So many diets and books try to scare people into making healthier choices by telling them what diseases they will get if they don't make better choices. Dr. Ornish's approach focuses on the joy of living that can be achieved by eating better, becoming more active and learning to manage stress. Which approach is more motivating to you?
Well, all I know is that I still remember how Susan Powter used to yell at people on tv, on the cover of books, etc. She ordered people like me to stop eating whatever it was we were eating and eat loaves of bread! I gained weight instantly. Also, she smokes cigars, is an alcoholic and had a lot of plastic surgery done! So, what was the point in yelling her stupid advice at me? I know that in my life, I prefer a positive approach.
It sounds to me as though a positive approach geared to the individual's needs is just the right motivation style. I respond much better to someone telling me "you CAN do it" rather than telling me "do it better!" I like the idea of learning how to take care of myself because it feels good and is good for me, and not because there is something wrong with me now. It is this kind of positive energy that keeps me going to yoga; I CAN improve in yoga at my own pace and in my own way. Other sports (like Muay Thai, which I also take) don't allow for that kind of personal growth. I enjoy yoga much more because of that, and in comparison, am certain to enjoy a diet regimen that is positive and encouraging more than one which scaremongers or demeans me.
There is a place for hard accountability, but if you can get people to feel a little better and then relate that feeling to a healthy action they were able to take, I think that is going to be very effective.