Diets to Lose Forty Pounds

Forty pounds is a significant amount of weight loss, so it’s best to find a plan that will be doable for the long haul. Fad diets that promise quick weight loss may work in the short term, but weight that comes off quickly can be put back on quickly, too, if portion control isn’t learned. Look for plans that, in general, promise weight loss in the 1- to 2-pounds per week range, while offering a wide variety of foods, including some treats.

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers was developed in the 1960s and continues to be one of the most popular weight loss plans in existence, bolstered by a 2005 report in “Consumer Reports” praising the diet for both the support it offers in its weekly meetings, as well as the healthy, low-fat nutrition plan. Weight Watchers charges a fee and has options for joining an in-person meeting or joining via the Internet. You can modify the program for teens and men to meet their specific nutrition and support needs.

Mayo Clinic Diet

The weight loss experts at the Mayo Clinic have culled the knowledge gleaned from decades of working with overweight patients and created the Mayo Clinic Diet. The plan is in two parts. The first is the Lose It! phase that restricts food choices while the dieter is motivated, and then it follows that with the Live It! phase that teaches food portions and choices to complete the weight loss. The diet emphasizes the food pyramid and recommends ways to increase physical activity. During the two-week Lose It! phase, dieters can expect to lose up to 6 to 10 pounds, according to the diet’s creators. The Live It! phase maintains a 1- to 2-pound rate.

Packaged Food Plans

Programs such as Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem help dieters lose significant amounts of weight by requiring the purchase of pre-packaged, shelf-stable food that dieters consume throughout the day. The dieter adds things like milk and fruits and vegetables to the food packages to complete the program. Jenny Craig offers one-on-one counseling for the duration of the program, and NutriSystem offers a web-based support community. Both plans recommend physical activity in addition to eating the prepared food.

Nutritionist Assisted

A qualified nutritionist can put together a diet for you, based on your specific needs. Paying for this service gives you a chance to change the diet as you lose weight or try different strategies if the plan isn’t working as well as you’d like. Most nutritionists base their plans on the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Pyramid, which stresses whole grains, fruits and vegetables and still allows the occasional sweet treat or alcohol.

About this Author

Erin Monahan is an author and editor with 25 years experience. She has written on a variety of topics including celebrity interviews, health reporting and parenting. Her work has appeared in daily newspapers and national magazines, including “Wondertime,” and on websites such as She was recently named one of the top writers in Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Simmons College.