Best Weight Loss Programs
Finding the right diet is like to going on a long road trip: Everyone wants to get there quickly, but losing weight is a journey, not a destination. Along the way you'll learn a lot about yourself, and what you discover en route could ultimately be more fulfilling, rewarding and even enjoyable than better-fitting skinny jeans.
Experts agree that the more tools and guidance you have on this journey, the smoother your trip will be. Some weight loss programs offer services like in-person coaching, full meal plans, prepackaged foods and online support. By considering the different programs, you can find the program that works best with your current lifestyle. Once you've found the right plan, commit to it. You’ll get back as much as you put into it.
Compare Reviews for Top Weight Loss Programs
Read 3282 Reviews
Provides meal and snack weight loss programs with food to be eaten every 2–3 hours. Over 100 menu items. Prices start at $10.18–$13.93/day. Also offers special plans for men and diabetics.
|WW (Weight Watchers)||Read 2007 Reviews|
Features 3 weight loss program options that track your food and weight. Pricing starts around $3.30/week. App allows you to access 4,000 recipes, 24/7 advice and inspiration from a community that shares your interest.
Read 304 Reviews
Offers meal plans that feature over 100 healthy menu options and a dedicated consultant to provide support and encouragement. For an average price of $20/day, you’ll receive 3 meals and 2 snacks to eat every 2–3 hours.
Read 376 Reviews
Provides fitness, weight loss and nutrition programs. On Demand membership starts at $8.95/month, featuring low- and high-intensity workouts, yoga, martial arts and dance exercises. The performance sampler kit is $19.95.
|Personal Trainer Food|
Read 120 Reviews
Features weight loss diet plans with home delivery for people on the go. Offers 3 nutritious restaurant-quality meal plans that cost $16–$19/day. Orders come in 14- or 28-day orders, delivered every 2 or 4 weeks.
Read 268 Reviews
Choose from 3 weight loss programs priced $329–$460/month. Plans come with protein-packed meals and snacks for every 2–3 hours, with an optional plan for healthy smoothies, shakes and bars.
Read 205 Reviews
Pick from 3 weight-management programs priced $119.05–$229.30. Products include nutritional meal replacement shakes, herbal tea concentrates and other supplements to support healthy lifestyles. 3-day trials for $11.95.
|BioSlim||Read 125 Reviews|
Offers weight loss formulas for adults and kids to supplement prescribed diets and exercise plans. Formulas contain all-natural ingredients with no harmful drugs. Prices start at $59.85 for complete kits and $12.50 for refills.
Read 24 Reviews
Features chef-prepared weight loss meal plans for men and women with options for 5-day and 7-day programs. Prices range $89.96–$134.96/week. Also includes options for gluten-free, diabetic and senior diets.
Read 83 Reviews
Recommends a diet 2 meal replacement shakes, smoothies, bars or cookies per day with 3 100-calorie snacks. Best results require you drink plenty of water and exercise daily. Product prices range $4.96–76.49.
|Provida Life Sciences|
Read 85 Reviews
Offers food and exercise programs for weight loss. The fat loss program promotes eating anything with proper proportions of proteins and carbs. The food program costs $119.94. Workout DVDs are $29.94 each.
|LA Weight Loss Center|
Read 266 Reviews
Pick from 3 weight loss plans that include breakfast meals, meal replacements, properly portioned snack bars and dietary supplements. Priced at $307.40–$438.25 per month, with 40–50% discounts for regular auto shipment.
|Metabolife||Read 9 Reviews||Out of Business|
Metabolife is a dietary supplement company that was founded in the early 1990s. The company offers products to aid in weight loss, as well as educational information and resources for its customers.
How weight loss programs work
Offer weight loss support
It can be difficult to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle if you don't have enough support and encouragement. Regularly corresponding with like-minded people can make your fat-loss journey easier and more productive, but what level of accountability and interaction do you want or need?
- Counseling and community: In-person group meetings typically meet at a community center or business on regular basis. Participants might engage in a group discussion, breakaway groups or one-on-one sessions with other members or program counselors. Some weight loss programs rely on internet-based forums and communities or mobile applications for meal planning, counseling, group interaction and support.
- Motivation and encouragement: Every person has different needs when it comes to what motivates them to succeed. Think about how you have met other important goals, or quit bad habits in the past. Would you be more likely to succeed using social media, in-person meetings with strangers or acquaintances, or expert counseling using text messaging, phone calls or email?
- Community demographics: What is the demographic of this program’s community? If you’re a college male and the community is middle-aged women who meet in person, you might feel out of place. Think about whether you will fit in with the community and whether that matters to you personally.
Help you create exercise and lifestyle changes
Some weight loss plans focus entirely on diet, but the best weight loss programs incorporate exercise directives and lifestyle strategies that naturally speed up your metabolism to help you lose weight.
- Fitness requirements: Look for a diet plan with activity or exercise requirements, suggestions or the ability to track your daily progress through an app.
- Lifestyle changes: A plan that emphasizes quality sleep, stress control and other tools that contribute to fat loss can help you improve your quality of life as you lose the pounds in a healthy manner and keep them off long-term.
- Personal preferences: Ask yourself whether you would find a plan's requirements enjoyable and sustainable, or if you would be miserable on it. Remember that pleasure is important for your success.
Provide guidance on food and nutrition
Many diet plans rely on meal-replacement shakes, bars or other snack type foods, while others rely on frozen entrees as a major part of your diet, like Medifast and Nutrisystem. Ask yourself if you want the bulk of your diet relying on prepackaged snacks, shakes or frozen meals, or if you prefer the flexibility of cooking your own meals or eating out frequently.
- Supplement programs: Some programs primarily market a dietary supplement, powder or other ingredient designed to block fat or promote feelings of fullness instead of hunger.
- Meal-replacement programs: Some weight loss programs rely primarily on meal-replacement products such as shakes, bars or other snacks.
Promote long-term sustainability
Some plans emphasize quick upfront results, but maintaining fat loss is just as important as losing it. Pick a plan that provides the tools and strategies you'll need to stay lean for the long haul, like Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers.
- Weight loss maintenance: The program should have a specific plan in place, with specific suggestions, guidance and support.
- Ability to continue plan: Think about factors like price, time requirements for meal planning and preparation, satisfaction and flexibility with your lifestyle.
- Ongoing fitness and support: Does the long-term plan provide an exercise plan, strategies to navigate specific obstacles and other tools to enhance permanent fat loss?
Help you eat a healthy diet every day
Consider a weight loss program’s overall approach to food. What will you be eating every day? Does the meal plan react poorly with your food allergies or intolerances? Does the program cater to your special dietary needs, for example, if you are vegan or diabetic? If most (or even some) of the foods are not enjoyable to you, within your budget or readily available, you're going to find that plan tough to stick with.
Best weight loss programs for men
The good news for men is that they typically lose weight faster than women because of higher levels of testosterone and oxygen intake, which allows for easier muscle gains and fat loss.
Most experts don’t advise a diet plan that totally eliminates carbohydrates and dietary fat. Instead, look for a good balance of lean protein, slow-burning carbs and healthy fats when choosing a men’s weight loss program. Not unlike healthy diets created for women, healthy examples include:
- Lean protein: Grilled white meat (lean pork, chicken and turkey breast), fish, eggs, tofu, Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, beans, protein shakes and meal replacement bars.
- Slow-burning carbohydrates: Apples, bananas, cauliflower, whole grain pasta, whole wheat couscous and eggplant.
- Healthy fats: Plant-based oils (such as olive, soybean, vegetable and walnut oils), avocados, seeds, nuts and nut butters.
Best weight loss programs for women
Most weight loss programs are designed with busy, successful women in mind, especially those who have put on weight in recent years and want to get back into their pre-mom jeans. There are many options for weight loss plans for women in all stages of life, like:
- Pregnacy: New moms often struggle with shedding the excess pounds left over from pregnancy, and also have little discretionary time to spend on elaborate diet and meal plans. They may find a diet program especially helpful, especially one that saves time by taking the planning out of meals.
- Menopause: Women who have gone through menopause often begin to struggle with excess weight too, and so finding a professional diet plan helpful.
Losing weight is difficult for everyone, but for women it can feel like the odds are stacked against them. The general difficulties of maintaining a healthy lifestyle make losing weight a challenge for a lot of women. For women looking to stay on track while maximizing their efforts, weight loss plans are an excellent, convenient option.
Meal replacement bars for weight loss
Many meal replacement bars satiate hunger and cravings with a food most of us like to eat: chocolate. They deliver a set amount of calories and nutrients in one bar, which takes away the hassle of making a healthy meal, and are a convenient way to stay on track toward your goals.
There are different kinds of weight loss bars on the market, but when looking for the right one for you, make sure you’re reading the label. Here’s the short list of what the experts say to look for when reading the label on meal bars or nutrition bars:
- 10+ grams of protein
- 4+ grams of fiber
- 30+ carbohydrates
- 8+ grams of unsaturated fat
- 300–400 calories
- Less than 4 grams of added sugars
- Less than 4 grams of saturated fat
Are meal replacement bars healthy?
As with many foods, there are healthy versions and ones that make promises they can’t deliver. Some bars that promise “pure protein” have the same nutritional value as a candy bar, so it’s important to research before purchasing. Rather than just counting calories, check out the actual ingredients; is it made up of real food? Skip protein bars for weight loss that include soy in favor of ones that use proteins that include leucine, valine and isoleucine. The protein, plus the fiber and fat, will be what plays a key role in keeping you full throughout the day.
The best times to eat meal replacement bars are hurried mornings when you’d otherwise skip breakfast and when you need a quick meal before exercising. It’s good to carry a meal replacement bar with you so that you don’t succumb to vending machine temptations when you get hungry without a salad in sight.
Types of weight loss programs
If you’re deciding what type of weight loss program is best for you, think about times that you successfully completed a goal in the past and try to remember what motivated you before. Do you need social support or prefer online forums? Also, ask yourself if you want the flexibility of cooking your own meals over the convenience of a pre-packed meal plan. Factor in time, convenience and cost when determining whether a diet plan's meals will work for you.
- In-person weight loss programs: These structured programs typically meet at a community center or brick-and-mortar business on a weekly or otherwise scheduled basis. Participants might engage in a group discussion, breakaway groups, or one-on-one sessions with other members or program counselors.
- Online weight loss programs: Some weight loss programs rely on Internet-based forums or communities or mobile applications for meal planning, counseling and/or group interaction and support.
- Customizable weight loss programs: Some programs are flexible and allow you to choose among many different diet plans, formulating one that works for your needs and preferences. These often require more homework but provide a more custom fit than one-size-fits-all programs.
- Meal-replacement programs: Some weight loss programs rely primarily on meal-replacement products such as shakes, bars or other snacks.
- Packaged meal programs: Many diet plans rely on meal-replacement bars, shakes, or other snack type foods. Still others rely on frozen entrees as a major part of your diet. Ask yourself if you are okay with a bulk of your diet relying on prepackaged snacks, shakes, or frozen meals, or if you prefer the flexibility of cooking your own meals or eating out frequently.
What to look for when choosing a weight loss program?
With so many fad diets and weight loss programs on the market right now, it can be easy to feel lost. All the diet programs claim to get results, and many of them do. What works for one dieter won’t always work for you and this makes finding the right diet plan that fits your physical, mental, social and financial needs a tricky process.
- Lifestyle fit: Figure out whether a plan is compatible with your lifestyle before committing. Some meal plans are very simple; others require more work. Think about how much time and planning goes into each weight loss program. Some people find that meal planning and preparation takes up too much time, while others enjoy planning meals and spending time in the kitchen.
- Diet restrictions vs. dietary needs: People with food allergies or sensitivities could find restrictive diet plans difficult or impossible to follow. Consider whether the diet plan features potentially allergenic or reactive foods, particularly if you plan to eat the same foods daily.
- Caloric intake: Some people need more calories because of metabolic issues or high activity levels, and low-calorie plans might be insufficient. While it is true that less calories usually means more weight loss, and it’s normal to feel hungry some of the time while dieting, some diet plans are too strict and leave you feeling uncomfortably hungry most of the time. Consider if a diet plan will keep you satisfied.
- Food preferences: Think about whether the foods on a given diet are things that you generally enjoy. If you hate eating greens, you won’t like a diet filled with salads; but if you have a sweet tooth, a diet that substitutes milkshakes for meals might be more your speed. Consider a diet's overall approach to food and ask yourself, realistically, if you can eat the foods on this plan more or less for the rest of your life? And will you enjoy the foods on a given diet plan, or if it will feel like a “diet” food that you won’t be able to stick with long-term?
- Accessibility to foods: Some diet plans ship foods straight to your door, while others require you to shop for very particular ingredients. Consider whether the food allowed on a particular diet will fit into your budget and be relatively easy to find at grocery stores.
Weight loss program expert reviews
Portioned meals and snacks delivered every four weeks starting at $9.40 a day. Plans are tailored for men or women and are vegetarian-friendly and diabetes-safe. Phone and online support is available.
Two programs feature home-delivered, 30-day, easy-prep, pre-packaged food kits. No refrigeration or freezing. Prices start at $299. Supplements optional. Food journal, guides, blender bottle included.
Diet meal delivery service sends high-protein, low-carb, flash-frozen meals to your door monthly, starting at $12 a day. Choice of three plans. For small freezers, delivery available every two weeks.
High-calorie meals are swapped for protein shakes while metabolism-boosting tea, vitamins and supplements are introduced to your diet. Three programs are available ranging from $119.05 to $229.30.
Two meals a day are replaced with protein and fiber-rich shakes, bars or cookies and combined with post-meal, low-calorie snacks. One week of shake mix starts around $7. Supplements also available.
Food and activity is digitally tracked starting at $4.22 a week with access to online recipes, a members-only community and 24/7 expert chat. In-person workshops and personal coaching is optional.
Members meet in-person with a consultant or receive one-on-one support via phone or video chat while portioned meals and snacks are home delivered for about $20 a day, plus the cost of enrollment.
Fitness, nutrition and support are combined in a comprehensive weight-loss program featuring workouts, meal plans and coaching. Stream or buy classes on DVDs, along with supplements, gear and apparel.
Herbal supplements are used in conjunction with food and activity plans. Adult kits are $89.85 for ages 13 and up. Youth kits for ages 7–13 are $59.85 and contain chewable tablets. Refills available.
Online weight-loss system that tracks intake, assesses foods and shows how to turn them into properly portioned fat-burning meals. Membership is $19.99 per month. Users eat every two to three hours.
Program combines pre-portioned breakfast meals with snack bars and your own modified diet. Monthly plans start at $307.40 and include a juice cleanse. Meal replacement shakes and supplements optional.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.