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One post at Amazon tells of having shed pounds over seven-plus years and attributes that outcome to the gradual -- and therefore sustainable -- lifestyle changes that SparkPeople promotes. When one of my husband's doc tors wanted him to lose weight years ago, he was given this very list. You can also buy 4 week kits. Let me know if you have any trouble redeeming the coupon. I have contacted them to no avail. Your email address will not be published.

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Cheaper Alternative for NutriSystem?

The strong support element of Weight Watchers and the proven results, even in the maintenance stage, are points in its favor. Another plus is that no food group is completely off-limits, which saves you from passing on tempting desserts or snacks. A low-carb, high-protein diet that stresses good fats instead of unhealthy fats, South Beach Diet proceeds in three phases that slowly bring carbs and other foods back into your life.

Get guidance from the paperback book or use the online tools and support for a fee. Many South Beach Diet followers report rapid success and easy maintenance.

South Beach Diet reviews concede that the first couple of weeks are tough, but go on to crow that seeing it through has its rewards. Weight loss is quite rapid during the first phase of the diet, when food intake is limited to protein such as lean meats and low-fat cheese. An endocrinologist recommended the diet to one reviewer who says a regime of mostly eggs and vegetables during the first phase caused the pounds to fall away.

Still, a number of South Beach Diet commenters extol its value as a route to rapid weight loss shortly before a big event, while others call it a life-saver for the long haul because it teaches healthy habits. This diet allows three regular meals a day plus snacks, with no limit on portion size.

The South Beach Diet replaces "bad carbs" and "bad fats" with "good carbs" and "good fats. Instead of foods laden with saturated fats, including certain cuts of red meat, dieters are told to opt for lean meat alternatives and fish and healthy fats like avocados and nuts. There are three phases to the plan that can be followed in book form or with a weekly online membership. The recent addition of a mobile app for members and the growing online community which already counts more than 25, members may help folks who start the diet to stick with it.

The app lets users plan meals, quickly find recipes so they know what to buy at the grocery store, and track their weight.

Another big benefit is the ability to ask nutritionists for advice in the members-only forum. This weight-loss plan temporarily restricts certain foods and requires some focus to maintain a target weight. But if you can get past the early stages and make this diet part of your everyday routine, the chances of getting on track to a healthier lifestyle are good. SparkPeople is a huge online community of weight-loss and healthy lifestyle enthusiasts. Success with this program stems from what followers say is a very supportive group environment and incremental nudging towards more exercise and better food choices that eventually become habitual.

Joining and participating is entirely free; books and products are reasonably priced. SparkPeople reviews extol the breadth and depth of the online supports designed to help members lose weight and adopt healthier lifestyles, and they hold out special praise for the large and active member community.

The site is associated with a book, The Spark Solution, which earns a solid four stars at Amazon , where SparkPeople reviewers report they have lost 50 pounds and more and learned to make regular exercise an ongoing habit. Moreover, adherents add, SparkPeople recipes are varied, easy, and tasty, and the online tracking tools for things like nutrition, weight, and fitness keep them informed and motivated.

Reviewers also value the surprisingly simple and understandable approach that downplays the notion of dieting and boosts the concept of long-term fitness and health, all underlined with reams of information and customizable tools. Four mobile apps for iOS and Android devices let users keep tabs on their goals and find workout routines and recipes at any time or place.

Members of the online community sign up for free can join one of the many SparkTeams organized by criteria such as age, location, hobby, or favorite exercise regimen.

Although the early stages take commitment and the transition can be tough, participants report at Diets in Review that the cheerleading, reinforcement, and advice provided by like-minded people helps them stay with it. SparkPeople members earn SparkPoints for remaining involved and completing tasks on the site, and can use the points to enter into friendly competition with others and to send electronic gifts. Although SparkPeople is really an online program, some members join offline exercise-focused meet-ups that have been facilitated by the community forums.

Basically, the SparkPeople diet plan focuses on changing daily habits in the service of a healthy lifestyle. The SparkDiet is divided into four stages: The first lays the foundation -- finding achievable nutrition, fitness, and motivation goals that suit a personal profile and can be reached in two weeks.

There are no particular off-limit foods but the site lets users track the nutritional content of whatever they eat and stresses portion control and drinking lots of water. The third step involves incorporating the new learnings as a constant in their lives, identifying potential setbacks and how to overcome them, and finding healthy ways to reward progress. Step four asks followers to give back by providing other members with advice and encouragement.

The SparkPeople program also appears in book form. This is an online program, and the lack of face-to-face accountability may be hard for some dieters. The lack of rigid rules and the massive amount of information may also pose a challenge.

Still, SparkPeople meets the needs of beginners, those who have been living a healthy lifestyle for years, and everyone in between.

Its members are fervent believers. This is a home-delivery meal plan that claims to help you drop one to two pounds a week. Many users say the food is unpalatable and the system provides only minimal help in learning to make better food choices. A portion of Nutrisystem reviews report success with this food delivery plan, but many others are quick to voice complaints. Nutrisystem reviews at Consumer Affairs and elsewhere are divided. Some reviewers describe the prepared food as unpalatable and critique the high level of preservatives and sodium.

Others gripe about customer service, claiming that attempts to withdraw from the plan after trying some of the meals or experiencing delivery problems results in a hefty cancellation fee and resistance from sales agents.

Another downside to diet-food delivery plans in general is that dieters don't learn portion control or how to make proper food choices because meals arrive pre-cooked and in carefully calibrated serving sizes. Plans are tailored to your gender and can be suited to vegetarians and people with a diabetic condition. You can create a day menu of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and desserts -- or have foods pre-selected for you -- from dozens of options.

Meal components range from breakfast bars and cereals to salad and soup lunches to chicken, steak, and pasta dinners. Clients are expected to supplement with fresh fruits and vegetables and dairy bought locally. Support options with Nutrisystem include an online community, weight-loss tracker, daily fitness plan, and daily food log. A weekly online guide supplies clients with expert advice, tutorials, quizzes, video testimonials, polls, tips, and weight management information.

The mobile app lets members track their weight, exercise, water consumption, body measurements, and keep a journal while on the go. Although many dieters commend this plan, the large number of negative Nutrisystem reviews panning the cost, food quality, and customer service suggest there are better routes to losing weight. It earns mixed reviews because of the stringent restrictions on carbohydrates and concerns about its long-term effect on your body.

Experts also express concern about the diet's lack of sufficient nutrients and vitamins found in fruits and vegetables, which constitute a small portion of the plan, and about inadequate amounts of fiber and calcium. On the other hand, many consumers who posted Atkins Diet reviews report significant weight loss. At Top Diets, for example, followers write about losing weight quickly, especially in the first phase when you go cold-turkey on carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, cereal, rice, and even fruit.

Some dieters tell of initial success but trouble staying with it; many caution that the weight returns once you depart from the prescribed food plan. The Atkins Diet has been around since the s and an updated version was released in that does a better job explaining how to incorporate the diet into your everyday life.

The diet involves four phases: In each phase dieters can add tiny amounts of carbohydrates back into their meals, although the total allocation in the last phase is still less than half the average American adult's daily intake of carbs. The diet is heavy on meat, poultry, fish, eggs, some cheeses, butter, salad vegetables, and oils, which makes it appealing to men but largely useless for vegetarians.

Caffeine is allowed but alcohol is banned. According to Atkins Diet reviews, you can lose up to 10 pounds in phase 1 and about three pounds a week in phase 2; after that, weight loss slows until you hit your goal. The Atkins Diet offers a free online support system. The mixed expert and consumer reviews and the extremely limited food options are reasons to pause.

This is one diet you might want to think about twice before embarking on -- and definitely consult with your doctor first. Louis DeNicola is a freelance personal finance writer who specializes in credit, debt, and practical money-saving tips. He loves stacking savings opportunities to get amazing deals, traveling for free using credit card rewards, and teaching others how to do the same. Connect with Louis by visiting louisdenicola.

The weight-loss industry is big business in the U. Among the millions of people searching for a fast and easy way to drop extra pounds, many are also intent on finding a cheap diet plan. Fast and easy doesn't always mean success, and even the best cheap diet plan doesn't guarantee results. The key is committing to a program that's right for you -- one that helps you lose weight, maintain a target weight, and perhaps improve your overall fitness.

The best cheap diet plans are designed to change the way you think about food and the amount and type of foods you eat. When researching cheap diet plans we assessed results as reported in online reviews, the level of support provided dieters, and whether the plans help keep the weight off.

We also looked at how restrictive they are in terms of food choice and, of course, the impact on your budget. The deciding factors are likely to involve your budget and what you know about yourself. Can you make healthy food choices with guidance from a book or informative articles, nudging from like-minded peers, interactive websites, recommended recipes and menu ideas?

Or, do you need to remove choice from your diet and eat only what's deposited at your doorstep? Once you settle on a broad category, you'll find dozens of diet plans, each with its own structure and attitude about weight loss.

Many companies behind these plans also produce a line of branded low-calorie food products sold in supermarkets. Book-based diet plans, such as Atkins and South Beach, are comparatively cheap. You buy the book once, follow the game plan, and control your own food costs. These weight-loss plans require a certain amount of willpower every time you step into the grocery store and in front of the stove. Some, such as Atkins, are also associated with websites that offer access to community and interactive tools; absent such web support, you're on your own.

Some come with ongoing membership fees that open the online gate to information about food choices and fitness, menu suggestions and recipes, and also provide reinforcement through user forums and interactive tools; SparkPeople, by contrast, is totally free.

Some membership diet plans also organize meet-ups with fellow dieters for weigh-ins, motivation, and accountability. Food-delivery weight-loss programs, such as Nutrisystem and the pricier Jenny Craig, may be better at keeping temptation at bay but you'll pay for that external control in the form of higher overall food costs. Some diet-food delivery programs let you choose menus based on demographic and health factors and others have you select from dozens of meal options.

Barbs hurled at this approach to weight loss concern the price, disappointing food quality, and the missed opportunity to learn about making proper food choices and preparing meals that keep the pounds off.

The best way to get your money's worth from a cheap diet plan is to choose one that helps you learn healthy eating habits and simultaneously encourages the habit of exercise. Weight Watchers, for example, provides an online food and exercise diary and illustrated workouts, and awards extra food points for exercise. The SparkPeople diet takes a holistic approach to weight loss with "challenges" aimed at improving nutrition and fitness and finding the exercise routine you can stick with.

I've found it really helpful in keeping my protein levels up when I'm working out regularly - while still keeping calories down. I have been searching for a mid-afternoon snack that would not add tons of calories. Thank you for suggesting one. I also appreciate all of the suggestions and directions you have given here. I know the snack was not the primary focus of the article, but it just happened to be what I needed most right now.

Cynthia, controlling snack portions and how often we eat snacks is so key to weight loss and maintenance Glad it was helpful! Your very welcome, I'm glad that it was helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions.

I love your article, but I'm not seeing the Free Food List that you've mentioned several times. I must have overlooked it. Can you tell me where it is, please? In the section just above the blue book explaining how NutriSystem works. You will find links to various resources, including the one you mentioned, read the section and you'll see it. If you continue to have trouble, let me know.

I'm glad you enjoyed the article! Any vegetable juice that does not have a lot of added sugar, corn syrup, etc. In fact you may want to learn to juice or liquefy your own vegetables using a juicer or NutriBullet or Ninja. I have used NutriBullet and am not using the Ninja, I like to have the pulp of the fruit or vegetables with my drink. Thanks for all the great info! I don't see "desserts" on the diabetes list and would rather not use the calorie packs; can you tell me what makes up a mid-afternoon meal?

Yes, you can do the same thing as the mid-morning snack. I just provide a dessert option for those who enjoy their sweets to show that you can still eat them in moderation and lose weight.

I don't eat dairy other than yogurt which I'm including in my meal paln; is there a dairy substitute when it calls for 1 dairy? The only option that comes to mind right now is soy yogurt. I drink almond milk as well Sometimes it is better. I am lactose intolerant, so always look for dairy that is lactose free. This is easier to do with cheese, especially appreciate the cheeses made by Cabot, almost all if not all are marked lactose free.

Kraft shredded Mozzarella is also lactose free. I followed the diet with some protein as suggested. It is really like magic! Give a try on this, this diet plan clearly works. Is this good for someone who wants to lose more than pounds?

I would like to try this, but it seems like I would be eating more calories. I will try this when my nutrisystem ends though.

Depending upon your age and how much you have to lose, it may actually be beneficial to start out eating what seems like more, I would try the suggested amounts, and depending upon how things go for a week, adjust accordingly. You can come back here and let me know how it goes and I can see if I can help you.

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