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What It Is

Designed to appeal to dieters who are attracted to the glamour of Hollywood, flashy commercials, and the promise of fast and easy weight loss, the LA Weight Loss Centers diet is a center-based plan offering personalized plans and counseling.

The diet consists of supermarket foods as well as the company's exclusive brand of nutritional supplements, bars, juices, and snacks. Menu plans, tips, recipes, monthly newsletters, and support from weekly weigh-ins and one-on-one meetings with counselors are all part of the program.

There are no points or calories to count. Instead, LA Weight Loss touts a sensible, long-term weight management plan focused on portion control and lifelong weight management. Clients fill out detailed questionnaires on everything from their eating habits to their emotional attachment to food. Counselors interview clients and prescribe a plan that is laid out in portions, not calories.

Dieters are encouraged to keep food diaries and visit centers for weigh-ins. They also get support from counselors who are not nutrition professionals but usually former clients trained by company dietitians, says Jennifer Boyer, RD, MS, LA Weight Loss Centers senior director of program development. Counselors have access to registered dietitians if needed.

Supplements, snacks, meal replacements, and bars are sold exclusively at centers and only available to clients. LA Weight Loss has been criticized by some for this aspect of the program because of what they say is the hard sell and manipulation of the counselors, who earn commission on the products they sell. All of the supplements, snacks, and bars are designed to go along with the menu plans and are optional. "Our counselors are trained to meet individual client needs and some clients need the products and others can succeed without them," Boyer says.

How much you'll spend on the program depends on your selection of food, supplements, and the setup/registration fee that varies by each franchised center. Most charge a weekly fee of $5-$8. This weekly fee along with the setup fee and cost of supplements can add up quickly and be very expensive.

Founded in 1989, the company split four years ago, and renamed some of its centers. The breakup allegedly occurred because the company had been the target of scrutiny and lawsuits for false claims and false advertising of fees. Today the company now known as LA Weight Loss Centers is entirely made up of franchised centers.

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