Let’s face it: we’re an obese country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and the diet and weight loss market is continuing to grow. When it comes to weight-loss programs, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig are often first to come to mind, but there’s a slew of companies entering the marketing touting programs to help consumers shed pounds and inches. From free online communities to luxury weight loss camps, here’s a look at ways to shed those unwanted pounds.
The recent uprising in the Middle East demonstrated the power of Internet-based communities so it’s not surprising that social networking has found its way into the weight-loss arena. After all, what could be more motivating than thousands of people telling you to get off the couch when you feel like skipping a workout? SparkPeople.com is a free weight loss community with more than eight million members and more than 15 million pounds lost. Users can access nutrition, health, and fitness tools as well as personalized diet and fitness plans. Headquartered in Cincinnati, SparkPeople is employee owned, and touts its goal is to change users’ eating and workout habits for life.
Whether you are looking to lose 10 pounds, 50 pounds, or just get more toned, eDiets.com creates personalized programs to achieve an individual's weight goals, while taking into account any food and cooking preferences. Starting at $17.96 for four weeks of full access to the Web site, users can choose from the company’s flagship diet, the Glycemic Impact Diet, the Mediterranean Diet or create their own diet plan. Users get customized menus and recipes, personalized fitness plans, live phone support from dietitians and a community of online dieters. For time-strapped dieters, eDiets.com also offers its meal delivery option, that sends meals five or seven times a week for an added cost. The seven-day meal delivery plan costs about $162 a week and also includes access to all the services on the Web site.
It’s no secret that weight loss occurs from fewer calories in and more calories out, but that is easier said than done. Consumers looking to shed weight under the guidance of a medical professional should check out The Center for Medical Weight Loss. Under its plan, users find a doctor in their area through its Web site and sign up for a no-obligation consultation. Next they meet with the doctor and undergo a handful of test to determine specific needs and any health concerns. After the evaluation, the doctor will recommend a customized plan to achieve personal goals that includes nutritional balance and fitness recommendations. Users meets weekly with the doctor to track their progress and get support or guidance. Prices for the programs vary depending on length and needs, but an initial consultation can cost as little as $19.
You don't need to be a contestant on TV show “The Biggest Loser” to reach your weight-loss goal. For $4 a week, you can join Jillian Michael’s online weight-loss program that offers a weight loss tracking program, a complete cardio and fitness program and customized meal plans. Users can also get daily motivation from the tough-as-nails trainers. Programs are customized based on body type, fitness level and goals, to help ensure maximum results. Members also get access to fitness advice videos, a calorie calculator, weight loss buddies and the ability ask Jillian questions.
Committed about losing weight and have serious cash to spend? Then check out Real Life Fitness & Health, which claims to be the country's most intense fitness and weight loss program. For a whopping $14,095 for a four-week program, users get whisked away to the Green Valley Spa in Utah and get daily meals and snacks, fitness training, group activities, educational classes and medical supervision and evaluation from a team of doctors. The hefty price tag also includes a Polar FT7 training computer and transmitter to use at the camp and at home, nutritionist assessments and guidance, weekly group therapy and a health and fitness assessment. And oh yeah, a pair of new sneakers. Airfare and accommodation are included in the price. Only interested in a week stay? That will cost you $5,985.
Look out Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, there’s a new breed of weight loss programs storming the market.