Originally Answered: Which diet plan would be more effective: Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, or LA Weightloss?
Why not go with the lifestyle diet, since it is the only one that works forever. Here are some tidbits to guide you along:
When you eat less calories than you burn, you will lose weight. It doesn't matter if it is carrot sticks - eat more than you burn in a day and you will gain weight. The potato toppings are nothing more than added calories. The more calories that you add on top of eating more than you burn in a day simply means that you will gain weight faster.
Get it? I could feed you candy bars dipped in lard and help you lose weight. It doesn't matter what kind of food it is. I could also feed you celery and carrots and cause you to gain weight and get fat - if you eat more calories than you burn in a day.
You need to question what weight loss is to you. Will you be satisfied with your appearance once you get there? I am a personal trainer, and I could tell you that the answer is "no" most of the time. Once you lose the weight you want to lose, you will look in the mirror and feel that you need to look more tone. Your waist will still be larger than you want it to be and you will not like the shape your body is in (especially with less clothing).
There is only one right way to do it and below is a few major variables that you need to do it right.
Ask yourself this - do you want to just lose weight or do you want to lose (much) more fat than muscle? The more muscle you burn, the slower your metabolism becomes for one, since calories are burnt through usage of the muscle. The more muscle you have firing, the faster you burn calories; the faster your metabolism. Keeping your muscle while dieting will also make a huge difference as to how you look when you achieve your weight loss goal - and adding a bit will work wonders.
People want to lose "pounds." Here is something to consider. Bare with it if it becomes confusing and be comforted in the fact that simple directions follow even if you do not understand some of what you read immediately below.
One pound of FAT = 3500 calories
One pound of LEAN MUSCLE = roughly 2500-3000 calories (varies due to hydration).
See? Potentially, you could burn 2500 calories and lose a pound of muscle, or you could burn 3500 calories to lose a pound of fat, or you could burn the two in different proportions, meaning you could burn anywhere in the range of 2500-3500 calories and lose a "pound."
Surely you want to burn fat and hold onto as much muscle as you can. The best defense to ensure this, generally speaking, is to eat protein with every meal. Why? To spare your body from losing muscle, which IS protein. If your body needs amino acids for energy (muscle is made up of protein and protein is made up of amino acids) it will eat the protein that you feed it rather than breaking down your muscles for energy. Therefore, you stand a better chance of maintaining your muscle.
A safe place to start is to first determine the amount of calories that you currently burn. The first step is to go to a calculator on a website (search for "calorie counter" on Google). That will give you a rough estimate. Next, subtract 500 calories from that to put you on pace to lose one pound of fat per week (-500 calories times 7 days equals -3500 calories per week = one pound of fat loss.) Remember, eat protein with every meal. Generally speaking, you should eat roughly 20-35 grams to be safe. If you find that you are losing more than one pound per week, that means that you are losing muscle. If this is the case, you can take another step that will ensure that you will minimize muscle loss.
To ensure you are burning fat and not muscle as you restrict your calories, you should exercise since your body is adaptive. This means that to keep muscle, you have to give your body a reason to do so such as working out. If you work the muscle, your body basically says, "We have to hold onto the muscle to do all of this work, so we can't burn it for energy. We'll have to use the fat, as it is less important to our survival." Hence, you get lean and reach the image you have in your mind; your goal.
Trust me! In most cases the end result of "losing weight" doesn't look good. You can disguise it in clothes and other out of shape people may think you look "great," but nothing beats a fit body. It doesn't have to be an extreme physique, like in the magazines, but a little exercise goes a long way with proper dieting. And you will realize countless benefits, in addition to enhanced good looks!