Get the facts
Comparing Weight Loss Programs
By Dr. Len Lopez
Nutrition and fitness expert
I am always asked my opinion on many of the popular weight loss programs such as; NutriSystem, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and e-diets. Most offer convenience as part of their program, unfortunately the food isn’t always real food or food that we want to eat long-term. For the most part they spend a lot of money advertising their products and paying for endorsements.
Yes everyone would like to eat pancakes, muffins and cereal for breakfast along with pizza and pasta for lunch and dinner. Unfortunately, you are not going to re-program your metabolism to stay in its ‘fat-burning’ zone 24/7 with that kind of diet. Most of the dieting programs supplement their meal plans with shakes, health bars or other processed foods, which doesn’t help you learn how to eat when you finally get off their program.
The biggest turn off for most of the programs are taste and portion size. But the real culprit is the fact that many of these diets don’t help regulate your blood sugar. Many of them focus on calories, fats or carbs, which aren’t the real problem. Blood sugar and your ability to keep your blood sugar stable is a major factor that needs to be addressed if you are looking to lose weight.
Dr. Atkins was one of the first doctors, to recognize the importance of blood sugar when it came to losing weight and keeping it off. When you eat proteins and good fats along with some veggies you stand a better chance of keeping your blood sugar stable than if you were eating pastas, noodles or rice. It’s when you feast on foods that are loaded with carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates that you start throwing your blood sugar up and down all day, which takes you out of your fat-burning zone.
Some of the dieting plans use lots of filler foods such as; rice, pasta and noodles to cut their expense and make the meal look more appetizing. Unfortunately, it’s those refined carbs that are slowing down your progress. Muffins and pancakes for breakfast, pizza and pasta for lunch are not helping to keep your blood sugar stable.
Too many carbohydrates cause your metabolism to store fat. This is why the various low carb or low glycemic diets have been so helpful. What happens as a result of cutting back on those filler carbs - is you typically end up eating more protein, which triggers your body to burn more fat. This is what “To Burn or Not to Burn – Fat is the Question” is about.
I am not a big fan of counting calories, fats, carbohydrates or some type of point system for the foods I eat. We’ve gone centuries without having to count those things….so why focus on things that may not truly matter. I don’t believe Jesus was counting calories or grams.
With regards to price it is a bit difficult for me or the average shopper to compare because some programs require you to buy other foods and meals for the week, not to mention all the different promotions that come with each one. So I’m not weighing price as a major factor as much as I am comparing the foods and benefits from those foods.
A healthy meal or diet should include…
- Eating protein with each meals such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs
- Provide some good fats from nuts and seeds, fish or olive oils
- Fibrous veggies, this is where you are going to get your good carbohydrates.
- Stay away from soft drinks, juices, and sports/energy drinks
- Stay away from as much processed, refined foods.
If you follow those simple steps or find a program that follows those steps you will benefit. That being said, the only program I have seen and recommend is the one by Healthy Meal Balance.
What I like about their dieting plan is that it is Real Food. No shakes, bars or processed foods. They don’t make you count anything, which I like. The food taste pretty darn good, more importantly their eating program is simple and sound. It’s convenient and may be more economical than other programs.
The Big benefits besides losing weight with the Healthy Meal Balance is that it will help with
- Blood sugar issues such as diabetes, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance
- Adrenal fatigue and exhaustion…you will never re-balance your adrenal glands if you can’t keep your blood sugar stable.
- Yeast or Candida Cleanses that are often needed to overcome the overgrowth of yeast, fungus, candida in the intestines due to antibiotics, birth control pills or steroid hormones.
To get the most out of any program you want to…
- Take time to eat your food in a relaxed state and enjoy it
- Don’t drink more than a few ounces of water, preferably with your meal
- Chew your food and give thanks
- Not to skip a meal
In my opinion there are many additional reasons to like Healthy Meal Balance over the other heavily advertised programs. It’s not going to fit everyone’s needs or wants, but for the majority of people who are trying to lose those unwanted inches, want it affordable, convenient and taste good. I think it fits the bill.
Dr. Len Lopez is a nutrition and fitness expert and author of To Burn or Not to Burn – Fat is the Question,and “Five STEPS Closer…” and the creator of The Work Horse. His approach to health and wellness is to treat the cause – not the symptom. For more information on how to overcome fatigue and weight gain or to get Dr. Lopez special report on The Stress Connection send an e-mail to Dr. Len. You can also use his online health quizzes to identify where your health problems are coming from.
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