• To determine the best weight loss programs in 2024, we personally subscribed to seven top weight loss programs for two weeks each. During testing, we followed the program and participated in online member communities and coaching sessions.
  • We surveyed 600 customers of weight loss platforms and held a focus group interview with nine customers to learn more about their experiences
  • We gathered insights about healthy eating and weight loss from interviews with experts, including dietitians, nutritionists, and doctors.
  • We studied the connections between weight loss, physical health, and mental health through our focus groups and interviews with dietitians, nutritionists, and mental health experts.

Excessive weight and obesity are associated with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, as well as a range of psychosocial conditions such as depression and anxiety. Bringing your weight into a healthy range can lower your risk of all those conditions and improve your quality of life, but making permanent changes to eating and exercise habits is easier said than done—and weight loss programs can either help or hinder your progress.

That’s why our Handbook Team has researched and tested a number of programs to find out the potential benefits and if the program is worth the hundreds of dollars you’ll pay in annual membership fees. We’re here to provide unbiased information so you can make a knowledgeable decision for sustainable health.

Our best overall weight loss program: Noom

Noom is our top pick for the best overall weight loss program because it focuses on mental health and long-term weight loss maintenance. We also liked the compassionate, understanding tone used in their programming. Finally, their lesson plan makes tracking food easy to incorporate into your daily life.

1
Best overall
Focuses on mental health and psychological well-being.
Groups foods into categories based on nutrition.
Lesson plan makes tracking progress easy.

My picks of the best weight loss programs 

HelpGuide Handbook’s testing methodology for weight loss programs

of research
1000+   hours
of research
hand-tested
6   platforms
hand-tested
surveyed
600   people
surveyed
consulted
20   experts
consulted

Our Handbook Team members subscribed to seven top weight loss programs as mystery shoppers. During that time, we did the following:

Our Weight Loss Program Testing Process
1
Subscribe as a new member. Subscribe as a new member.
2
Download the app. Download the app.
3
Use the program to track food, activity, sleep, and weight. Use the program to track food, activity, sleep, and weight.
4
Follow weight loss advice included in the program. Follow weight loss advice included in the program.
5
Test food products and recipes. Test food products and recipes.
6
Contact customer support with questions. Contact customer support with questions.
7
Participate in online forums, coaching sessions, and workshops. Participate in online forums, coaching sessions, and workshops.
8
Explore the website for articles, recipes, and educational content. Explore the website for articles, recipes, and educational content.
9
Talk to other members for their experience. Talk to other members for their experience.

By becoming familiar with the websites and apps of each program and using them as a normal customer would, we were able to gain a detailed view of how easy (or hard) it was to follow the program in daily life.

Participating in online member communities and coaching sessions gave us insight into the type of support each program offered. And our focus groups and interviews with doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, and mental health experts helped us learn more about the connections between weight loss, physical health, and mental health.

One detail we focused on was the sustainability of each program. It’s vital that a successful weight loss program teaches you how to establish and maintain healthy habits for long-term weight loss, and not all companies are standouts at this skill.

From our tester

“There was a pattern in our research of people joining and losing weight, falling back into old patterns, regaining weight and coming back full circle.”

Our testing results, experiences of other customers compiled from interviews and surveys, and professional opinions of health experts have all informed the conclusions we’ve arrived at and share in this review of the best weight loss programs.

Learn more about our healthy living review methodology.

The Handbook

Healthy living, including a balanced diet and regular physical activity, is directly related to your mental health and overall wellness. Eating a well-balanced diet can help strengthen your bones and muscles, reduce symptoms of depression, and lower your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Physical activity can ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, enhance your thinking, learning, and judgment skills, and help you sleep better.

We understand that weight loss can be an emotional subject. It’s often fraught with negative feelings that can directly impact your healthy living journey. Research shows shame, self-criticism, and social comparison can make it difficult for us to manage our weight and regulate our eating habits. Some weight loss programs can even exacerbate these feelings. 

Our Handbook Team is here to offer our guidance and to help you find weight loss platforms that are supportive, positive, and fun to use.

Key Features to Look for in Weight Loss Programs
Educational tools. Educational tools.
Support by credentialed health professionals. Support by credentialed health professionals.
Easy-to-use app and website. Easy-to-use app and website.
Responsive coaches and customer service. Responsive coaches and customer service.
Program that supports positive, sustainable changes. Program that supports positive, sustainable changes.
No quick-fixes or restrictive diets. No quick-fixes or restrictive diets.

The relationship between weight loss and mental health is often overlooked. For some, weight loss can bring positive experiences of confidence and accomplishment. For others, weight loss can lead to feelings of anxiety, despair, and hopelessness. It is important to consider how your mental health can be affected as you embark on a weight loss journey.

Karin Evans, registered dietitian nutritionist at Top Nutrition Coaching

There are considerable mental health benefits associated with healthy eating. But we know that with so many weight loss programs out there, it can be hard to know which one to choose. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to share the best information about the tools available. We’re invested in helping you find a weight loss plan that’s safe and supportive.

Through surveys, hands-on testing, interviews, and insights from healthy living experts, we’ve formulated a strongly informed perspective that we’re sharing with you here.

If you’re affected by an eating disorder or experience patterns of disordered eating, we suggest talking to a dietitian, therapist, or counselor who specializes in eating disorders before you enroll in any weight loss program.

Compare the best weight loss programs

Program Starting monthly cost Services Key points Learn More
$17.50 App-based program; Food and activity tracking; Recipes; Coaching Program length: 1–12 months; Focus on mental health Visit Site
$33 Weekly meal plans; Customized training regimens Program length: 2, 4, or 6 months; App does list the calories you eat and burn Visit Site
$19.99 App and website; 6 meal plans; Recipes and shopping lists; At-home workouts Program length: 3 months; No calorie counting; Focus on education Visit Site
$138.99 Website and social media communities; Professional coaching with a registered dietician; Meal plan delivery; Community support Program length: weekly; Personalized menus; Competitive pricing Visit Site
$508.71 Website and app; Meal delivery; Weight loss program Program length: Monthly; 130+ menu options; Plans start at $12.14/day Visit Site
$38 Website and app; Food and activity tracking; Workout routines; Weekly health report Program length: 1, 3 and 6 months; Meal recommendations; Fasting timer; Water tracker Visit Site
$20 WW app and website; Online community; 24/7 coaching; Educational content and recipes Program length: 3 to 10 months; 3 different plan options Visit Site

The best weight loss programs reviews

Best overall: Noom

Best overall
Noom

My final verdict

Noom is a weight loss platform that includes food and health tracking, motivational lessons, coaching, and online communities to help you reach your weight goals. We liked the slower pace of this program compared to others, with a focus on learning more about your own weight loss journey rather than just setting a goal to reach a given size. The daily lessons emphasize setting realistic goals you can reach, celebrating small successes along the way, educating yourself on healthy habits, and getting more support when you need it.

In addition to the services offered with every Noom subscription, you can add the below extras. Prices of the add-ons varies depending on your personal plan:

  • Personal behavior coaching and 1:1 weekly sessions.
  • Custom meal plan.
  • Custom workout plan.
  • Body composition scale.

Noom coaches aren’t credentialed health professionals, so they can provide motivational support but not medical or nutrition advice. We had a hard time getting timely responses from both customer service and the coaches, and multiple testers found that the customer service chat wasn’t able to answer questions.

Nevertheless, we like that this program has a greater focus on mental health as an important part of weight loss than other programs we tested. Some of the lessons seemed elementary, but we enjoyed the upbeat tone and positivity.

Features

  • $17.50–$70 per month.
  • App-based program.
  • Food and activity tracking.
  • Recipes.
  • Daily lessons and tips for overall health and mental wellness.
  • Online communities for extra support.

Pros & cons

Pros Daily lessons focus on wellness, not weight loss. Overall tone is compassionate and understanding. Includes food and health tracking, motivational lessons, and coaching. Cons The app encourages daily weigh-ins. Returning to a previous lesson is challenging. Color-coded food system can lead to negative feelings about your food choices.

More insights from our tester

We found the daily lessons, which you complete in a prescribed order, to be very helpful. We especially enjoyed the short course on the psychology behind weight loss and how to establish healthy habits around eating, exercise, stress reduction, sleep, and staying motivated along the way.

We also appreciated the thoughtful approach and slower start of Noom compared to other weight loss programs. Rather than jumping into food tracking and daily weigh-ins, the app took us through lessons and questions centered on why we wanted to lose weight. On day two of the program, one tester shared the following feedback:

“I definitely sense a lot of patience coming from this program. I’ve wondered why they haven’t told me to log in meals or track water intake yet, and it’s because this program goes at a slower pace than what I’ve seen in other weight loss programs.”

Screenshot with Noom overview

An overview of the start of Noom

However, we didn’t like the rigid categorization of foods and the calorie limits placed on each one. Noom splits foods into three colors (green, yellow, and orange) based on nutrition and calorie content, and you get a certain calorie allotment for each category. Fruits and vegetables are generally listed as green, protein is in the yellow category, and high-calorie foods, like sweets and fats, are in the orange category.

This delineation of three categories is a better system than some programs like WW, for example, which lumps everything into a system of points without explaining the nutrition behind it. We did find the calorie limit that counts down with every food you eat to be anxiety-provoking, though. The Handbook Team doesn’t recommend this system for anyone with a history of eating disorders, as the laser focus on calorie intake could exacerbate disordered eating behaviors.

From our tester

“Although Noom states that foods shouldn’t be labeled as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ it does set up a system that separates foods. This encourages people to see them in a negative or positive light.”

Noom app showing food log and categories

Noom app showing food log and categories

Strict language regarding food intake can be risky for anyone who has a history of disordered eating or a negative relationship with food, both of which are common struggles for people who are overweight or obese.

Emily Norman, a registered dietitian with Pay It Forward Fertility, warns that this type of language is one of the red flags to avoid when shopping for a weight loss program. “A program should not make you feel shameful or guilty for your past food history, dietary recalls, or eating preferences,” she says.

Noom doesn’t provide any branded foods, which lowers the cost since those sold by other weight loss programs (such as Nutrisystem) tend to be pricey. We found the app hard to use to filter recipes according to preferences and meal type, but once we found recipes to try, we appreciated the easy ingredient list and instructions and enjoyed the final result.

Overall, we like Noom as a sustainable weight loss solution but don’t recommend it for first-timers because it doesn’t create the same educational foundation around weight loss as the Mayo Clinic Diet. We also don’t recommend it for those with a history of disordered eating

Best overall

Best for runners: Joggo

Best for runners
Joggo

My final verdict

Joggo is primarily geared toward runners rather than people looking to lose weight, but it offers a number of features that can be helpful for weight loss. It’s also one of the most affordable programs on the market.

Features

  • Personalized and easy-to-use running program based on your skill level and running goals.
  • Meal plan with recipes and shopping lists.
  • Educational content on running.
  • Daily tips to help you reach your goals.
  • The program is tailored to your specific health goal, whether that’s losing weight, improving your fitness, or running faster or longer distances.
  • Joggo offers three different program lengths that range between $33 to $66 per month.

Pros & cons

Pros Emphasizes behavioral change rather than calorie counts. Tailored running or walking program to your current ability. Plenty of educational resources, including injury prevention education. Cons Unrealistic goals set by the initial onboarding process. No thorough medical screening, coaching, or clinical support. Can’t log your own meals.

More insights from our tester

We would like to see some improvements with this program, though. We didn’t like how you couldn’t view shopping lists until each Sunday when the new week’s meal plan appeared in the app. It also didn’t allow us to retroactively enter food intake or running data, making our log inaccurate. Finally, we’d like more flexibility in the meal plans with the option to add extra foods or customize meals based on what’s in our pantry.

Best for beginners: Mayo Clinic Diet

Most customizable meal plans
Mayo Clinic Diet

My final verdict

The Mayo Clinic diet was developed by a team of doctors, dietitians, and psychologists as a way to teach people healthy habits with a 12-week program, enabling them to lose weight and keep it off for the long run. Clinical studies have found that this length of time is reasonable for participants to see changes in body weight and composition.

The program offers six meal plans that you can choose from based on your food preferences and health needs, including a low-carb plan and three gluten-free options. This is a huge plus for many people: Our survey of 600 weight loss program users found that 57 percent wanted a program that could help them with meal planning.

We recommend the Mayo Clinic Diet as a great weight loss option for anyone wanting to lose weight. It’s a particularly good choice for beginners but offers a wide range of solid benefits for everyone.

Features

  • $19.99–$39.99 per month.
  • App and website.
  • Customizable meal plans, recipes, and shopping lists.
  • Educational articles and videos.
  • At-home workouts.

Pros & cons

Pros The portion guide is simple and straightforward Meal planning is customizable A private Facebook group provides community Cons Snacking on only fruits and vegetables is challenging There’s a lack of guidance and support Suggested exercises could be more accessible

More insights from our tester

It can be hard to know what to eat and how much when you set out to lose weight, but the Mayo Clinic program provides plenty of help with that. It gives you a calorie level for weight loss built into your meal plan and recipes to go with it. Calorie levels vary greatly from person to person, but are based on factors such as age, gender, and activity level.

Meals for each day are listed in the app, and you simply check off each meal after you’ve eaten it rather than entering every food from that meal, as you would with most other food tracking apps.

The app also gives you a workout plan to follow with exercises you can do at home using little or no equipment.

Mayo Clinic Diet app workouts

Mayo Clinic Diet app workouts

We also like the easy-to-apply nutrition content in the app, such as the picture of what our plate should look like.

Another aspect we find helpful is the Habit Optimizer, a list that lets you see which healthy habits you’re establishing and which not-so-healthy ones you can change. Some of the habits to “break” are more realistic than others—nixing TV during meals is doable, but cutting out any snack that’s not a fruit or vegetable probably isn’t sustainable for most people.

Here are the habits to “make” and those to “break” on the plan:

  • Five to make: Eat a healthy breakfast, eat vegetables and fruit, eat whole grains, eat healthy fats, and move 30 minutes each day.
  • Five to break: Eating while watching TV, consuming sugar or alcohol, snacking (with the exception of vegetables and fruits), eating meat and dairy frequently, and dining out (unless a restaurant meal fits into your meal plan).
  • Five bonus habits: Eat ‘real food,’ keep food records, keep activity records, move 60 minutes each day, and write your daily goals.

One concern we do have is the first two weeks of the program, called Quick Start, designed to help you lose six to 10 pounds in the first two weeks. That’s more than the one to two pounds per week recommended by the USDA for sustainable weight loss.

But a person who is overweight and normally eats a high-carb standard American diet will likely lose that much weight in the first couple of weeks simply by following a healthier diet like one of the Mayo Clinic’s meal plans, which are naturally lower in carbs.

A change to a diet that’s lower in calories and carbs (even if the carbs aren’t low enough to switch your metabolism to ketosis) will result in lost water weight. After that, if you continue with the diet, you should begin to see fat loss as well.

Overall, we found the Mayo Clinic Diet to be an excellent balance of guidance from educational content, meal planning, and establishment of healthy habits, along with the flexibility to adjust your meal and exercise plan according to your preferences and goals.

From our tester

“This is a really good weight loss plan for total beginners or young folks who don’t have an education in nutrition, cooking, and staples of a healthy lifestyle.”

Best for meal variety: Diet-to-Go

Best for meal variety
Diet-to-Go

My final verdict

If you’re looking for a quick way to lose weight without having to count calories or cook meals, Diet-to-Go may be the option for you. It’s a very-low-calorie meal delivery service that brings meals right to your door and even includes dietitian-led coaching.

You’ll be assigned a calorie level based on your body mass index (BMI), a number that reflects your body’s ratio of weight to height. While not a perfect measure of health, BMI does give an estimate of where your body weight falls compared to the recommended weight for your height.

After receiving your calorie level, you’ll choose a meal plan from five options: Balance, Balance-Diabetes, Keto-Carb30, Mediterranean, and Vegetarian.

Meals arrive frozen and ready to reheat in the microwave or oven. Diet-to-Go meals received mixed reviews from our testers. For the most part, we weren’t impressed with the flavors or overall quality.

Features

  • Pre-cooked, frozen meals delivered based on the frequency you select.
  • Coaching by dietitians.
  • Facebook community.
  • Weekly meal plans range from $138.99 to $225.99 per week, depending on the number of meals or plan selected.

Pros & cons

Pros Convenient for those who don’t have time to cook. Variety of meal plan options. Food is pre-portioned. Cons Hard to maintain weight loss after going off the program. No app offered. Expensive.

More insights from our tester

Low calorie diets such as the ones prescribed by Diet-to-Go lead to quick weight loss by forcing the body to use up energy reserves of glycogen (stored glucose) and fat. But they aren’t sustainable because the body is very efficient at lowering its metabolism to accommodate fewer calories, as well as making hunger pangs so pronounced you can’t ignore them for more than a short time.

Best program for convenience: Nutrisystem

Best for convenience
Nutrisystem

My final verdict

Nutrisystem has been around since 1975, when it introduced one of the first calorie-controlled meal delivery programs. It still works the same way, with meals, snacks, and shakes delivered to your door. Similar to Diet-to-Go, Nutrisystem is a full service weight loss program with a price tag to match.

Features

  • Food, water, weight, and activity tracking.
  • Wellness articles and tips.
  • Access to Nutrisystem Facebook community.
  • Weight Loss Coach scheduling.
  • Plans start at $12.14/day

Pros & cons

Pros App is easy to use. 130+ menu options. Daily cost is affordable. Cons Not healthy for weight management. Food lacks freshness. Program focuses more on calorie deficit than overall nutrition.

More insights from our tester

Nutrisystem advertises an expected weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week, although the website also claims you can lose up to 7 pounds the first week by drinking two high-protein Nutrisystem shakes and eating only one meal per day. Again, this is a recipe for taking off the pounds quickly, but don’t expect them to stay off long-term unless you plan to stick to meal replacement shakes forever.

Similar to Diet-to-Go, Nutrisystem may be a good choice for someone who wants to lose some weight in the short-term. The prepared meals and snacks are healthy overall, and we could also see it working well for someone recently diagnosed with diabetes who is looking for help getting used to eating a specific calorie level with foods that will help control their blood sugar.

Best for intermittent fasting: DoFasting

Best for intermittent fasting
DoFasting

My final verdict

DoFasting is an app that guides you in following an intermittent fasting schedule. Intermittent fasting is a system of eating during a set window of time each 24-hour period and fasting for the rest of the time. Intermittent fasting has been shown to support weight loss and lower blood lipid levels and blood pressure. DoFasting allows you to set a timer for fasting and eating, track food intake, and track weight.

The program offers fasting schedules that range between 12 and 72 hours. Our testers found that fasting for 12 hours was easy, as most of the fast happened at night while they slept. But the 16- and 18-hour fast was much harder to stick with due to blood sugar drops that caused mood swings and uncomfortable hunger pangs. All of the testers opted out of trying the 20-hour fast.

Features

  • Easy to use.
  • Includes workout routines.
  • Tracks fasting and meals.
  • Supportive online community.

Pros & cons

Pros User-friendly. Responsive customer service. Many fasting options. Cons Fasting caused blood sugar drops and mood swings. Not recommended for those with eating disorders or disordered eating. No free trial.

More insights from our tester

While subscribed to DoFasting, our tester logged fasts, meals, hydration, and exercise. They tried the recommended recipes and interacted with the DoFasting online community and customer service representatives. Our tester reported the app to be glitchy.

Our tester chose to test the 12-hour fast, which DoFasting recommends as the best for beginners. Our tester selected 10 p.m. to start the fast so that much of the fasting would occur overnight. The app doesn’t automatically end the fast, so our tester had to open the app to stop the fast in the morning.

Once our tester finished the fast, the app asked how they felt. They reported feeling a little hungry, so they fixed breakfast right away and tracked the meal’s macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) in the app. The macro-tracking process was tedious, and inputting the data took longer than expected.

From our tester

“I tried the 12-hour- and 16-hour fast. The 12-hour fast was very doable for me, but the 16-hour fast was not. I’m an intuitive eater, and trying to ignore my hunger cues made me feel irritable.”

Best affordable program: WeightWatchers (WW)

Best affordable program
WW (WeightWatchers)

My final verdict

WeightWatchers is a weight loss program based on a simplified food tracking system and support offered through coaching and member groups. However, it doesn’t provide much in the way of nutrition education or tips for maintaining healthy eating habits once you end your membership.

Features

  • Daily budget of food points based on your current height and weight, gender, age, and weight goals.
  • WW app for tracking food, activity, and sleep; finding recipes; and accessing coaching and communities.
  • 24/7 coaching for extra support and troubleshooting.
  • Workshops and other online sessions.
  • Educational content and recipes.
  • $23 per month plus a $20 starter fee for most basic plan.

Pros & cons

Pros Easy to use app. Affordable plan options. Positive experiences with coaching, workshops, and community groups. Cons Point system does not lead to sustainable healthy eating habits. Is not comprehensive in nutrition education. Food-tracking is time-consuming.

More insights from our tester

We found the app fairly easy to use, but it’s more cumbersome than other apps like Noom and Joggo. One advantage for people who prefer to use a computer rather than their phone is that WW has a more extensive website than, say, Noom, which is completely app-based.

We dislike the fact that points don’t correspond directly to the calorie or nutritional content of foods, and WW doesn’t provide the formula to allow you to figure out your own points for foods that aren’t in the WW database.

This makes it hard to sustain healthy eating habits outside the program. It also goes against the premise of a sustainable weight loss system like the one from Mayo Clinic, which teaches you how to craft and follow a healthy diet.

We had positive experiences with the coaching, workshops, and community groups provided through WW. But the fact that it’s hard to learn about nutrition through WW, as well as their claim that you can lose weight on the program without any exercise, leaves holes that we sought to fill through other, more comprehensive programs.

How much do weight loss programs cost?

The cost of weight loss programs varies widely based on the level of support offered, credentials of the health professionals offering that support, and whether food is provided with the program. For instance, one of the least expensive programs is Joggo with an average price of $12 per month. It’s basically an automated system with little in the way of help from real people or health experts, but if you’re comfortable with a do-it-yourself plan, this is one way to save money.

At the other end of the spectrum is Nutrisystem, a weight loss program that can run up to nearly $400 per month but delivers every meal and snack to your door.

The length of membership you commit to also makes a big difference in the monthly cost for some programs. For instance, Noom charges $70 per month if you sign up for only one month, but $17.50 per month if you subscribe and pay for 12 months at a time.

Frequently asked questions

The surest and safest way to lose weight is to combine a healthy diet that includes a variety of whole foods with a program of regular exercise. Between the calories you take in with your diet and those you burn through exercise and daily activity, you’ll need to be in a calorie deficit to see weight loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. This means that you eat fewer calories than your body is burning each day. Adequate protein and fiber intake are also important to help ward off hunger between meals; a dietitian can help you find the right protein level for your body.

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends a weight loss rate of no more than 1–2 pounds per week.

Promises of more than 2 pounds per week of weight loss, a requirement to eat only foods provided by the program, and shaming of food choices or body weight in any way are all things to avoid when shopping for weight loss programs.

Bringing your weight into a healthy range helps both your body and mind. The physical benefits include minimizing your risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, high blood pressure, stroke, and sleep apnea, among other conditions. Even small weight loss, just 5 percent of your body weight, can result in marked improvements in health measures like blood glucose, triglycerides, and inflammation. These are all risk factors for the health conditions listed above, so lowering levels by losing weight also lowers your risk of the chronic diseases associated with obesity. In addition to physical health, research shows that weight loss offers a number of benefits for mental and emotional health.

Weight loss is a unique journey for every person, which means the best program for you might not be the best choice for someone else. Your lifestyle, budget, history with food and exercise, and even personality all affect which one is the best fit for you. Here’s what to think about when choosing the best weight loss program for you:

Your relationship with food
If you’re affected by an eating disorder or experience patterns of disordered eating, we suggest talking to a dietitian, therapist, or counselor who specializes in eating disorders before you enroll in any weight loss program.

If you experience feelings of guilt or shame associated with eating, it’s key to choose a program that encourages a healthy relationship with food, frequent meals rather than periods of fasting, flexible food choices, and a limited focus on calorie counting.

Also, look for a program that provides ongoing coaching for added encouragement and support. “An effective weight loss program should ideally offer behavioral support and coaching to address the emotional and psychological aspects of eating. Look for programs that provide guidance on portion control, mindful eating, and strategies to cope with emotional triggers for overeating,” says Chrissy Arsenault, a registered dietitian at Trainer Academy.

If you are currently struggling with an eating disorder or have unresolved thought patterns that negatively impact your relationship with food, seek the help of a physician, dietitian, or other qualified health care provider.

Your knowledge base
Are you familiar with nutrition, exercise, and weight loss strategies? Or do you consider yourself a beginner when it comes to weight loss? Some programs, such as the Mayo Clinic Diet, offer more education and support that can make all the difference if you’re new to weight loss.

Eating habits promoted by the program
A quality weight loss program will help you establish healthy eating habits to support you for the rest of your life. Beware of any system that teaches severe food restriction, labels foods as “good” or “bad,” or doesn’t provide a well-rounded variety of foods in your meal plan.

“Be wary of any programs that promise rapid, unsustainable weight loss or severely restrict entire food groups or certain foods,” says Arensault. “The nutrition plan should promote a focus on nutrient density and incorporate a balanced intake of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals.”

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