Comparing Weight Loss Plans, Dollars Per Pound

PHOTO Kickinâ?? It Old School
Bottom Line Estimate: You SAVE $31 per pound you lose.

Losing weight and keeping it off can tax the willpower and determination of any dieter, but the strain it can put on a dieter's wallet is a big consideration for some.

Certain medical procedures, in particular, carry a heavy price tag -- so while results are likely, and often dramatic, such approaches can lighten wallets as well.

Meanwhile, a number of new diets and regimens that involve pre-packaged food have increased in popularity. Many swear by these approaches, as their calorie-limiting benefits can translate into better bodies and better health. Still, these changes are not free -- and some wonder how they stack up to a good, old-fashioned jog in the park. looked at a number of different weight loss methods, some diet-based, others surgical, and calculated an approximate "price per pound" of losing that excess fat.

Weight loss results and pricing for diet plans and surgeries vary greatly from person to person, but the esimates on the following estimates use averages provided by doctors, clinical trials and data analyses to form a ballpark figure.

One-on-One With Jenny Craig

Bottom-Line Estimate: $237.56 per pound for one-on-one weight loss support and special food products

Jenny Craig is a weight-loss program that centers around an individualized diet plan, pre-prepared foods, and one-on-one support from a consultant either in person at one of their centers, or via phone or internet communication.

Jenny Craigers are told that they can expect an average weight loss of one to two pounds per week, a figure Jenny Craig spokesperson Cheryl Overton says is derived from third party analysis. A recent study of women on the Jenny Craig in-centre program, subjects saw a more modest average weight loss per week of about three quarters of a pound in the first six months. Soon after six months, weight loss generally plateaued but maintained over the next year and a half.

Though participants in the study received the program and food for free, lead author Cheryl Rock, professor of family and preventive medicine at University of California, San Diego, lays out the estimated cost to consumer of a year on the program: Enrollment fee for a year runs $359 plus the cost of special Jenny Craig food -- the average participant spends about $100 per week. Given an average 23.4 pounds lost over the course of a year, this works out to $237.56 per pound.

A bit pricey, but Rock points out that the program does a good job of training people in the habits that will help them maintain the weigh loss, which most study participants did over the course of two years.

Going Under the Knife: Weight Loss Surgery

Bottom-Line Estimate: for the surgery alone, anywhere from $235 to $400 per pound if paying out of pocket.

When other diet plans fail and excess weight becomes a pressing health concern, thousands of consumers a year are turning to weight loss surgery for help. These surgeries shrink the digestive track using a gastric band, which pinches off a portion of the stomach, or by removing a portion of the stomach and sometimes the small intestines. After surgery, the amount of food the patient can physically eat in one sitting will be significantly reduced.

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