It’s officially a New Year, and many of us are setting goals for ourselves. Aside from the financial goals I’ve set (save more, cut my food costs, plan my wedding on a tight budget), I’m also setting a goal of losing 30 pounds. Since weight loss is a common goal for people around the New Year, I wanted to do the math to find out if weight loss programs are worth the money.
According to MSN Money, the diet industry rakes in over $30 billion a year. But why do people spend that much money on weight loss?
There’s no shortage of options when it comes to weight-loss programs. The key is finding a program that fits your lifestyle and budget. Of course, you could always go the old-fashioned route, reducing calories and increasing exercise, but many dieters benefit from added structure and support, not to mention the accountability that accompanies an organized program. (There’s nothing like a little peer pressure to keep you motivated.)
The MSN Money article goes on to compare the cost of losing 30 pounds with the most popular weight loss systems in the US. For Jenny Craig, the cost is $399, not including your food. For NutriSystem, the cost is $1,199.80. Some food is included in the cost, but you still have to buy produce. Weight Watchers is $214.80 to $299.80, depending on where you live, and the costs do not include food.
None of these programs fits my budget, so I am sticking with the tried and true method of eating less and exercising more. I found a free diet journal online that lets me track how many calories I consume, and then it tells me how many calories I’ve burned with exercise. Web MD also has a free food and fitness planner to help you calculate how many calories you need to eliminate in order to loose weight according to your current lifestyle.
The one thing that these free websites don’t provide is peer support and accountability. That’s why a friend and I are taking the New Year’s challenge together. Each week we’re going to be e-mailing each other our stats to keep each other on track. We both have very different fitness goals, but having a friend hold me accountable is definitely going to be the key to my success.
How about you? In your experience, are weight loss programs worth the money? Or have you been successful with a DIY approach to dieting? I’d love to hear any suggestions you have.
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