Dieting Is Out; Healthy Eating Is In

Diet books, low-calorie, fat-free, and sugar-free foods abound, but dont appear to be making a dent in obesity statistics. Many dieters have been lured over and over again by promises of fast weight loss from the latest diet schemes, only to regain the lost weight — and then some — as soon as they go off the diet. The truth is that if your weight loss plan is not sustainable for the long term, it’s not worth following, says Michael Dansinger, MD, physician for the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser. Another reason, say other experts, may simply be that dieters are waiting for the next diet craze the Atkins Diet or South Beach Diet of the moment.

Internet killed the dieting star: Why Weight Watchers is floundering.

And thats where Weight Watchers is taking a hit. The next generation of diet programs, like the FitBit and MyFitnessPal.com , have a social aspect built into themyou can build a community around your weight loss project without ever having to go to a meeting. What weve seen is a deteriorating trend in recruitments, particularly on our online business and we feel that some of that is driven by the continued sudden explosion of interest in free apps and activity monitors, said chief financial officer Nicholas Hotchkin, on the companys earnings call last week. Sure, Weight Watchers has an app, but meeting fees are still the bulk of its business. Even with a new science-based regimen that incorporates attention from one of Weight Watchers trained staff, its hard to compete with free (or even almost free). In retrospect, the program resonated more with current members versus potential new consumers unfamiliar with our offering, said the companys old CEO, David Kirchhoff, on its first-quarter earnings call. Our Weight Watchers Online advertising campaign focused more on the features versus the value proposition, which will be important for us to continue increasingly incorporating going forward. (He also mentioned that spokeswoman Jessica Simpsons pregnancy had put a hitch in their marketing plans, but hey, they still had Jennifer Hudson.) But can doing the weight loss thing with an online community work? Dietician Katherine Tallmadge isnt a huge fan, and thinks Weight Watchers troubles may be stemming in part simply from faster propagation of weight loss fads online. Apps really are not going to work for most people, she says. Theyve become the equivalent of yesterdays fad diet books. But Tallmadge says she has seen research that shows online communities can helpas long as theyre supported (naturally) by individualized visits to a dietician.

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