Weight loss 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 health program. It ultimately depends on what suits your individual needs and what fits into your lifestyle.
Many people find online weight loss 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: Michelle Bridges 12WBT and Second Nature.
Michelle Bridges 12WBT and Second Nature both focus on behaviour change and sustainable weight loss by addressing nutrition, exercise, and mindset. Both programs encourage a whole food approach and recommend obtaining nutrients from foods rather than supplements, unless medically required. Furthermore, Michelle Bridges 12WBT and Second Nature provide members with access to Accrediting Practicing Dietitians (APDs).
The main difference between programs is that Second Nature provides daily support and guidance from a qualified dietitian, as well as peer support from other members on the program. Michelle Bridges 12WBT offers support from a Support Crew (including dietitians and personal trainers), but this is only to answer ad-hoc questions.
Another notable difference is that the nutrition ethos of Second Nature is based on a lower carb approach, whereas Michelle Bridges 12WBT has a set daily calorie allowance based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
The Second Nature program also addresses extra topics, such as sleep and stress management, which are not part of Michelle Bridges 12WBT program.
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|Score||– / 5
|4.8 / 5
|Money back guarantee||All fees are non-refundable (except for circumstances outlined in the terms and conditions).||Full refund if cancelled within 14 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable.|
|Clear breakdown of costs||✓||✓|
|Clear cancellation policy||✓||✓|
|Length of program||12 weeks (single round member)
Lifelong member (optional): ongoing
|Ongoing subscription (minimum 12 weeks)|
|Easy to cancel||✗||✓||Refer-a-friend scheme||✓
(During promotion only.)
(AU$10 credit for referring family or friends.)
|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||Australian Dietary Guidelines + Set calorie allowance||Lower-carb|
|Caters to vegetarian||✓||✓|
|Caters to vegan||✗||✓|
|Vegetarian/vegan recipe section||✓
(Other than Vitamin D.)
|Tailors the plan around diabetes||✓||✓|
|Tailors the plan around other health issues||✗||✓|
|Access to registered dietitian or nutritionist||✓||✓|
|Dietitians based locally in Australia and New Zealand||✓||✓|
|Assigned to an in-app local support group (timezone friendly)||✓
(Facebook Group – not in-app.)
|Weekend support available||✗||✓|
|Daily support from coach||✗||✓|
|Encourages daily weigh-ins||✗||✗|
|Makes you take numerous body measurements||✗||✗|
|Tracks water intake||✓||✓|
|Tracks custom habits||✗||✓|
|Education of nutrition science||✗||✓|
|Requires calorie counting||✓||✗|
|Food diary feature||✓||✓|
|Meal planning tool||✓||✓|
|In-app journalling tool||✗||✓|
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 basic price plans on each program to show you how costs compare (as of March 2021). All admin fees are included in these prices.
Both programs provide access to registered dietitians throughout the program. However, the difference is that Second Nature provides daily support to you and your group, helping guide you along each part of the program. You also have the same health coach throughout the whole Second Nature journey, rather than receiving ad-hoc responses from a different coach each time.
Registration to a professional body requires a nationally recognised nutrition or dietetics degree. Weekly face-to-face sessions with an APD can be very expensive (AU$70 – AU$150/hour). We have added a column representing this to compare the Weekly Dietitian costs.
Monthly digital subscriptions:
|12WBT||Second Nature||Weekly Nutritionist|
|Registered dietitian or nutritionist coach||✓||✓||✓|
|The same, personal coach throughout the program||✓||✓||✓|
|Price||AU$80 / month*||$60 / month||AU$440 / month|
*Michelle Bridges 12WBT provides a discount if joining for 12 months and if payment is made in full amount upfront.
Example nutrition query response
Nutrition is a major part of any weight loss journey. Therefore, it is important to receive accurate and reliable nutrition advice. We asked each program a common nutrition-related query to see how the information provided as an answer compares.
Q: Are eggs bad for your cholesterol? Should I avoid them?
Michelle Bridges 12WBT’s answer:
“Eggs are relatively high in fat (and are also a good source of protein), and used to have a really bad reputation for increasing cholesterol levels. However, research now shows that eggs have a very small influence on the cholesterol levels in your body. The most recent advice from the National Heart Foundation is that there is no limit to egg consumption each week. The only exception to this is for people who have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. If this is you, 7 eggs/week is recommended as a limit. Either way, they are not something you need to avoid and can be part of a balanced way of eating.”
Second Nature’s answer:
“Eggs are a rich source of dietary cholesterol. It was previously thought that cholesterol-containing foods increase blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and strokes. However, this has not been shown to be the case as dietary cholesterol is poorly absorbed from the digestive system, and if cholesterol is absorbed, the body will produce less of it to balance out (and prevent blood cholesterol levels rising). Therefore, you do not need to be restricted unless recommended to do so from your GP/Healthcare professional. Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet providing good quality protein as well as being loaded with vitamins and minerals.”
Take home message
- When choosing a health program, it is important to consider what would fit into your lifestyle and help you achieve your goals.
- For those who find face-to-face weight loss meetings uncomfortable or inconvenient, online and digitally-led program are a better option.
- Michelle Bridges 12WBT and Second Nature are both fully available online.
- Both programs provide access to registered dietitians throughout the program. However, you have the same health coach throughout the whole Second Nature journey, rather than an ad-hoc response from a different coach each time.
- Second Nature provides nutrition science education, allowing you to make informed decisions and develop a healthy relationship with food in the long-term.
- The Support Crew for Michelle Bridges 12WBT are located worldwide (inclusive of Australia) and are only accessible via email or a ‘closed’ Facebook group. However, when asking for support there’s no guarantee the coach you access will be local.
- Second Nature has a local team in Australia and New Zealand, and provide daily support to you and your group, helping guide you along each part of the program.