Do you wish you could drop a few pounds, perhaps lose some stubborn fat, and ultimately look trim and healthy? If so, you're hardly alone. The desire for substantial weight loss is close to universal, and often, it can seem close to unattainable. One way to make real progress toward your weight loss goals is by recognizing that you can't do it alone. To see results, and to enable sustainable lifestyle change, you may need the help of a credible weight loss program.
Luckily, there are a number of weight loss programs to choose from. Of course, these work best when you combine nutritional guidelines with regular cardio and personal training, and perhaps even use a fitness tracker to monitor your progress. You may even consider weight-loss supplements.
To help you get started, here's a guide to some of the best weight loss programs available today, as chosen by the ACTIVE Reviews Team.
Why Trust Us?
ACTIVE.com's editorial team relies on the knowledge and experience of fitness and wellness experts including competitive athletes, coaches, physical therapists, nutritionists, and certified trainers. This helps us ensure the products we feature are of the highest standard. Collectively, the team has spent countless hours researching equipment, gear, and recovery tools in order to create the most accurate, authentic content for our readers. Customer satisfaction is also a key part of our review process, which is why we only feature products that are highly rated. More importantly, each member of our team is a fitness enthusiast. Fitness may be our job, but it is also our passion. Therefore, we strive to bring you products that we trust and would personally use.
The Best Weight Loss Programs - Our Top Picks
By clicking on the product links in this article, we may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader. Read full affiliate disclosure Here.
- Featured Pick: Weight Watchers
- Best Customizable Weight Loss Program Profile
- Best Low Carb Weight Loss Program: Freshly
- Best Raw Food Weight Loss Program: MetPro
- Best Educational Weight Loss Program: Noom
- Best Plant-Based Weight Loss Program: Cronometer
- Best Techy Weight Loss Program: Lumen
- Best Vegetarian Weight Loss Program: Diet-to-Go
What to Look for When Shopping for Weight Loss Programs
Weight loss programs work in many different ways, and there isn't necessarily one "correct" approach. It's more about what approach works best for you and your specific goals. With that said, there are certainly a few characteristics we've found that effective weight loss programs tend to have in common.
A few examples include:
- A focus on sustainable behavior changes, as opposed to short-term fixes
- Safety, including advice about if and when to discuss weight loss goals with your doctor
- Credibility (e.g., input from registered dieticians)
- Clear expectations for reasonable outcomes
- Emphasis on consistent exercise and sound nutrition
- Encouragement to self-monitor your progress
Featured Pick - Weight Watchers
How it Works: Weight Watchers is one of the longest-running, successful, and most acclaimed weight loss programs in the country. It's not hard to see why: The program encourages simple yet substantial lifestyle changes that can be easily sustained, including self-monitoring, an emphasis on sensible meal-planning, and a balance between discipline and flexibility. The new PersonalPoints program provides individualized plans, allowing you to continue enjoying foods you love (think ice cream, burgers, etc.) while still keeping tabs on caloric and nutrient intake.
Also note that Weight Watchers has advanced considerably in recent years, and now offers an incredible app experience to help you log your meals and connect with other program participants. Choose from three different plans, all available at different price points, which offer a variety of perks like unlimited 1:1 coaching and in-person meetings.
- Highly personalized approach
- Emphasis on sensible nutrition and meal prepping
- Great app experience; user-friendly
- Easy ways to connect with other participants
- Allows for some fun and flexibility
- Requires you to be consistent with logging and tracking what you eat
- Takes a little set-up time for your personalized program to be ready
- Amount of information on the app may be overwhelming to some
Best Customizable Weight Loss Program – Profile
How it Works: Profile is one of the most endlessly customizable weight loss programs around, offering numerous ways to match your plan with your health considerations, lifestyle, and weight loss goals. Your personalized meal plan may include a combination of meal replacement, whole foods, and ready-made meals, depending on your preferences. The meal replacement options are tasty and appealing, with a range of flavors to choose from. And as you progress, your meal plans may receive ongoing revision from credible doctors and dieticians.
- Extremely customizable
- Wide range of meal replacement and ready-made meal options
- Bars and shakes are tasty and satisfying
- Insight from licensed physicians and nutrition experts
- The app experience is just so-so
- Requires a real commitment to your personal nutrition plan
Best Low Carb Weight Loss Program – Freshly
How it Works: There are many approaches to weight loss, and each of them can potentially prove effective. If you're looking for a plan that minimizes carb intake (and emphasizes fat and protein intake), Freshly is your best bet. With this plan, you can map out an entire month's worth of healthy, delicious, carb-light meals. Those meals are prepared and shipped to your home, where all you have to do is heat them up and enjoy. Eat and repeat and cancel whenever you want. Not only can this be a great way to lose weight, but it's also a really convenient option for folks who don't have a lot of time to cook homemade, low-carb meals.
- Very convenient
- Meals are tasty and healthy
- Lots of variety on the menu, and you can pick the things you like or don't like
- Higher price point
- Costs compound if you're getting meals for your spouse or your whole family
Best Raw Food Weight Loss Program – MetPro
How it Works: MetPro's claim to fame is its depth of research into metabolic behavior. Simply put, they create a profile of how your specific metabolism works and develop a fitness plan around that metabolism. This plan includes fitness and lifestyle coaching, as well nutritional guidelines that emphasize raw food. Not sure what we mean by raw food? Think of anything that's not processed or pre-cooked like nuts, veggies, fruit, seeds, sprouted grains, and more. It's a science and data-driven model that's especially recommended for athletes. An example of a meal with this program is shrimp and veggie pasta, so you're still able to enjoy yummy foods while also eating healthier.
- Personalized to your metabolic profile
- Science- and data-driven
- Incorporates nutritional as well as lifestyle coaching
- Excellent choice for athletes
- Requires a really high level of commitment (can be difficult to cut processed foods out completely)
- Higher price point
- Not the best bet for those seeking something more flexible
Best Educational Weight Loss Program – Noom
How it Works: Weight loss isn't merely about eating right and exercising. It's also about changing your entire psychological relationship with food. The Noom app recognizes that and seeks to aid you in that process by helping to educate and inform you about the connections between food, stress, and boredom. The program includes fitness tracking tools and personalized daily lessons to help you make sustainable lifestyle changes. That way, you're not just losing weight but potentially managing stress better, too.
- Emphasis on weight loss and stress reduction
- Personalized lessons
- Great app for logging meals, exercise, etc.
- Highly personalized
- Focus on long-term change
- Not as recommended if you're looking for prepared meals, meal replacement, etc.
- Requires a little time spent with the app each day
Best Plant-Based Weight Loss Program – Cronometer
How it Works: Looking for a way to improve your diet, focusing specifically on plant-based eating? Cronometer may be the best option. This app allows you to track nutritional needs, exercise, and biometrics, all while encouraging you to develop healthy, nutrient-balanced eating habits. Reports and charts make it easy for you to make data-driven decisions about what you put into your body. And with custom diet settings, you can input whether you're a vegetarian, vegan, or simply eating a keto-based diet.
- Excellent option for plant-based diets
- Emphasis on nutrient-rich eating
- Lots of valuable charts and metrics to inform your decision-making
- Very easy to get started in the app
- Not quite as flexible or casual as other options
- More focused on nutrition than exercise
Best Techy Weight Loss Program – Lumen
How it Works: Do you think of yourself as pretty tech-savvy? If so, Lumen is a savvy and sophisticated weight loss option. This app places a wealth of information in the palm of your hand, empowering you to make wise decisions about your lifestyle. The app is synced with a metabolic tracking device, which you carry with you to ensure up-to-date, personal information. Similar to a fitness tracker, the real-time tracking features include activity, eating, sleep, and more.
- Tons of real-time tracking features
- Compact, low-profile device
- A wealth of information contained in the app
- Highly personalized
- Not recommended if you're less than tech-savvy
- Not recommended if you're looking for prepared meals or meal replacement
- Less geared toward athletes
Best Vegetarian Weight Loss Program - Diet-to-Go
How it Works: Diet-to-Go is a medical weight loss program that ships chef-prepared meals to your home each and every week, making it incredibly simple and convenient for you to eat right. And, if you want a way to lose weight while also adhering to a vegetarian lifestyle, this is definitely a viable option. Diet-to-Go meals are yummy, nutrient-rich, totally personalized (so those with restrictions or on a vegetarian diet can input these specifications), and ready to heat-and-eat in mere minutes.
- Very convenient
- Great vegetarian options
- Delicious, chef-prepared meals
- Higher price point
- Less emphasis on working out
FAQs About Weight Loss Programs
What is the most effective weight loss program?
While we consider Weight Watchers to be the first among equals, the reality is that the most effective weight loss program is going to vary from person to person. It's important to seek a credible, sensible weight loss program that aligns with your specific lifestyle and your goals.
What weight loss program do doctors recommend?
Our list includes a number of weight loss programs that emphasize a balance between sensible eating and consistent exercise, along with realistic expectations about weight loss results. These are all in line with medical recommendations.
Are weight loss programs worth the cost?
Ultimately, this is something you have to decide for yourself. However, through consistent adherence to a weight loss program, you can certainly see real, potentially life-changing results.