Diet companies see benefits as American epidemics try to drop pounds

Maybe it was frozen pizza. Or that during the last one year working from home, he dogged the snack crackers without thinking. Or those darn cookies.

Whatever the reason, Jessica Short stepped in massively this spring and found that she was 25 pounds heavier than before the epidemic.

“I had to leave the house for several consecutive days and feel that none of my pants fit,” said Ms. Short, a 39-year conservation program assistant in Lansing, Michigan. Wardrobe, Ms. Short signed up for her first weight loss program in early April. In three weeks, she had lost five pounds using the Noom app. “My goal is to lose a full 25 pounds,” she said.

While some spent the year of the epidemic making healthy meals or riding their peloton for hours, many others managed their anxiety and boredom through less healthy means. He spent the epidemic sitting on his couch, wearing baggy sweatsuits, drinking chardonnay Gnaw on cheetos.

Now, as the weather warms across the country and people move out of their homes and return to public or return to offices, many are looking to lose their epidemic pounds.

The desire to lose that weight is a benefit of the diet industry. In recent weeks and months, companies selling plans to help lose weight have seen an upsurge in new business.

Privately held Nome, which offers customized health plans starting at $ 59 per month on its app, has seen the app being downloaded nearly four million times in the United States in the past year, It is one of the most downloaded health and fitness apps. To apoptia. Similarly, access to many of its studios worldwide has been restricted for the past year, with WW International, formerly known as Weight Watchers, reported last week that it had 4.2 million digital subscribers, up from a year earlier. Compared to 16 percent jump.

And the publicly traded Medifast, which runs a coaching-and-meal-replacement scheme called Optavia, estimated last week that its revenue would be more than $ 1.4 billion this year, more than double by 2019. Demand is so high that customers are reporting delays in their orders. And the shortage of popular foods, and bidding wars on eBay for out-of-stock snacks have begun. For example, one of 10 Optavia Sweet Blueberry Biscuits sold for $ 6 on eBay with shipping last week, and 14 packets of Caramel Macchiato Shakes sold for $ 79.

While the body-positivity movement has gained momentum and most of the diet industry was badly affected by the epidemic last year, it is still a $ 61 billion machine that attracts millions of Americans each year, According to the analysis firm Research and Markets.

Many of these companies shy away from using the dangerous four-letter word – diet – to describe what they sell, rather than leaning into updated phrases like “health” and “well-being” to promote their programs.

A spokesperson for Noom said in a statement, “We see Kovid as accelerating trends around health and wellness that were already in place and will persist for a long time, and we believe that living a healthy lifestyle And the desire to prioritize one’s health is permanent. ” .

It is clear that many people have gained their weight during the epidemic. a Small study of individuals Under shelter-site orders it was found that he gained more than half a pound every 10 days. If they continued to live as if they were in a state of lockdown, they could put on 20 pounds a year, the study’s authors concluded, which was Published In March at the peer-reviewed JAMA Network Open.

Nevertheless, critics of many popular weight loss programs have noted that if people follow the strict guidelines of meal-replacement plans, weight is likely to be lost, for many people the weight will eventually return.

“If you have a wedding in two weeks, a meal-replacement program, for example, can be helpful,” said Dr. Susan Roberts, a professor of nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Professor of Psychiatry at the University’s School of Medicine. “The problem is, it doesn’t train people how to eat when the program ends, so weight gain is very common.”

Dr. Roberts developed his own weight loss diet, called the Instinct Diet, which aims to re-train people’s brains around food. She claims that the participants of her plan have lost weight by reducing hunger and malaise.

Despite the criticisms, many people who are preparing to re-enter the world by coming out of the epidemic are turning to the diet industry for help.

After spending most of last year living in his apartment in Austin, Texas, he was studying for a Ph.D. In nursing from the University of Oklahoma, 31-year-old, Brenda Olmos, realized that she was eating an extra 15 pounds of extra food and snacks from what she was eating. In early April, she signed up for the Optavia plan and quickly lost 4.5 pounds.

Ms. Olmos said, “I tried to stop intermittently, and I couldn’t stop thinking about food because I couldn’t eat it.” “I tried Keto, but I couldn’t stop thinking about carbs. I’m giving myself six months to lose 30 pounds of weight.”

Similarly, Stacey Moskowitz, a 57-year-old retired elementary school teacher from New City, NY, said she had tried many other diets over the years.

“I will lose weight, and then it will be back in inches,” she said. “I exercised a lot and lost some weight, but not as much effort as I was trying.”

She became concerned about her overall health after contracting Kovid-19 at the end of February 2020. When she began to see her weight return last fall, Ms. Moskowitz decided to try Optavia. She has since lost 37 pounds and hopes to shed an additional 20 to 25 pounds.

“It’s not about me looking a certain way or wearing a certain outfit,” she said. “I’m not going to wear a bikini. It’s about my health.”

Ms Moskowitz said that there was a problem with the Optavia program: It has become so popular that the company is struggling to fulfill orders.

“I had a special shake, Tropical Fruit Smoothie, which I liked. I had it for a month, and it’s gone now,” Ms. Moskowitz said, noting that she had become dependent on the program, Which costs $ 400 per month and provides five out of six meals daily. “You order every month, and it’s taking them two weeks to get your order. And I know some people are ordering extra food and hoarding because they’re worried that they won’t get their next order on time will get.

Last week, Medifast executives told Wall Street analysts that they expected manufacturing to expand by the end of the second quarter and deliveries by the end of the third to meet demand.

“I’m very pleased with the program,” Ms. Moskowitz said. “But I am very nervous about whether I will get my next order on time.”

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