If it feels like you’re constantly trying to lose weight, only to have your efforts fail, it’s time to rethink your weight loss program. An effective regimen needs to do more than help you drop pounds, it should also promote habits that you can incorporate into your lifestyle. Each person has their own individual preferences and needs when it comes to eating and dieting. Check out some of the top weight loss programs so you can find a plan that’s right for you.
Best Overall: WW (Weight Watchers)
WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers, is a points-based program scientifically proven to help adherents change their eating behaviors. Dieters like WW because it gives them a measure of control over the foods they eat, including access to treats. Its newest program, myWW, continues the 50+ year old company’s flexible, holistic approach to food and wellness, while offering different levels of engagement from digital-only access to personalized coaching. Proponents of WW love the multiple options for weight loss support, like in-person meetings and enthusiastic online communities, as well as the one-of-a-kind Wellness Wins program that rewards members for healthy habits.
Best Value: MyFitnessPal
MyFitnessPal is a free app and website that offers suggested calorie and nutrient goals based on the user’s activity level and weight loss goals. Users find MyFitnessPal easy to use and appreciate all the options to customize the app to their needs, such as calculating nutrients for frequently-used recipes, synching the app with their favorite fitness tracker, or researching the macros of seemingly every food and dish in existence. Need a nudge? You can also add friends on the app for additional support. A premium ad-free upgrade boasts additional features for the truly devoted tracker.
Best Plan for the Tech-Friendly Dieter: Noom
Noom is a paid weight loss program popular with dieters who want to use technology to advance their weight loss efforts. The convenience of having a single mobile app to track food and exercise, look up recipes, and receive support and weight loss counseling makes Noom a good fit for tech-savy dieters who want a comprehensive approach to losing weight--including those who aren’t Millennials (the target Noom audience). Dieters love that no food is off limits, and that the behavioral and social elements of eating are considered as part of creating healthier habits.
Best Diet to Kickstart Your Weight Loss: The Mayo Clinic Diet
Users of the Mayo Clinic Diet love that this program combines a short plan with a large initial weight loss with a long-term plan to permanently change their lifestyle. The program’s intro period boasts a lower calorie count that shocks the body into losing weight so that users are motivated to continue the plan. Program participants like that this diet encourages new habits that promote a healthy, sustainable diet.
Best Program for Time-Crunched Dieters: Nutrisystem
The Nutrisystem program is a hit with dieters who find themselves short on time. Your meals and snacks come prepackaged; all you need to do is heat and eat. You’ll appreciate having a controlled menu that requires minimal food prep. Users also like having the option to customize their program’s food to their tastes and dietary needs, and the fact that food is delivered right to their doorsteps.
Best Diet for the Carb Lover: The Atkins Diet
Dieters who have trouble limiting their consumption of unhealthy carbs often find success with the Atkins plan, a low carb weight loss program. Proponents of the Atkins plan state that it’s easy to follow, reduces their cravings, and eliminates the hunger often associated with dieting. Oh, and that the pounds often drop ridiculously fast on a diet that includes bacon. Fans like that you don’t have to limit your protein consumption, and that carbs are eventually reintroduced (unlike Keto which is 80% fat, forever). You can also purchase prepackaged Atkins shakes, bars, and meals that adhere to the plan.
Best Program If You Enjoy Large Meals: Intermittent Fasting
If you aren’t a fan of breakfast or if you prefer large meals, intermittent fasting is an excellent fit for your eating schedule. Intermittent fasting requires you to eat your meals during a designated 8-hour window that you select based on your schedule. Though hunger pangs are common at first, follows of intermittent fasting find that their body quickly gets used to the program’s eating window. And although some proponents also follow restrictive diets (low carb is a popular IF companion), others swear they find weight loss success eating whatever they want as long they stick to the time limit.
Best Program If You Have High Blood Pressure: The DASH Diet
If you need to lose weight and address specific health problems, like hypertension or high cholesterol, the DASH diet can help you accomplish both of these goals. Followers of the DASH diet lower their blood pressure and bad cholesterol while raising their good cholesterol levels and their overall sense of wellness. The plan encourages a lot of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains while limiting foods high in saturated fat.
Best Diet If You Need Lots of Support: Jenny Craig
The Jenny Craig weight loss program combines the popularity of prepackaged meals (plus additional fresh fruits and veggies) with the support of a one-on-one consultant. Followers of the Jenny Craig program love the accountability offered by their consultant. If you get off track or have a bad week, your consultant will help and support you so that you get back on the plan as quickly as possible. And believe it or not, many people really like the food, especially the frozen options.
Best Program for Optimal Brain Health: The MIND Diet
Though many dieters experience weight loss with the MIND diet, the eating plan was originally designed to decrease the age-related decline in brain health and lower your likelihood of suffering from dementia. Foods rich in antioxidants and healthy fats are encouraged, while foods high in fat or sugar are limited (think whole grains, leafy greens, berries, nuts, olive oil, fish, poultry--classic Mediterranean fare). Followers of the MIND diet find that it’s relatively easy to make the plan’s eating guidelines a lifestyle, especially since there are no caloric restrictions and the upside (neurological vitality) is so compelling.