Weight management programs 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 management program. 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.
Many people find online programs more convenient and easier to fit into daily life.
To save you tiresome research and help to answer some important questions, this guide compares two popular online weight loss programs; BetterMe and Bellabeat.
BetterMe is a digital fitness and nutrition plan tailored to your goals and preferences using artificial intelligence. You’ll get customized meal plans and workout programs, plus calorie and weight tracking tools.
Bellabeat is a women’s wellness program that’s personalized based on your goals, lifestyle, and natural cycle. Both programs rely on calorie counting.
Although some people find calorie counting effective for weight loss, it can lead to obsessive tendencies and often isn’t sustainable in the long term.
Second Nature is an easy-to-follow lifestyle change program that can help you achieve your weight goals sustainably, without counting calories. The program includes scientific articles, in-app tracking, and dedicated support from a coach with expertise in nutrition and wellness.
Ratings and Reviews
These are all app-based programs. This enables you to have nutrition advice in your pocket, helping you stay on track.
We’ve looked at reviews from the Apple App Store to see how customer satisfaction compares across each program.
|Score||4.2 / 5
|4.7 / 5
|4.8 / 5
|Money back guarantee||Full refund if cancelled within 3 business days. After this point, any charges are non-refundable.
An additional money back option is available to some customers who haven’t had visible results, after following the programme for at least 7 consecutive days in their first month.
|Money back guarantee within the first 30 days. No refunds or credits for partial months||Full refund if cancelled within 14 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable.|
|Clear breakdown of costs||✓||✓||✓|
|Clear cancellation policy||✓||✓||✓|
|Length of program||Ongoing subscription||Length varies depending on your goals||Ongoing subscription (minimum 12 weeks)|
|Easy to cancel||✓||✓||✓|
|Easy to include family||✗||✗||✓|
Want to make losing weight feel easier?
The Second Nature app uses behavioural science to retrain your mind to make healthy choices automatically, so these stick in the long run. Join 150,000 people who’ve used Second Nature to make losing weight feel easier - the first step is to create your personalised plan with our quick quiz.
|Dietary approach||Low calorie (calorie counting)||Low calorie (calorie counting)||Lower carb|
|Caters to vegetarian||✓||✓||✓|
|Caters to vegan||✓||✓||✓|
|Vegetarian/vegan recipe section||✓||✓||✓|
(dependent on the user)
(other than Vitamin D)
|Tailors the plan around diabetes||✗||✓||✓|
|Tailors the plan around other health issues||✗||✓||✓|
|Access to a qualified nutrition specialist||✗||✗||✓*|
|Daily support from a coach||✗||✗||✓|
*Second Nature coaches are all UK registered dietitians or nutritionists. This means they have completed university accredited degrees to gain this professional title. However, coaches are not registered in the US, so don’t meet the regulatory requirements to be considered US registered dietitians or nutritionists.
|Recipe videos in app||✗||✗||✓|
|Exercise videos in app||✓||✓||✓|
|Tracks water intake||✓||✓||✓|
|Tracks custom habits||✗||✓||✓|
|Education of nutrition science||✓||✓||✓|
|Requires calorie counting||✓||✓||✗|
|Food diary feature||✓||✗||✓|
|Meal planning tool||✓||✓
(a meal plan is provided, but is not customisable)
When programs 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 program to show you how costs compare (as of July 2021). All admin fees are included in these prices.
At first glance, Second Nature looks to be more expensive than Bellabeat and BetterMe. However, on the Second Nature program, you get access to a qualified coach with expertise in nutrition and wellness as well as a digital peer support group who accompany you throughout the program.
The Bellabeat program is self-guided with no community support or access to a coach or a mentor.
BetterMe mainly relies on artificial intelligence to create a personalized plan for your workouts and meals based on your goals and preferences. You can contact a coach through the app for advice or support but don’t get ongoing coaching.
Another option to get support with your diet would be to see a registered dietitian. Weekly face-to-face sessions with a registered dietitian can be very expensive ($70-$100). We have added a column representing this to compare costs (Weekly RD – WRD).
Monthly digital subscriptions:
|Registered dietitian or nutritionist coach||Qualifications vary||✗||✓||✓|
|The same, personal coach throughout the program||✗||✗||✓||✓|
|Price||$19.99 / month||$49.99 / month||$60 / month||$350 / month|
The Bellabeat program has smart trackers that can be purchased as additional add-ons to the subscription. Trackers start from $89.00 and can be purchased from their website.
Take home message
- When choosing a weight management program, it’s important to consider what would fit into your lifestyle and help you achieve your goals
- All of these programs are digital and app-based with no option for in-person meetings
- Second Nature includes access to a peer support group and a coach with expertise in nutrition and lifestyle change
- Bellabeat is a self-guided program with no option to have coaching or support
- BetterMe does have coaching options but qualifications vary and you don’t have access to the same coach throughout your program
- All programs provide you with education, nutrition guidance, and mindfulness exercises to help you reach your goals