Best Weight Loss Programs for 2023

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Noom

Best psychology-focused weight loss program

Millions of US adults try to lose weight each year, with strategies that include doing exercise, having a calorie deficit and eating more fruits and veggies. But if you’re really considering losing weight, there are proper weight loss programs that can help you form healthy habits for truly sustainable weight loss.

This guide to popular plans should help you evaluate the best subscription for you. It can also help you decide if seeking a nutritionist, instead, is in your best interest. One of our previous recommendations, Jenny Craig, has recently ceased operations. However, there are a number of other weight management programs we’ve analyzed below that can assist you in making lifestyle changes that can help you get to and maintain a healthy weight.

Editor’s note: Weight loss programs are not recommended for those with a history of disordered eating. Consult your doctor or nutritionist before beginning a diet or weight loss program. 

Best weight loss programs

Weight Watchers logo WW

WeightWatchers

WeightWatchers has been around for decades. The program is known for telling its customers that “no food is off limits.” While clients follow a point system that assigns food to a certain number of points, there are plenty of ZeroPoint foods that are allowed.    .

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Noom

Noom is a relative newcomer to the weight loss game, calling itself “WeightWatchers for millennials.” This app-based program uses the stoplight method, assigning colors (orange, yellow and green) to foods based on their nutritional quality. Noom is also known for using a psychology-based approach by educating clients on healthy habits, lifestyles and changing the way you think about food.

Nutrisystem logo

Nutrisystem

Nutrisystem is a traditional weight loss program that features premade meals, shakes and snacks delivered to your home. The program focuses more on providing meals for you rather than strategies to maintain weight loss. It provides breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert..

Optavia logo

Optavia

Optavia is a weight loss program that relies on shakes, bars and other Optavia-branded packaged foods, called “essential fuelings,” to produce results. These fuelings include cookies, puddings, bars, cereals and soups that are shipped directly to your door. In addition to the fuelings, Optavia provides recipes for “lean-and-green meals” that you’re responsible for cooking with fresh ingredients.

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Jenny Craig logo
Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig

Best weight loss program for busy schedules

Update, May 7, 2023: Jenny Craig has announced that it will be closing down. A message posted to its site notes, “All coaching sessions, food orders and merchandise sales have ceased online and in corporate centers.” Our earlier advice and analysis of Jenny Craig’s service remains below.

Advice from experts

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Working one-on-one with someone who knows your lifestyle, medical history, and eating habits is an ideal way to lose weight.

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We consulted experts to help make sense of a successful diet and weight loss journey. How do you find the right program for you? Here is what they had to say.

What makes a diet successful?  

The best diet program for you will be the one that meets you where you are at in life. It must be “realistic, sustainable and flexible,” said Jamie Nadeau, a registered dietitian. “Learning to eat healthy consistently truly comes down to learning how to build healthful habits into your life.”

“If a diet program is too rigid or strict, it’s unlikely to work for most people,” she continued. “If it’s asking you to do things that aren’t realistic for you or require tons of effort and change all at once, it’s not going to work.”

Dietitian Amelia Ti takes a different approach to the question. She said, “I define a successful program as one that allows members to choose from a variety of foods without restriction and [one that] measures progress by how its clients/participants feel (their mood, energy levels, sleep, etc.).” 

Ti added, “A successful diet program should improve one’s relationship with food and their body, not worsen it.” Nadeau agreed: “The most successful diet programs are the ones that involve learning how to eat a normal, well-balanced diet that includes all food groups (and fun foods, too!).”

Dieting red flags

It is easy to fall for a weight loss program’s empty promises. Our two experts told us how to spot the red flags from miles away. 

Nadeau said to watch out for “any program that requires you to buy their specific products or foods to be successful. If you have to buy their bars, shakes or prepacked foods — run. The minute you don’t have their food to rely on, any weight that you lost is going to return.”

In addition to the food, a program may tell you to eat, watch out for programs that are too restrictive. Ti said, “If a diet program instructs you to cut out various foods or food groups, red flag! A few others include if they label foods as “good” or “bad” and promise immediate results.”

Who should steer clear of weight loss programs?

Dieting programs are not for everyone. Nadeau recommends working with a registered dietitian over a diet or weight loss program. She said, “Working with a registered dietitian means you’ll be getting individualized advice from a credentialed professional with experience working with people just like you.”

Best weight loss program FAQs

What is the best weight loss program?

The best weight loss program is the one that meets your needs, goals and lifestyle. Not every program is one-size-fits-all. In fact, if you are looking for a personalized nutrition program that lasts, you may be better off seeking a dietitian.

What is the most successful weight loss program?

According to US News and World Report, the best diet of 2023 is the Mediterranean diet. However, this diet is not for everyone. The most successful weight loss program for you will be one that meets where you are in life. 

What does a commercial weight loss program typically not provide?

A commercial weight loss program typically does not provide one-on-one counseling with a dietitian or nutritionist. Some programs provide prepackaged frozen or nonperishable foods, but commercial weight loss programs typically do not provide fresh food. 

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