Losing weight, eating more healthily and getting fitter will have featured in millions of people’s new year resolutions for 2023. There are lots of different weight-loss programmes out there but how do you know which one is right for you, and what do you get for your money? Guardian Money decided to take a close look at five of the main programmes.
View image in fullscreenSecond Nature can offer one-to-one advice. Photograph: Second Nature
How it works: by changing your mindset about losing weight and building healthy habits. “Our app uses behavioural science to retrain members’ minds to make healthy choices automatically, so these stick in the long run,” says the nutritionist Tamara Willner.
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Cost: £45 a month if you only commit to three months upfront, while a 12-month membership costs £33 a month. Guardian readers can get £10 off in January with the code SNGUARDIAN10.
What you get: you are paired with a registered nutritionist or dietician, who provides one-to-one advice and guidance whenever you need it; plus you get support from a peer group and an in-app community.
Other perks: a recipe book worth £14.99, access to hundreds of recipes in an app, daily educational articles (for example, on emotional eating, sleep improvement techniques and nutrition), exercise videos, mindfulness exercises and access to free educational webinars.
Free trial? No. A two-week trial costs £9.99.
Man v Fat
View image in fullscreenMan v Fat makes you part of a team. Photograph: Man v Fat
Who can join: men with a BMI of 27.5 or above.
How it works: by harnessing the power of community and small-sided football. Every week you are weighed and play football with your team. Your team scores an extra “bonus” goal when any two members lose weight, pushing the team higher up the league. “The accountability to your peer group means you don’t want to be the one player not to lose weight and cost your team a bonus goal,” says the spokesperson Matt Hudson. “That peer-to-peer support means you have a better success rate at losing weight than if you were tackling things on your own.”
Cost: £28.50 to £31 a month, plus there is a £9.99 registration fee, discounted to 50p in January with the promo code BETTERHEALTH.
What you get: support from a coach (usually a personal trainer and a nutritionist or a former Man v Fat player who has lost weight successfully), your team and a nationwide community of members online. Plus the opportunity to play football and make friends.
Other perks: hundreds of recipes, articles about how to lose weight and an “online gym” of exercise videos (which range from armchair aerobics to more intense workouts). Plus free access to a wellbeing app with more than 100 interventions to help you manage stress and anxiety, motivate yourself and improve your sleep.
Free trial? No, but many local clubs periodically hold “come and try nights” where you can participate in a session for free.
WW (Weight Watchers)
View image in fullscreenYou have access to coaches and workshops with WW. Photograph: WeightWatchers
How it works: you get a points budget to spend on food, personalised according to your age, height, weight and sex, and are asked to track everything you eat and weigh yourself once a week. Food that is low in fibre and protein, and high in added sugar and saturated fats will cost you more points. You can boost your weekly points allowance by doing exercise.
Cost: access to the WW app, select virtual workshops and live 24/7 coach support costs £18.95 a month. But it is £26.95 a month if you attend workshops in person or want unlimited access to virtual workshops. This month you can get up to 50% off if you commit for six months.
What you get: access to coaches and workshops to help you follow the diet, improve your mindset about food and set realistic goals. “They will also talk about how self-compassion can change the way you think about yourself,” says the spokesperson Sarah Hughes. An in-app barcode scanner reveals the points value of the food you eat (or even order in some big chain restaurants such as Pizza Express or Wagamama) so you can track it easily. There’s a database of more than 3,400 recipes and an online community, plus members offer each other help and suggestions at the in-person meetings.
Other perks: guided meditations, “mindful walks”, cookery masterclasses, a sleep tracker, exercise videos and live activity classes are available through the app.
Free trial? Yes, for 14 days.
View image in fullscreenWith Slimming World you can earn awards for exercising. Photograph: Slimming World
How it works: you get a budget of “syns” to spend on food and are encouraged to track whatever you eat. The guiding principle is that fat, sugar and alcohol are less satiating than protein and carbohydrates. Satiating foods such as lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, potatoes and pasta are “free” and can be eaten in abundance, while wine, butter and sugary snacks are high in syns. Small amounts of calcium- and fibre-rich foods, such as cheese, cereal and bread, are also “free” to ensure a balanced diet. You earn Body Magic awards (certificates and stickers) for exercising.
Cost: £5.95 a week (£25 a month). You can pay weekly or buy 12 weeks in advance for the price of 10. New members pay a one-off £5 registration fee.
What you get: access to weekly meetings with other members and a coach, where you are weighed and given tips and advice on how to develop healthy habits around food and exercise. Plus, you get an in-app barcode scanner to show the amount of syns in the food you buy.
Other perks: access to an online community, an exclusive members-only podcast, 60 exercise videos (including 14 seated workouts) and a 44% discount on the organisation’s magazine.
Free trial? No, but you can attend your first meeting and then decide to join at the end.
View image in fullscreenThe guiding principle for GetSlim is ‘healthy balance eating’. Photograph: GetSlim
How it works: there are eight different weight-loss plans you can follow, including an intermittent fasting plan, a low-salt, low-sugar plan and a low-fat, low-glycaemic index plan. Some include activity challenges and most cater for vegans, vegetarians and coeliacs. The guiding principle is “healthy balance eating, using a combination of portion control and calorie counting”, says the director Sarah Skelton. You choose a plan, then weigh and track everything you eat and record how much you exercise.
Cost: £13 a month but it currently costs £4 a month for the first three months with offer code BH23.
What you get: access to more than 3,000 recipes (more than 600 are plant-based), exercise videos, podcasts, a digital magazine and a community chatroom.
Other perks: coaches (qualified fitness instructors with nutritional training) are available online 24/7 if you need support or motivation.
Free trial? No.
All prices and details correct at time of writing