It’s worth stating upfront in this article: Second Nature exists because we disagree entirely with Weight Watcher’s (WW) and Slimming World’s approach to losing weight.
Why? Because calorie counting and reducing food down to whether they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is the absolute basic ‘textbook psychology 101’ of what not to do if you don’t want to set people up with unhealthy relationships with food.
This is known as the “white bear effect”, where the thoughts you try to suppress from your mind will become more accessible to you.
Take food as an example. If you say, ‘I’m not allowed sugar; it’s bad for me,’ – what do you think about? You think about sugar, and the sugar cravings increase, and you’re more likely to overindulge in it.
You then feel guilty, blame yourself, and likely regain any weight you might have lost on whatever diet plan you were following at the time.
Weight Watchers (WW) vs Slimming World
Labelling foods as ‘syns’ every day, as Slimming world does, or ranking foods in a points system like Weight Watchers does, reinforces this negative relationship.
Additionally, this un-scientific approach has even demonised healthy high-fat foods like avocado and cheese, which we encourage on the Second Nature programme to help you feel full until your next meal.
Ultimately, diets like those on Weight Watchers & Slimming World repeatedly fail because they only tell you what to eat rather than teaching you why you eat and how to change your eating habits.
We started Second Nature because we were frustrated with the status quo of the weight-loss industry: calorie/point counting, zero points foods, weekly meetings where you’re made to feel guilty if you don’t lose weight, fad diets, and misleading nutrition advice.
However, we know from years of research that losing weight doesn’t need to be complicated, dull, or restrictive. We’ve found a way to make weight loss feel easier.
Second Nature combines personalised nutrition advice with behavioural science to automatically retrain your mind to make healthy choices, so these stick in the long run.
We don’t believe in calorie counting or banning entire food groups like in strict low-carb or Atkins diets. We encourage a healthy relationship with food where you’ll never have to count what you eat or feel guilty for enjoying food.
There’s more to healthy eating than strict portion control and how much weight you can lose in as short an amount of time as possible.
Our approach doesn’t mean you eat unlimited amounts of whatever food you like; you learn to manage your intake by understanding your psychological and physical drivers to eat.
If you’d like to experience what an eating plan with flexible portion sizes on Second Nature feels like, click here for a free NHS-trusted meal plan to kick-start your weight loss.
Food is a part of life, celebrations, and experiences
Through clinical research, we’ve shown that 9 out of 10 people lose weight and keep it off, even after 12 months. All through changing minds about what a healthy lifestyle looks like, so healthier habits can become second nature.
While tracking your progress is important, you don’t need to weigh in every day if you don’t want to. There are many other ways we help you track your progress, like your habits, energy levels, mood, and body composition.
Alongside this, research published in the British Medical Journal showed that we’re more than twice as effective at supporting weight loss at 12 months than four other providers in an NHS Weight Management programme. (Of which Weight Watchers was one of them.)
We have the most success with people who have tried things like Weight Watchers for 5/10/20 years and have repeatedly seen their weight jump up and down. Ultimately, they often blame themselves – when it’s not their fault. The diet failed you, not the other way around.
If you’re tired of counting calories, weighing food, counting syn values or smart points, or having bland slimming drinks like Slim-fast for breakfast every day, Second Nature could be the sustainable solution you’ve been looking for.
If you want to join over 150,000 people like Jo who’ve successfully lost weight and kept it off with Second Nature, the first step is to take our health quiz, which you can click on here.
Otherwise, if helpful, we’ve included a more descriptive comparison of the three companies below.
We also spoke to two Second Nature members, who have all previously tried Weight Watchers and Slimming World, to get an idea of how they compare from the point of view of a user.
Trustpilot is a platform where consumers can leave reviews and scores reflect overall customer satisfaction.
|Score||3.5 / 5
|3.0 / 5
|4.8 / 5
Here’s what someone who has tried all 3 programmes had to say:
|Dietary approach||Low calorie||Low fat||Lower carb|
|Caters to vegetarian||✓||✓||✓|
|Caters to vegan||✓||✓||✓|
(If cancelling within 14-day trial, otherwise you have to call customer support)✓✓
|Pay what you like for the first 2 weeks||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.||Meetings: ongoing
Digital: Core plan 3 months + automatic renewal for ongoing subscription.
|Easy to cancel||✓|
|Easy to include family||✗||✗||✓|
|Tailors the plan around diabetes||✗||✓||✓|
|Tailors the plan around other health issues||✗||✓||✓|
(for meeting / meeting + digital plan)
(for meeting plan)
|Private chat with a registered dietitian or nutritionist||✗||✗||✓|
|Developed by dietitians, nutritionists, and health psychologists||✗||✗||✓|
|Recipe videos in app||✓||✗||✓|
|Exercise videos in app||✓||✗||✓|
|Weighing scales provided||✗||✗||✓
(on tech plan)
|Education of nutrition science||✗
Coaches provide nutritional videos on the app but are not qualified nutritionists
(Free Foods®, Healthy Extras®, and Syns®)
|Food diary feature||✓||✓||✓|
When programmes provide price plans in different formats, it can be hard to compare prices accurately.
To make this easier, we have calculated each programme’s monthly digital basic price plans to show you how costs compare between programmes (as of Sept 2022). All admin fees are included in these prices.
Weight Watchers is marginally cheaper than Slimming World, and they provide a similar service in terms of support and programme features.
On the surface, Second Nature seems slightly more expensive. However, your coach is a registered dietitian or nutritionist rather than a previous member or customer service representative.
You also have the same coach throughout the Second Nature programme for online support with which you can build a relationship, rather than an ad-hoc response from a different coach each time (Weight Watchers and Slimming World).
Registration to a professional body requires a nationally recognised nutrition or dietetics degree.
With Second Nature, you’ll have one-to-one support from a registered dietitian or nutritionist. Ask questions, get advice on your meal plan, and tailor the plan to your lifestyle.
Alternatively, 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).
You’re also in a support group of fellow Second Nature members who can keep you accountable and motivated to continue your journey.
Monthly (basic) digital subscriptions:
|Private chat with a registered dietitian or nutritionist coach||✗||✗||✓||✓|
|The same, personal coach throughout the programme||✗||✗||✓||✓|
|Price||£17/month||£20/month||£28/month for a monthly 12-month subscription||£300/month|
If you were to opt for the Weight Watchers® or Slimming World® face-to-face group meeting plans it would work out to be more expensive.
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.
Meet the members
What motivated you to lose weight?
“I felt unhealthy and older than my years physically. I was worried about developing diabetes and many other health problems, such as female cancers. Every so often I would try some form of weight loss plan, but I was going round in circles.”
“Putting on weight since the menopause.”
Did you have fears about losing weight?
“That losing weight would mean a joyless existence of counting and measuring everything I ate. [I did not think] that losing weight could equate to enjoying meals or my food in the same way [but rather] would be a life of endless grumpy hunger!”
“That I would not be able to lose weight as I had a thyroid problem.”
How convenient was each programme?
“The app was convenient, but the need to count and measure everything was quite oppressive! Following Weight Watchers® did take up a lot of waking thought (constantly working out what I could get with my allowance !)”
“The weekly meetings were not convenient.”
“Still a fair bit of counting and measuring, but not as much as Weight Watchers®. I still felt that Slimming World® took up a lot of waking thought.”
“These weekly meetings were also not convenient.”
“Wasn’t too bad to fit into daily life. I spend less time measuring and counting things but do seem to spend more time planning and cooking meals. I think it takes a bit longer to get used to the guidelines, but I don’t feel Second Nature is as rigid or takes over my waking thoughts as much as the other clubs did. Knowing I can have a nice and satisfying main meal stops me obsessing about food in between meals.”
“I love that Second Nature is online, which makes it very convenient.”
What support was available?
“Online diary, recipes, and message boards/chat facilities, plus classes (which I didn’t enjoy as I am not a sociable participant in weight loss clubs!). The magazines (which I bought separately) were a good source of info and ideas that I could read privately. I never accessed any online advice”
“Mainly at the weekly meeting. Plus a guide book.”
“Online resources felt less developed than Weight Watchers® (although this was a while ago). Classes and magazines were the main support (again preferred magazines).”
“Also mainly at the weekly meeting. Plus I was given a guide book.”
“The app with recipes plus access to a health coach (through the chat facility). The small groups of starters and the chat facility was also a support.”
“There is health coach support, support from peers, and support through the daily articles, which is all available online.”
What were the main challenges?
“I felt hungry and deprived whilst doing it and did not feel like a way of eating that I would want to sustain long term. I also hated the group meetings.”
“Getting to the meetings and counting points.”
“I also felt hungry and deprived whilst doing it. The online resources were not as extensive as Weight Watchers®. I also hated the group meetings.”
“Working out their system and getting to the meetings was challenging.”
“Initially represented quite a major change in eating and cooking style and felt so wrong to use full-fat products but surprisingly it was quite easy to get used to and does feel like a way of eating that I could happily continue in the long term. The 12-week programme covered quite a lot of ground, which takes time to consolidate and learn.”
“Probably trying to achieve the exercise goals I have been set.”
What was your favourite aspect?
“That you could opt for an online-only programme and the online resources were good.”
“Probably occasionally going to the meetings with a friend.”
“That you could eat certain foods quite freely.”
“Also going to the meeting with a friend.”
“The basic principles were easy to remember. I liked that Second Nature looked at all aspects of health and was a more forgiving but long-term approach. The focus was not just on weight loss but how you feel and your well-being. The basic principles were easy to remember. That it is run online and you can get as involved as much or as little as you like.”
“I love that I have really learnt so much, which I did not on the other programmes. I feel l now have a real understanding of nutrition science.”
Which was the best value for money?
“I would have to say that Second Nature has been the best value for money and the ability to drop out and get a refund within the first few weeks was comforting – a no risk trial!”
“As I did not stay on either Weight Watchers® or Slimming World® for long, I cannot say they were good value. There is slightly more cost with Second Nature, but the amount of support and quality information makes it much better value for money as the outcomes are far superior.”
Did you lose weight and keep it off?
“Yes I lost a bit but did not keep it off.”
“I lost a little but put it back on very quickly.”
“Yes I lost a bit but did not keep it off.”
“I lost a little bit did not keep it off.”
“I have lost almost a stone and a half in the last 12 weeks. I hope to keep it off as I will not be changing the way I eat. I am confident that I will lose some more!”
“I am still on the program and have lost weight and feel that Second Nature is sustainable. My mindset has changed my motivation has improved, so I am confident that I will not put the weight that I have lost back on.”
Take home message
- We disagree with WW and Slimming World’s approach to losing weight, which we would argue is psychologically unsafe and risk building a negative relationship with food.
- WW and Slimming World focus primarily on a diet, whereas Second Nature tackles weight loss from all angles (exercise, nutrition, sleep, mindset).
- Second Nature members seem confident that they have been given the tools to stay on track with their healthy habits in the long term, not just during the programme.
- Face-to-face meetings (provided by Weight Watchers and Slimming World) work for some people more than others, depending on your motivation.
- Second Nature is online and app-based, making it easier for some people to fit into daily life.
- Second Nature is the only programme that offers one-to-one support, which can help with motivation.