Diet Plans Require Behavior Modification

Diet plans have their ups and downs, a calorie is a calorie, eat too many and you gain weight, eat fewer calories and you will lose weight. Basically, long term weight loss success requires permanent changes in your behaviors, diet and activity levels. According to weight loss experts some of the top plans are: Weight Watchers, Biggest Loser Diet and Jenny Craig.

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers emphasizes long term weight management with a commitment to a healthier eating plan and lifestyle. All food has a point system attached to it which is based off of specific proportions of protein, fiber, carbohydrates and fat.

  • Theory: To achieve weight loss goals, dieters must stay under a certain number of points for any food that is consumed. There is also a point system that assigns a point value to various types of physical activity and they encourage members to become active with their exercising goals.
  • Pros: This diet is well researched and it focuses on steady, long term weight loss that is not only healthy but also practical. The system is easy to understand and implement, they also offer support and education throughout the process.
  • Cons: Classes cost $10, $15 or about $40.00 per month, but you can attend as many sessions as you want. There is also an online subscription fee of about $5 per month. The bonus points that they allow their members per week can sometimes get you into trouble because a few of the foods that are on the free list hold a significant amount of calories.
  • Side effects: No side effects reported.

Biggest Loser

Biggest Loser diet plan emphasizes calorie restriction and exercise. This diet is based off of solid nutrition and no foods are off limits.

  • Theory: Eating regular meals that have healthy food such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources and whole grains, also by practicing portion control, using a food journal and then proceeding to get busy and exercise should result in weight loss.
  • Pros: You will lose weight on this since there are two foolproof tactics used, which are calorie restriction and exercise.
  • Cons: A lot of work involved and somewhat pricey.
  • Side effects: No side effects reported.

Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig diet plan emphasizes a three-tiered personalized weight loss program which focuses on food, body and mind. All of the meals are pre-packaged meals.

  • Theory: Low calorie proportioned meals with a regular exercise schedule and peer support while teaching you how to make healthy food choices.
  • Pros: The diet is custom tailored to you according to your goals, current weight and blood type while catering to your diet restrictions such as vegetarian and so forth. One on one counseling and convenience along with food delivery to your door is on the list of pros.
  • Cons: The pre-packaged meals might be more costly than preparing your own meals. You might also become bored with the meal selections. There are also sign-up costs and regular monthly fees that might be costly.
  • Side effects: No side effects reported.

Raw Food

Raw Food diet plan emphasizes fresh fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts, seeds and herbs in their whole, natural state.

  • Theory: Because this diet emphasizes raw uncooked food, most who follow the plan consume only half the calories they would eat on a cooked diet.
  • Pros: Fruits and vegetables dominate the diet, nearly guaranteed weight loss.
  • Cons: A lot of work involved with meal prep, equipment required and lots of rules.
  • Side effects: No side effects reported.


Volumetrics diet plan emphasizes a “commonsense” eating plan that encourages dieters to quit on again off again dieting and exchange it for a healthy lifestyle. This diet is based on nutritious food and regular exercise. It also focuses on the energy density of foods (the amount of calories in a specific amount of food) which is the key focus on achieving healthy, long term weight loss.

  • Theory: Relies on low energy density and high water content foods such as fruits and vegetables. This eating plan includes foods with a lot of water and fiber, since both increase your sense of fullness. Food choices include fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, beans and lean meat.
  • Pros: This diet is well researched and a healthy approach to your weight loss quest. It emphasizes a balanced healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The diet is flexible and easy to modify based on your personal food preferences. This diet also emphasizes the importance of beginning an exercise program.
  • Cons: This diet requires a lot of meals cooked at home. There is a bit more prep work in cooking, preparing, calculating energy densities of foods and keeping of daily records. But for the amount of time involved this diet will provide a healthy, long term weight loss approach.
  • Side effects: No side effects reported.


Atkins Diet plan emphasizes lean protein and low-starch vegetables also avoiding simple carbohydrates like flour and sugar. This is a high protein, high fat and low carbohydrate diet.

  • Theory: Consuming fewer carbohydrates allows your body to burn greater amounts of fat.
  • Pros: Low carbohydrate diets have proven to be effective for weight loss but only for a limited period.
  • Cons: It may be difficult to stick to a low carbohydrate diet for long term and you might become bored with it very quickly. High fat content and lack of balance in the diet are also a problem.
  • Side effects: Bad breath, insomnia, dizziness and constipation.


Flexitarian diet plan emphasizes flexible and vegetarian. You don’t have to eliminate meat completely to reap the health benefits associated with vegetarianism. It’s about adding five food groups to your diet, not taking any away.

  • Theory: Weight loss, optimal health. With a calorie deficit and some physical activity, you’re bound to shed some weight.
  • Pros: Flexible plan and a lot of tasty recipes.
  • Cons: Emphasis on home-cooking, tough diet if you don’t like fruits and vegetables.
  • Side effects: No side effects reported.


Slim-Fast diet emphasizes low calorie. You can drop one to two pounds weekly if you restrict your calories and portion sizes. Just replace your breakfast, lunch and snacks with their product. You can have one 500 calorie home-cooked meal per day.

  • Theory: Losing weight is obtained by restricting calories and portion sizes with some allowance for variety and structured flexibility.
  • Pros: It’s a convenient grab and go, no math or guesswork.
  • Cons: Shakes and meal bars could be a turnoff, same thing over and over again, no variety.
  • Side effects: No side effects reported.


Vegan diet eliminates not only meat, fish and poultry but they also exclude all animal products which include dairy and eggs. Fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes will be the staples of your diet.

  • Theory: Losing weight while skipping the meat and dairy food categories.
  • Pros: Rich in high fiber foods so it’s filling, health and environmental benefits.
  • Cons: Really restrictive, lots of work involved.
  • Side effects: No side effects reported.


DASH diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. Skip all the foods that are calorie and fat laden sweets and red meat, while cutting back on salt.

  • Theory: Because this diet emphasizes so many healthful foods, it can easily support weight loss. Just remember to exercise more and eat less.
  • Pros: Nutritionally sound, heart healthy.
  • Cons: A lot of work involved, somewhat pricey.
  • Side effects: No side effects reported.

One thing to remember and to be cautious about is beware of the bounce back, so to speak. As with many diet plans, people often experience accelerated weight gain when they return to their old eating habits. As I have said before, we need to adopt a long term permanent change in our behaviors, diet and activity levels.

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