If I may be serious for a moment...
I used to be the girl who poo-pooed calorie counting. I know what's healthy, right? When my sister in law joined Weight Watchers three years ago and rapidly went from a size @20 to a 2, though I was impressed, I just sort of brushed it off. She was quite fat, after all. I was only pudgy. Plus, *I* could never be a size 2! Besides, my SIL became obsessed with calories and food and fat and the whole thing had a culty feel to it. I threw the baby out with the bathwater, really. I didn't want to be as nervous, high-strung, tired and negative as SIL was about her body. In my mind back then, WW made her crazy!! What's the point of finally being thin and healthy if you are miserable?
How I feel about Weight Watchers today is a little different. I know now that SIL's mental state really isn't WW's fault. I think WW has got merits, but SparkPeople is better, because it has everything WW has, only it's free. It even has group support and community. The only drawback of SP is it is self-reporting. In a weigh-in in front of a crowd, you aren't going to fudge your numbers. SP relies on you to keep yourself honest.
I still wouldn't do WW, though. For one thing, POINTS. It's someone's "fun" idea of calorie counting, I guess? Maybe they thought the concept was too hard? I like that SP forced me to look at how important calories are. I feel that WW takes that away from the person. It's easier to find out the calories of what you are eating than the points, especially since calories are listed on nutritional information. I also like having a range of calories to aim for, rather than set points.
So thinking about WW had me realizing what bothers me about most diet plans. It's the lack of agency, the lack of education. SP lays it all out for you, bare and painful. You have to face the fact that in your old life, those 3000 daily calories and lack of exercise were making you fat, and then you are given real tools to help YOURSELF get educated. No gimmicks, no quick fixes.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have pills and supplements. Does anyone REALLY believe they work? I know I didn't. They were sort of a last-ditch, "what-the-hell-why-not" thing. They don't work, at least not for the long haul. Why else would they have that disclaimer: "Results with diet and exercise only" or something. HA! Yes, it's the PILL doing it! /sarcasm.
What really gets me is the "food plans" like Jenny Graig, NutriSystem, and the like. It's not even the EXORBITANT amount of money you spend, though that's pretty bad right there. It's that they deliver food to you. "Don't worry! You don't have to bother your pretty head about portions, calories and stuff. Just continue paying us lots of money and we'll do the thinking for you. You'll be skinny in no time!"
Take the "lots of money" you'd spend doing Jenny every week and hit the farmer's market! Buy whole foods! Learn about calories and what constitutes a serving size! Face down your demons rather sweep them under the rug.
Trust me, I've been on my fair share of diets. Atkins, South Beach, Mediterranean, Protein Power, various diet shakes. All of these promised that you could eat ALL you wanted, you just had to eat the RIGHT things. I now know that this is FALSE. Education is power!