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There are many different ways to lose weight. In this article, we'll look at popular commercial diet programs so you can decide what's right for you.

Jenny Craig: The Premise

The Jenny Craig program was founded more than 15 years ago by a woman who was struggling with her own weight. At the time, the program was unique because it offered frozen or shelf-stable prepared meals to help with portion management and calorie-intake control. Today Jenny Craig has nearly 800 centers, making it one of the largest weight-management programs in the world. Jenny Craig offers weekly one-on-one counseling that provides both information and motivation.

Developed by registered dietitians and psychologists, the program focuses on lifestyle changes, such as incorporating exercise into your daily life and diverting your attention away from food. If you don't have a Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centre near you or if you prefer to go it alone, you can try Jenny Direct, her at-home program. Jenny Direct offers a personalized weight-loss program, delivery of materials to your home, and weekly support consultations over the phone. With Jenny Direct you can order a minimum of two-weeks supply of Jenny Craig foods.

Fact or Fiction: What the Experts SayIf you follow the prescribed diet, you'll eat a balanced, nutritious, reduced-calorie diet. However, like most commercial weight-loss programs, there is no research to show that Jenny Craig's program is effective over the long haul. "It may be a good way to get started, but for the dieter, very little thought is going into what they're doing in the beginning. The dieter has no control over what they're eating," says Liz Ward, M.S., R.D., nutrition counselor in Reading, Massachusetts. And, while the counselors are trained to be Jenny Craig counselors, they are not nutritionists. Keep in mind that it's difficult to get all the nutrients you need from 1,200 calories a day. That's why Jenny Craig also advises vitamin supplements, which they conveniently sell to you as part of the meal program.

Gains and Losses/What's the Damage?

If you follow the program and exercise as recommended, you can expect to lose one to two pounds a week. Though the diet is a safe one, it doesn't come cheap. Prices vary depending on your individual choices, but the company says the average cost is about $65 a week, including entrées and snacks. There are generally three membership options. Depending on which membership level you choose and which meals and snacks you choose, it can cost you about $400 during the first month of the program. Jenny Craig also sells audiocassettes for walkers and a fitness video series.

Now let's consider the Nutri/System Diet. It's in the next section.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.