Sean has seen his weight balloon 50 pounds over the past year. He realizes he must change his eating habits, not only for the sake of his appearance, but for his health as well. However, there are a number of different diet plans on the market and Sean is finding it difficult to select just one. Let's look at some of the plans he's considering:
The Atkins Diet is a meal plan that stresses protein consumption and attempts to greatly reduce carbohydrate intake. While you can virtually eat your fill of meat on this plan, you may have to cut out bread and pasta. The foundation of the diet is the idea that carb consumption heightens insulin production which, in turn, leads to unwanted pounds. Supporters of the program say it can enable you to lose an appreciable amount of weight fast. But critics say it could make you susceptible to heart disease.
Carbohydrate Addict's Diet
Yet another diet which appears to be gaining popularity is the Carbohydrate Addict's Diet. With this diet, you reduce the amount of carbs you eat during much of the day, saving your carbs for a daily reward meal, which also includes protein and vegetables. The authors of this diet believe that overweight people are largely addicted to carbohydrates, which cause them to suffer from food cravings. The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet is not as hard to follow as the Atkins plan and enables you to eat a variety of food. Critics, however, maintain that this diet could put you at risk for colon cancer, heart attack, and osteoporosis.
Of course, no discussion of weight loss would be complete without focusing some attention on Weight Watchers. In Weight Watchers, you are encouraged to plan your meals according to a point system. The points are determined by portion size, fat content, fiber content, and calories. For instance, a Quarter Pounder with cheese is awarded 13 points. The idea behind the diet is that you will count points during the day, making sure that you do not go over your limit. In addition, Weight Watchers encourages exercise and weekly support group meetings.
The obvious advantage to the Weight Watchers program is its simplicity-virtually anyone can count points. Also, the program offers a well-rounded approach to weight loss. However, critics maintain that Weight Watchers is costly and results in just six pounds of weight loss on average-far less than what the typical dieter needs to lose. Also, some skeptics argue that the weekly support group meetings are of little value and can actually leave a dieter frustrated, particularly if he or she is not losing as much weight as he or she would like.
In the end, Sean decided to choose Weight Watchers for his weight loss plan. He ended up losing 50 pounds and, for months now, he's been able to maintain the weight loss. However, the program required him to radically change his lifestyle: he no longer eats for emotional reasons, he runs daily, and he continues to report to Weight Watchers meetings. Time will tell whether his diet plan works over the long run.
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