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Weight Loss Programmes

MyFitnessPal vs Second Nature

title

Which lifestyle program should you join?

From our perspective, you have two options:

  1. If you want to count calories, track your food intake, weigh your macros, lose weight fast and have a higher risk of weight regain, you can consider MyFitnessPal.
  2. Suppose you’d like to lose weight sustainably, be supported by a UK-registered dietitian or nutritionist, free yourself of the yo-yo dieting cycle, and follow a program trusted by the NHS and backed by scientific evidence published in the British Medical Journal. In that case, Second Nature might be the better choice.

Lifestyle 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 no 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.

To save you some tiresome research and help to answer some crucial questions, this guide compares two popular lifestyle change apps: MyFitnessPal™ Second Nature.

MyFitnessPal is a calorie-counting program

MyFitnessPal relies on you logging food and exercise. Through logging exercise and meals, MyFitnessPal calculates the number of calories consumed and burned to try and help you achieve a calorie deficit (where you’re taking in less than you’re using up).

Counting calories and logging them in the app works well for some people. However, this can lead to obsessive tendencies and isn’t sustainable in the long term for others.

Second Nature takes a more holistic approach to weight loss and utilises the support of a registered dietitian or nutritionist trained in behavioural science to support you lose weight in the long term.

The risks of calorie-counting and strict dieting

Strict calorie restriction risks putting your body into what’s known as ‘metabolic adaptation’. This is essentially a starvation response by your body when energy intake is very low.

This triggers a cascade of events designed to encourage you to eat more and continue to store fat. You might feel lethargic and hungry, and your mood might also experience a dip.

Because of this starvation response to strict dieting, Second Nature has taken a different approach – one where you determine what level of intake works for you, and surprisingly, it can lead to more weight loss in the long term.

Second Nature’s approach: Indulgent but supports weight loss 

In 2022, the NHS published data in the British Medical Journal from the National Weight Management and Diabetes Prevention program, where five providers delivered weight loss services in the UK.

The results showed that after 12 months, Second Nature was more than twice as effective as the four other providers.

How does Second Nature’s approach work?

We approach nutrition and healthy eating differently. We don’t count calories, track macros, weigh food, or assign strict targets on your intake.

We provide you with evidence-based guidance on a balanced diet and teach you to understand what your physical and emotional drivers for eating are to reach your weight loss goals.

We also provide tools, such as our hunger scale and mindful eating techniques, that help you tune into your physical hunger cues and manage your food choices.

Alongside this, we help you build healthy habits that you can enjoy for a lifetime to help you maintain a healthy weight.

Our feedback inbox is filled with people like Jo, who lost over eight stone to achieve a healthy body weight on Second Nature after following our nutrition guidelines and receiving the support of our app and health coaches.

The difference is that members of Second Nature learn to love food again. They’re no longer restricted. They’re liberated.

If you’d like to join over 150,000 others who’ve joined Second Nature, lost weight and kept it off, then click here to take our health quiz.

Otherwise, keep reading as we look at other key differences and similarities between MyFitnessPal and Second Nature.

Did you know?

Second Nature was the first-ever digital behavioural change program commissioned by the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. It continues to be part of their weight and type 2 diabetes management service.

Trustpilot score

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

MyFitnessPal Second Nature
Star Rating 1.8 stars out of 5 5 stars
Score 2.1 / 5
read reviews
4.8 / 5
read reviews

Signing up

MyFitnessPal Second Nature
Money back guarantee There are no refunds for termination or cancellation of the premium service Full refund if cancelled within 14 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable.
Clear breakdown of costs
Clear cancellation policy
Length of program Monthly and yearly premium membership available. Ongoing subscription (minimum 12 weeks)
Easy to cancel
Refer-a-friend scheme
Easy to include family

Want to make losing weight feel easier?

Second Nature uses science to help you make healthy choices, ensuring they stick in the long run. Join the 150,000 people on a Second Nature journey today by taking our quiz. We use your quiz answers to tailor our advice and support on the programme, to ensure you lose weight and keep it off.

Nutrition

MyFitnessPal Second Nature
Dietary approach Low Calorie (calorie counting) Lower carb
Caters to vegetarian
Caters to vegan
Vegetarian/vegan recipe section
(Meals and Recipes are limited to premium members)
Supplements encouraged
(Minerals and nutrients can be tracked within the food diary)

(other than vitamin D)

Support

MyFitnessPal Second Nature
Tailors the plan around diabetes
Tailors the plan around other health issues
Access to a qualified nutrition specialist </span style=”color: #000000;”>*
Weekend support available

*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 they don’t meet the regulatory requirements to be considered US-registered dietitians or nutritionists.

Program features

MyFitnessPal Second Nature
App
Exercise videos
Recipe videos
Tracks sleep
Tracks steps
Tracks exercise
Tracks water intake
Tracks custom habits
Education of nutrition science
Requires calorie counting
Food diary feature
Meal planning tool
In-app journaling tool

MyFitnessPal is within the Under Armour Connected Fitness™ portfolio and connects to Under Armour Map My Run for Exercise tracking.

Pricing

When programmes provide price plans in different formats, it can be hard to compare prices accurately.

To make this easier, we have calculated the price of monthly basic price plans on each programme to show you how costs compare (as of January 2021).

MyFitnessPal pricing is based on the Premium Subscription, which provides access to meal plans, recipes, personalised goals and an ad-free experience.

On the surface, MyFitnessPal’s membership is lower; however, you don’t get access to a registered dietitian or nutritionist, and customer support is extremely limited.

The Second Nature subscription provides you access to a registered dietitian or nutritionist who will help you make informed decisions to achieve healthy lifestyle changes and improve your diet.

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 digital subscriptions:

MyFitnessPal Second Nature WRD
Access to qualified nutrition specialist
The same, personal coach throughout the program
Price $9.99 / month* $60 / month $350 / month

*Pricing for MyFitnessPal is based on the UD$9.99 monthly premium price converted into Euros for easy comparison. If you commit to a 12-month subscription, the cost per month decreases.

Example nutrition query response

Nutrition is a major part of any weight loss journey. Therefore, it’s essential to receive accurate and reliable nutrition advice.

We asked each programme 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?

MyFitnessPal’s answer:

Answers from MyFitnessPal are computer generated; therefore, MyFitnessPal doesn’t answer your direct question. Instead, it provides you with a link to a related article.

“Protein is found in a variety of foods: meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, soy and even grains.

From a dietary perspective, meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and soybeans are complete proteins; that is, they provide all of the amino acids required by our body.

Other protein foods like legumes, some nuts and seeds, and grains don’t provide adequate amounts of the essential amino acids by themselves but can when eaten in combination with other foods and as part of a balanced diet.”

The full article on Protein by MyFitnessPal can be read here.

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 is not the case, as dietary cholesterol is poorly absorbed from the digestive system. If cholesterol is absorbed, the body will produce less to balance out (and prevent blood cholesterol levels from rising).

Therefore, you do not need to be restricted unless recommended to do so by your GP/Healthcare professional. Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet, providing good quality protein and containing vitamins and minerals.”

Take home message

  • When choosing a weight loss programme, it’s essential to consider what would fit into your lifestyle and help you achieve your goals.
  • For some people, calorie counting, as is the case with MyFitnessPal, is effective, but for others, it may lead to obsessive behaviour and isn’t sustainable.
  • Second Nature provides a registered dietitian or nutritionist personal health coach, whereas MyFitnessPal relies on you reading already created content.
  • Second Nature provides a registered dietitian or nutritionist personal health coach, whereas MyFitnessPal relies on you reading already created content.
  • Second Nature provides education in nutrition science, allowing you to make informed decisions and develop a healthy relationship with food in the long term.
  • Customer support is extremely limited on MyFitnessPal; most of the time, your queries will be referred to the existing knowledge base by bots (computer-generated replies).

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Write a response

Commenter
Caitlin Purves
27 August, 2021

As a nurse of 30 years ,your program sounds amazing, but $60 price point at this time is too high for me. I feel your approach is wonderful and is the right way to go.


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