Best Weight Loss ProgramsReviewAdvice

Best Weight Loss Program for 2016

We review the best weight loss programs and reveal our top picks

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Best Diet Plan

Losing weight is a difficult task, but finding the best weight loss program can help by bringing a method to the madness. If you're one of the 50+ million Americans who go on a diet each year, you no doubt want to figure out the best way to shed those extra pounds. You have plenty of company - weight loss research firm Marketdata Enterprises says dieting is a $64 billion per year industry (according to Fortune).

Conventional wisdom maintains that eating healthily and exercising are the best way to achieve results. For those who need structure to this concept in order to stick to it, there are several weight loss programs that take that simple notion of eating right and exercising and tailor it to individual needs. I've reviewed the best weight loss programs in order to help you find a personalized plan that works for you.

Best Weight Loss Programs: What to Consider

With so many Americans struggling with weight issues, it's not surprising that there are weight loss programs and miracle pills around every corner. According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), two-thirds of adults in the United States are either overweight or considered clinically obese. Aside from the emotional ramifications of this epidemic, weight problems also lead to health issues like diabetes and heart disease.

The best weight loss plans help you lose around one or two pounds each week.

There are so many proposed solutions that do not work that it is easy to feel cynical whenever the subject of weight loss programs is brought up. There are, however, plans which can help you stay on track, as long as you follow some basic guidelines. If you are looking for an ideal weight loss program here are a few factors to think about:

  • Beware of crash diets and rapid weight loss claims. Steer clear if a product or a program claims to be able to help you lose extreme amounts of weight in a short amount of time. The best weight loss plans help you lose around one or two pounds each week. This is the maximum recommended amount in order to lose the weight and keep it off. Crash diets will cause you to lose weight temporarily and then gain it all back.
  • Look for accountability. Having someone checking your progress can motivate you to stick to healthy eating.
  • Look for organization. A program that helps you to check in or keep track of progress can make a difference.
  • Don't just diet, develop a healthy lifestyle. A diet is temporary, but a program that teaches you how to eat healthy can have lasting effects.

In other words, common sense and a goal-oriented, supportive structure are the best tools at your disposal when it comes to deciding on the best diet plan for you.

What About the Food on the Best Weight Loss Diets?

It's natural if your main concern is what the food will be like on the top weight loss programs. After all, that's going to be the most challenging part of sticking to your new lifestyle. Take the following into consideration when doing your comparison of the best weight loss meal plans:

1. Prepackaged or Self-Prepared?

Maybe you want everything ready to go and easily assimilated into your busy life, such as with a meal delivery weight loss program. Or you might prefer the flexibility of preparing meals yourself. Take into account the transition to normal eating once you've lost the weight and no longer wish to pay for pre-made meals and whether you'll have support for that time period.

2. Is the Food Practical?

You want to be sure that you choose the best diet plan for your budget and lifestyle. Are the recommended foods affordable and readily available? Will they require complicated, time-consuming preparation?

3. Will You Feel Too Deprived?

Some weight loss meal plans involve strict rules about what you can and cannot eat. Are you the kind of person who finds this kind of regimen helpful, or do you need the occasional indulgence to keep from binging?

4. What's Your Gender?

Yes, everyone should eat healthily, however women sometimes have different nutritional needs than men. For example, the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians) reports that while just 2% of men suffer from iron deficiency anemia, between 9% and 20% of women have this issue. Make sure you choose the best weight loss program for women if you struggle with this problem.

What Is the Best Weight Loss Program?

With so many commercial weight loss programs and diet plans promising to help you shed those excess pounds it's often challenging to weigh your options (no pun intended). When it comes down to it, body type, genetics, and your personal background play a significant role in your ability to gain or lose weight. I've put together a few helpful reminders to keep in mind when choosing the best weight loss program for you.

...'get skinny quick' gimmicks are not healthy or effective for managing your weight - especially in the long-term.

Credibility Comes First

One of the most important factors to take into account is the program's credibility. Has it been put together by a team of registered dieticians and other professionals within the field, to whom you'd be comfortable entrusting your health? If you've never heard of the company or are skeptical about the program, do your research first. There have been a number of weight loss scams and pills in the news recently for their dangerous side effects. One-in-particular is the weight-loss pill DNP. Although it has been banned by the FDA it has somehow resurfaced on the internet and become available for purchase; even touted alongside testimonials. This type of unscrupulous misrepresentation is all-too-common on the weight loss market.

If you're unsure about trying a program, consult your personal physician first. They'll be better able to advise you on the proper strategies for managing your weight and/or adopting a new loss regimen.

Let's Get Real - "Lose 30 Pounds in One Week Without Exercising"?

Ever heard the saying, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?" Well, there's a reason this adage is echoed time and time again. These types of 'get skinny quick' gimmicks are not healthy or effective for managing your weight - especially in the long-term. Even if you are able to quickly drop the pounds with a magic little pill, consider the damage you're doing to your organs with the chemical-laden supplements.

Online or In-person Support

For an individual struggling to get a handle on their weight, having a support system is sometimes the key to follow-through. But what if you can't rely on friends and family? Many commercial weight loss programs come with online and in-person support to help keep you on track, answer questions, or just act as a support system when those late night cravings kick in! Weight Watchers, one of the top rated weight loss programs on my list, has both of these features plus a number of customizable tools to monitor your progress.

Longevity, Longevity, Longevity

As I mentioned earlier, a quick fix is not a great solution for keeping the weight off in the long run. Pick a weight loss program you foresee yourself sticking to for more than just a few weeks. Gauge the reviews from other users to see if it's a practical option for your lifestyle.

If it's not already, place your health at the top of your priority list. If you don't think you have the tools or education to adopt better eating habits, a more consistent exercise routine, and/or make lifestyle changes on your own, a weight loss program may be the right course of action for you.

The Best Diet Plans

Weight Watchers Review

  • Pros
  • Well-established program
  • Online and in-person support
  • Offline accountability groups
  • Educational tools teach you how to eat healthy
  • Easy to use calorie counting system
  • Cons
  • Sign-up fees if you don't purchase three-month plan

Weight Watchers is one of the best known names in nutritional dieting services. They claim to be a weight loss diet plan that can help you lose weight while eating some of your favorite foods like ice cream, steak, and pasta. They do this by taking the idea of calorie counting and simplifying it to a less tedious and easy to follow point system.

The reason that Weight Watchers is so successful could be because it is not so much a diet as it is a nutritional lifestyle change. The resources the site has to offer teach you how to shop, prepare and buy foods that you like while showing you how to moderate. They also provide you with motivational material, recipe ideas and grocery shopping lists to help you along the way.

Weight Watchers offers both a flexible online plan that you can follow from your smartphone or tablet, and in-person meetings. Signing up is initially free but you will notice an asterisk next the word free that deserves some investigation. You can avoid sign-up fees for the online plan by buying a three-month savings plan. Although there are some fees and costs to membership, the service, support and accountability you get seems to be well worth it.

The fact that Weight Watchers teaches you how to lead a healthy lifestyle with real food rather than having you buy diet food puts this program at the top of my list of the best diet plans.

Slimming World USA Review

  • Pros
  • Competitive pricing
  • Online and support forums
  • Educational tools teach you how to eat healthy
  • No pills or diet food
  • Cons
  • Limited info about calories

Slimming World is a commonly known weight loss program in the UK, and is now spreading to the United States. The program employs the philosophy that teaching you how to eat real healthy food works better than pills or strange diet food. They combine healthy eating and exercise to facilitate lasting weight loss.

Like Weight Watchers, they follow the basic principle of encouraging foods that are satisfying and offer nutritional values rather than just empty calories. Unlike Weight Watchers, they do not require you to count calories or rate foods on a number system. They call the satisfying, nutritional foods Free Food (like pasta, lean meat, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables) because you can eat it to your satisfaction.

As a member you get access to their Food Optimising Program, online tools to help you track your progress, and help and advice through their support forum. They have two subscription packages: silver for $30 and Gold (which comes with three extra books) for $50.

Slimming World USA is a supposedly tried and true method in the UK that is now available in the US and Canada. Their methods are reminiscent of Weight Watchers with a few added twists. Again, I found the emphasis on real, fresh food to be a big plus, earning Slimming World recognition as a valuable weight loss plan.

Nutrisystem Review

  • Pros
  • Live chat
  • Customizable plans
  • Competitive pricing
  • Support from online counselors
  • Easy food delivery system
  • Cons
  • Limited educational resources to help you transition to regular food

Nutrisystem is a major name in diet plans.You may have seen ads with big celebrity spokespeople like Dan Marino and Marie Osmond touting its virtues. It is true that Nutrisystem is a nutritional meal plan service but it offers many other unique features.

You can get started by going with their simple meal plan if you want to quickly get into a weight loss program, or you can answer a questionnaire to have a program tailored for your metabolic needs. Then you can customize the plan even further for an even more personalized program. They also offer plans that are customized for men, women, and people with diabetes.

Unlike other meal plan programs, Nutrisystem offers a unique guide to fitness as well as nutrition. You can get a personalized workout program based on your level of fitness and exercise experience.

Within each specific category (men, women, and diabetics) there are three plans each with distinct pricing. Each plan comes with meals for 28 days.

  • The Basic package for $10.36 a day comes with pre-selected meals.
  • The Core plan for $11.07 a day comes with a selection of food that you customize.
  • The Select package, at $12.86 a day, allows you to choose their widest variety of food.

Nutrisystem is one of the best known meal plans for a reason. Their food comes in wide varieties and their pricing is competitive. However, meal plans typically only work while you are ordering the food and sticking to the plan. Even so, I recommend this option as one of the best meal plans for weight loss if you have a busy lifestyle and need everything ready to eat.

Diet-to-go Review

  • Pros
  • Easy food delivery system
  • Three menus to choose from
  • Vegetarian options
  • Live chat and good support
  • Cons
  • Limited educational resources to help you transition to regular food

Diet-to-go caters to the person who wants to lose weight but doesn't want to prepare their own food. Just choose a meal plan and have the food come directly to your door. They have three different menu types to choose from including traditional, vegetarian and low-carb options. If you aren't sure which plan is right for you, you can use their live chat or phone number for assistance. You can also fill out a free diet analysis to help you determine your ideal goals.

If you'd like to eat fresh food rather than packaged or frozen meals, Diet-to-go offers fresh market options in select cities. You can stop by and pick up never frozen items for a fresh market taste. Their basic idea is that a diet plan is easier to stick to when you have Diet-to-go as your personal chef helping you along the way.

Diet meal plans don't always work for everyone who tries them because as soon as you stop paying to have meals delivered, the weight may come back. However, Diet-to-go points out that the cost of ordering their food is about the same as buying and preparing your own food and cheaper than dining out. So there shouldn't be too much of a financial burden when it comes to purchasing ongoing meal plans.

You will have to learn how to eat healthy on your own if you ever want to stop buying the meal plans. I found few educational resources available on the site, although there are a few helpful articles in their blog section.

Bistro MD Review

  • Pros
  • Plenty of online support
  • Easy food delivery system
  • Competitively priced
  • Customizable plans
  • Cons
  • Limited educational resources to help you transition to regular food

BistroMD is a weight loss meal plan that gives you a choice of healthy food to be delivered directly to your door. This meal plan stands out with its interesting origin story. The company was founded by Ed and Caroline Cederquist, a food enthusiast and an M.D. respectively. They bring their passions together to work towards their goal to make food that is healthy and delicious.

You begin the process by choosing five or seven days of meals from their menus. You can choose between two plans specifically tailored for men and women. Once you've made your choices you can order by phone or online. You can also choose to add a snack program for those in-between-meal urges.

As a member, you can take the weight loss meal plans that are put together by dieticians and customize them to suit your specific needs. However, there are no contracts so you can cancel at any time.

BistroMD's meal plans are fairly competitively priced. The 5 day program costs $149.95 per week and the 7 day program is $175.95 per week. Both plans come with a discounted first week at $99.

Again, good nutritional meal plans are a great resource but lasting weight loss can typically only be achieved if you continue to order the food or if you learn healthy eating practices aside from simply eating what is sent to you.

Cost of the Best Weight Loss Plans

I'm sure you knew this part was coming - if you choose to go with one of the top diet plans, including online weight loss programs, the many benefits do come with a price. Below, I've outlined a few things to keep in mind when it comes to the costs associated with losing weight on a plan:

  • Does the company offer different program options? Sometimes you can choose a higher or lower tier depending upon your budget and support needs.
  • Are there hidden fees that may come up throughout your time on the plan? Read all of the terms so that you know exactly what you'll be paying, whether that's just a monthly fee, food costs, or other expenses such as supplements.
  • How long will you have to be on the program to meet your goal? Be sure the costs fall within your budgetary constraints for the entire time period you'll need to lose the desired amount of weight.

My analysis of the top weight loss programs showed that costs can vary wildly from plan to plan. For example, research out of Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School found that Weight Watchers is the most cost-effective for the results produced, at an average of $377 per year. A popular prepackaged meal plan, however, fell onto the high end of the spectrum at over $2500.

That said, each individual has their own preferences, needs, and budget, making it helpful to review my list of the top 5 weight loss programs before making a decision.

More About the Best Diet Plans

Most people start out on a weight reduction program because they want to look and feel better. There are many residual effects of reaching your weight goals, however, making the endeavor a highly worthwhile one.

To find out the additional benefits you will reap from following through with the best diet plan for you, read all about How Losing Weight Will Improve Your Life. From financial savings via better health to an increased sense of self-confidence, you'll find motivation and inspiration in this practical guide.

Best Weight Loss Program Recap

Everyone is different and certain programs will work for some but not others. Find a program that helps you lose that weight and keep it off. Since exercise is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle, you may also want to check out the best fitness programs.

When taking on a new health regimen, your doctor may also suggest supplements to make sure you're getting complete nutrition. I recommend choosing one of the best vitamin stores as a useful resource for the journey to a better you.

Best Weight Loss Program FAQs

Is it possible to balance a hectic schedule and proper nutrition?

It may be hard to balance a hectic schedule and still find time to make health-conscious decisions. However, a healthy physique is not impossible. A good way to do this is by having healthy meals readily available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This means either making time the night before to prepare meals for the next day or waking up early in the morning to get everything set up.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should not be skipped if you want your metabolism to work for you instead of against you. Something as simple as a bowl of oatmeal and a piece of fruit (i.e., an apple or banana) will suffice. Eating small snacks throughout the day will help you fight cravings. Again something small but filling like a high-fiber snack or lean protein. The best part about preparing meals in advance is that they serve as backup if your schedule changes last-minute and you're crunched for time.

How can I prevent overeating?

Overeating may sound like a hard thing to do, but at the end of the day it's pretty simple. First things first, you always want to eat a nutritious breakfast. You should try to consume at least 250 calories in the morning. By doing so, not only will it delay the onset of hunger when lunch time rolls around but it will give you lasting energy to accomplish your morning tasks! Eating a late breakfast (around 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.) will help fill you stay full until later in the day.

Make sure you have a balanced meal every four to five hours to satisfy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you need to have a snack between any of these meals try to limit it to 150 calories. Be sure to include plenty of fiber in your diet because it helps regulate your digestive system and keeps you full longer than empty calories. Protein is another source of energy used to build muscle and preserve a lean body mass.

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In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.

Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.