This time of year, weight-loss programs abound. Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers commercials are ready to help with your New Year’s Resolution to lose
weight, tucking themselves into every television show imaginable. They all offer solutions. But they all cost money. And right after the holidays, that can be hard to come by. Especially in today's economy.
So I’m jazzed about two free programs that offer instruction, recipes and support to all of us who are yearning to lose weight: USA Today’s Weight Loss Challenge and Self magazine’s Jump Start Diet. USA Today’s plan targets 10 pounds in 10 weeks. Self’s plan incorporates weight-loss guru Jillian Michaels and says you can drop a size in a month. I’m all for it! Let’s take a look.
This is the seventh year for USA Today’s plan. This year’s plan relies on Dawn Jackson Blather, a registered dietician in Chicago who wrote “The Flexitarian Diet.” You figure out how many calories you need each day and then follow her mix-and-match menus. From the story:
“The advice offered in this year's challenge is based on the latest scientific evidence, which shows that dieters generally lose about 5% to 10% of their starting weight in the first three to six months on a program. For many people, that's a loss of 10 to 20 pounds. After that, losing weight often gets more difficult.
“One reason it's hard to trim down more and keep it off is that there's a cascade of biological responses designed to return dieters to their pre-diet levels. A hunger hormone called ghrelin increases, and a fullness hormone called leptin decreases, research shows.
"Regardless of these hormone shifts, it is still possible to lose some weight and keep it off," Blatner says.”
Here are some of the 33 recipes offered:
Breakfasts (about 300 calories each): waffles and berries, vanilla maple French toast with raspberry sauce, granola berry parfait, herbed cheese and tomato bagel
Lunches (about 400 calories each): ham and Swiss sandwich with grape salad, chili and chips, barbecue chicken strip wrap, grilled cheese with turkey and tomato