Weight Loss Programmes

Weight Watchers® vs Slimming World®

Weight loss programmes can provide a helpful structure for your health journey when you feel out of control with unhealthy habits. They can also be a great way to join individuals going on the same journey, which can be incredibly motivating.

Everyone is different, and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to choosing a weight loss programme. It ultimately depends on what suits your individual needs and what fits into your lifestyle. Some people want rigid rules and a quick fix, whereas others like more flexibility and a long-term lifestyle change.

This guide compares two of the most popular weight loss programmes; Weight Watchers® (WW) and Slimming World® (SW). Comparisons to the Second Nature programme are included. Second Nature is a 3-month online programme that helps you to lose weight and make sustainable lifestyle changes.

We spoke to two Second Nature members, who have all previously tried Weight Watchers® and Slimming World®, to get an idea of how they compare from the point of view of a user.

The basics

Trustpilot score

Trustpilot is a platform where consumers can leave reviews and scores reflect overall customer satisfcation.

WW SW Second Nature
Star rating 3 stars 3 stars 5 stars
Score 3.1 / 5
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2.8 / 5
read reviews
4.9 / 5
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Here’s what someone who has tried all 3 programmes had to say:

Trustpilot reivew


WW SW Second Nature
Dietary approach Low calorie Low fat Lower carb
Caters to vegetarian
Caters to vegan

Signing up

WW SW Second Nature
Free trial
Clear breakdown of costs
Clear cancellation policy
Length of programme All plans ongoing. Meetings: ongoing

Digital: Core plan 3 months + automatic renewal for ongoing subscription.

Core: 3 months.

Sustain (optional): ongoing.

Easy to cancel
(If cancelling within 14-day trial, otherwise you have to call customer support)
Refund policy Full refund if cancelled within 14 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable. Partial refund if cancelled within 14 days (dependent on the number of days since purchasing the programme). Full refund if cancelled within 14 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable.
Refer-a-friend scheme
Easy to include family


WW SW Second Nature
Tailors the plan around diabetes
Tailors the plan around other health issues
Face-to-face meetings
(for meeting / meeting+ digital plan)

(for meeting plan)
Access to registered dietitian or nutritionist
(unless you email customer support with a nutrition query and label it a ‘medical query’)
Weekend support

Programme features

WW SW Second Nature
(2 apps, 1 for planning and 1 online access)
Award/prize system
Recipe videos in app
(Free recipe videos available on YouTube without signing up)

(Free recipe videos available on YouTube without signing up)
Exercise videos in app
(Free exercise videos available on YouTube without signing up)
Weighing scales and activity tracker provided
(on tech plan)
Tracks sleep
Tracks steps
Education of nutrition science
Counting/point system
(Smartpoints® and Fitpoints®)

(Free Foods®, Healthy Extras®, and Syns®)
Food diary feature


When programmes provide price plans in different formats, it can be hard to accurately compare prices. To make this easier, we have calculated the price of monthly digital basic price plans on each programme to show you how costs compare over 3, 6, and 12 months (as of June 2019). All admin fees are included in these prices.

Weight Watchers® is marginally cheaper than Slimming World®, and they provide a similar service in terms of support and programme features. On the surface, Second Nature seems slightly more expensive, however, your personal coach is a registered dietitian or nutritionist, rather than a previous member or customer service representative. You also have the same coach throughout the whole Second Nature programme that you can build a relationship with, rather than an ad-hoc response from a different coach each time (Weight Watchers® and Slimming World®).

Registration to a professional body requires a nationally recognised nutrition or dietetics degree. Weekly face-to-face sessions with a registered dietitian or nutritionist can be very expensive (£40-£100/hour). We have added a column representing this to compare costs (Weekly Nutritionist – WN).

Monthly (basic) digital subscriptions:

WW SW Second Nature WN
Registered dietitian or nutritionist coach
The same, personal coach throughout the programme
3 months £16/month £20/month £40/month £300/month
6 months £15/month £20/month £25/month £300/month
12 months £14/month £20/month £18/month £300/month

If you were to opt for the Weight Watchers® or Slimming World® face-to-face group meeting plans it would work out to be more expensive.

Meet the members

Profile cards for three different women, showing name, age and occupation.

What motivated you to lose weight?

Icon of a woman.“I felt unhealthy and older than my years physically. I was worried about developing diabetes and many other health problems, such as female cancers. Every so often I would try some form of weight loss plan, but I was going round in circles.”

Icon of a woman.“Putting on weight since the menopause.”

Did you have fears about losing weight?

Icon of a woman.“That losing weight would mean a joyless existence of counting and measuring everything I ate. [I did not think] that losing weight could equate to enjoying meals or my food in the same way [but rather] would be a life of endless grumpy hunger!”

Icon of a woman.“That I would not be able to lose weight as I had a thyroid problem.”

How convenient was each programme?

Weight Watchers®:

Icon of a woman.“The app was convenient, but the need to count and measure everything was quite oppressive! Following Weight Watchers® did take up a lot of waking thought (constantly working out what I could get with my allowance !)”

Icon of a woman.“The weekly meetings were not convenient.”

Slimming World®:

Icon of a woman.“Still a fair bit of counting and measuring, but not as much as Weight Watchers®. I still felt that Slimming World® took up a lot of waking thought.”

Icon of a woman.“These weekly meetings were also not convenient.”

Second Nature:

Icon of a woman.“Wasn’t too bad to fit into daily life. I spend less time measuring and counting things but do seem to spend more time planning and cooking meals. I think it takes a bit longer to get used to the guidelines, but I don’t feel Second Nature is as rigid or takes over my waking thoughts as much as the other clubs did. Knowing I can have a nice and satisfying main meal stops me obsessing about food in between meals.”

Icon of a woman.“I love that Second Nature is online, which makes it very convenient.”

What support was available?

Weight Watchers®:

Icon of a woman.“Online diary, recipes, and message boards/chat facilities, plus classes (which I didn’t enjoy as I am not a sociable participant in weight loss clubs!). The magazines (which I bought separately) were a good source of info and ideas that I could read privately. I never accessed any online advice”

Icon of a woman.“Mainly at the weekly meeting. Plus a guide book.”

Slimming World®:

Icon of a woman.“Online resources felt less developed than Weight Watchers® (although this was a while ago). Classes and magazines were the main support (again preferred magazines).”

Icon of a woman.“Also mainly at the weekly meeting. Plus I was given a guide book.”

Second Nature:

Icon of a woman.“The app with recipes plus access to a health coach (through the chat facility). The small groups of starters and the chat facility was also a support.”

Icon of a woman.“There is health coach support, support from peers, and support through the daily articles, which is all available online.”

What were the main challenges?

Weight Watchers®:

Icon of a woman.“I felt hungry and deprived whilst doing it and did not feel like a way of eating that I would want to sustain long term. I also hated the group meetings.”

Icon of a woman.“Getting to the meetings and counting points.”

Slimming World®:

Icon of a woman.“I also felt hungry and deprived whilst doing it. The online resources were not as extensive as Weight Watchers®. I also hated the group meetings.”

Icon of a woman.“Working out their system and getting to the meetings was challenging.”

Second Nature:

Icon of a woman.“Initially represented quite a major change in eating and cooking style and felt so wrong to use full-fat products but surprisingly it was quite easy to get used to and does feel like a way of eating that I could happily continue in the long term. The 12-week programme covered quite a lot of ground, which takes time to consolidate and learn.”

Icon of a woman.“Probably trying to achieve the exercise goals I have been set.”

What was your favourite aspect?

Weight Watchers®:

Icon of a woman.“That you could opt for an online-only programme and the online resources were good.”

Icon of a woman.“Probably occasionally going to the meetings with a friend.”

Slimming World®:

Icon of a woman.“That you could eat certain foods quite freely.”

Icon of a woman.“Also going to the meeting with a friend.”

Second Nature:

Icon of a woman.“The basic principles were easy to remember. I liked that Second Nature looked at all aspects of health and was a more forgiving but long-term approach. The focus was not just on weight loss but how you feel and your well-being. The basic principles were easy to remember. That it is run online and you can get as involved as much or as little as you like.”

Icon of a woman.“I love that I have really learnt so much, which I did not on the other programmes. I feel l now have a real understanding of nutrition science.”

Which was the best value for money?

Icon of a woman.“I would have to say that Second Nature has been the best value for money and the ability to drop out and get a refund within the first few weeks was comforting – a no risk trial!”

Icon of a woman.“As I did not stay on either Weight Watchers® or Slimming World® for long, I cannot say they were good value. There is slightly more cost with Second Nature, but the amount of support and quality information makes it much better value for money as the outcomes are far superior.”

Did you lose weight and keep it off?

Weight Watchers®:

Icon of a woman.“Yes I lost a bit but did not keep it off.”

Icon of a woman.“I lost a little but put it back on very quickly.”

Slimming World®:

Icon of a woman.“Yes I lost a bit but did not keep it off.”

Icon of a woman.“I lost a little bit did not keep it off.”

Second Nature:

Icon of a woman.“I have lost almost a stone and a half in the last 12 weeks. I hope to keep it off as I will not be changing the way I eat. I am confident that I will lose some more!”

Icon of a woman.“I am still on the program and have lost weight and feel that Second Nature is sustainable. My mindset has changed my motivation has improved, so I am confident that I will not put the weight that I have lost back on.”

Take home message

  • When choosing a weight loss programme, it is important to consider your goals and what would fit into your lifestyle.
  • Everyone is different and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss.
  • Some people prefer having more rigid rules to follow, as with Weight Watchers® and Slimming World®, but others find it confusing.
  • Weight Watchers® and Slimming World® seem to focus on diet, whereas Second Nature tackles weight loss from all angles (exercise, nutrition, sleep, mindset).
  • Second Nature members seem confident that they have been given the tools to stay on track with their healthy habits in the long term, not just during the programme.
  • Face-to-face meetings (provided by Weight Watchers® and Slimming World®) work for some people more than others, depending on how you’re motivated.
  • Second Nature is totally online and app-based, which makes it easier to fit into daily life for some people.

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Write a response

Michelle T Dyer
3 October, 2019

It’s a shame the free app isn’t available on Android.

24 August, 2019

The WW app has recipe’s as well as a link to Headspace for motivation so you need to go back and do some further research. I tried SW once, but it didn’t work as the person taking the class had her own clique of friends and if you weren’t part of that clique you were excluded. I did do WW many years ago and got to goal, but the weight did go back on again (due to clinical depression). I’ve tried the Second Nature for a week now and all I’ve felt – literally – all week is bloated and I haven’t lost so much as an ounce. Needless to say I’m not terribly impressed right now. I will say that the support is amazing and the recipes are very tasty indeed but I’m not a little despondent about it. I’ll give it another week but if, before my two week trial is up, I’m still feeling the same, then I’ll be cancelling. It’s a shame as it’s worked for a family member who recommended me to you.

Tamara Willner
2 September, 2019

Hi Liz, thank you for the feedback! The section about recipes addresses whether or not they have recipe videos in the app, which WW do not. Regarding WW being affiliated with Headspace, Second Nature also promotes mindfulness and we recommend Headspace to our members, however this is not covered in this particular guide. I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling a bit despondent about the plan right now. The first thing I would suggest is reaching out to your mentor and letting them know how you feel. They can offer support and tailor the programme (including the dietary recommendations) to suit you and provide some strategies to help with your symptoms. The other thing to bear in mind is that often it can take longer than a week to see any changes reflected on the scales. Try to think of this programme as a healthy lifestyle change journey, rather than a quick fix. I hope you’re feeling better soon manage to keep persevering!

Karen Kingston
17 August, 2019

Slimming World allows teenagers do register and they have a separate type of plan. We attend as a family and under 16 are free. There is also promotions of refer a friend.

15 August, 2019

I followed WW about 17 years ago (I didn’t pay, just took my sister’s books!) and lost 1.5-2 stone easily. I maintained my weight for 10-11 years, but due to a change of job and some personal stuff the weight has crept back on. I’m now on their new plan which I’m finding a bit more strict (chocolate is lot more points than it used to be) but the weight is coming off even if I’m outside of my points on a few days.