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Cheap Diet Plans, Weight Loss Plans
Cheap Diet Plans Buying Guide
The weight loss industry is big business in the U.S. Among the millions of people searching for a fast and easy way to drop extra pounds, many are also intent on finding the best cheap diet plan.
There are dozens of cheap diet plans to choose from, each with its own structure and approach. Weight Watchers and The Biggest Loser, based on the hit TV show of the same name, for example, are weight-loss support diet plans that offer advice and reinforcement by way of websites, literature, and sometimes group meetings. There are a slew of books promoting cheap weight-loss diet plans, such as the South Beach and Atkins diets, some of which are associated with websites that offer access to community and expert support and interactive tools. Food-delivery weight loss programs, such as NutriSystem and Jenny Craig, vary in price but are significantly more expensive than the support-only and book-based cheap diet plans. And finally, some weight loss programs combine elements of these varied approaches -- eDiets, for one, is an online support-based program that also operates a diet-food delivery service, and many of the well-known diet plans sell branded food items in grocery stores. Note that many online/fee-based and food-delivery diet plans are currently offering winter specials at reduced cost.
Our choices for the best cheap diet plans are based on results, the level of support provided dieters, and whether they help keep the weight off. We also looked at how restrictive the weight-loss diet plans are (i.e., how much freedom you have in terms of food choice) and noted whether programs are based on safe weight-loss guidelines. Given these parameters, we placed Weight Watchers (starting at $18.95/month) and eDiets (starting at $18.95/28 days online membership) at the top of our list. Both are online weight-loss programs that allow meal flexibility and guide dieters toward a sustainable target weight through in-person and/or online support, information, and self-help tools. We also like the South Beach Diet (book price starting at $7.99, online membership $4/week) because of its reasonable approach and good results. The Atkins Diet (book price starting at $10.88, Amazon) doesn't make the cut as a good cheap diet plan program due to concerns about its impact on dieters' health and ongoing weight maintenance. We're also not impressed with NutriSystem (starting at $259.99/28 days), a food-delivery plan that's expensive and attracts lots of complaints about food quality.
The choice between a support-only or book-based weight loss plan and a diet-food delivery program depends on your budget and what you know about yourself. Can you make healthy food choices with some nudging from like-minded peers, informative literature, interactive websites, recipes, and menu ideas? Or, do you need to remove choice from your diet? The weight-loss support book-based plans are the cheapest because they don't involve paying for food that a company has bought, prepared, and delivered to your front door, but they do require a certain amount of willpower every time you step into the grocery store and in front of the stove. Food delivery weight loss programs may be better at keeping temptation at bay, but you'll pay for that external control in the form of higher overall food costs.
Although you may be eager to shed pounds quickly, dietary guidelines published by the USDA recommend proceeding slowly for maximum effect and maximum safety; going too far too fast can severely stress your body. Government experts suggest a weight loss goal of 10 percent of your body weight over six months, or no more than two pounds a week.
A good cheap diet plan is more than a one-off exercise, however. The best cheap weight-loss plans also lead you into lifestyle-changing habits (think portion control, nutritious food choices, and physical activity) that help keep you in good standing with the weight police. Weight Watchers, for example, allocates more points for more food if you exercise and after you've hit your weight target and stresses portion control and fitness as a strategy for maintaining that weight. The South Beach Diet strictly limits carbohydrates in the first phase of your diet and then lets you slowly add "good" carbs (e.g., whole grains, fruits, starchy vegetables) back in as you gain more control over your weight and eating habits.
Whichever cheap diet plan you ultimately choose, heed these words of advice: Always talk to your doctor before starting any weight loss program.
Best Cheap Diet Plans
Weight WatchersWeight Watchers features group meetings that provide support and help you track your progress; if you're not the meeting type, you can join Weight Watchers Online, where you'll find plenty of self-help tools. Weight Watchers boasts legions of satisfied adherents. Read more »
Good Cheap Diet Plans
South Beach DietA low-carb, high-protein diet that stresses good fats instead of unhealthy fats, South Beach Diet proceeds in three phases to slowly add carbs and other foods back into your diet. Get guidance from the paperback book or use the online tools and support for a fee. Many South Beach Diet followers report rapid success and easy maintenance. Read more »
Don't Bother Cheap Diet Plans
Atkins Diet Review
South Beach Diet Review
Weight Watchers Review
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