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Best Weight Loss Programs

Looking to lose some weight? A quick Google search will supply you with about a billion fad diets to browse through. You'd better clear your schedule because checking them all out will be about as much fun as counting blades of grass. Fad diets pop up like weeds, especially right after a blockbuster action movie. The usual title goes something like "Look how actor/actress lost 37 lbs overnight just by training 23 hours a day and eating nothing but cardboard boxes." Most of these fads are of no use you. They're scams.

Published celebrity diets and training routines are NOT what the named celebrities used to get into shape. More likely they employed a professional personal trainer for some serious dollars, and they used a meal plan and workout routine tailored specifically for them. Celebrities can devote massive amounts of time towards preparing for a role. It's their job. So what works for folks who have a regular job, kids, and a life outside the gym?

Luckily for you, there happens to be a list of the best weight loss programs right here. They may not sound like the most exciting programs and they may not promise magical results, but that's what makes them bets. They're real, and that's what you want.

Beginners Tips
Always remember this one: You can't out-train a bad diet. No matter how much exercise you get, if you're living on fast food, you'll keep gaining weight. If you want to build a better body, you need better foods to fuel the process. The goal is not to become someone else, but to become the best version of yourself.

Don't forget exercise either. You've probably read that losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise, but for most of us losing weight is not the only goal. Exercise improves general health, muscle tone, and posture, and helps us feel better and look better. We need to think about gaining health, not just losing weight, and exercise is an important part of that.

Don't get wrapped up in the hype, always switching between the latest crash diets or six-pack routines. You'll be left feeling sick and frustrated. You need to create a new, healthy eating and exercise habit. That takes time, but when it eventually does become second nature, it will no longer be a chore; it will be a central part of your lifestyle. You're not looking to "go on a diet." You're looking for a lasting change in lifestyle.

Stay away from fads. Pick an exercise and nutrition plan that's backed by actual research and is proven to work safely, and stick to it. Now let's look at the weight-loss plans in alphabetical order.

Biggest Loser
You're looking at a 6-week program designed to get you into the habit of eating regular meals that consist mainly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. The focus is on portion control and food journaling, but you'll also receive instruction on a complementary workout.

Catch: The program is based on a TV show where the contestants had constant, step-by-step instruction from fitness experts and cameras watching every mouthful. Your lifestyle probably won't be the same! It could be easy to get disheartened if you're not getting the same results as these contestants. Long-term calorie restrictions can be hard to stick with, too.

DASH
You've got a straightforward plan here. You'll eat less salt, red meat, sugar, and high-calorie foods. You'll eat more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. You can get your hands on this guide for free through The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Catch: Your health will improve, but you might not drop as much weight as you could with another plan. Why? It's more of a health-improvement plan than a weight loss plan, with a particular emphasis on lowering blood pressure. That's not necessarily bad, though. Better health has to be a good thing!

Health Management Resources (HMR)
The foundation of this plan is meal replacements, which HMR claims help cut three times as much weight as a traditional diet. What kind of meal replacements? Fruits, vegetables, low-calorie shakes, hot multigrain cereal, and nutrition bars. The first three-week segment involves a meal plan designed to drop weight as quickly as possible. Once completed, you then transition to a less strict, second phase. A coach will organize weekly telephone sessions with you.

Catch: The first phase is no walk in the park, and this plan is expensive. If you do go with HMR, here's a quick money-saving tip: Buy frozen vegetables in bulk.

Jenny Craig
This plan supplies you with pre-packaged, properly portioned meals, removing any guesswork from the equation. Don't feel glum; the meals are not cookie-cutter. The entire exercise and meal plan is personalized for you, and you'll have your very own personal consultant to keep you motivated.

Catch: There's an enrollment fee, a monthly fee for the "Jenny All Access" program, and a daily expense for the meals. Still, it is hard to put a price tag on your health, and the money you spend on the meals would be spent on food anyway.