The online program sends you a "session" each week. The session has reading and a lot of questions where you finish the stem of the sentence and it guides you through a thought process.
One of the biggest differences is that the online program emphasizes working on the 10 habits that help people maintain their weight for life. (I believe in the book that is covered in about two pages-- not at all in depth) . In the online program you are encouraged to focus on one of the habits each week, and you have a habit workbook that guides you through activities and ideas related to the habit.
There is also a connected forum which is active and in which people tend to discuss their issues in a much more in-depth and personal way than other forums. Although I love Sparks-- it seems so public here that I have never seen issues discussed with the same level of depth and sharing that issues are discussed there. Today I noticed one person remaked she had never felt she had such successful "group therapy." The sessions encourage you to post ideas from your "homework" and process issues together. Of course, no one has to participate in the forum, but it is one of my favorite things about the program.
The forum also has real time chat-- so you can chat with members personally. One large "chat" weekly is led by the facilitator-- and the transcripts are available of all the past facilitated chats'.
The program also has a "hunger coach"-- a computer driven program to help you explore the feelings and head off binges and further apply the concepts.
Although it frustrated me at first, I think that the sessions actually can not come any sooner than 1 week apart is good. If forced me to work for a whole week on applying a concept--- instead of breezing right through and just devouring the Shrink Yourself book.
For me it has been life changing. I have become very aware of the times when my hunger is not true physical hunger, and very rarely eat when I'm not physically hungry. I started Shrink Yourself August 1, 2008. I've lost 52 pounds since then.
You can pay $40 for the first month and then continue only if you like it. The basic program is only 12 weeks long so it's $120 to complete the program. However, I have found it so helpful I pay $9.95 per month to keep extending my membership and participating in the forums, chats, using the hunger coach, and re-working the workbooks, until I've lost all my excess weight and am sure I can maintain for several months.
For me, I have saved so much money that I would have wasted overeating, that continuing until I don't want or need support is a no-brainer.
SW 8/1/08 229.
| current weight: 153.0