Although there are an abundance of weight loss books, products, supplements and foods on the market, one thing holds true of all successful weight loss approaches: The dieter consumes fewer calories than he burns. One pound of fat is composed of 3,500 calories, so dieters who consume 500 calories per day less than their bodies burn will lose approximately 1 lb. per week. Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers are two weight loss programs that promote a reduced-calorie diet producing a weekly weight loss of 1 lb. to 2 lbs. per week for most people.
Nutrisystem is a prepacked meal plan. Dieters order meals, snacks and desserts monthly from Nutrisystem and receive them in the mail. Diet plans tailored to the needs of men, women and people with diabetes are available. All foods sent by Nutrisystem are shelf stable and do not require refrigeration. Dieters supplement Nutrisystem food with fresh produce and low-fat diary products from the grocery store, such as low-fat yogurt, skim milk and part-skim string cheese. As of 2011, the regular price for the women's basic Nutrisystem plan is $352.23 per month.
Weight Watchers is a flexible weight loss program that encourages dieters to eat modest portions of all foods. All foods are assigned a points value. Dieters count points instead of calories, carbohydrates or fat grams. A daily points allowance is assigned to each dieter based on her gender, age, weight and activity level. Dieters weigh in at weekly Weight Watchers meetings led by a Weight Watchers leader and lasting approximately one hour. Meetings include time to share weight loss success, dieting troubles, tips and moral support.
Weight Watchers encourages dieters to choose low-fat, high fiber foods by assigning low points values to foods low in fat and high in fiber. Conversely, foods high in fat and low in fiber are assigned high points values. As of 2011, the regular price for weekly meetings is $13.
Both Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem restrict the dieter's caloric consumption. Both plans encourage dieters to consume diets high in fiber and low in fat. Dieters do not count calories with either plan. Gradual weight loss of 1 lbs. to 2 lbs. per week is encouraged by both plans.
Weight Watchers forces dieters to make all of their own food choices, whereas Nutrisystem supplies three meals, one snack and one dessert per day. Dieters on the Weight Watchers plan must weigh, measure and keep track of the points of the foods they eat. Nutrisystem, on the other hand, doesn't require dieters to measure food. Nutrisystem does not require weekly weigh-ins or meetings, whereas this is an integral part of the Weight Watchers program.
- "NutriSystem Nourish: The Revolutionary New Weight-Loss Program"; Dr. James Rouse, et al.; 2004
- "Weight Watchers She Loses, He Loses: The Truth about Men, Women, and Weight Loss"; Karen Miller-Kovach, et al.; 2007
- “Weight Watchers Weight Loss That Lasts”; James M. Rippe M.D., et al.; 2004