Making Sense of Sensa (and Other Popular Diet Plans)

Posted: February 7, 2013 by Justin M. Strawn in Encouragement
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Figuring out a diet plan to use can be a real head-scratcher.

Figuring out a diet plan to use can be a real head-scratcher.

If you’re reading this, you either want to stay healthy or you want to get healthy.  Part of getting healthy for many people is to lose weight. For many of these people, they will turn to different programs to help them in that goal. Because so many people are looking for help, the diet and weight loss plans have turned into a multi-billion dollar industry. There are so many different programs and products, it can be overwhelming to figure out which one will work for you. I’ll also tell you if I think it is going to end up being a fad or legitimate.

Sensa

Sensa is one of the newest programs out there and may make the least sense to a lot of people. Supposedly, you can just shake their product onto whatever it is you are eating and still lose weight. No calorie tracking, no giving up eating anything you like, just shake it on your food and watch the pounds fall off. But what exactly is it? I did not actually know so I did some research. Here is what www.WebMD.com had to say about it.  To sum up what they say, Sensa supposedly uses something called “tastants” to make people feel fuller. The smell of them as you eat whatever it is your eating is supposed to make you feel less hungry. There is no scientific data to back this claim up. To me this sounds kind of fishy.

What exactly is Sensa?

What exactly is Sensa?

Verdict: Sounds too good to be true, Gotta call it a FAD.

Right Size Smoothies

Much like Sensa, Right Size Smoothies claims to give maximum results with little to no change in your diet. It’s very similar to the Slim Fast shakes (do they still make those?) from years ago. You replace one or two of your meals a day with one of their shakes and you will supposedly lose weight. So how does it work?

The main ingredient in these smoothies is Appemine, which is an appetite suppressant. This appetite suppressant does work, so can we automatically assume that this product works? Not necessarily. While an appetite suppressant helps, it does not contain a fat burner which is something most people look for in a diet aid. I have no doubt that it helps keep you less hungry, it won’t actually help you shed pounds. I think it can help, but I would not use it as a primary means of weight loss.

One word of caution: When trying to find some pictures of Right Size smoothies, I came across a number of bad reviews, not for the effectiveness of the product, but for the fact that the company does not appear to be as honest in their marketing practices when they advertise their free 30 day trial. You can find some of these reviews here. I have never bought their product, and I cannot speak for the honesty in which they conduct their business, but I found a number of places with similar reviews. I would talk in detail with a sales rep about how the 30 free trial actually works if you plan to go that route.

Verdict: It has potential, and there are a number of success stories. It’s a tough call. I’ll go with LEGITIMATE, but I’m attaching lots of strings to that.

NutriSystem

An example of a Nutrisystem meal.

An example of a Nutrisystem meal.

Nutrisystem took the diet world by storm a few years back. Main reason they have been so successful is because they sell simplicity with weight loss. You don’t count calories, you don’t have a special plan to follow, you simply eat the food they send you and lose weight.

So how does this one work? They talk about the glycemic index, and they do use it, but what it basically boils down to is calorie counts. The meals total for 1,200 calories a day for women and 1,500 for men.

There are lots of positives. The meals are balanced pretty well nutritionally, and they keep the calories low. Participants don’t have to focus on counting calories and take a lot of the thinking out of it. They do make it simple.

That is also a negative though. It’s great that they make it simple, but you aren’t LEARNING how to eat better. You don’t learn how to make smart choices off of a menu. You don’t learn how to prepare healthier meals. Critics say that people have a hard time keeping the weight off, but I can’t say that I have first hand knowledge of that happening.

Verdict: It’s definitely LEGITIMATE, but be proactive if you decide to use Nutrisystem. Make sure you are educating yourself on what constitutes healthy eating while on the plan.

Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig has been around a lot longer than most people think. It started in Australia in the early 80’s, and it came over here to the United States in the mid-90’s. It received lots of attention when Kirstie Alley lost lots of weight using the program. She did gain a lot back, but there have been plenty of other celebrity spokespeople for Jenny Craig that have lost weight and kept it off, like Valerie Bertinelli.

Some of the Jenny Craig Meals

Some of the Jenny Craig Meals

What makes it different from any of the other ones? It has three levels and three elements. Level one is to eat anything you want, just watch portion size. Level two is to increase your activity level. The third level teaches you how to maintain some semblance of balance so you can maintain the weight you lost.

The first element is food. They want you to learn how to control your portions, prepare healthy meals, and make smart choices while at restaurants and parties. The second element is body. They try to help people get to an activity level that will not only help them lose weight, but also to maintain a healthy body weight. The last element is mind. The Jenny Craig plan has one of the best support programs in the weight loss industry. There are local meetings you can attend with a coach, but there is also a 24/7 hotline you can call at any time to get coaching and support.

The most important part of the Jenny Craig plan is the prepackaged meals. This is where I get lost with Jenny Craig. The prepackaged meals show you what a healthy portion size looks like, but it can often be hard to make the transition from prepackaged to ones you eat on your own. Our eyes can often deceive us. This is where the counseling comes in. If you’re not sure if it’s a good portion, ask for help if you are still on the plan.

Verdict: Much like Nutrisystem, it is very LEGITIMATE. The one thing that makes this better is the support system. it should be enough to help you lose the weight and keep it off.

Weight Watchers

A day in the life of Weight Watchers

A day in the life of Weight Watchers

The Grand Poobah of diet programs would be Weight Watchers. It’s been around for a long time, and there is a reason for it. Lots of people have had positive results. If you have read anything else on this blog, you know I use it. I explained briefly why in this blog entry.

Weight Watchers now has two options for people to consider. Meetings and point tracking or online only. The meetings are an accountability and coaching element to the program. You attend a meeting once a week where you are weighed and updated on if your daily point total will go up or down. I’ve never been to one of the meetings, so I am not sure what all they talk about in the meetings.

The online only portion is less expensive, but you still get access to the points system and the tracking. The negative is you don’t get the coaching or the accountability. I have a blog where I report my weight so I use that as my accountability. I also take note of where I mess up each day in my fitness updates, so I am less concerned with the coaching.

The biggest advantage this program has over the other ones is that you are making the choices about what you eat. You are preparing the meals. You see how much of a change adding something unhealthy to your diet can be. You also see how good it can be to replace it with a healthier alternative.

The biggest drawback to Weight Watchers is figuring out how they calculate their points. It asks for four of the nutritional components of your food: fat, carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. When you put those items in the calculator, it gives you a point value. I don’t know how much of any of them constitutes a point. They don’t figure calories into it either, but if something is high in carbs or fat, it’s probably going to be high in calories.

I use it for the tracking. There are lots of tracking programs and apps available, but if I don’t pay for it, I am much less likely to use it. It works for me, but I can only speak for myself.

Verdict: Also very LEGITIMATE, just don’t go right off the program once you hit your goal. Once you reach your goal, you will have your points adjusted to allow you to maintain your weight. Get used to eating like that before you go off.

Overview

The most important aspect with any of these programs is to follow them RIGOROUSLY. If it means eating only their food and supplementing with fruit and vegetables, you need to do that. Every time you venture outside of it, you run the risk of it not working. If it requires you to track everything you eat, you have to track EVERYTHING you eat. The less honest you are, the less likely it is to work. Do what they tell you!

Can you do all of this on your own? Absolutely. The point of these programs is to help you learn what it is like to eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle. They are tools. A tool can only work when it is used properly. Sometimes a tool isn’t needed to get a job done, but if you need one, use it!

Have a great day ladies and gentlemen, and may all your fitness dreams come true!

Justin

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