More than 70 percent of North American adults are overweight, which increases risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and premature death. A review of 45 trials of 11 weight loss programs (Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, HMR [Health Management Resources], Medifast, OPTIFAST, Atkins, The Biggest Loser Club, eDiets, Lose It! and SlimFast) showed that most had no good long-term data to show that their methods caused significant, sustained weight loss for more than one year (Annals of Internal Medicine, April 7, 2015;162(7):501-512). After one year, Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers showed 4.9 percent and 2.6 percent greater weight loss, respectively, than people who were given only dietary counseling. Nutrisystem and the very low calorie programs (HMR, Medifast, OPTIFAST) demonstrated 3-6 month weight loss but had no good data to show that the weight loss was sustained for more than a year. The author's impression is that very low-calorie diets can help people lose weight in the short term, but they are so demanding that they are very difficult to stay on for the long term.
Our personal solution for weight control is plenty of exercise plus a program of intermittent fasting. I am 6 feet tall and weigh 142 pounds; Diana is 5'6" and weighs 118. We eat a plant-based diet all the time and weigh ourselves daily. Two or three days a week we eat significantly less than on our "normal" days. We have our ordinary breakfast (oatmeal for Gabe, beans for Diana) and then do not have any other regular meals. We snack on nuts, oranges and other fruits throughout the day. I know many other people who follow this type of program, and all report that it is much easier and more successful than other diets they have tried. See my report on intermittent fasting for weight loss.