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Weight Loss Programs

Reviews of popular weight loss programs

You've made the commitment to adopt a diet plan that includes a weight loss program. The question is, which one should you use? A good starting point is to do some Internet research and then speak with your healthcare professional. He or she might be able to provide you with some valuable guidance. You should also visit the program center to see what it's all about.

Price is an important consideration. Generally, there isn't one set price, and several factors can alter the price of any given program. For example, different options within a program have different costs, or sometimes you're required to purchase the program's food. You may also have to purchase additional resources, such as textbooks, depending on the program.

Similarly, the time commitments will vary greatly, and a lot of that depends on your starting point. Some people will spend longer times in different stages of a program. Some people might choose the less-intense options, while other people might go all out.

It's important to evaluate your current status and where you want to end up. Then you can choose the program that best suits your needs. The following provides a brief overview of three of the many programs on the market:

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers boasts that their clients can truly eat "real food." They have two plans: the Flex Plan and the Core Plan. The Flex Plan is based on a points system, while the Core Plan is a "no counting" system. With the Flex Plan, you can eat more of the foods you love, whereas on the Core Plan, you're supposed to focus on more wholesome food. Each week, you can attend a Weight Watchers meeting where you'll participate in a confidential weigh-in and interact with leaders in weight loss. An online option is also available; their website provides plentiful information about fitness, health, food and recipes.

Atkins

With Atkins, you'll learn to enjoy the flavor of nutritional food and skip the junk. Carb control is also a big focus. There are four main phases of the Atkins diet:

  • Phase One, Induction. "A brief, jump-start phase that triggers your body to predominantly burn fats." Clients will reduce their carb intake and the body "will be prompted to use fat for fuel, resulting in weight loss from this fat-burning metabolism."
  • Phase Two, Ongoing Weight Loss. The body's ability to burn fats will be boosted. Improved carb choices are encouraged. They also encourage clients to expand their taste for nutritious food.
  • Phase Three, Pre-Maintenance. Clients perfect their eating habits.
  • Phase Four, Lifetime Maintenance. Clients have the ability to purchase candy, shakes and bars. The Atkins website also offers recipes and live discussions.

South Beach Diet

The South Beach diet consists of three phases. In phase one, participants get rid of their cravings for sugar and refined starches. The goal at this point is to kick-start the weight-loss process. In the second phase, participants will work on their long-term weight-loss goals. The goal of stage three is to maintain that healthy weight for life.

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