How Much Does It Cost To Lose 30 lbs?

Assuming you’ve already decided that the money-saving “eat less” method won’t work for you: How much will it cost to lose 30 lbs? Bankrate checked out five diet programs and calculated the total cost based on losing the recommended healthy amount of weight per week:

Jenny Craig: $399 with a payment plan or $358 upfront, not including food.

LA Weight Loss: Calculating the cost with a setup fee of $174 and $7 per week charge, the total cost of the plan is $685 for 73 weeks, not including the cost of food and L A Lite bars.

NutriSystem: $1,174.88, including all food, except fresh greens and dairy.

Weight Watchers: The total cost is between $214.80 and $299.80, depending on location, not including food.

The Zone Diet: $3,599.10 to $4,798.80 including all food.

We still like the eat less method, but to each his own. No judgments here. —MEGHANN MARCO

How Much Does It Cost To Lose 30lbs [Bankrate]
(Photo: Maulleigh)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Starfury says:

    I’m doing the eat less – exercise more diet. I’ve cut fast food from my diet by about 80% and am taking walks at lunch 3-5 days a week. It’s helping…slowly but it is helping.

  2. FLConsumer says:

    Eat less & exercise more — you’ll actually save money (put down the Twinkie, fatass) and lose weight! Likewise, swap out sodas & other calorie-filled sugar drinks for water with a bit of lemon in it. You’ll eventually get used to it and come to enjoy it, lose weight, and save money.

  3. Indecision says:

    “Eat less” is a pretty poor diet plan, unless perhaps you’re some sort of ultra-glutton. If you don’t eat enough food, your body goes into “starvation mode.” You may lose a little at first, but you’ll soon plateau, and eventually *gain* weight as your body desperately hangs on to every bit of energy it can, storing it as fat.

    “Eat healthy” is what you really want to do. Cut down on high-calorie, high-fat, and high-cholesterol fast food, and replace it with healthier foods that provide protein and fiber. And eat your vegetables.

    Honestly, that’s what the Weight Watchers “Points” system is about. The points help track caloric and fat intake, and their 8 extra guidelines help you focus on healthier choices. If you want to game the system, go to one meeting, pay under $50 to join, go home and study the materials and never go back. You get all the info you need to follow the plan on Day 1, and there’s plenty of info and support on the internet to fill in for the rest.

  4. joopiter says:

    I have a seemingly absurd tip for losing weight. If you’re one of those people who at night likes to snack while watching tv, take up a hobby that keeps your hands busy. I got into a craft kick a while ago and started doing cross stitch at night while watching tv, mostly because it relaxed me. After a couple of weeks I noticed I had lost weight (not a ton but noticeable) and realized it was because I had completely cut out snacking at night. My hands were busy and I was avoiding greasy, messy foods because I didn’t want to get my work dirty. Weird, but true. I’m over my craft phase now but the no-snacking habit stuck.

    Now if I could just kick the tv habit I’d be golden.

  5. smakdphat says:

    Last year I lost 140 lbs (315.4 to 175.4) thanks to weight watchers. WW is totally worth it. You don’t need to buy their food, they have great support and encourage the eat less, exercise more philosophy. They have great web support that talks about all foods, not just things with WW branding.

    Meetings and online tools were kind of expensive, but I couldn’t have done what I did without them.

    What I noticed was that I saved on foods. Am buying and consuming far less than i used to. I am also saving on clothes and am able to find better deals because I’m into more common sizes. 3XL items take way more fabric hence cost more.

    Losing weight also enabled me to drop the price of some life insurance premiums.

    I would say that what ever path you take, weight loss can be hugely beneficial to all aspects of life, even financial.

  6. @Indecision: *high fives*

    @joopiter: How much did it cost to take up cross stitching? (honestly curious)

  7. mopar_man says:


    This is pretty much what my uncle did (the single WW meeting). He’s lost well over 100 lbs. doing it as well. I don’t think much tops the “eat well and exercise” diet.

  8. Sam Hotdog says:

    I’ve lost 30 pounds in 14 weeks and I’ve saved money by not going out to eat any more. Healthy foods like whole-grain breads and lean meats might cost a little bit more than other versions, but junk food is terribly expensive, so it’s easy to save money and lose weight.

  9. acambras says:

    As with many multifaceted projects, there can be a huge amount of variability in the cost of losing weight.

    * Where you get your advice (professional program, personal trainer, books, internet, family, friends)
    * How you get your food (restaurant, having a personal chef, cooking it yourself)
    * Where you work out (full-service gym, barebones gym, home, public parks)
    * Workout clothes and equipment (some people are more inspired with lots of gadgets or new clothes – I’m content to wear t-shirts and sweats as long as I have a decent sportsbra and good sneakers).

    I’m not trying to be critical of anyone else’s approach here – people should do what works for them. But I personally don’t feel like I *have* to spend a whole lot to lose weight. And dramatically lowering my intake of fast food (with the occasional slip) has helped me drop pounds and save money.

    I think it’s worth noting that, even as we have access to more gadgetry, fitness centers, books, weight loss programs, etc. (stuff to spend money on) than ever, the obesity epidemic is worse than ever.

  10. dubitable says:

    @Indecision: I think you’ve nailed it. Really, what people in this country need is some basic education on nutrition. The fact is, eating well (cutting out high-fat, high-sugar meals and eating less processed foods) is better for you on a number of levels, and a hell of a lot cheaper than these diet plans. If people learned how their bodies actually process these macronutrients that we are always talking about (fat, carbs, protein) then we might have more sensible dietary advice being given and taken in this country.

    Also, HOW you eat is often as important as what you eat: I lost about thirty pounds last year by adopting a strategy of eating lean-protein, low (saturated) fat and complex carbohydrate-composed meals spread out over five to six times a day. Ironically, I probably consume MORE calories than I did before, but I have far less fat on my frame. Eating many small meals of high quality food does wonders for your metabolism, body fat ratio, and general mental and physical health–and combining this with exercise is a winning ticket for losing weight. It may not be easy, but it works, it is sustainable, and it is good for you!

    Turns out what your mom taught you is pretty much right. Eat more vegetables and less crap! Exercise! Take the stairs!

    Note, I am NOT a medical or health professional, please see a doctor if you want to know if *any* diet and exercise scheme is okay for you.

  11. FLConsumer says:

    Eating a little less each day isn’t going to put the body into starvation mode. Going below 1,200 calories/day will. Most people will be lucky to get their caloric intake below 2,000-2,500 cals/day (the recommended amount) let alone below 1,200.

  12. dubitable says:

    @joopiter: Nothin’ wrong with that. Whatever works to get people off of their bad habits and onto good ones…and that sounds very good! I’m all for making vs. consuming.

  13. ptkdude says:

    After a visit to my doctor in December (after picking a health plan based on which one would pay the most if I had a heart attack this year), his recommendation was as follows:

    1. Do NOT drastically change your eating habits. You’ll get frustrated too quickly and it won’t last. Instead, decide what you want (or what you2. would normally eat) and try to find one or two ways to make it BETTER. Not good, just better. Baby steps here. An example he used: get a small french fries instead of a medium. Eventually you’ll switch that to a salad.

    2. Exercise more. For me, he know’s I’m cheap. His suggestion was to spend a little bit of money on the Nike+ system (I paid $110 total for the Nike+ chip thingy and a refurb iPod Nano from I cut a trench inside my existing shoes for the sensor and it works like a charm. I’m so cheap I won’t not use it. I’ve been using it for several months now to walk, and it really helps to motivate me. Make sure you set a good powersong, you’ll find in your first workout that it comes in very handy. Also, make sure you calibrate the chip, otherwise it’s only an estimation. Use all the free resources on Personally, I’ve always avoided Nike because they pay sports stars to represent them, which does absolutely nothing for me but raise their prices, but this site is awesome.

    3. You didn’t gain the weight in 6 months, and you shouldn’t lose it that fast. I have 100 pounds to lose, and he said it should take 2 years for me to lose it. That’s less than a pound a week, folks. Losing the weight slowly will also help to limit saggy, excess skin when you lose weight (per the doctor), and prevent you from having to buy extra clothes. Losing the weight slowly will help spread that out.

    4. Schedule recurring appointments with your doctor to check your progress. This is important. It helps you be accountable to someone (the doctor) to make sure you’re keeping up with the program, and if for some reason it’s not working, he can help you find something that does. My doctor won’t let me cancel an appointment, I can only reschedule them.

    5. He suggested I not go on a diet plan that you have to buy food from. They don’t teach you how to eat right. You become dependent on the program to prepare your food and you never learn how to cook healthy stuff. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper to do it on your own.

    After a slow start at first, I’m now 3 months into it (instead of 4), and have lost 11 pounds. My total outlay was $110 (tip: watch for the 1st generation iPod nano, those are the cheapest ones. they’re not always available, but keep your eye on the site). I’m also saving money because I spend less on food, and I’ve lowered my power bill by going out and walking for half an hour a day instead of sitting on my ass watching tv.

  14. joopiter says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: I used to get the pre-packaged kits with a pattern I liked, the more complicated the better. The good ones usually cost about $30 (based on prices 4 to 5 years ago). At my skill level and the amount of time I was spending on it, a project would probably last me about 4-6 weeks. Granted I have a bunch of finished needlework projects just kind of sitting in a drawer, but it did painlessly change some bad habits, so it was worth it.

  15. ironchef says:

    walking around the block $0
    cutting back on eating $0
    taking the stairs instead of the elevator $0

    not giving a dime to Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers: Priceless

  16. ReccaSquirrel says:

    Nintendo Wii: $250.00
    Estimated Jump in Monthly Electric Bill: $20.00

    Total cost after 6 Months of daily exercise without any dietary change: $370.00

    Add in a second remote for $50.00 and you can double the number of people on the WiiDiet. :)

  17. tedyc03 says:

    The way I lost 30 pounds:

    1. 30 minutes a day of cardio excersise (15 treadmill, 15 stationary bike).
    2. Reduce my calorie intake to 1,700 – 2,200 calories per day.
    3. Eliminate candy, soda, sugary snacks, and other unhealthy items or processed foods.
    4. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins like chicken and fish.
    5. Stopped eating fast food, and started cooking at home.
    6. Took healthy snacks along with me everywhere, like granola bars. That way I could eat when hungry, but not buy something unhealthy.
    7. Realized that to lose weight, I would be hungry.

    What did it cost me? -$200.00. That is, I saved $200 from not eating out, and eating healthy. Trust me…a carrot costs less than a twinkie any day.

  18. thwarted says:

    I lost 10 pounds playing Nintendo’s Dance Dance Revolution for Gamecube — half an hour every other day, or at least 3 times a week. There’s even a calorie counter.

    Looking forward to starting the Wii diet. :)

  19. jamesdenver says:

    Start riding your bike to work, or halfway and take the bus. I’ve been doing this for five years. You feel great, get daily exercise, and it works into your commute time anyway, so doens’t eat up a big chunk of your day.

    Combine a 8-10 mile daily ride with some weights a few times a week and you’ll be cut in no time.

    But you may spend a bit more on food, since you’re earning it :)


  20. avg says:

    Several months ago I asked my acupunturist to help me lose weight. After reviewing what I told him my eating habits were, he told me to cut out my snacking, drink 5 glasses of water a day, and eat 3 meals a day with my dinner being vegetarian. He also told me to exercise three times a week. I followed his instructions, but I didn’t lose any weight.

    Then 2 weeks ago I was talking to a Chinese girl in my water aerobics class who lost weight for her wedding. She told me to not eat rice after lunch (difficult for those of us of Asian descent) and to only eat fruits and veggies for dinner. I’ve stopped eating rice, pasta, bread and potatoes after lunch. I’ve mostly eaten some variation of a stir fry with a glass of milk or soy milk for dinner and a fruit for dessert. Between the fiber of the fruits and veggies and the protein in the milk I haven’t been hungry after dinner. 12 days into the diet I am down 4 pounds. I haven’t been as committed to the diet on the weekends, but even with all the food I ate over Easter I only put on 0.5lbs.

    I know I won’t be able to keep up the pace at which I am losing weight now and I need to exercise. Even though I have membership at 2 gyms I’ve only been once since I started my new eating plan.

    I think I that when my acupucturist told me to eat vegetarian he meant actual vegetables and not spaghetti with garlic bread.

  21. sizer says:

    I ended up losing 60 pounds on the Shangri-la Diet. Which you’ll never hear of because the only cost involved is the cost of the book and then 15 cents worth of olive oil a day. I was biking 15 miles a day (and still am), but that wasn’t sufficient to kick me over the hump, and this did the trick since it’s the only diet I’ve ever been on that made me feel full. Too full in fact, which is how it works – as long as you don’t eat like a total dumbass you’ll feel so full that you won’t eat enough calories to keep the weight on. I’m off the diet now and maintaining my weight.

    This is after Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, and yeah, those things were a big waste of my time and money.

  22. SOhp101 says:

    @Indecision: Yes, I agree with you but with one exception: AMERICAN PORTIONS ARE OVER TWO TIMES LARGER THAN A TYPICAL SERVING.

    I’m all for healthier choices, but even sticking to your unhealthy choices but eating REAL portion sizes will help you lose weight.

  23. ella says:

    Most insurance programs let you join WW for $14.95 a month. It’s the only thing that works – you don’t buy their food, you relearn how to eat the food you already eat!

    I lost 30 lbs on it. In 6 months, it’s cost me $89.70 in fees specific to WW. I spent less on food because I was buying less crap food.

    “eat less” sounds easy but I needed a structure and this worked – totally online, didn’t need meetings didn’t need to buy swag.

    It’s been a year+ and I’ve maintained the weight ever since. LA Weightloss is a documented scam. Jenny Craig may work for people but I don’t buy into buying “their food” – just my preference.

  24. etinterrapax says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Bwahaha! Good point. Cross stitch is not necessarily, but can be, an incredibly expensive hobby. If I were to itemize my stash as a line item on my homeowner’s insurance…hoo boy. And I know some stitchers who do exactly that. Knitting can also eat you alive if you have a taste for good yarn. Both do keep your hands busy, but they aren’t necessarily cheap diets.

    My cheap diet was Atkins. The thing about Atkins is that you don’t have to buy the damn bars and shakes and vitamins. If you do it as it ought to be done, you eat whole foods. Our grocery bill didn’t increase one dime. It’s just different foods: more fresh vegetables, more cheese, more meat (but we weren’t eating it more than three times a week at most before anyhow). We might even have saved, not buying snack foods or baking supplies. I should really do that again. I was healthier than ever.

  25. I voted for Kodos says:

    I have lost 40 Pounds since mid-December and have saved money. I was a habitual fast-food eater: every work day for lunch and 2-3 days a week for breakfast. I quit the fast food, and started making my own lunch. I would either bring a half portion of leftovers from dinner the night before or a can of soup for lunch and had a piece of fruit or a granola bar for breakfast. For dinner I cut back on portions but did not alter my diet otherwise. I went from spending about $50 a week eating out to about $10 a week for a few extra groceries. I’m saving over a hundred bucks a month and and went from 240 to 199 pounds in four months.

    Why pay for advice that is freely available on the web. I first read about the Hackers Diet at That is basically what I have been doing. Check it out:

  26. Juliekins says:

    I lost 25 pounds doing WW, but I didn’t pay much for it. Apparently I fooled them into thinking I had a “positive attitude” and that I was a “good influence,” so they made me a helper during my meetings. I got my meeting fee comped for helping new members sign up, help sort paperwork, restock merchandise, etc etc. If you’re the kind of person who needs group support, I think WW is the way to go. If the support group scene turns you off, however, you will probably hate it. I’ve been a Lifetime member since February 2004, but I’ve not been to a meeting since sometime in 2005. I don’t think I’d have been as successful trying to lose weight on my own, though.

    I always tell people that losing weight is the easy part. Keeping it off is way harder. It is terribly easy to slip back into old habits. Plus, when you’re maintaining, you don’t get that external feedback like you get when you’re losing. Nobody says “hey, way to not put that weight back on! You look great!” I’m finding that the key to keeping weight off is occasionally revisiting some of the habits I developed when I was losing–journaling and weighing food. My digital scale cost me $30 and you will pry it from my cold dead hands. The other key is consistent exercise. I took up weight training after I lost all my weight and lost another pants size over the course of a year without my weight moving a pound.

  27. kerry says:

    @joopiter: That’s also a great way to cut down on smoking. I’ve used knitting and needlepoint both to cut down on mindless eating as well as smoking, successfully, too. Knitting and crochet are a bit cheaper than needlepoint, because if you don’t care what you’re making you can just pull it all apart and start over again when you run out of yarn.
    Other weight loss tips –
    Get a dog and take long walks with it. Good for you and for the dog.
    Walk to the supermarket, buy only what you can carry home. Less food, more exercise.
    The weight watchers point system has been patented. Search the US Patent office website for it and then follow it for free.
    I agree that journaling food intake is a great way to make sure you’re not overloading on unnecessary crap food, and get a healthy amount of real food.

  28. muckpond says:

    i’ve done the weight watchers thing and it worked but as soon as i stopped going to meetings i gained the weight back.

    now some friends of mine and i have started our own “offline” weight watchers group. we share meals and recipes and talk about the point values of stuff…just like a regular meeting. but it’s all within a group of friends and a lot easier to depend on than a room full of strangers. and i’m not the only man in a room full of women this way either. :)

    it’s been a lot more fun this way — always someone to walk with, always someone with a food idea. and it doesn’t cost any $!

  29. Vel says:

    Actually, eating properly to lose weight with a zone type diet (without buying actual Zone diet products, if they even exist, I’m not sure.) is about the most inexpensive thing you can do. Oatmeal, all natural peanut butter, meat, protein powder, omega 3,6,9 oil supplement… It’s pretty cheap. If you buy the name brand specialty pre packaged food concoctions then sure it’s more expensive but that’s for people that have no willpower to know what it really is to eat a clean diet and still can’t let go of their Fettucine Alfredo’s and such. I’ve weighed as little as 165 lbs, and as much as 250 lbs (both weights were attained on purpose) believe me I know what I’m talking about, dieting sucks but it’s doable and healthy on chump change.

  30. Vel says:

    Also, after reading over a lot of the comments here about the average person being clueless as to how to lose wight and just going by what “someone they know who lost weight” told them to do…I really think the lot of you need to take the time to actually do something for yourself about an issue that means so much to you. I wanted to get fit and lean, so you know what i did/ i started reading. I hit up many online fitness websites and started reading their articles and forums. and…Both are great sites to check out for pretty much anything you want to know. is a great site to check out for exercises.

    Eat correctly (Learn how to on your own, read fitness forums, read articles learn the basics of how food works in your body) and do ballbusting workouts. It’s old fashioned blood sweat and tears that gets you looking like a model if you don’t have the genetics to look like one without lifting a finger. I know America in particular is so spoiled to being lazy cubicle workers and everyone wants that magic pill cause god forbid they actually have to move, but anyone who thinks the path is easy needs a reality check.

  31. Indecision says:

    @kerry: “The weight watchers point system has been patented. Search the US Patent office website for it and then follow it for free.”

    That’ll give you the algorithm for figuring out how many points are in a given food item, sure. It won’t tell you how many points you should be eating daily to lose or maintain weight, nor will it tell you the other 8 parts of the diet that are at least as important than the points themselves.

  32. Chrysophrase says:


    I started the Shangri-la Diet about 3 Months ago. I’m down 15 pounds. I only have 15 more to go (started at 215 and want to get to 185)

    I was losing about 2 pounds a week, then plateaued for a 2 weeks, I am now back to losing again.

    My wife also started, she also plateaued and is also now losing again. Shes now thinner than she has been since having our daughter. She has been losing a bit faster than I, but has more weight to lose.

    I call it a “Diet” (with air quotes) because I don’t know if that is the correct term or not… It’s too easy. ;) For the first couple of days there was no noticeable change in appetite, then suddenly I was only able to finish half of my previous portions. I would be very full, but not ‘think’ I had eaten much. Now my mental image of a normal meal has changed.

    The other thing I noticed was that I still wanted snacks (I still do) but that my cravings are satisfied by MUCH less… E.G. I want to eat some potato chips, instead of eating half a bag, I have 5 or six chips and I’m done, completely satisfied.

    I don’t feel like I am sacrificing anything, I don’t feel hungry, I actually enjoy my meals more because I eat/enjoy deliberately.


  33. BobH says:

    Weight Watchers is the only program of the ones mentioned that isn’t about selling you a lot of high-priced food. You are not required to spend a penny on food.

    It’s about teaching you to make smart choices, and most importantly, it’s about the support you get by going to weekly meetings.

    (No disclaimer: I have no affiliation with WW.)

  34. Donathius says:

    I’ve discovered something interesting as I’ve been making some real effort to lose weight. I’m a college student and I eat more or less the same thing every day, so I sat down and figured out how many calories are in each meal. I thought I was doing okay until I realized I was consuming ~3000 calories/day. So I started thinking about what I could change, so here’s an example of a typical day for me (BTW I’m allergic to dairy products so you won’t find any cheese or milk in my menu):

    Nature Valley Granola bar (dairy-free!) – 200 calories and they’re filling – about 6 grams of fat

    Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich – 500 calories – Dense food so it keeps me full for a while

    Afternoon snack:
    Nice, big, juicy orange – not sure on the calories, but it gets me over the hunger hump between lunch and dinner – maybe ~100 calories

    Sometimes baked chicken (pre-breaded, frozen), sometimes spaghetti and salad, sometimes salad alone – typically between 300-400 calories

    This ends up being ~1400 calories on the low end, and ~1800 at the most. The nice thing about this is that I’m not starving myself. I’m concentrating on eating denser foods that are low-cal/low-fat but still filling.

    I’m also exercising a lot. I work out at a local gym and I got set up with a personal trainer who helped me set up a good workout. I’m going six days a week (which may be a bit much for some people). I do 1.5 hours of weight training 3x a week, and 3 1-hour yoga classes at the gym. Honestly I’ve only been doing this for about 3 weeks, but I’ve already dropped around 7 pounds and have had to buy tighter pants!

  35. Dane says:

    Let’s talk about starvation mode. This only becomes a problem if you consume less calories than your metabolic minimum. That is, less calories than it requires your body to operate basic functions, and to motivate yourself (physically, not mentally).

    Losing weight is a matter of running a calorie deficiency. One does not have to be an “ultra glutton” in order to run a healthy calorie deficiency. Weight loss, after all, is a product of thermogenesis — AKA burning fat. This is achieved by expending more calories than those consumed required by your weight.

    There is a difference between a starvation diet and operating on a functional calorie deficiency. “Starvation mode” has too long been the catcall of the uneducated.

  36. vrykoul says:

    I’ve lost 22lbs in 5 months using the Insulin Resistance Diet. On top of that, my triglycerides went from 570 to 120 (which is the reason that I went on the diet), cholesterol from 260 to 210 & glucose level from 14 to 4.

    It’s basic premise is: eat less carbs, eat more vegetables and always have protein with every meal.

  37. A recent study (you can find a summary & link on from last week) showed that, in the long term, diets — any diets — overwhelmingly don’t work. About 80% of everyone who’d lost weight on a diet, even if it was “healthy”, gained back more than they’d lost.

    I’ve never been on a diet, because my mom is a nurse and she’s been telling me this for years. Cutting your calories or in any way drastically changing your diet (assuming it was moderate to begin with) causes your body to adjust its homeostatic processes in an attempt to maintain your normal weight. Unless you make the dietary change permanent for the rest of your life, then eventually you’ll return to a normal diet that outpaces that change, and gain back more weight. Also (sayeth mom, backed up by the study again), a “healthy animal” doesn’t have many, if any, major changes in its weight over its lifetime — your body considers those to be caused by bad illness, or famine (with an exception for pregnancy). There’s evidence that people whose weight fluctuates, even by only as much as 5%, are significantly less healthy in their later years.

    The one thing you can count on to make you lose weight, every time? Get more exercise. That’s it. Eat whatever you like — try to eat healthy and get a wide variety of foods, and take a vitamin if you think you need one, and don’t overindulge — but beyond that, just get enough food and don’t stress about it, and get more exercise. You’ll lose weight, guaranteed, at a safe rate; your body and system will get healthier, not less so; and you won’t put the weight back on.

  38. ParanoidAndroid says:

    I have lost 20+ pounds so far and am well on my way to losing the other 10-20. I spent ~ $15 on a book called the Abs Diet. its not a diet (which is why its working.) I actually eat more often during the day, but am spending ~10-15% less money at the grocery store every week. so how about that! Not only did it only cost ~ $15 for a book but i am actually saving money every week. it seems as though i am earning money by losing weight. :)

  39. Indecision says:

    @Dane The Vegan: “Let’s talk about starvation mode.”

    Yes, let’s. If all the advice you give to someone is “eat less,” depending on their dietary habits, there could be a very good chance they’ll end up in that territory. Someone like, well, me. I used to get by on 1.5-2 meals of high-calorie foods per day (skipping breakfast). I was eating too many calories and too much fat, and wasn’t eating often enough to keep my metabolism up.

    So say I got rid of my BK double stacker with large fries for lunch and had a salad instead, and an 800-1000 calorie dinner. I’m eating less, but now I’m not eating enough.

    And what about the person who takes the statement to its logical conclusion? “If eating less makes you lose weight, then I’ll just eat nothing and lose weight even faster!” Don’t pretend those people aren’t out there. I know a couple. I even know someone who gained weight and made themselves sick on Weight Watchers, because they followed it improperly, thinking the “points” were the only thing that mattered.

    So, quiet about your “catcall of the uneducated,” please. It’s a legitimate concern based on my own old eating habits. You said it yourself — a “healthy calorie deficiency” is what’s needed, and simply saying “eat less” doesn’t even mesh with your own advice. “Eat less” might work for some people. “Eat healthy” (my advice from my first post) will work for everybody.

  40. Indecision says:

    @Mary Marsala with Fries: “Unless you make the dietary change permanent for the rest of your life…”

    And that’s why people gain weight back after dieting — not because diets suck, but because people stop following them.

    Every legitimate diet program will clearly tell you that you cannot simply follow the diet until you’re at your target weight and then go back to your old ways. It’s a lifestyle change. (That’s also why you shouldn’t bother with the diets that supply all your food, unless you plan on buying nothing but their food for the rest of your life.)

    “Get more exercise. That’s it. […] You’ll lose weight, guaranteed, at a safe rate; your body and system will get healthier, not less so; and you won’t put the weight back on.”

    Unless you stop exercising. Stop dieting, you put weight on. Stop exercising, you put weight on. Exercise is no less of a lifestyle change than changing your diet should be. Besides, just like a diet will only do so much in the absence of exercise, likewise exercise can only make up for so much.

    Diet’s at least as important as exercise. You admit as much, yourself. You start to say “eat whatever you want,” but then attach a list of qualifiers. “Eat anything — as long as it’s healthy, and a variety, and not too much, and not too little either, and take a vitamin too. But you know, other than that, anything!

    Reminds me of comedian Brian Regan.

    She’s like, “You know what? You should eat food combinations, and that way you can eat whatever you want. It’s just the combinations of how you put the food together. You can eat whatever you want!” And then, her examples are like, “Like you wouldn’t want to eat like, um, steak … and … potatoes, together. But you could have like a lemon rind, and, and raisin skins. Not the whole raisin. Take the skins and steam em! You can eat whatever you want! You can, you can eat whatever you want!”

  41. @Indecision: Agree. And if you’ve never learned how to eat healthy (which is for sure a learned skill), it seems worth it to pay WW for the lessons.

    And as someone else noted, the support structure is important for many people. People are motivated and stick with things in different ways.

  42. @Rectilinear Propagation: You can get a basic kit at the craft store of your choice (Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, whatever) for under $10. It comes with chart, fabric, threads, instructions, and needle. You provide scissors and maybe a hoop (another $3 tops for the hoop).

    I suggest starting with a kiddie kit, since it is a learned skill, and reading the charts can be a little confusing at first. Also if you start with a Theresa Wentzler, you’re going to do a tiny section of it and be like, “screw this, this is taking forever.”

    It can get expensive if you start buying big nice kits or – God forbid – develop a taste for specialty threads. For me, the big expense is framing. Can’t afford to frame as fast as I embroider. My stitching itself isn’t too expensive. But I think I’ve also been desensitized to what qualifies as expensive! (I’ve been doing this since I was … well, as long as I can remember. Certainly since I was three.)

  43. dvddesign says:

    I recommend that people find a diet that works for them, and I don’t mean WW or JC or nutrisystems. I mean that the best thing they can do for themselves is to go to a nutritionist sit down with them and formulate a strong solid diet plan with foods you’ll eat.

    Most people approaching 30, like me, and struggling with their weight have to realize, like I did, that there aren’t a lot of morbidly obese 60 year olds out there.

    My days of eating a whole pizza and drinking beer are really numbered. So, meeting with a nutritionist and finding a diet I could live with worked out well. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been and while the weight loss isn’t huge, it’s permanent. I have a “diet”/mealplan that I could live with to the day I die, and it includes lots of different types of food, many cuisines.

    Some of the best advice I can give on a personal level is to stop buying processed foods. If it was hydrogenated, put it back. It it’s “enriched” don’t get it. No meal outside of frozen food should be ready to eat in 10 minutes. That includes rice. The longer your food takes to cook the better it is for you. I eat a lot of soups, home made chili, fish, chicken, salads, canned vegetables, and I love it. You don’t have to shop at the whole foods stores, just read the nutrition labels.

    The other good advice I can give is: If you’re ever told to cut back on your calories, ignore them. You’re probably not eating enough, and you’re not eating the right things. Tying into a good diet, calorie consumption vs weight loss is a tricky high wire act to manage. If your body isn’t getting enough calories, it’ll shut itself down and won’t burn fat and will burn muscle instead. If you’re getting too many calories, it’ll turn into fat. So, you have to constantly fool your body into thinking you’re eating more than you really are. You get a lot of this by eating denser foods, such as bran, whole grain breads, and fruits.

  44. Chewie77 says:

    I really enjoy posts like these. In fact, I recently started a website for my friends and I so that we can share weight loss goals, tips, links and other helpful stuff. I would really LOVE for a few more people to post on it. The site is not about traffic or making money, but rather about helping to keep ourselves accountable, especially me. Please feel free to email me to be added!

  45. LuvJones says:

    I was a member of weight watchers. I like the support of the meetings. I just can’t afford to go right now. I did get bored, but that was my fault for not changing my menu enough.

  46. r81984 says:

    It does not cost much.
    I have already lost 15 pounds in one month and I will loss another 15 this month.
    I bought an exercise bike for $200 to ride for an hour a day.
    And I eat 3 to 4 lean tv dinners.
    Lean Gourment tv dinners which are usually between 250 and 350 calories are $.98 a piece.

    So to loose 30 pounds in two months it will cost no more than $112 (4 dinners a day) plus tax a month.

    Why waste your money on a program when you can count your calories yourself?

  47. r81984 says:

    That nike/ipod system is cool if you are only going to run or workout indoors.

    If you plan to run outside use the Timex Ironman GPS watch, it tells you your speed and distance in realtime which is a lot more accurate then a step counter. You can find them on ebay for as cheap as $85 with shipping.

    After the workout you can search google for a calorie calculator website and estimate how many calories you burned.

  48. acambras says:

    One thing I really like is Cooking Light magazine ( Subscribers (cost is $18 per year) can access their online recipe archive. It’s awesome. If you want an asparagus recipe, type in “asparagus” and up comes every asparagus recipe they’ve ever published, along with reader ratings and nutritional information. The food is very tasty and satisfying, and the recipes are written for busy people (people who don’t have all day to chase down obscure ingredients or who can’t spare hours on end to prepare a single meal). Also lots of options for people with special diets (vegetarian, kosher, etc.) Non-subscribers can still access a lot of the website.

    BTW, I’m not a shill for CL magazine or anything – just a loyal subscriber.

  49. r81984 says:

    If it has nutrional information for every recipe, then thats awesome. I have been looking for good book with recipies with nutritional info.

    Thanks, I will look into that site.

  50. Mojosan says:

    Weight Watchers worked for me. 45lbs in 23 weeks (the first 15 came off in 3 weeks).

    The point system helps you to modify your behavior. Along with exersize it has really done wonders for me.

  51. The Zone Diet: $3,599.10 to $4,798.80 including all food.
    Say what?? You buy the book, follow the guidelines, and it’s the cost of the book. Pay attention to what you eat, follow the 40/30/30 rule and eat foods that you buy in any regular grocery store. And watch the pounds go away.

    This has got to be a misprint (unless they changed their business model and started to recently sell food together with the plan)

  52. ribex says:

    Why is this article from April showing up as a “new” item in December? (Asking as a tech question)