Lifestyle change programs can provide a helpful structure for your health journey when you feel out of control with unhealthy habits. In particular, they can be especially useful in helping you achieve your weight goals. 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 isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to choosing a program. It ultimately depends on what suits your individual needs and what fits into your lifestyle.
Many people find online weight management 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 digital lifestyle programs; MyFitnessPal and Second Nature.
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). For some people, counting calories and logging them in the app works well. However, this can lead to obsessive tendencies and isn’t sustainable in the long term for many.
The Second Nature program takes a holistic approach to weight management, by focusing not only on nutrition but also on exercise, sleep, stress, and our mindset. Second Nature gives people the tools they need to achieve their weight goals sustainably.
With Second Nature you’ll have a qualified nutrition specialist as your coach and access to a peer-support group for support, guidance and motivation throughout your journey. MyFitnessPal doesn’t have any coaching options.
Trustpilot is a platform where consumers can leave reviews and scores reflect overall customer satisfcation.
|Score||2.1 / 5
|4.8 / 5
|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||✓||✓|
|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)||Lower carb|
|Caters to vegetarian||✓||✓|
|Caters to vegan||✓||✓|
|Vegetarian/vegan recipe section||✓
(Meals and Recipes are limited to premium members)
(Minerals and nutrients can be tracked within the food diary)
(other than vitamin D)
|Tailors the plan around diabetes||✗||✓|
|Tailors the plan around other health issues||✗||✓|
|Access to a qualified nutrition specialist||✗||✓*|
|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 don’t meet the regulatory requirements to be considered US registered dietitians or nutritionists.
|Tracks water intake||✓||✓|
|Tracks custom habits||✗||✓|
|Education of nutrition science||✗||✓|
|Requires calorie counting||✓||✗|
|Food diary feature||✓||✓|
|Meal planning tool||✓||✓|
|In-app journaling 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 April 2021).
MyFitnessPal pricing is based on the Premium Subscription. This includes access to meal plans, recipes, personalised goals, and an ad-free experience. On the surface, MyFitnessPal’s membership is lower, however, it doesn’t include access to a coach for support and accountability, and customer support is extremely limited.
With Second Nature you have access to a qualified nutrition specialist throughout your program. Having a coach with expertise in nutrition to support and guide you makes achieving your weight goals easier. The Second Nature program also includes education on nutrition, stress, sleep, exercise, and mindset to help you make lasting lifestyle change.
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 per session). We have added a column representing this to compare costs (Weekly RD – WRD).
Monthly digital subscriptions:
|Access to qualified nutrition specialist||✗||✓||✓|
|The same, personal coach throughout the program||✗||✓||✓|
|Price||$9.99 / month*||$60 / month||$350 / month|
Example nutrition query response
Nutrition is a major part of any lifestyle change. 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?
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 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 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 weight management program, it’s important 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 you with a personal coach to support, guide, and motivate you
- There is no coaching option with MyFitnessPal
- Second Nature provides you with an education of nutrition science, allowing you to make informed decisions yourself 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 answered with computer-generated replies