Ready to get back in shape for summer?
Looking to lose a few extra pounds before a wedding, graduation or other event?
Or perhaps you’ve been struggling with weight for a long time and need to get serious about changing your life for good.
Whatever the reason, you’re not alone. In the United States today, over two thirds of adults are overweight or obese — and most of them would prefer not to be.
We rounded up some of the best weight loss programs out there right now, to help you get started:
The Health Management Resources Program (or HMR Program) is a weight loss system designed to reduce calories via meal replacement with added fruits and vegetables. It includes low-calorie shakes, meals, nutrition bars, cereal and other meal replacement foods. It also includes coaching from experts and physical activity to help dieters shed pounds fast.
PROS: The HMR Program addresses calories and includes a physical exercise component, so it’s fairly foolproof — as long as you stick with it.
CONS: Limited options for daily meals, and limited skills / habits for maintaining a healthy diet after you complete the program.
The Atkins Diet
The Atkins Diet (a form of keto diet) aims to burn fat by limiting carbs and packing in fat and protein. This causes the body to go into ketosis mode and burn fat as a primary fuel source. The primary difference between Atkins and Keto is that Atkins is designed to gradually restore carbohydrate consumption over time, while Keto is an ongoing lifestyle.
PROS: Keto and Atkins diets do work, and over time they can be highly effective.
CONS: It’s a daunting lifestyle change that can disrupt your daily life significantly as you get used to it. A good portion of weight loss during the first few weeks is typically water weight, which gives a deceptive sense of progress.
Jenny Craig provides prepackaged meals and recipes designed to help participants lose up to 2lbs per week. Personal coaching and guidance is included, and an emphasis is placed on healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle.
PROS: Research has shown that the Jenny Craig Diet provides more average weight loss over time than other similar diet programs like Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem and Medifast.
CONS: No integral exercise component, and dieters typically only eat JC food for the long-term duration of the program — which increases the cost and limits meal options.
The Weight Crafters program takes habit building to another level, incorporating a stay at residential weight loss camp. Campers eat portion-controlled meals and participate in physical exercise routines customized to their capabilities. There is a strong emphasis on habit-building, counseling and guidance.
PROS: Short-term weight loss and body tone happen faster than any of the other options, and results can last a long time due to the habit-building aspects of the program.
CONS: It requires taking time off from work or other pursuits, and the cost to stay at Weight Crafters can be out of some dieters’ reach.
That’s right — SlimFast still a thing, and it does work. The SlimFast Diet is designed to make cutting calories simple, and improve the chances of losing weight by replacing two meals per day with products like shakes, smoothies and meal bars.
PROS: The products are usually tasty, and it will help you maintain a reduced calorie diet if you follow the plan.
CONS: No exercise or habit-building included. Often dieters simply keep drinking SlimFast indefinitely — and it gets old.
WW (Weight Watchers) is a plan that uses a point system to encourage followers to choose healthy, filling foods. Weight Watchers has been in the game longer than most of us can remember, and that’s because it works. The key is their emphasis on a balanced diet and the built-in support system.
PROS: Over the long term, WW is effective — and results are often long lasting.
CONS: Without an exercise component, WW is a slow-and-steady process that requires patience and discipline.