Are Diet Plans Effective?

Well, in a word, yes and no. Diet plans and programs hinge on the people they are “sold” to. If there’s not implementation or execution of the plan, then the program is sure to fail…for that person. That’s why when you see video testimony of one person who praises the program up and down, it’s unfair to the viewer. Viewers have no idea the amount of work that went into dropping that dress size. They have no idea of the lonely hours it took to get to where they are. The person making the claim will try to tell us in fine detail what steps she took to shed, but it’s not the full picture.

Let’s take a step back and evaluate them a bit. This will not be an exhaustive study on each program but an overview of each. After all, dieting and its associated plans is a multi-billion dollar industry. For every diet we read about, there are ten we don’t. We’ll just cover the main programs here. I’m always looking for the money angle throughout these programs. In other words, how are the founders of these programs “banking” on willing participants? Perhaps it’s the cynic and skeptic in me that believes that money fuels many of these programs.

Low Carb Plans

The first is Atkins(r). This is a low-carb, high protein diet. It’s effective when you stick to the program. There’s a fast reduction segment, followed by a leveling off, and then another segment. The marketers want you to use their nutrition and dessert bars because it puts lots of money in their pockets. The problem in general with low-carb programs is that you have to stay on it or you’ll balloon again to the weight you were before starting it.


Paleo has my vote for the most primitive name. Eat meat and vegetables, like our cave man ancestors did. No sugars or bread. No sweets. It seems to be healthier for you, especially since you’re cutting out sweets. Any time you can cut out sweets in any part of a diet, that’s a great thing.

Phased Approach

South Beach has an interesting name and seductive marketing to match. Supposedly after trying this program you will be voluptuously attractive or be the dreamboat man coming out of the water at South Beach when you fully execute the tenets. It’s a “phased approach to weight loss.” South Beach has its own array of food it sells as well as the ever popular South Beach Diet book.

Meals Ready For You

Nutrisystem(r), Jenny Craig(r), and Weight Watchers(r) fall into a similar category. They plan the meals for you and send them ready to go. You don’t have to think or plan; you just eat what they send you. That’s certainly an interesting approach to losing weight, but you have to buy their meals and continue to buy them to stay on the program. Now each of these program will point out their distinctives but the end is the same: you buy their meals from them. Are they effective? Sure then are, but I think you then become a slave to their program and ultimately their thinking.

As I mentioned, there are hundreds of programs out there that are similar to these few categories. Often they require you to purchase products from them because, well, it’s what they do. They may or may not lose weight from actually doing the program themselves. After they obtain a few willing testimonies (which tells you the product is half decent), they’ll market it into the ground. Some may even enjoy devoted followers and “sneezers” as internet guru Seth Godin calls them.

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