Diets in Review - Find the Right Diet for You

Comparing Curves, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and NutriSystem

popular dietsWhen it comes to weight loss, these four brand names are probably the most recognizable. And they’ve got a few things many of today’s quick-fix diets don’t – longevity, reputation and results.

We decided to take a look at Curves, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and NutriSystem side by side to see where they’re similar and where they aren’t. Each of these plans are uniquely different, and each deliver results in their own proven ways. Our comparison looks at six different areas: meal delivery, diet, fitness, online availability, personal support and cost.

cardboard boxMeal Delivery

Curves: There is not a delivery service.

Weight Watchers: There is not a delivery service.

Jenny Craig: Delivery available, or may pick-up from center. Portion- and calorie-controlled foods delivered in shelf-stable or frozen packages once or twice each month. More than 80 meal choices available. May customize. Supplement fruits and vegetables from grocery.

NutriSystem: Delivery available. Portion- and calorie-controlled foods delivered every 28 days in shelf-stable packages. More than 120 meals available. May customize. Supplement fruits and vegetables from grocery.

red appleDiet

Curves: Promotes diet of three meals and two snacks each day, plus plenty of fiber and water. Meal plans available online via Curves Complete or MyCurves with daily custom menus. Branded cereal and snack bars available at the grocery store.

Weight Watchers: Promotes a flexible eating program without any regimented eating plan or schedule. Requires use of PointsPlus under the Weight Watchers 360 program; dieters may eat what they like as long as they do not exceed daily PointsPlus values. Encourages whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and dairy.

Jenny Craig: Dieters eat an average of 1300 calories per day across three meals and one snack.

NutriSystem: Female dieters eat an average of 1200 calories per day; males eat an average of 1500 calories per day. Dieters consume three meals and two snacks, plus six servings of fruits and vegetables, each day.

dumb bellFitness

Curves: This program centers around its female-only gyms. You’ll burn 500 calories in three 30-minute circuit training sessions each week. Program promotes strength training and cardio workouts. You’ll work with a trainer. May also use Curves Smart, the electronic coaching system.

Weight Watchers: There is no structured plan. Dieters attending meetings will not gain much guidance in the way of fitness. Dieters using Weight Watchers Online will have access to a wealth of information to help guide their workouts.

Jenny Craig: Dieters will have access to a personalized fitness plan via their counselor at the Jenny Craig center.

NutriSystem: There is no structured plan. Exercise DVDs are available with certain plans.

laptop computerOnline Availability

Curves: Members of the Curves gyms may access MyCurves for community support and access to a variety of weight loss tools. Those not interested in attending the gyms can subscribe to Curves Complete for nutrition and fitness guidance online.

Weight Watchers: Weight Watchers Online is a robust program online that offers all that Weight Watchers 360 does. Full access to the PointsPlus program, fitness guidance, community support, recipes and much more.

Jenny Craig: Members can register online to access online eTools, recipes, weight trackers, menu planners, recipes, and more.

NutriSystem: This is the only program of the four that does not have an off-line component. NutriSystem is managed completely online. Order meals, plus access tools, food and exercise diaries, the community, and more.

hand shakePersonal Support

Curves: By visiting the gym three times each week you’ll have access to the training staff, plus the support of other women in the gym.

Weight Watchers: Weight Watchers Meetings began 50 years ago, and have found great success with weekly meetings hosted by a trained leader.

Jenny Craig: You’ll have a personal weekly weigh-in with your Jenny Craig counselor, where you’ll also discuss nutrition, fitness and goals.

NutriSystem: With your online account you’ll have access to the NutriSystem community.

diet costsCost

As cost can vary greatly by season, promotional offer or by franchise, it is best to contact each program directly to see what a plan for you might cost.

Curves: They advertise that their customers only spend about $1 more per day on food than the typical American.

Based on a 2009 report comparing the cost to lose 30 pounds with different diet brands:
Weight Watchers: Up to $300 for meetings; about $100 online.
Jenny Craig: About $400.
NutriSystem: About $1200.

Find one that fits with your lifestyle? Give it a try today and start losing weight!

June 25th, 2009

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(Page 1 of 1, 14 total comments)


Instead of using any of these programs, I found out a Body By Vi 90 Challenge! It's a great easy alternative and I've been seeing amazing results!!! You get your own website with online community to cheer you on and motivate you. Best part is the lowest plan $49 and yours becomes free when you refer 3 freinds to join the challenge with you! Visit jpaetzke dot bodybyvi dot com for more info from there you can follow me on facebook to see my friends and I journey on our challenge :)

posted Apr 15th, 2012 3:29 pm


The comparisons are interesting. Personally I love Curves. With the New Curves Complete Diet Plan and exercise, I've lost 20 pounds so far. With the CurvesComplete plan you have the options of preparing the meals at home, frozen meals from the grocery store, Eat-N-Go options from resturants, etc. plus you get three months unlimited priviledges to workout (highly recommended), and weekly one-on-one meeting with your coach.You also get access to on-line support with daily videos. I enjoy the friendships built with other members too, many that are trying to lose weight too.I have found it to be easy to change my old habits and to understand why I binge eat too. I paid $299 since I wasn't a member, I could have joined Curves and done the diet for $199. I am joining when I am through with my 90-days. I love it. Hope this helps.

posted Jan 14th, 2012 4:14 am


NS Referral

posted Jul 17th, 2010 7:07 pm


Curves is great. the 30 day weight management plan is free to members and non member alike. Costs are only for supporting products only which are suggested but not required. The cost quoted must be for the exercise plan which is in most areas $34/month.

posted Feb 24th, 2010 6:16 pm


Definitely a mistake, Cindy, and it has been corrected. Thank you.

posted Feb 15th, 2010 6:07 pm

Cindy Long

Seriously, I go to the Curves link at the end of your article and get "Flirty Fitness". Is this a mistake or an advertising ploy?

posted Feb 15th, 2010 5:11 pm

Bev MacDonald

I did JC, worked great, lost the weight and kept it off. Took a bit of an adjustment once I hit my goal (eating out of the box). I would say that weight watchers would probably be the best....teaches you healthy eating from the get-go.
Tried NutriSystem because it was cheaper...yuck, I would never suggest it to anyone! The food was really hard to finish....maybe that is why you loose the weight??
With curves, it was great, but the hours they were open were limited.

posted Feb 5th, 2010 4:40 pm


NS Referral

posted Jan 27th, 2010 10:21 pm

Tammi T

I really liked the comparison article however, I'm not sure I agree with the numbers quoted.

I think that programs like JC and NS are probably easier because it's all done for you but not very realistic unless you plan to continue purchashing those food plans for life. With WW you start out day 1 learning to balance your diet with everyday foods, including those that are your red light foods, and with the meeting support, you get to learn what your triggers are and hopefully what brought you to the weight problem in the first place.
Additionally, I have never been to a WW meeting that did not encourage the members to work out, suggestions and support are offered by group leaders as well as other members, and exercise suggestions are also provided in the weekly materials provided in weeks 1-10

posted Jan 1st, 2010 11:20 am


Great article and I appreciated the side by side comparisons. At Weight Watchers they are focusing more on exercise as part of the total package and have also upped the content of the meeting room to include a weekly support of information to take home with you including recipes.The books you receieve in weeks 1-10 have recipes and menu plans to help you structure the plan to fit your life. I personally need the accountability of weighing in with someone and the support in the meeting room is wonderful. I cannot be on a boxed food program as I have a family to feed and that would not work for my life. Thanks for writing this.

posted Dec 30th, 2009 6:22 am


I started Nutrisystem on August 11th. A friend of mine lost over 40lbs in a year of following the program. Back in 2005-2006 I lost 80lbs following the South Beach program overtime I drifted from those habits and gain back 70 of that in the last few years. I decided I should get back on a program since what I was doing wasnâ??t working.

I need things to be simple and easy to prepare and Nutrisystem is great for people who like convience. Everything is prepackaged and properly portioned. You supplement the program with Fruits and Veggies since that wouldnâ??t be very good prepackaged. You can either order the â??Favoritesâ?ť package or pick your own. I tried the â??Favoritesâ?ť package and found things that I definately like and also found stuff I will never order again. Everyone has their own preferences but if you are used to frozen meals from Lean Cuisine, Health Choice, etc you should have no trouble finding something you enjoy in NS.

In the 18 days that I have been on the program I have dropped 18.7 lbs doing some extra exercise on the side which is recommended but not required for success.

For those of you wanting to get an extra discount I can provide you a referral code at it will entitle you to $30 off your first order. If you are new to Nutrisystem it should work just fine. If you are coming back to the program and have been inactive for more than 4 months it should also work for you too. Hereâ??s all that you need to do:

Email and put in the memo NS Referral and I will send you a code within 24 hours. This should work if you do it online or call in your first order.

I was amazed at the number of people complaining about this program I just donâ??t understand why it is pretty easy to follow and I donâ??t feel hungry at all!

posted Aug 30th, 2009 7:47 pm


I have done Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig and you must have transposed the cost. I had to quit JC because I could not afford it anymore and went bacl to NS for a lowball savings of $200 a month.

posted Jul 22nd, 2009 1:12 pm


These reviews were definitely helpful I have seen others out there, but there are very few articles that are this informative.

posted Jul 3rd, 2009 11:23 am


The cost comparison doesn't even say what amount of time the cost is, per month, week, year? I also, find the costs unbelievable, jenny craig provides your food for only $100 more than weight watchers?

posted Jul 2nd, 2009 12:03 pm


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