Weight loss programmes 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 loss programme. 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 weight loss programmes; Weight Watchers® (WW) and Joe Wicks’ (a.k.a The Body Coach) plan (JW). You have the choice of face-to-face meetings or online plans with Weight Watchers®, whereas Joe Wicks’ 90-day plan is an online PDF that you can download.
Comparisons to the Second Nature programme are included. Second Nature is a 3-month online programme that helps you to lose weight and make sustainable lifestyle changes.
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|Score||3.1 / 5
|2.6 / 5
|4.9 / 5
|Money back guarantee||Full refund if cancelled within 21 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable.||✗||Full refund if cancelled within 14 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable.|
|Clear breakdown of costs||✓||✓||✓|
|Clear cancellation policy||✗||✗||✓|
|Length of programme||All plans ongoing||Core: 3 months
Graduate plan: 3 months
|Ongoing subscription (minimum 12 weeks)|
|Easy to cancel||✓
(If cancelling within 14-day trial, otherwise you have to call customer support)
|Easy to include family||✗||✓||✓|
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|Dietary approach||Low calorie||Rest days: low carb, high fat.
Exercise days: high carb, low fat.
|Caters to vegetarian||✓||✓||✓|
|Caters to vegan||✓||✗||✓|
(including protein powder)
(other than Vit D)
|Tailors the plan around diabetes||✗||✗||✓|
|Tailors the plan around other health issues||✗||✗||✓|
(for meeting / meeting+ digital plan)
|Access to registered dietitian or nutritionist||✗||✗||✓|
|Weekend support available||✓||✗||✓|
|Makes you take numerous body measurements||✗||✓||✗|
|Recipe videos in app||✗
(Free recipe videos available on YouTube without signing up)
|Exercise videos in app||✗
(Free exercise videos available on YouTube without signing up)
|Weighing scales provided||✗||✗||✓
(on tech plan)
|Education of nutrition science||✗||✗||✓|
(Smartpoints® and Fitpoints®)
|Food diary feature||✓||✗||✓|
When programmes 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 programme to show you how costs compare (as of March 2021). All admin fees are included in these prices.
For basic monthly plans, Joe Wicks®’ 90-day plan is the most expensive option. On the surface, Second Nature seems slightly more expensive than Weight Watchers®, however, your personal coach is a registered dietitian or nutritionist, rather than a previous member. You also have the same coach throughout the whole Second Nature programme that you can build a relationship with, rather than an ad-hoc response from a different coach each time (Weight Watchers® and Joe Wicks®).
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 (basic) digital subscriptions:
|Registered dietitian or nutritionist coach||✗||✗||✓||✓|
|The same, personal coach throughout the programme||✗||✗||✓||✓|
|Price||£16 / month*||£42 / month||$60 / month||£300 / month|
*If you were to opt for the Weight Watchers® face-to-face group meeting plan it would work out to be more expensive.
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 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?
Weight Watchers®’ answer:
“There is no need to avoid these, you can go to the gov website and get the correct information on this”
Joe Wicks®’ answer:
“Eggs are not bad but avoid them if you are worried.”
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 loss programme, it is important to consider what would fit into your lifestyle and help you achieve your goals.
- Everyone is different and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss.
- Joe Wicks and Second Nature are both online programmes, whereas Weight Watchers® has an optional face-to-face meeting plan.
- Weight Watchers® seems to focus on diet, while Joe Wicks focuses on exercise. Second Nature tackles weight loss from all angles (exercise, nutrition, sleep, mindset).
- Second Nature is the only programme where you get a registered dietitian or nutritionist personal health coach.
- Second Nature provides you with an education of nutrition and answers nutrition queries with the most up to date science.