There’s no denying that the waistline of America is expanding. According to the Center for Disease Control, almost 34% of the adult population and 17% of the child and adolescent population is considered obese. During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity rates due mostly to the temptation of super-size food portions, lack of time to prepare healthy meals at home, and sedentary lifestyles. 57% of North Carolinians are either overweight or obese and 20% of NC children are. Both of these statistics are significantly higher than national averages.
In an effort to lose weight, people are turning to all sorts of quick-fix remedies: diet pills, HCG injections, stomach reduction surgery, herbal remedies and colon cleanses. But the fact of the matter is, there is no easy way to shed the pounds. Long considered a profane four-letter word, “diet” programs seemingly do not work well in the long haul because once the program ends, the pounds quickly add up again. Losing and maintaining weight equates to accountability, moderation, and a change in lifestyle.
In May 2011, Consumer Reports ranked weight loss programs according to how much weight people lost in a short-term six-month period and long-term one-year period. Jenny Craig ranked #1 and Weight Watchers ranked #3 (it should be noted the study that Consumer Reports based their results on by the Journal of the American Medical Association was funded by Jenny Craig). After a year on the Jenny Craig program, most participants dropped out assumingly because of having to eat the same prepackaged food all of the time. Weight Watchers was considered to have the most flexibility, which is important to those looking to avoid the dreaded “diet” word and instead make a lifestyle change. The basic fundamental of Weight Watchers is portion control and going back to the basics of eating anything in moderation. All foods are awarded a point value and nothing is off limits, not even desserts. Moderate exercise (another profane word) is also recommended and can be used as an incentive to earn more points to be used as a reward to treat yourself or to offset an instance when the allotted point value is exceeded. Vegetables have a low to no point value and are mostly considered a “free” food, therefore encouraging healthier eating habits.
Before beginning any weight loss program, several things should be considered: Is it safe? What are you being promised for what amount of money? What is your personal eating preference? There is a cost associated with both of these programs and weekly meetings and weigh-ins are part of Weight Watchers. Once your target weight is reached, it is easy to continue on with Weight Watchers because it allows you to continually be in control and accountable for anything you eat, whereas you must adhere to the prepackaged food plan that is provided to you with the Jenny Craig plan. The plan you choose has to work for you as an individual in order to be sustainable and effective weight management is about long-term success.
The Charlotte area offers five Weight Watchers meeting locations. Visit this website to find one closest to you and any of the three Charlotte Jenny Craig centers can be found here.
If you are a fan of the Charlotte Healthy Food Examiner articles, click the “Subscribe” button above and be notified each time an article is published. Thank you for reading!