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The Weight Loss Resolution Revolution: Choosing the Right Method to Get Rid of Unwanted Pounds

The New Year has arrived, and just as in the years before, many have resolved to make better nutritional choices to become healthier and/or lose weight. Sadly, even those who begin a diet plan in earnest end up failing after a few weeks, resorting to old habits and unhealthy styles of living. The reasons for failure vary: Some set unrealistic goals while others select weight loss methods which fail to meet basic nutritional standards. In addition to a proper balance of nutrition, other factors to be considered when selecting a weight loss plan are cost, convenience and variety.

Which Method Works Best

Dieters may find themselves befuddled with so many plans from which to choose. To prevent failure and false starts, a bit of research is in order. As an assist, here is the first of a four-part overview of several popular weight loss methods.

The Billion Dollar Weight Loss Industry

An indication of America's obsession with losing weight can be obtained from the 50 million results from a Google search of weight loss. On both television and commercial radio, it seems that every other advertisement is for a diet product or a weight loss system touted by celebrities whose acknowledgment of weight issues and demonstrated success attracts multitudes of regular people seeking a similar result.

Guided Weight Loss Systems and Pre-packaged Meals

Staff counselors add an extra benefit by monitoring dieters' progress and helping to keep them motivated. Programs which provide home-delivered meals are increasing in popularity for those who opt for a more regimented approach to weight loss.

  • Weight Watchers - With 45 years of weight loss experience behind it, the venerable weight-loss/weight management system encourages exercise, a positive mental attitude and a sensible diet of healthy foods. Weight Watchers consistently tops of the list of many experts as one of the best and most effective weight management systems in existence. Members get support from other members eager to share their success.
  • Nutrisystem - This system of weight loss provides individual, pre-portioned meals, removing the guess work for dieters freed from the tasks of shopping, reading labels and measuring for the appropriate portion size. Members pay weekly or monthly dues for mail-delivered daily portions of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. Nutrisystem comes in low-calorie, low-fat formulations specially designed for women, men, seniors and diabetics.
  • Jenny Craig - Food, body and mind are the three key areas Jenny Craig identifies as critical to effective weight loss. Once beginning a personalized program, a dieter who chooses this system is assigned a personal consultant to help stay motivated as he or she learns portion control and selects pre-packaged food items.

Shopping Diets

Dieters select foods, measure and prepare their own meals in these types of nutritional plans premised on a permanent change in lifestyle and eating habits. So as to maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight, it is important that dieters gain an understanding of portion sizes and food types during the plan and long after weight loss goals have been met.

  • Mediterranean Diet - Optimum heart health is at the center of this eating style which emphasizes vegetables, fish, whole grains and a method of food preparation modeled after the practices of the people who live in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. As featured on Mayo, key components include eating fish once or twice a week, minimizing the consumption of red meat and using olive and canola oils for cooking. Exercise, eating meals with family and friends and the occasional glass of red wine are also suggested.
  • Atkins Diet - The primary goal of this plan is to encourage the body's fat-burning properties by replacing white flour and sugar -- the "bad" carbs -- with green leafy vegetables, lean proteins and "good" carbs -- high fiber fruit and whole grains.

Advertised Upgrades for the New Year

Most of the weight loss systems mentioned above have optimized their features to include a quick start option so that dieters stay motivated, stick with it and are ultimately successful. Cost savings may also be included for dieters who enroll during the first weeks of the new year.

Meal Replacements

Part II of the "Weight Loss Resolution Revolution" looks at some of the meal replacement products marketed to assist dieters with their weight loss goals.