One of my partner’s friends has struggled with his weight for years. He had it under control until the pandemic. His weight ballooned to the point that his friends and family are concerned.

The closing of gyms and fitness centers left a big hole in peoples exercise programs. My partner and I already worked out with a trainer via an app. Our trainer simply adjusted our workout for the equipment we have at home.

My partner still struggled to keep up with the program. I adapted, but the workout isn’t quite as satisfying. I kept counting calories for weight control as it works for me.

Counting calories is a pain. When searching for new recipes, I require nutrition information, or I won’t use them. I found it does reinforce healthy habits.

We’re bombarded with weight loss programs and promises daily on TV and social media. Noom, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, and more in the packaged plan category. Or you can opt for a specific diet plan, like the Mediterranean diet or the plant-based diet that requires buying a book or two that include recipes and guidance.

Do any of them work for people? Most experts agree to succeed on any of them, you need to eat a wide variety of foods and be specific in your motivation. A desire to “lose a few pounds” won’t do the trick.

My original motivation for counting calories was my trainer setting my calorie intake at 1500 to 1600 per day. The experience was eye-opening and led to more variety in my diet. Food I craved but hadn’t allowed, and food I never thought of trying was now on my plate.

Was it hard to make that change? You bet! But I’m eating healthier because of it. There are free sites and apps to help you count calories like Spark People.

Packaged Programs

WW that used to be known as Weight Watchers is a familiar weight loss program. Developed years ago, dietitians often thought it a good choice because it can encourage healthy diet changes. The program offers a variety of plans.

The points system makes it less restrictive and, therefore, sustainable. Group meetings and coaching help people stay with it, too. Points focus on calorie consumption which can lead to poor nutrition choices. If you’re looking for a structured program around calorie intake, WW is a good choice.

Noom is the new kid on the block in the weight loss game. It’s an app-based program that uses a stoplight system applying colors to foods based on their nutritional value. They offer a free 14-day trial that turns into a paid subscription if you don’t cancel.

Noom receives good marks for sustainability due to food logging and tips. People who enjoy social media and sharing weight loss adventures connect well with this plan. It may recommend low-calorie intake and isn’t the best if you have an eating disorder.

Nutrisystem consists of prepared meals and snacks delivered to your door. It’s convenient but not easily sustainable. It doesn’t offer a way to maintain the diet after you stop getting the meals. Another drawback is high sodium content.

Best Diets

The Mediterranean diet often leads to weight loss. This diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Extra sugars and processed foods are restricted.

The diet may reduce Type Two diabetes and heart disease. There are many cookbooks and resources to keep you on this diet.

A plant-based diet works for weight loss. This diet encourages eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. The diet can include animal products but moves the focus away from them.

Plant-based diets contain lots of fiber which helps you feel full between meals. Fiber may be the reason they promote weight loss. There’s even more good news, as the diet improves blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and reduces inflammation.

There are many books available to follow a plant-based diet. Vegan or vegetarian-based magazines offer support and recipes, such as Naked Food. It’s essential to choose the ones that resonate with you.

There are numerous ways to eat healthier and lose weight. You’re more likely to succeed by choosing a diet you enjoy. You won’t stay on it if you don’t like it.


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