The main issue I have with these diet plans is they aren’t teaching you anything really (WW comes close with their points system).

Without properly educating their customers/clients they are disempowering them and making them reliant on their system.

Making the perfect enviroment for yo-yo dieters and repeat business.

I can summarize a weight loss diet in just a few words…

“A diet ONLY works when you create a calorie deficit. A diet fails when it no longer creates a calorie deficit to which you can stick to.”

As unsexy as that is. That is dieting for weight loss, full stop.

We have had a number of people who sell Slimming World and the Cambridge Diet come to us to help them lose weight. Not their customers, the leaders/consultants!

(We have even had people from Forever Living who want to sell their “weight loss” products)

I had to turn down these people as I feel it is wrong of them to promote “weight loss” to their consumers when they struggle themselves.

It’s kind of like hiring a personal trainer who is overweight and they sell “fat loss” workouts.

The phase “Do as I say, not as I do” comes to mind.

By all means, these are not the only ones. There are a number of people who SHOULD know better, the likes of professors and a certain Joe Wicks that give out a lot of bad information.

After seeing a lot of bias and conflicting information out there WITHIN the fitness and nutrition world, no wonder the consumers are so lost!

I have gone on a number of courses and seminars to learn from educators and some of the tosh they come out with is shocking. The worry is that because of the authority status these educators have the people they are training are trainers and coaches, so they pass on this misinformation to their clients.

Over my 15+ years in the industry I have heard a lot of tosh when it comes to weight loss, and I fell for some of it too.

So, the ONE and ONLY thing that stops a diet working is when…

“A diet fails when it no longer creates a calorie deficit to which you can stick to.”

Top 3 Diets That Fail

So speaking to well over 400 people, mainly women since we opened the doors here at 1st4Fitness back in May 2015 these are the top 3 diets they have tried…and the diets failed them.

So here I am going to pull what the NHS says about them and give my opinion and overal review on them too.

First up is…

Weight Watchers

What the NHS says…

The WeightWatchers plan is based on the SmartPoints system, which gives a value to foods and drink based on protein, carbs, fat and fibre content. It is essentially a calorie-controlled diet where you get a personal daily SmartPoints allowance, which you can use how you like. There’s no limit on the amount of fruit and most veg you can eat. You also get a weekly SmartPoints safety net in case you go over your allowance, as well as an individual exercise plan. The weekly meetings and confidential weigh-ins provide support and extra motivation to encourage long-term behaviour change. The plan is designed to help you lose up to 2lb a week.

No foods are banned, so you can eat and drink what you want provided you stick to your points allowance. The SmartPoints system is easier to follow for some than calorie counting, and less restrictive than other plans. This is because it introduces a safety net of points, which can be saved up for a special occasion, such as a night out, a small amount of alcohol, or treats.

When you begin, working out the points system can be just as time consuming as simply counting calories. Some people feel pressured into purchasing WeightWatchers-branded foods.

BDA verdict:
The SmartPoints plan is generally well balanced and can be a foundation for long-term changes in dietary habits. The support group approach can help keep people motivated and educate them about healthy eating. But it’s vital that you make the connection between the points system and calories if you want to avoid putting the weight back on once you leave the programme.

My verdict:

Out of the 3 this is the best of the bunch. But I would argue that there is already a points based system in place, calories.

I would say that the WW leaders do not educate very well (from what I am hearing consistanlty on the local ones). From Googling what to talk about at the meetings and being very unsuportive and patrinizing in some cases I have heard.

Next up…

Slimming World

What the NHS has to say…

Slimming World’s weight loss plan encourages you to swap high-fat foods for low-fat foods that are naturally filling. You choose your food from a list of low-fat foods they call “Free Foods”, such as fruit, vegetables, pasta, potatoes, rice, lean meat, fish and eggs, which you can eat in unlimited amounts. There’s no calorie counting, no foods are banned, and you’re still allowed the occasional treat. You can get support from fellow slimmers at weekly group meetings and follow an exercise plan to become gradually more active. The plan is designed to help you lose about 1-2lb a week.

No foods are banned, so meals offer balance and variety and are family-friendly. The portion size from each food group will vary depending on which plan you follow. The “Body Magic” booklet they provide gives ideas to help you raise your activity levels. Meeting as a group can provide valuable support.

Slimming World doesn’t educate you about calories. Without learning about calories and portion sizes, you may struggle to keep the weight off in the long term when you come off the programme.

BDA verdict:
The group meetings encourage members to share successes, ideas and recipes with each other, but they may not appeal to everyone. While the meal plans may lack some flexibility, they are generally balanced. However, without learning about calories and portion sizes, you may struggle to make healthy choices once you’ve left the programme.

My verdict:

The goal to lose 1-2lbs a week is a good goal to aim for (since we work in kg thats 0.5-1kg/week). But depending on someones starting position this could be higher, maybe 2-3kg a week.

(Any higher, again depending on the persons size you could be at risk of losing vital muscle, not fat)

Now, their “free foods” and that you can have an unlimited amount. This is bad advice! Their free foods all contain calories.

As mentioned in the NHS negitive points not educating on calories and portion sizes is only going to lead to getting stuck and weight loss stopping.

Again, I would say that the SW leaders have no nutritional education, they are only tought the SW system.

And now the worst of the 3 in my eyes…

Cambridge Diet

What the NHS has to say…

The Cambridge Weight Plans are based around buying and eating a range of meal-replacement products with the promise of rapid weight loss. There are six flexible diet plans ranging from 415 calories to 1,500 calories or more a day, depending on your weight loss goal. There is also a long-term weight management programme. The bars, soups, porridges and shakes can be used as your sole source of nutrition or together with low-calorie regular meals. While on the programme, you receive advice and support on healthy eating and exercise from a Cambridge adviser.

Many people on very low calorie diets find the weight loss to be sudden and quite dramatic. The meal replacements are all nutritionally balanced, so you’re likely to be getting all the vitamins and minerals you need, albeit not from real food.

Initial side effects can include bad breath, a dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia, nausea and constipation from cutting down on carbs and fibre. The hardest part of the plan is sticking to it. Giving up normal meals and swapping them for a snack bar or a shake can be boring and feel socially isolating. This isn’t a plan you can stick to in the long term.

BDA verdict:
You need to like the meal replacement products to stay with the plan. Rapid weight loss can be motivating, but it is unsustainable. A very low calorie diet that involves eating 1,000 calories a day or fewer should not be followed for more than 12 continuous weeks. If you are eating fewer than 600 calories a day, you should have medical supervision.

My verdict:

This is a very low calorie plan which they start you off on three of their products a day. From what I have seen they start you off at around 600 calories a day.

The six flexible plans are their steps. Step one starts you off with just their products. As you go through the steps you get to add more meals.

I sent out an email a while ago and said that if everyone jumped to six 5 they would be given 1100 calories and have to buy some of their products.

Now, if everyone just ate 1100 calories, without the CD products, everyone would lose weight (outside of medicale complications like PCOS).

And look at the list of negatives the NHS mention too, “bad breath, a dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia, nausea and constipation”…very nice.



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