If you’re one of the 37% who wants to lose weight, you need to find a weight-loss program that offers a sustainable way of pursuing your goals, giving you the best chance of success. Our picks for the best weight loss programs 2020 do away with quick-fix solutions and diet shakes, giving users a better chance at maintaining a healthy lifestyle and their optimum weight throughout the year
If you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s our list of the Top Weight Loss Programs of 2020:
- Weight Watchers – Flexible, easy to use, and with a wealth of tools and fitness tips, WW is the best weight loss program for 2020
- Nutrisystem – Affordable personalized plans and a handy mobile app make Nutrisystem one of our top weight loss programs
- Diet-to-Go – Great for those looking for a flexible Keto or vegetarian weight-loss plan
- The South Beach Diet – Helps users create new, healthy eating habits and burn fat faster with its keto-inspired diet
- Diet.com – Combines meal plans with exercise regimes to give users a holistic yet customizable weight-loss experience
Our pick for the Best Weight Loss Program of 2020: Weight Watchers
The Best Diet Plans of 2020
#1 Nutrisystem – The Nutritional Giant
You may have noticed a lot of sporting celebrities advertising all the possible weight loss benefits of Nutrisystem, but does it really work? “Nutrisystem is a low-calorie weight loss program that offers balanced, easy-to-prepare meals, and controls calories by making the meal portions small,” says Molly Kimball, RD, a sports dietitian at the Ochsner Health System’s Elmwood Fitness Center in New Orleans.
These premade meals are created so that you only intake a certain amount of calories that you need, which is based on your age and sex. This diet focuses on a low GI carbohydrate intake which will control your appetite and break down slower than complex carbohydrates.
Men and women will both be allowed to take in 1,000 calories within the first week, whilst the second will allow men 1,600 calories and women 1,200 per day. You are also encouraged to exercise for 150 minutes per week according to government recommendations. The best thing about this diet loss program is that you don’t have to think hard about what you have to eat as it is all prepared for you.
Some of the benefits of this program include:
- Conveniently prepared meals
- You eat six times a day
- Snacks are allowed
For more information about Nutrisystem make sure to check out our Nutrisystem review.
#2 Diet-to-go – Diet On The Move
Founded in Virginia in 1991, this was one of the first low-carb meal delivery services within the United States. Now, after many years, their approach to weight loss is basic but effective, “We believe that by eating wholesome meals with proper portion sizes, you can get on track to a healthy lifestyle.”
There are four diet plans to choose from including Balance, Balance-Diabetes, Keto-Carb30, and Vegetarian. No matter which program you choose, you can expect your meals to be designed by dietitians and professional chefs. There is also the added benefit of having your meals delivered, or choosing to pick them up from local pickup points.
The meals rotate in a five-week schedule which means you will get a huge variety from week to week. The meals are flash-frozen, so there is no cooking or preparation involved. All you need to do is stick your meal into the microwave and wait for about five minutes and enjoy.
There are numerous reasons why we love this meal delivery service including:
- You can skip or cancel any time
- There are many on-site locations instead of ordering online
- The meals are very affordable
Want to know more? Check out our in-depth Diet-to-go review.
#3 Weight Watchers – Community Back Weight Loss
Weight Watchers has been around for over five decades, and they have recently revamped their diet program to include a stronger emphasis on physical activity as well. The modern-day Weight Watchers is more of a lifestyle overhaul than a strict diet plan, and that’s what makes it so successful. People looking to change their lifestyles permanently benefit from the extensive resources and the support of a large online community.
One of the biggest differentiating factors of Weight Watchers is their famous claim that you can eat whatever you want. A points-based system allows members to select which indulgences they want to spend their calories on, and that’s also one of the secrets to its success. When people feel that they aren’t being restricted, psychologically, it is easier for them to follow a diet plan. This is part of what you’ll get from a Weight Watchers membership:
An extensive mobile app that helps you calculate your caloric intake with a foods database containing close to 300,000 different food items, even popular packaged goods
- Thousands of recipes for healthier eating
- Progress tracking tools online or via the mobile weight loss app
- Cooking and shopping guides
- Online community support.
Discover what else Weight Watchers has to offer in our in-depth Weight Watchers review.
#4 The South Beach Diet – Nutritional Focused Weight Loss
Known as the carb-hating diet, the South Beach diet is a weight-loss food plan centered around low-carbohydrate meals. It’s important to note that the South Beach Diet doesn’t forbid carbohydrates, unlike many fad diets out there, instead, this healthy weight-loss system understands the intrinsic benefits of healthy carbs and builds them into your meal plans to maximize those strengths for optimal health and weight loss.
The diet focuses on fiber and nutrient-rich carbs rather than empty calorie carbs that don’t do you any good. And, if done properly, you can expect to drop 8-13 pounds in the first two weeks! Take a look at some of the program highlights you can look forward to from the South Beach Diet:
- Three stage weight loss food plan that includes lots of proteins and veggies
- Dining out guides to help calculate how much that celebratory dinner will cost you in calories
- Online community support
- Free trial
Take a closer look in our South Beach Diet review.
#5 Jillian Michaels – Personalized Fitness & Meal Plans
Jillian Michaels is one of the most effective weight loss programs for women. Combining a fast weight-loss diet with a tailored weight-loss workout plan, Jillian Michaels hits fat where it really hurts, getting results quickly and consistently.
One note about this diet plan before we dive in. A personal trainer by profession, Jillian Michaels’ weight-loss plans are not for the fainthearted. She’ll take you on a journey, transform your body, and make you reach the fitness goals you’ve been craving…but it won’t come easy. Go into this plan with the determination and awareness that you’ll be working hard, and the results will really amaze you.
Take a look at these Jillian Michael highlights:
- Access to professional dietitians, chefs, and fitness trainers
- Excellent mobile app for fitness and diet tracking on the go
- Choices for different dietary preferences such as omnivores and vegans
- Menu and meal planning tools and guides
- Wide range of targeted workouts
Check out our extensive Jillian Michaels’ review.
How To Find the Top Weight Loss Programs For You
While many of us want to lose as much weight as possible in the shortest time imaginable, these goals are often unrealistic and unsustainable and, as a result, many of us end up putting weight on instead of getting rid of it. A diet is only effective if you can stick to it and studies have repeatedly shown that sudden, drastic changes or extreme diets are difficult to sustain and frequently end in disappointment.
Scientific studies indicate that few popular diets offer the quick-fix solution many of us are looking for and most produce the same modest weight loss results and subsequent partial regain over time. Even people opting for more radical weight loss programs like the Atkins diet have the same rate of weight loss as those choosing a more sustainable approach, like that offered by the five best weight loss programs listed in this article.
When choosing the best weight loss program for your needs and lifestyle, make sure you find one that:
- Is proven to be effective for weight loss
- Is easy to stick to
- Offers balanced nutritional intake
- Helps prevent conditions like diabetes and heart disease
- Poses no long-term health risks
What Is The Best Weight Loss Program
Usually, a weight-loss plan combines elements of healthy eating and exercise to give its users the best chance of achieving their target weight. In addition to specifying a weekly menu plan or giving guidelines regarding calorie-intake and food selection, the best weight-loss plans of 2020 give you clear exercise regimes or allocate you fitness points for activities you perform on a day-to-day basis, like housekeeping, for example.
Some weight-loss plans are very stringent, giving you a restrictive meal plan and tough exercise plan to keep you focused and dedicated. Others are more flexible and aimed at rewarding you for every piece of fruit you eat and step you take while on the program.
Your weight-loss goals, personality and lifestyle al impact on your potential to lose weight, so selecting a plan that fits in with all these criteria gives you the best chance of success. Avoiding fad diets and fast-track options is important as these are rarely sustainable. When choosing a weight-loss plan, it’s important to consider the following points:
Are certain foods completely banned?
Too much of anything is a bad thing, but so is none at all. Diets like the macrobiotic diet that heavily restricts the intake of animal products can impact negatively on your body’s balance of vitamins and minerals, leaving you with nutritional deficiencies.
Are the weight-loss predictions safe?
Losing more than two pounds per week is considered to be both unhealthy and unsustainable. The faster you lose it, the more likely you are to put it back on.
Do I have to purchase specific foods or supplements as a part of the diet?
There are lots of individuals and companies out there keen to get their slice of the pie, so to speak. With the US weight loss industry’s net worth sitting at around $66 billion at the end of 2017, it’s obvious that diet supplements, plans, and programs are doing well but that doesn’t mean you have to help them. Pay for a plan, by all means, but try to sustain yourself on natural foods rather than dietary supplements or detox drinks.
How Do Top Weight Loss Programs Work?
While every weight loss plan is different, they do usually share certain features, such as menu and exercise plans, tips on dieting, expert support and coaching. This approach is effective at helping you lose weight but may not carry as much of a punch when it comes to helping you keep that weight off.
Whatever weight-loss plan you choose, you need to think long and hard about how dedicated you are. Having a healthy lifestyle for a few weeks or even months isn’t enough unless you make a lifelong commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
Some weight-loss plans are designed to help you lose weight within a specified period, like the South Beach Diet, while others encourage you to carry on meeting your healthy eating and exercise targets for a much longer period, or even forever, like Weight Watchers.
To get started on any online weight-loss plan, you’ll need to take the following steps:
Step 1: Sign up for your chosen weight-loss plan
Step 2: Complete the registration and pay for your plan (Jillian Michaels offers a free 7-day trial which is great for those not 100% convinced her plan is right for them)
Step 3: If there’s an app available that will enable you to access the plan from your smartphone, download it.
Step 4: Select from the options available to create the perfect combination of meal and exercise plans.
Step 5: Get going and track your progress using your app
Step 6: Stay motivated by connecting with others via the weight-loss plan’s online community
Step 7: Reward yourself by treating yourself to a new outfit or a weekend away
The most important thing when it comes to weight-loss plans is to view them as a tool rather than a set of restrictions. If you don’t like one of the exercises or want to substitute one ingredient for another, go for it. As soon as a weight-loss plan becomes a weight around your neck, your motivation and dedication will take some serious knocks, so making sure the plan suits you is your best chance of success.
What are the Benefits of Top Weight Loss Programs
Inevitably, different weight-loss plans offer different benefits with some focusing on tough fitness workouts to help you burn more calories and others helping you attain your weight-loss goals through a rigorous low-fat, low-carb diet.
The extent to which you benefit from a weight-loss plan is largely dependent on your attitude to losing weight, selecting a weight-loss plan that fits into your lifestyle, and the amount of support you receive for the duration of the plan.
As a weight-loss plan dictates how and how often you both eat and exercise, it gives you a routine that you can stick to, rather relying on your own understanding of healthy living to create a new lifestyle for yourself. With lots of useful tips, fitness videos, dieting tools, and coaching, a weight-loss plan equips you to succeed.
Weight-loss plans help you achieve your goals by:
1. Providing a structured meal plan and giving you specific weekly objectives
2. Giving you tips on fitness workouts and setting weekly exercise targets
3. Expert support either online, over the phone or in-person
4. Community support from other people using the same weight-loss plan
5. Helping you keep track of your progress
How Can I Maintain My Weight Once The Plan is Finished?
Once you’ve completed your weight-loss plan comes the hardest part of all – maintaining your weight. Hopefully, during the course of your weight-loss plan, you’ve not only acquired some useful diet tools and exercise ideas, but you’ve also met with other people trying to achieve similar goals. Use those tools and support group to help you keep the pounds from piling back on.
Once you’ve completed a weight-loss plan, maintain your optimum weight by:
1. Eating Mindfully
Be conscious of what you’re putting into your body and listen to it. When it says it’s full, it probably is. When it’s craving green vegetables, it probably needs them. Similarly, be conscious of where your food has come from and savor it’s individual and combined flavors. Make eating healthy a happy and rewarding experience.
2. Sleeping Soundly
Lack of sleep and stress can both impact negatively on your bodyweight so maintaining a regular sleeping routine, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and exercising regularly can all help you relax and get some decent shut-eye.
3. Keeping a food journal
Keeping track of what you eat is a great way of forcing yourself to focus on your diet and assess exactly what you’re eating. Without it, the calories can start creeping up without you noticing so a journal of some other means of tracking your calorie intake can be the difference between maintaining your weight or being forced to start dieting all over again.
Just because you’ve now achieved your target weight, it doesn’t mean you sit on the sofa all day watching TV. If you suddenly stop exercising after dieting, then you need to reduce your calories even further as the amount you are burning off with have slumped. Exercising for an hour a day is good for your overall health, energy levels, and sleep quality, as well as weight control. Don’t forget, exercise can include gardening, housework and other chores – it doesn’t have to take place in the gym.
5. Stay connected
Just because the weight-loss plan has come to an end, doesn’t mean you can’t keep in touch with people in the same position as you. Sharing your struggles and successes with others, and vice versa can help you remain motivated, even if you experience a setback or two along the way.
6. Portion control
For some, this is the hardest part of life after a diet. Working out how much of each component make up a healthy, well-portioned and flavorsome meal can be tricky and takes a bit of practice. Nonetheless, it’s crucial if you’re going to maintain your optimum weight. If this aspect worries you, why not consider a meal delivery service where each ingredient comes pre-portioned? After a month or so, you’ll probably feel a lot more confident about how much you should be eating at any given meal.
Diets to Avoid
According to nutritionists, the worst diets are those that are based on unsubstantiated results or that could pose health risks in the future. The HCG Diet, for instance, recommends users consume a measly 500 calories a day while supplementing their intake with the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin or HCG. Such a low-calorie intake is impossible to sustain while the rapid, short-term weight loss occurs “at the expense of losing both muscle mass and body fat”.
Another rather bizarre approach to weight loss comes in the form of the Five-Bite diet which recommends you skip breakfast and then consume just five bites of your lunch and dinner. Not only is this hugely wasteful, but nutritionists say, “the incredible restriction of eating only 10 bites of food per day is not a healthy way to lose weight”.
While these two weight loss programs stood out as being particularly unsustainable and potentially damaging to the health of anyone choosing this approach, there are a host of other diets you should avoid if you want to embark on a successful weight-loss journey. These include:
- The Werewolf Diet where what you eat varies according to the different phases of the moon
- Detox Tea Diets where the long-term consumption of the natural laxative, Senna, could cause dehydration and diarrhea
- The Cabbage Soup Diet which requires users to eat lots of cabbage soup, accompanied by just one or two other low-calorie foods.
Overall, if a diet requires you to basically cut out eating or reduce your calorie intake to a huge extent, “It’s not sustainable,” says registered dietician, Andrea Giancoli who believes the best weight loss programs are those that allow you to have some fun. Instead, Giancoli recommends finding a weight loss program that still allows you to enjoy a meal out from time to time, like Weight Watchers, because it’s probably going to be the most effective in the long run simply because its easier to stick to.
Dieting and Gender
When couples decide to embark on a weight-loss journey together, there are often difficulties, especially for heterosexual couples. Men and women’s bodies work differently and store fat differently, so the best weight loss program for your partner, may not be the best fit for you. Often, women find it harder to lose weight, especially as they get older, while those trying to juggle being a mom with being a professional struggle to find the time to dedicate to their own health.
Flexible weight-loss programs tend to work better for women and more natural weight-loss systems, like those offered by Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem, tend to produce the best results. Men, on the other hand, often respond better to a low-carb, high-protein diet like the South Beach Diet. Overall, however, both men and women are likely to benefit more from a weight-loss program that combines nutritional guidance with customizable exercise plans.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who resolved to lose weight this year, give yourself the best chance of success by choosing one of the best weight loss programs of 2020. That means looking for a plan that fits in with your lifestyle, provides balanced nutrition and tiered exercise plans that can be customized to your individual needs.
Opting for a quick-fix diet that restricts your calories to less than 1,200 calories a day isn’t sustainable, and the likelihood is you’ll put back on all the weight you lost within a few weeks. Making small changes and gradually adapting your eating habits make for a more sustainable way of achieving your weight-loss goals and maintaining your optimum weight.
Weight Watchers has a range of affordable plans, an international community to offer support and advice, as well as regular meetings all over the country. Its combination of exercise plans and nutritional advice makes this one of the best weight loss programs of 2020, although other plans like Nutrisystem and Diet-to-Go have a proven track record and have helped hundreds of people lose weight and keep it off.
Stay away from the fad diets and opt for something that will help you change your lifestyle for good and provide a healthy and sustainable way to lose weight without having any unpleasant consequences for your health in the long term.