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.
To save you tiresome research and help to answer some important questions, this guide compares two popular programs: WW (Weight Watchers Reimagined, formerly Weight Watchers®) and BetterMe.
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.
Similarly, WW considers food, activity, sleep and mindset to help you lose weight. The program is based on tracking your calorie intake via the WW SmartPointⓇ system. WW is available in either digital or face-to-face format.
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.
We’ve also included comparisons to the Second Nature program. 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.
Did you know?
In the UK, Second Nature was the first ever digital behavioural change program to be commissioned by their National Health Service (NHS) and continues to be part of their weight management and type 2 diabetes management service.
Trustpilot is a platform where consumers can leave reviews and scores reflect overall customer satisfcation.
|Score||1.8 / 5
|4.5 / 5
|4.8 / 5
|Money back guarantee||Full refund if cancelled within 14 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable.
However, a termination fee of $49.95 applies if you cancel during a Commitment Plan.
|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.
|Full refund if cancelled within 14 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable.|
|Clear breakdown of costs||✓||✓||✓|
|Clear cancellation policy||✗||✓||✓|
|Length of program||All plans ongoing||Ongoing subscription||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||Low calorie (calorie counting)||Lower carb|
|Caters to vegetarian||✓||✓||✓|
|Caters to vegan||✓||✓||✓|
|Vegetarian/vegan recipe section||✓||✓||✓|
(nutritional supplements are available to be purchased, here)
Other than Vitamin D
|Tailors the plan around diabetes||✗||✗||✓|
|Tailors the plan around other health issues||✗||✗||✓|
(for meeting / meeting + digital plan)
|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||✗
(Free recipe videos available on YouTube without signing up)
|Exercise videos in app||✗
(Free recipe videos available on YouTube without signing up)
|Tracks water intake||✓||✓||✓|
|Tracks custom habits||✗||✗||✓|
|Education of nutrition science||✗||✓||✓|
|Requires calorie counting||✓
(Smartpoints® and Fitpoints®)
|Food diary feature||✓||✓||✓|
|Meal planning 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 digital basic price plans on each program to show you how costs compare (as of April 2021). All admin fees are included in these prices.
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.
With WW you have access to a coach, but coaches are past members rather than nutrition or health professionals.
All Second Nature coaches are qualified nutrition specialists. Having a coach with expertise in nutrition and wellness to support and guide you makes achieving your weight goals easier. You’ll have daily coaching and access to your digital support group – you won’t be facing your journey alone.
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, labelled weekly registered dietitian (WRD).
Monthly digital subscriptions:
|Registered dietitian or nutritionist coach||✗||Qualifications vary||✓||✓|
|The same, personal coach throughout the program||✓||✗||✓||✓|
|Price||$21.95 / month||$19.99 / month||$60 / month||$350 / month|
If you were to opt for the Weight Watchers® face-to-face group meeting plan it would work out to be more expensive.
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.
- BetterMe and Second Nature are both exclusively digital and app-based programs, whereas Weight Watchers® has an optional face-to-face meeting plan.
- BetterMe and Weight Watchers require counting calories and tracking food intake which can be unsustainable in the long term and might not benefit those with an unhealthy relationship with food
- Second Nature provides you with an education of nutrition, allowing you to make informed decisions yourself and develop a healthy relationship with food in the long-term
- All programs have some coaching but only Second Nature pairs you with a qualified nutrition specialist who’s on hand to support and motivate you daily throughout your journey.