Diet Basics

Although the top online diet programs have a bewildering array of subscription options, most of the personalized plans use the same basic process (of course if you're using a book-based diet, there will usually be some example diets within for you to follow, but these will never be as flexible or customized as an online or class-based diet):


1. Enter Your Data : First you enter your data, including current and target weight, age, sex, type of menu preferred, etc. Some of the services are much more comprehensive and personalized than others.



2. Menu Recommendation : The diet service will then put forward a recommended menu plan (usually weekly) to meet your goals. Sometimes you can tweak preferences for certain types of foods you like or dislike.


  3. Maintenance: Each week, whether in a live or online program, you'll enter you weight and your progress will be assessed. This weekly monitoring and the charts that come with it can be very motivating. Even online programs usually have online support and encouragement to help you out when needed and give you an extra bit of incentive.

Diet Service Volume Discounts: Most diet services offer a "volume discount" if you pay for more service up front; for example, buying a three month subscription will be considerably cheaper than one month. And it makes sense to do this, as you know you have a personal investment in the diet, and will be reluctant to give up quickly. Actually, many weight loss services require a multi-month commitment from the get go to show you're serious about slimming.

Free Trials: Some companies which offer a subscription give you a free trial to try the service out. However, if you want to cancel, pay close attention to the terms and conditions, notice times, and methods, etc., or the trial will end up not being free.


Advice On Choosing the Right Diet Service Company

Philosophy: Make sure you can live with the restrictions a given diet puts on you. Medifast may be the quickest weight loss program out there for instance, but in our experience few people have the willpower to stay on it (us included), and the physical side effects can be pretty grim. You may be looking for a quick post-holiday dieting fix, or ready to give a whirl to a faddish "Hollywood diet" like the Cookie Diet, or perhaps you've tried many diets in the past and are ready for a truly healthy, lifelong eating plan like you can learn with Gillian McKeith. We may have ranked these diets according to our somewhat subjective criteria, but only you can choose the diet with the right philosophy for you, given your current circumstances.

Price: The prices for some of these diets are a bit steep, but if you're on a budget (and since the credit crunch, who isn't?) and you have the willpower to go it alone, why not try one of the better book-based diets for just a few quid (South Beach and GI Diet leap out). For the liquid replacement for two meals diets, you can't beat Slim-Fast on price if you buy bulk online. For an online monitored program, DietWatch can't be beat, and if you want a weekly live group, then the best value is the king of them all, Weight Watchers.

Support: This is a touchy subject--studies show that live support groups in the weekly meeting programs have a higher rate of success due to peer pressure, yet many dieters are uncomfortable about their current weight and don't want to be publicly weighed. You'll need to balance these considerations yourself, but a good compromise is a program with online support--so you weigh yourself and have access to online counselling, but don't need to go to a meeting to get weighed--eDiets and DietWatch are the best of these programs in our judgment.

Diet Reviews: The above are the main considerations, but we hope you'll read through the in-depth reviews we've done to get a good sense of the diets. We've put a lot of research into these reviews, looking at comments in blogs and from across the internet as well as using the personal experiences of ourselves and several other reviewers (input is always welcome, by the way).

We hope American dieters get the most out of the site, and if you do, please pass it on to your friends.


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The information on is intended to promote weight loss and weight maintenance, and does not offer medical advice. If you have, or believe you have, a medical condition you should consult your doctor before starting a weight loss, slimming pill, or exercise program. is not intended to be used as reference for pregnant or breast-feeding women, people with medical conditions, or anyone under age 18. New diets or weight loss supplements should be attempted only after consulation with your doctor.

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