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Commercial Weight Loss Programs

Commercial Weight Loss Programs

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Commercial Weight Loss Programs

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  1. Commercial Weight Loss Programs Heli J. Roy, PhD, RD -Pennington Biomedical Research Center- Division of Education

  2. Overview of Programs: • Weight Watchers • TOPS • Overeaters Anonymous • Nutri System • Diet Center • Health Management Resources • Jenny Craig • Optifast • Medical Weight Loss Clinic • LA Weight Loss • Curves for Women

  3. Weight Watchers® Available at:

  4. Weight Watchers® Helps individuals along the way by: 1. Helping them make the positive changes required to lose weight 2. Guiding them to make positive behavioral changes in their life 3. Inspiring them with our belief in the power to succeed 4. Motivating them every step of the way

  5. Weight Watchers® The Plan: You can choose between the: Flex Plan Or Core Plan

  6. Flex Plan • All foods are assigned point values. • Can choose any food as long as the person stays within their total points. • A person can eat all of the foods they love on this plan. • The plan is dlexible. • Assumes that the participant can easily handle any food challenge, even when choices are limited. • Allows for weekly splurge to go out without going off the plan.

  7. Core Plan (No Points Plan) • The focus is on wholesome foods that help a person feel full longer. • Able to eat wholesome foods from all of the food groups • Foods such as: fruits and vegetables, grains and starches, lean meats and poultry, eggs and dairy products • The Core Food List is based on energy density (energy value of foods) and contains foods that have low energy density (not high in calories). • Occasional treats are allowed in controlled amounts on this plan to splurge on special occasions, treats, and going out without going off the plan.

  8. Weight Watchers® 1. Widely available On the website, enter zip code, and meeting locations and times are presented. 2. No commitments Can attend meetings once a week for less than an hour. There’s no contract, it is pay as you go. 3.Physician referral Children between the ages of 10-17 need a doctor's note with a goal weight. Children under the age of 10 are unable to join. 4. Use behavioral components since 1974 Now offers online access and weigh-ins. Message boards are available online and members are encouraged to communicate with one another.

  9. Weight Watchers® 5. Nutritionally sound exchange program Incorporates the exchange list into the program for individuals choosing the flexible points plan. 6. Convenience Can meet one hour a week at the nearest location for meetings. 7. Exercise Incorporated into the plan for individuals cleared to exercise. Offers demonstrations, advice and plans. 8. Online access Offers recipes and information on foods and special dietary needs. The database contains over 15,000 favorite recipes submitted by the Weight Watchers® community. Has message boards on various topics and e-tools to track progress. Participants are encouraged to share their own and view other success stories.

  10. The Meetings • Confidential weigh-ins weekly to track progress • New tips and program materials weekly to help along the way • Receive support from the meeting leader who is a trained expert in the program and is devoted to participant success • Benefit from attending meetings by the exchange of tips, recipes, and others’ practical experiences

  11. Weight Watchers® Cares about keeping the weight off after weight loss. Has “Four Pillars” of weight loss based on research that includes: • Behavior • Exercise • Support • Food. Each is an important component of a well rounded weight loss program that has lasting results.

  12. Weight Watchers® The Weight Watchers® program is a multi-faceted, comprehensive approach based on the belief that to lose weight safely and sensibly, a person must learn to eat more healthfully, increase physical activity, and handle the challenges encountered in the process of behavior modification.

  13. Weight Watchers® • Since its inception in 1963, Weight Watchers® has shown more than 25 million members how to lose weight. • Currently, more than 1,000,000 members attend 39,000 weekly Weight Watchers® meetings in 30 countries worldwide.

  14. Weight Watchers® The Weight Watchers® program is designed to promote a healthful rate of weight loss. Individual factors, including age, gender, and current weight, affect the rate of weight loss. In addition, rate of weight loss is controlled by how carefully one follows the program; therefore, how long it will take one to reach weight-loss goal is largely determined by the individual.

  15. Weight Watchers® Regular attendance is helpful in making lifestyle changes. To help one learn how to keep the weight off, continued attendance is recommended until weight goal is maintained for at least six weeks. Members stay on the program as long as they desire.

  16. TOPS®(Take Off Pounds Sensibly) Available at:

  17. TOPS® • TOPS®, the oldest, non-profit, non-commercial weight-loss support group, was founded in 1948 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by Esther S. Manz, a homemaker. • The program offers a healthy, caring, and supportive approach to weight loss in a group setting. • The first meeting is free and membership is $24.00 annually in the US, $30.00 in Canada. This includes regular issues of TOPS News well as other helpful materials.

  18. About TOPS® • Currently, there are over 200,000 members in 10,000 chapters in the U.S., Canada and other countries worldwide. • Weekly meetings include private weigh-ins and a program providing members with positive reinforcement and motivation to adhere to food and exercise plans.  • Online database enables potential clients to search for a chapter nearest to them. If the individual chooses, there is an option to start a new chapter, through a consultation with a coordinator. • A new chapter can be begun by only 4 people.

  19. TOPS® : Purpose • TOPS®’ philosophy is that desire to change comes from within an individual and the most effective way to sustain change is to provide a supporting environment • Mission Statement: TOPS® mission is to support our members as they take and keep off pounds sensibly.

  20. TOPS® Program: New members are required to consult with their physician to obtain a goal weight for themselves, and then report it to their chapter Weight Recorder. Members meet weekly in their local chapters. A private weigh-in is followed by a program. Programs vary, but all serve to provide members with positive reinforcement and motivation in adhering to their food and exercise plans. Chapters elect their volunteer Leaders from their membership. Other Features: • A  system of competition and recognition to provide additional support   • TOPS’ healthy lifestyle guide, The Choice is Mine, containing details about the exchange system for meal planning as  well as motivational tips and practical advice • TOPS retreats, rallies, and recognition days • TOPS News – membership magazine included in TOPS’ annual membership fee

  21. TOPS® • Online membership is available if the individual wishes not to attend meetings. • Online members receive a membership card, the monthly magazine delivered to them, a member handbook, and eligibility to attend TOPS® retreats and local events. • TOPS® members are encouraged to communicate via internet chat rooms, message boards, and through sharing success stories with one another.

  22. BMI Calculator Information on the Exchange System Sample Exchange List Exchange Calculator 28 Day Meal Planner Food Exchange Cards Printable Exchange Reminder Printable Exchange Recorder Exercise and Stretches The Plate Method Calorie Cash Recipe Substitutions TOPS® • TOPS Tools area of the website offers many tools for managing dietary intake and increasing activity:

  23. TOPS® : Facts • In 2005, TOPS® total weight loss equaled 970,824 pounds or 485.41 tons.  • The average loss per chapter was 100.82 pounds • TOPS® has experts in the field of medical research, nutrition, fitness, and psychology. • TOPS® Ambassadors are real-life weight-loss experts who have achieved and maintained their goal weight and speak across the country “spreading the word” about TOPS®.

  24. TOPS® : Other Features • A system of competition and recognition of achievement aids in providing additional support. • The Choice Is Yours, a TOPS® sponsored book containing the exchange system for meal planning as well as practical advice on nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and motivation. • TOPS® also offers: rallies and recognition days, retreats, TOPS® News (a membership magazine), and educational brochures for the public.

  25. TOPS® • Since 1966, TOPS® has funded an obesity and metabolic research program at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and supports ongoing research there. To date, 5.4 million dollars from TOPS® earnings and member contributions have helped fund obesity research.

  26. Medically Oriented Activities • Findings from the program have been published in over 140 papers in medical journals. Volunteer TOPS® members are currently part of a landmark research project examining the role of genetics in obesity. The research is being conducted by Dr. Ahmed Kissebah, scientific advisor to TOPS® Club, Inc, and an internationally recognized expert on obesity.

  27. TOPS® : Incentives • There are many perks that are awarded to those individuals that reach their goal for weight loss. They are Royalty and receive special recognition. Others that have lost a lot of weight get similar special privileges.

  28. Overeaters Anonymous Available at:

  29. Inception Three people met in January 1960, for the purpose of helping each other with their compulsive overeating. They patterned their program after the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

  30. Overeaters Anonymous • The OA recovery program addresses physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery aspects of compulsive overeating. • OA is not a religious program. It is a program that uses spiritual principles, and leave it to the individual members to approach these principles with a Higher Power of their understanding.

  31. Overeaters Anonymous • Meetings can range from 3 to 30 people, normally ~10 on average. • Each meeting is begun with a speaker for the first 10-15 minutes, discussing life before OA. • Meetings usually last from one to two hours. • Members are always encouraged to seek professional help for individual diet/nutrition plans and/or any emotional or physical difficulties.

  32. Meetings • Based on membership list. • Newcomers introduce themselves. • Members share their experiences, strengths, and hope. • Everything shared is confidential. • Sponsors are allowed. • Must be willing to help physically, emotionally, and spiritually. • Outside communication and motivation.

  33. Meetings At the meetings, focus is on: • Acceptance of you. • Understanding of the problems you face. • Communication - mutual understanding and acceptance. • Achieving recovery. • Power to enter a new way of life.

  34. Service Opportunities • Individuals are encouraged to participate in the meetings. • Whether serving the role of group secretary, treasurer, greeter, or stacking chairs at the meeting, or serving coffee, the organization believes that service is important for recovery and that it allows members to feel like they are “giving back” to the organization in which they belong.

  35. Overeaters Anonymous Based on 1992 Gallup survey of the membership, the average OA member is a 44 year old woman who began eating compulsively at 14. She has been an OA member for over 4 years and has lost over 40 pounds. Her emotional and mental health is the aspect of her life that has most improved since joining OA.

  36. The cost? • Overeaters Anonymous has no dues or fees for membership. It is entirely self-supporting through contributions and sale of publications. • Most groups "pass the basket" at meetings to cover expenses. • OA does not solicit or accept outside contributions.

  37. OA: Stats • Overeaters Anonymous has about 7,000 groups that meet each week in over 65 countries. With OA divided into 10 regions worldwide and nearly 400 inter-groups, it helps thousands of compulsive overeaters find themselves through a threefold recovery: physical, emotional, and spiritual.

  38. The Magazine • Lifeline is the international monthly magazine of Overeaters Anonymous, Inc. The true stories in Lifeline, written by OA members, share the challenges and triumphs of recovery from compulsive overeating. Lifeline publishes a list of monthly topics and questions to encourage members to share their stories of experience, strength, and hope.

  39. Nutrisystem® Available at:

  40. Overall approach • Diet is based on Nutrisystem®'s prepackaged foods. The prepackaged meals are ordered on-line from the company website which are delivered to the client’s home. • The plan provides approximately 55% of calories from low glycemic index carbohydrates, 25% of calories from protein, and 20% of calories from fat. • There is no membership fee. Clients pay for the cost of foods. There are no face-to-face meetings with a counselor, individuals communicate with weight loss counselors via telephone or online.

  41. Types of Diet Plans • Women's Program • Men's Program • Women's Silver Program • Men's Silver Program • Women's Diabetic Program • Men's Diabetic Program • Vegetarian Program Each of these now comes in AdvancedTM form.

  42. Diet Plans • What is NutriSystem® Advanced™?The NEW NutriSystem® Advanced™ program contains omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber to increase the feeling of fullness. • The basic components of the new NutriSystem Advanced includes: • OmegaSol™ - a blend of omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber to increase the feeling of fullness and promote heart health • NutriSol™ - soluble fiber that promotes gastrointestinal health and helps control hunger • Gylcemic Advantage™ - use of low glycemic index foods to help promote weight loss

  43. How to enroll? • Clients log-on, decide on a recommended meal plan and order their food. Once the food arrives, they're ready to go. • The website is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  44. Benefit of meal plan as stated by the program: • Great Nutrition • Proper Balance • Unbeatable Convenience • Inexpensive Appropriate portion sizes, optimal amounts of proteins and fats, low glycemic index carbohydrates and delivered to client’s doorstep. Freezer to table in minutes.

  45. What does the free membership include? Unlimited Counseling and Support Services • New Nourish Catalog • The Daily Dose • Online Newsletter • Online Classes • Online Bulletin Boards and Chat Rooms • Online Weight Loss Diary • Member Profile Section

  46. Healthful lifestyle features • Clients determine weekly goals with consultants, often focusing on exercise. Brochures on health topics are also available with three-month and 12-month programs. Exercise video and audio tapes are available at extra cost.

  47. Cost and results • Cost is about $330.00 per month, or about $11 per day for all meals. • Expected weight loss: no more than two pounds weekly. Program length varies according to weight-loss goals.

  48. Included in the monthly supply: • 28 breakfasts28 lunches28 dinners and...28 snacks/desserts • There is the incentive of an extra week of food for free by ordering a months worth of meals online.

  49. Analysis • Pros: • Portion control. • Convenience, meals are prepared or need very little preparation. • Cons: • Expensive. • Weak on lifestyle education component. • No face-to-face contact with health professionals. • Not much group support. Members communicate via website by posting success stories.

  50. Diet center® Available at: