Here's How Much It Costs to Lose a Pound on 5 Popular Weight Loss Plans

By Brittany Lyte on 18 January 2016 2 comments

The New Year fitness marketing blitz has arrived. You know what that means: 'Tis the season for Jenny Craig and her fellow weight loss gurus to start making a pretty penny off of you.

Don't get us wrong, we're all for health and fitness — just so long as it fits your budget. Read on for our roundup of some popular weight loss programs, complete with the real price of shedding that first pound. (See also: Fitness Resolutions: How Much Will Your New Exercise Routine Cost?)

1. Jenny Craig

America's timeless weight loss master preaches a plan that seems pretty practical: Meet with a weight loss consultant, set a weight loss goal, create a menu and activity plan to help you achieve that goal, and call on your consultant whenever you have questions or need motivation. The claim: Follow your customized plan and you'll lose, on average, one to two pounds per week.

It will cost you $19 per month to join the program, plus the cost of food. Jenny Craig's menu will set you back about $3 to $7 a meal, or $15 to $23 per day. Add to that the cost of shipping the food to your front door, which varies depending on where you live. When all's said and done, shedding that first pound with Jenny Craig will cost you somewhere in the range of $110 to $166, not including shipping.

2. HMR

The HMR Diet is a highly structured weight loss program geared at helping you drop pounds while promoting simple lifestyle changes. The program, which is divided into phases, requires that you eat HMR's portion-controlled entrees and shakes, which function as meal replacements. The claim: You can expect to lose one to two pounds per week, with an average weight loss of 23 pounds over the first 12 weeks.

The three-week HMR starter kit costs $295, and it ships for free when you sign up for the program. Technically, you'll pay about $98 to lose your first pound, though you'll have to actually fork over the first $295 to get started.

3. Weight Watchers

Every food is assigned a points value in the Oprah-endorsed Weight Watchers program. It's a points system that reflects the protein, carbohydrate, fat, and fiber content of each food.

Choices that keep you feeling satisfied and full the longest "cost" the least, leaving you more points to "spend." Healthier options cost less than those consisting of empty calories. You choose how you'll follow Weight Watchers — online, at meetings, or with a personal coach. No matter the method, you'll receive motivating tips and strategies, round-the-clock guidance, recipes, tools to track your progress, and access to a vibrant community of peers. The claim: With Weight Watchers you can expect to drop up to two pounds per week.

Not including the cost of food, it will set you back about $25 to lose your first pound with Weight Watchers. Cost varies, however, depending on whether you choose to follow the program online, at meetings, or with a coach. New members pay a $20 starter fee on top of a monthly fee of at least $19.95. Full access to online tools, meetings, and a coach will cost you $69.95 per month.

4. Biggest Loser

Cut calories, work out, and lose weight. That's the skinny behind the diet with its own reality television show. This gritty, no-nonsense weight loss regimen has several variations, each of which is outlined in a book. Choose the volume you prefer and follow along. It's really that simple. For a boost of motivation, check out past Biggest Loser episodes, where contestants who adhered to the diet lost mega pounds.

A paperback version of The Biggest Loser: The Weight Loss Program to Transform Your Body, Health and Life costs between $20–$15, depending on where it's sold. There are no other costs, though of course, you must supply your own food. Add-ons such as workout DVDs and cookbooks are available for an additional price.

5. Volumetrics

The method: You can lose weight while maintaining your normal food intake by subbing in more healthier, lower-density foods over high-density foods. With Volumetrics, nothing's off limits. But you'll likely be eating far more fruits, veggies, and soups than ever before. That's because these lower-density foods will leave you feeling fuller on fewer calories. The claim: Stick to it and you'll lose a pound or two per week.

The Volumetrics method of dieting is detailed in Barbara Rolls and Robert Barnett's book The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan: Feel Full on Fewer Calories, which sells for less than $8 on Amazon. Needless to say, food is not included.

Have you started one of these (or another) weight loss program? How much has your first pound cost you?

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Guest's picture
Guest

I'm not seeing any previous comment link, so I apologize if I'm repeating info.

The Weight Watchers formula you describe is from the old program, PointsPlus. The new program, SmartPoints, is based on calories, sugar, saturated fat and protein.

And your first pound lost may also cost you hours of frustration and wasted time with tech support. The food science is reasonable. The technical rollout has been a complete train wreck since about September , and is still not up to speed.

Guest's picture
Chris

Read The China Study if you want to know how to really lose weight (and save your life). The most fascinating, horrifying, and inspirational book I've read. Down 30 lbs without effort in 2 months so far. Not everyone will lose that much so fast, but everyone I know has lost weight with or without exercising much. I wish I'd known about this long ago!

Guest's picture
Guest

Thank you for exposing the business side of weight loss programs. We have to remember that any diet program is based on a profit-driven business model that thrives on repeat customers because diets don't work in the long run 95% of the time.