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KOB-TV

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight, or obese. As you know, that can lead to lots of health problems down the road.

While that should be enough to scare us into making better choices, sometimes it's just our vanity that convinces us to make changes.

With swimsuit season right around the corner, KOB Eyewitness News 4 set out to compare two very talked about diets to see what you're really getting.

We've all heard it before, calories in, calories out. "You didn't put it on overnight. You're not going to take it off overnight," said Weight Watchers meeting leader Carlyn Chiado.

In case you haven't heard this before, Natalie Furst, a dietitian with Lovelace Hospital says all those "fad" diets, like low-carb and fat-free, aren't sustainable long-term. It's simple, she says. "It's how much they're eating, not just what they're eating."

But, there are programs out there designed to enact lifestyle changes. So how do they stack up? We looked into Weight Watchers and the HCG Diet. Both programs tout lifestyle changes and both have been around about 50 years.

Weight Watchers is a points-based system. "Weight Watchers gives you so many choices and it's up to you to pick which choice works for you," said Chiado. She says the program also offers accountability with weekly meetings. "It teaches you to eat and live beyond these walls."

The goal is to lose about 1/2 pound to two pounds a week. The cost comes out to about $10 a week, depending on which program you choose.

Success Weightloss Systems, Inc. promises much faster results through a medically supervised HCG program. HCG is a hormone that's injected, once a day, to promote fat loss. Irish McCarthy runs the clinic.

"It sends a message to the hypothalamus, the hypothalamus tells the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland tells the endocrine system to eat your fat at approximately three-to-five times the normal rate," McCarthy said.

Unlike Weight Watchers, it is a restricted diet. This particular clinic allows you to eat about 1,500 calories a day, but McCarthy says you slowly build foods back in, and in time, healthy food actually tastes better. "Way better and your body feels better and you don't crave those kinds of things like you did."

McCarthy says you can expect to lose about three-quarters of a pound per injection. Those are done on a 23 or 42-day program. The cost comes out to about $75 a week.

So here's the math. If you have 30 pounds to lose, it'll take at least 15 weeks on Weight Watchers. It'll cost at least $5 a pound.

If you do the HCG Diet at Success Weightloss Systems, Inc, you'll lose the weight three times faster, but it'll cost about $12.50 a pound.

Gabrielle Hilgreen lost more than 100 pounds on the HCG plan. She's kept it off for two years. "I needed fast results, immediate because I was so frustrated," she said.

Hilgreen says she's also tried Weight Watchers. She says it worked, but she didn't keep the weight off because she didn't apply the program correctly. "I would just be saving those last 12 points for that dessert that I had made myself or that I knew was in the refrigerator."

She says HCG has actually changed her taste buds, making it easier to make the right choices without thinking about it. "I found that it was like a detox period, where I was developing flavor and taste that I didn't have before."

But ultimately, it all comes down to what you do after you go through the programs. "Everything is a lifestyle. There's no magic things," McCarthy said.

Hilgreen says it's those lifestyle changes that have made all the difference. "Every day I play with my daughter, every day I enjoy my life and every day I enjoy my food and I enjoy the people around me, so it's worth it."

A couple things to note here. First, not all HCG is really HCG. Buyer beware. It is a controlled substance, so it has to come from a medical professional. Second, it's not FDA approved for dieting, but it is FDA approved for other uses like fertility treatments, though the dosage is significantly higher.

Additionally, Natalie Furst with Lovelace says it's vital not to restrict your caloric intake by too much because that can be dangerous. She says do your research and get ready to make a change for life.

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