Don’t get me wrong, let’s open up with the fact that structured diets are great. They do all the work for you, preparing meals and meal plans and even balancing your nutrition with the proper exercise in some cases. The only problem is that diets aren’t “one size fits all” like many structured diet plans seem to believe. The mentality of the structured diet is basically that, since it balances good nutrition and it works for a lot of people, that it will work for everyone who tries it too which simply isn’t the case.
Weight loss varies wildly from person to person based on everything from genetics to taste to your current level of health and fitness. You can’t just eat some celery and pull out a jump rope and assume everything will be fine because it works for the guy next door, you need to find something that not only helps to balance your lifestyle but also works for you. The most important part of a diet is your ability to stick with it through to your weight loss goal at the end of the road. Structured diets are a good starting point but in many cases they are not good for long term lifestyle goals.
Additionally, a lot of structured diets come with hefty monthly fees. They’ll draw you in with limited time offers and introductory rates, but once those run out you’re going to be feeling it in your wallet with each monthly payment. That’s not to say that it’s not worth your time or money to follow a structured diet, simply that once you understand the basis for how the diet works you shouldn’t have to pay someone else when you can prepare the same nutritionally balanced meals and follow solid exercise plans all by yourself.
Last but not least, and I’ve said this before, structured diets usually are only interested in quick results over long term progress. How many times have you seen a diet or workout commercial that promises you’ll lose X pounds in your first month or your money back. They can say that because they know that the people buying these plans usually have that much excess weight that is easy to lose. The first pounds are the easiest to drop because switching over to good eating habits and exercise burns the unhealthy fat right away. It’s once that “easy fat” is gone that you start to see plateaus and an incline in difficulty, which is where a more personalized plan will work much better.
Structured diets can be great to start with, some can even easily sustain your weight loss for months without any issues. Their only major problem is that they aren’t personalized enough to help you reach the goals you’re looking for without costing an arm and a leg for personalized care, at which point you’re better off seeing a nutritionist and getting a personal trainer for the same price. They’re a good jumping off point, but always plan to be able to transition into permanent healthy, sustainable habits over time.