13 Women Who've Lost 100+ Pounds

Stephanie Cyr

The Best Ways to Lose 20 Pounds
Your point allowance is based on your weight, height, gender, age, and activity level. Couple's love story started with a CPR kiss. And so losing weight becomes a gambling game. Petrita traded candy bars, fast food, and soda for veggies, and started jogging and kickboxing. This meal-delivery service, endorsed by Marie Osmond and Dan Marino, emphasizes foods with a low glycemic index. Although a new FTC rule now requires testimonial ads to cite typical results, the looming question still remains: Melissa her friends held their own Biggest Loser-style weight loss contest, and she won!

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Nutrisystem Coupons and Review – $220 Off

Which of these diet programs are worth your money? To find out, MoneyWatch analyzed eight of the biggest diet plans. Three are support-only plans that don't require you to buy their food, and five are food-delivery plans. We interviewed leading nutritionists and weight-loss professionals, pored through clinical studies, and tallied up membership fees and food costs to determine the ones most likely to help you slim down and to see how much you'd pay to drop 20 pounds.

Our favorite for value and efficacy is Weight Watchers , designed to help you change your eating habits for good. Nutrisystem is the least expensive meal delivery plan we reviewed Medifast is cheaper, but you have to provide one meal a day on your own. And the silver-spoon award undoubtedly goes to In The Zone Delivery , a white-glove service for people who'll spare no expense to drop the pounds.

Here's how the plans stack up. See the handy chart at the bottom of the page for a side-by-side comparison. The oldest national weight-loss program, its members rave about the encouragement they get at weekly meetings led by former Weight Watchers dieters. Nutritionists praise the portion-control points system: Each food is assigned points based on its serving size, calories, fiber, and fat; and no foods are forbidden.

Your point allowance is based on your weight, height, gender, age, and activity level. A recent clinical study in the New England Journal of Medicine linked group counseling sessions to weight-loss success. That explains why Weight Watchers has impressive short-term results. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed participants lost an average of about 5 percent of their body weight 10 pounds in six months.

Two years later, they had kept about half the weight off. To help members stay on track, Weight Watchers encourages them to attend meetings until they've stayed within 2 pounds of their goal weight for six weeks.

After that, you get free lifetime membership. The company says members using its online tools in addition to attending meetings lost 50 percent more weight than those going to meetings alone. Cost to lose 20 pounds: We looked at two plans from eDiets - one that offers support alone, and another with meal delivery.

You can choose from among more than 20 diet plans, including ones for diabetics and vegetarians. Online tools let you set goals, plan menus and generate shopping lists. There's no face-to-face support, but you get support through online message boards and a mentor program that connects newbies with an experienced member. Also, you can reach a registered dietitian or personal trainer by phone at any time.

The optional meal delivery service offers freshly prepared, calorie-controlled meals delivered by FedEx. But telephone support has some evidence in its favor: Yes, it's a bargain for round-the-clock support.

For about the same money, other services offer better track records. For the first two weeks, you eat three extremely low-carb meals a day plus mandatory snacks. After that, you gradually add "good carbs," such as fruits and whole grains.

You can customize menus, search a database of more than 1, recipes and get a personalized shopping list. There's online support from staff dieticians and members plus daily motivational emails. Studies have shown that after one year, carb-restricted diets led to greater weight loss and increased heart health than low-fat diets.

However, the advantage disappeared over the long term. How much can you expect to lose? Figure on 8 to 13 pounds during the two- week kick-start phase, then 1 to 2 pounds a week thereafter. It doesn't cost much, but you don't get as much support as with Weight Watchers or eDiets.

The Zone diet is mostly meat, fruits, and vegetables. You eat three meals per day plus two Zone protein-powder snacks. A study of people in the Journal of American Medical Association found the Zone diet helped people achieve modest weight loss after one year, comparable with those on the Atkins , Weight Watchers and Ornish diets, and improved cardiac risk factors. And so losing weight becomes a gambling game. Nutrisystem's first concern when you join their program is to estimate your metabolic rate.

They do this by means of a questionnaire that let's them know your gender, age, height, weight, and your level of physical activity. Based on this data, they craft a weight loss plan specifically for you. This plan has the right range of calories each day allowing you to lose pounds a week. Therefore, with Nutrisystem you are not on a "hit or miss" endeavor. Weight loss is inevitable if you stick to the program.

Consuming the right amount of calories is one part of a successful weight loss regime. Making sure you give your body the right nutrients is the other part. A month after giving birth, Tamyala began telling herself, "I am tall, slender and a size 8! She also joined a local church's aerobics ministry. Michele signed up for Weight Watchers and lost her first 20 pounds in 8 weeks. With her eating under control, she joined a gym, starting out with short sessions on the elliptical and working up to Zumba classes and barre-based workouts.

When Tracie reached nearly pounds she took charge of her health. She started walking on lunch breaks, cutting calories, and facing emotions head-on instead of eating the pain away. Tracie said jogging and a group of supportive friends helped her keep the weight off for good! Walked, talked, and ran off more than pounds after starting new jobs at the University of Buffalo.

They joined Weight Watchers and began walking around campus during their breaks. Melissa her friends held their own Biggest Loser-style weight loss contest, and she won!

Weight loss success!