Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig… I’m SURE you’ve heard of them and you probably know someone who has tried one of these weight loss programs. And maybe they succeeded in losing those pounds and maybe they’ve even been able to maintain their goal weight, which is not usually the case. But what about those people who try one of these programs (or maybe even all of them) with minimal or no results? Why do these program seem to work so well for some while others gain the weight right back and still others see no weight loss at all?
Obviously if there are people who are successful with these programs, they are doing something right. Weight Watchers is a program based on calorie counting. Except you aren’t counting calories, you’re counting points which they have correlated with food items. They have recently started using a new points system which accounts for the nutritional quality of foods, instead of just calories. Many products in our grocery stores have points listed right on the packages, even menus at some restaurants list the points in their meals. Nutrisystem delivers meals straight to you based on a 28 day diet plan designed for weight loss. They make foods that everyone loves and have added a fresh-frozen category of meals to their traditionally packaged foods. Jenny Craig also has food delivery but also has ongoing coaching and support for their clients and a new online tracking system to monitor weight loss progress.
All of these programs are good for jump-starting the lifestyle change needed to maintain a healthy weight. They create a new environment for clients where it’s easier to make healthy choices. Many of them offer support and guidance. The most important part of these programs though, is the convenience of them.
So we can see why these programs work for some people. But there are many reasons why they don’t work. First, let’s talk about convenience. The very thing that draws people to these programs may be causing them to fail at their weight loss goals. People look at these programs as something you can do in the short term for long term success, which isn’t true. In order to have long term success you need to have a lifestyle change and you need to be committed. But no one want to hear that; people want a quick fix so they can go back to eating the way they want and doing minimal exercise. During your diet with these traditional programs, you are either told exactly what to eat or you are given the foods you’re supposed to eat, and you don’t learn how to shop healthy or cook healthier. You aren’t going to be eating Nutrisystem meals for the rest of your life, so this is definitely something you need to learn if you’re going to maintain weight loss in the real world with all of it’s temptations. Not only do you not learn how to eat healthier after your diet, you may even be less inclined to do the work that goes into preparing healthy meals because you’ve had it so easy with meal delivered straight to your door that you only have to heat up.
Next, everyone is different, and these programs aren’t personalized. Everyone eats the same things and is on the same plan. Not everyone has problems losing weight because they are eating the wrong foods. Some people are doing everything right, they are eating healthy and exercising, maybe they even tried Weight Watchers and still saw no improvement. Most of the time eating habits are a definite contributor and need to be addressed, but there are multiple other reasons why people gain weight and why they have trouble losing it. At Optimal Body Balance we talk about the 8 areas of weight loss resistance: stress, sleep, neurotransmitter imbalance, sex hormone imbalance, thyroid, insulin resistance, gut dysbiosis and toxic burden. All of these areas need to be addressed in a weight loss program or you will have trouble achieving and maintaining your goals. We also provide necessary counseling and support and offer a variety of program formats — individual, group or even online (convenience in the right way!). At Optimal Body Balance we get people started on a true lifestyle change and educate clients so that they will be successful in the real world.