintaining weight loss in gradual, guided steps. Meanwhile, program participants can access a 24-hour counseling support line. The food on the Jenny Craig diet comes in prepackaged meals, which are mostly frozen options, with the addition of some fresh fruits and veggies.
  • What to expect: Because this program uses a gradual progression into weight loss along with strong counseling support, it is often preferred by people who have very significant weight loss goals. The prepackaged meals that are included are also very helpful for people who want something fast and simple when it comes to food prep. The one issue with this program is that participants may have trouble when they are transitioning to making their own meals after eating prepackaged meals for so long.

Remember, while some weight loss programs may work well for some people, that doesn't necessarily mean they will work for everyone. The success of a weight loss program is dependent on individual preferences. Plus, some programs may be more suited to you than others based on your weight loss goals and how much you are willing to commit to the program both financially and time-wise. It's important to take some time to research several diet program options before committing to one. Include your doctor in your decision to get the best results.

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