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The Cost of Losing 20 Pounds

Price of Weight LossThere are many factors that go into choosing to sign up for a diet plan, and cost is one of the most carefully considered. Jeanne Lee for CBS MoneyWatch takes a look at this question from a unique perspective: the cost to lose 20 pounds. She calculates the cost per pound lost for eighth different popular weight-loss systems. Most of these diets are meal delivery services that provide balanced, portion controlled foods. On the other hand, Weight Watchers and eDiets are support-only programs provide the customer with tips, goals and meal plans, but not food. These support-based programs are far cheaper per pound lost, but some may find them hard to follow.

In the end, the diet program that’s the best investment is the one that helps you lead a healthier lifestyle and see long-term results. MoneyWatch recommends the diets with proven track records and economical fees.

Flip through this slide show to compare the costs of Medifast, In the Zone Delivery, eDiets, Bistro MD, Weight Watchers, Nurtisystem, Jenny Craig and South Beach Online.

View The Cost of Losing 20 Pounds Slideshow

The Conclusion of my Biggest Loser Meal Plan Experience

The Biggest Loser Meal Plan, from Bistro MD, was a good choice for us. We followed it for five weeks and I lost almost ten pounds and have kept it off in the three months since ending the plan. My husband didn’t do quite as well, but he didn’t follow it all three meals a day like I did.

Overall the food was pretty tasty, of course, there were  exceptions – most notably the waffles and the turkey dinners — I’m a tough critic, but would give the food  9 out of 10 stars. It’s good enough that you won’t feel like you’re on a diet or eating diet foods.

Preparation was as easy as touted – boil or microwave the meals, add a salad and we were all set.  We’re an older couple with late and sporadic work hours, so whenever we were ready — the meals would be ready in just a few minutes.

In spite of what I consider the high cost ($250) a week for both of us for the five day plan, including shipping, we were interested in staying with the program for another month or two. The deciding factor was the delivery day — since we had to stay with a Saturday delivery throughout the summer, we stopped the program.

Since we’ve finished with the plan, I’ve thought about calling and ordering a few more weeks worth of meals just to have in the freezer for those times when we don’t have the time or inclination to cook.  If you’re looking for an easy and quick meal plan program, try The Biggest Loser Meal Plan from Bistro MD.

You can see Barb’s entire journey, start to finish, with her Biggest Loser Meal Plan review right here.

Bistro MD Coupon for the 4th

If you’re looking for independence from grocery shopping, planning diet-friendly meals, and preparing them, then let freedom ring with this offer from Bistro MD!bistro md

Their 4th of July special is offering customers 50% off the regular price of your first week of meals when you order before July 31. You’ll receive five each of their breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts. Order Bistro MD now to enjoy the 50% discount. Enter coupon code JULY4th.

Bistro MD is a meal delivery program that supports a healthy diet and lifestyle. Whether your goal is to lose weight, maintain, or simply save time preparing meals- Bistro MD is an ideal solution. The program was designed by Dr. Caroline Cederquist and a team of chefs and dietitians. So not only are you receiving nutritionally balanced meals, but they are delivered fresh with choice ingredients. Bistro MD meals are low in calories and fat, and they support the unique dietary needs of diabetics and vegetarians.

Two Minor Problems, Quickly Resolved

While waiting for the first Biggest Loser Meals shipment a few problems surfaced. Before ordering, I asked about combining the shipping to save $24.95, also since the delivery is perishable, I needed to know when food would be delivered. Our area is scheduled for Wednesday shipping/Friday delivery.

When the first shipment was sent out I received the credit card charges and shipping information via email. That’s when I found out the shipments weren’t combined and shipping didn’t occur until Thursday with a Saturday delivery. Although we don’t go out of town often, several weekend trips are on the schedule and no one would be available to take care of the perishable food. This is especially worrisome living in Oklahoma where the temperatures can soar over 100 degrees in the summer.

After a discussion with the customer service department the problems were resolved. Shipping will be combined and from now on orders will definitely be shipped on Wednesday for Saturday delivery.

Now it was a wait for the food.

Two big boxes arrived on Saturday and it was impressive how they were packed. Food was still hard-frozen, with dry ice in a styrofoam case. I can see why the shipping cost is $24.95. Also, now that I’ve seen how the boxes are packed, I’m not sure two weekly orders would actually fit into one box.

Also included in the box was the weekly menu, information on the way the food is cooked, cooking/serving instructions and a discount enticement for friends who want to try the program.

The box of food

It’s a LOT of food! Five days worth of meals for one person, lined up with breakfasts on the left, lunches in the middle and dinners on the right. Each meal is in a plastic pouch, inside that pouch are several pouches containing the different ingredients.

Next the most important thing, how does the food taste?

Does Barb have you sold? Read the Biggest Loser Meal Plan review or order the plan from Bistro MD now.

Which Meal-Based Diet Plan to Try?

That’s the big question. The three plans, The Biggest Loser, Jenny Craig, and NutriSystem, all had pros and cons, as well as a fairly wide price range. Unfortunately, their web sites don’t always tell the whole story, so in each case I called the company directly to find out more.

biggest loser diet bistro md

The Biggest Loser Meal Plan

  • Price: $99. for five days, plus $24.95 shipping
  • Calorie Count: 1000 – 1400, low carb, low fat, high protein, diabetic friendly
  • Shipping: Weekly
  • Food: Frozen in a vacuum-sealed package
  • Meal Plans: Only one plan is available, menus are on a four-week rotation
  • Commitment: Food is delivered on a weekly basis and can be canceled at any time

The web site is not very informative, although when checking the Bistro MD web site, I found a lot more information available. The Biggest Loser Meal Plan is part of Bistro MD, but the meals/menus vary slightly. The weekly menu plans are shown on the web site, but I never found the nutritional values.

It was also difficult to get through to a customer service representative to ask questions, I’m assuming that’s because the newness of this plan and the finale of the television show has overwhelmed their system a bit. One of my questions was on the shipping, I asked if shipping can be combined since there are two of us taking part. I was told yes, so that will take the cost down a bit.

jenny craig

Jenny Craig

  • Price: $14. – $19. a day, depending on the food picked, plus membership fees
  • Calorie Count: Depends on the foods picked. Meal plan is approved by the Diabetic Association
  • Food: Combination of frozen and non-frozen foods, approximately a 70 to 30% ratio.
  • Meal Plans: Apparently there are different menus and choices to pick from, I wasn’t too clear on how one decides on a menu.
  • Commitment: After the initial special offer of ten weeks for $20., a year’s membership is purchased for $359., you can go off and on the diet during this time.

If a community will help you lose weight and stay on track, Jenny Craig appears to have that covered. Their web site has forums, buddies, blogs and recipes. Once on the plan, a dieter is assigned a consultant to check in with weekly on the phone or the web. The photos and nutritional counts of the various meals looks great. In fact, I got a little hungry just checking out the web site.

When calling it’s a bit of a hard sell, but I still couldn’t get the bottom line on costs. I was told several times that the year membership fee includes discounts on the food and will wind up paying for itself.



  • Price: From $263. to $342. a month depending on the how many months and discounts are available.
  • Calorie Count: The various menus have different calorie counts
  • Shipping: Every 28 days
  • Food: Vacuum sealed, shelf-stable
  • Meal Plans: This diet plan had numerous options to choose from, men/women/senior/diabetic/vegetarian
  • Commitment: No contract, but food is shipped in monthly quantities

NutriSystem appears to be the most affordable, and had numerous plans for different diet needs. Their web site has basic information, including the menu foods (along with photos and nutritional counts) success stories, etc. It appears the real substance of the web site is in the members-only section with online classes, chat rooms and counseling. Membership is free, but I choose not to join.

There are substantial discounts on the meal plans and shipping if more than one member in the family takes part.

The Bottom Line:
Even though the price is highest and I don’t care for the one-size-fits-all approach, I decided to try out The Biggest Loser Meal Plan. I like the idea that it’s a five day plan and we won’t mess-up the plan when we go out on the weekend. I also liked the frozen food approach instead of shelf-stable foods. When reading various comments and reviews of the Bistro MD plan (same company), the overwhelming consensus was the food was great. Obviously, if the food doesn’t taste good, the diet’s not going to work for us. It was also a plus that ordering for two, helped the final price come down a bit with the combined shipping.

Right now we’re waiting for the first shipment, as well as a return call from customer service on a billing problem.

I’ll let you know how that goes in a few days.

Follow along with Barb as she shops for meal delivery diets and begins using Biggest Loser Meal Plan.