Weight Loss Programs Compared: Which Program is Best for You?


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Weight Loss Programs Galore…Oh My!

Let’s face it, everywhere you turn there is a new product, program, or advertisement about ways to lose weight. From supplement programs to personalized programs, there are many weight loss programs to choose from, sometimes too many! According to ABC News, there are 108 MILLION people on a diet in the United States. That’s an astounding number! If you’re watching your weight or have specific weight loss goals, you can increase your success rate (and reduce 108 million) simply by doing a little research about what weight loss program and/or approach to take. Everyone’s needs are different as far as what may be the best choice for them not just for the long haul, but for the current phase of change they are in. Weight loss is a journey, it will take time, and you learn a lot as you go. You will learn so much about yourself in the process I cannot even begin to describe. As you begin, you may not actually know what you truly need to be successful, what will work for you, that’s part of the uphill battle and the risk you take. I wanted to disclose non-biased information about popular weight loss programs and provide you a glimpse into types of programs available, as well as some additional points to consider when in the midst of your decision making process. In doing so it will also help educate you on how TNT Nutrition differs from other weight loss programs described in this article (it’s a common question!).

weight loss programs#1 Food Logging Applications

Popular Weight Loss ProgramsLose It! MyFitnessPal

Logging your food can help build awareness about your physical intake which can direct a user further to make changes in such areas. This is a great first step for many when it comes to figuring out what approach to take when trying to lose weight, it allows someone to immediately take action with their eating. Users receive calorie goals, tools to track their daily calories and exercise, and ability to monitor their own progress. Being proactive to any extent can help kickstart momentum and confidence while perhaps the user is still in a decision phase regarding other programs or approaches. Sometimes the process of logging one’s food is the only step one needs to get their eating on track due to it’s perks of creating mindfulness.

Using a phone or online logging application involves less user risk and is lower in fees.  Users must be cautious to not make a food logging system their life support, meaning, if something isn’t logged, life as we know it is over, and you have zero control of the foods that happen to “fall” into your mouth shortly after. These applications are a tool to teach you more about your eating, so even if you’re not logging, you should still be trying to apply what you have learned from the online application.

With food logging (only) applications you hold yourself accountable. There is no assigned resource or coach outside of perhaps an online community forum. This element of online food logging gives the user then opportunity to see if they themselves can manage their own weight loss without anyone else assisting them, or acknowledge that they do in fact struggle in other areas of their eating that the food logging applications cannot address that other weight loss programs can.

 

weight loss programs#2 Supplement Programs

Popular Weight Loss Programs: Medifast, Herbalife

It’s all about simplicity and convenience. Pre-packaged shakes, bars, meals and snacks give the consumer the freedom to not have to think too much about what the day’s menu will entail. They simply follow the recommendations of their specific plans, whether that be 2 shakes and 3 meals a day, or pre-portioned meal replacements throughout the entire day. Some programs have other restrictions regarding specific whole foods permitted so you want to make sure you are fully aware of the guidelines of the plan you are following. Supplement programs usually provide great results in the short-term due to one’s ability to consistently follow a routine well keeping the difficulty level relatively low. Investigate what the long-term goal is in the program, thinking “where will I be in 3 months from now? Will I still be consuming supplements or is there a general exit strategy?” Fees associated in supplement programs can get costly depending on the amount of supplements you are willing to invest into and incorporate. Supplement weight loss programs can give the consumer the opportunity to get a grasp on portion and or calorie control which can transition into long-term healthy eating habits. Support systems vary, from community forums to in-person support.

 

weight loss programs#3 Meal Delivery or Preparation Programs

Popular Weight Loss Programs: Nutri System, Jenny Craig, Icon MealsMedifast

These programs involve the consumer buying a certain amount of meals per week that are calorie based for weight loss. Great for those that do not cook, do not feel comfortable cooking, have a heavy travel schedule, or for those that just don’t want to count calories or deal with measuring food. Meals can be shipped right to your front door or be picked up at a designated location. Usually there are different calorie plans to choose from, based on the user’s needs, and meals are therefore purchased and consumed to guarantee at the end of the day you have consumed your appropriate caloric intake. Some programs you can select the quantity of meals to purchase, giving one the opportunity to pick and choose how many meals a week they would like to take advantage of having a pre-cooked ready-to-eat meal. The relative overall taste and sodium content of prepared meals varies. Cost is on the higher side due to the fees associated with preparing and packaging the meals. Low risk getting involved in meal delivery or meal preparation programs due to the convenience factor. Support systems vary outside of a sales associate, some programs such as Jenny Craig will have a consultant that is typically a former Jenny Craig member to help add an extra branch of support.

 

Weight Loss Programs#4 Systematic Programs

Popular Weight Loss Programs: Weight Watchers, Atkins, IIFYM

These programs involve their own creative “systems” to help give guidelines for consumers to follow in their efforts to lose weight. These systems adjust depending on the phase of the program or amount of weight loss achieved. Atkins and Weight Watchers are far different from one another in their philosophies, however they each have their own unique “system” they use. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 40 years, Weight Watchers has created their own systematic calorie counting “points” systems to allow the consumers to hit their target caloric intake eating the foods they want to eat while striving towards improving their intake of fruits, vegetables, and fiber. In addition, they provide weight loss education to help create healthier eating habits and also provide in-person and (now) online support communities delegated by Weight Watchers coaches whom are usually former Weight Watcher participants. Atkins focuses on the reduction of carbohydrates while emphasizing the intake of carbohydrates and fats. Atkins takes you through different phases of carbohydrate allowances: Induction, Balancing, Pre-maintenance, and Lifetime maintenance phase. IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) provides users with macro goals vs just calorie goals, which allows users to have greater flexibility in what they eat. Both IIFYM and Aktins are a more self-reliant programs, far different from that of Weight Watchers. IIFYM is heavy on the tracking of your intake, however it is more than just a calorie counting program which is why I have it in this category. Costs vary depending on level of investment into the service and/or associated products. Risk is greater as one enter’s the attempt to make lifestyle and eating habit changes.

 

weight loss programs#5 Professionally Driven

Popular Weight Loss Programs: Nutritionist, Registered Dietitian, TNT Nutrition, Retrofit

We put these popular weight loss programs (and services) under “Professionally Driven” as there is a true professional behind the scenes to help you in your weight loss journey, not a sales associate or customer support specialist, friend, or former participant, but someone whom has specific training in fields vital to your success whether that be specific dietary needs, coaching/counseling, or psychology. Professional Driven programs are 99% of the time extremely personalized. Meal plans, goals, level of coaching and support, user tools, and overall approach will therefore be more tailored to the individual versus the masses of the general public. You would need to really compare each Professionally Driven program independently from one another to determine which would be the best fit for you. Costs will therefore differ depending on plans offered and plans selected. Risk level to the consumer is usually high, due to level of commitment and one’s attempts to make lifestyle and eating habit changes.

 

Now that you have a better idea of what kinds of weight loss programs are available and perhaps which direction you want to take, here a few more things to think about or propose questions regarding during your decision-making process:

Long-term sustainability:

Maintaining fat loss is just as important as losing it. Does a plan provide the tools and strategies you need to stay lean for the long haul?

  • Weight loss maintenance: Does this program offer a long-term maintenance plan for permanent fat loss? If it does, am I realistically able to stick with this plan for the rest of my life?

 

Exercise and other lifestyle factors for fat loss

Some weight loss programs focus entirely on diet, while others incorporate exercise and lifestyle strategies as part of their fat-loss plan.

  • Fitness requirements: Does this plan include an exercise plan, and if so, am I able and willing to do it?
  • Lifestyle changes: Does this plan emphasize quality sleep, stress control, and other lifestyle factors that contribute to fat loss?
  • Personal preferences: Am I able to enjoy this diet or will it feel cumbersome and miserable?

 

Community or Individual Interaction

Corresponding with like-minded people can make your fat-loss journey easier and more productive, but what level of accountability and interaction do you want/need?

  • Counseling: Do I need a supportive diet-related community to succeed on this program, group support, individual support, or none at all? (Some people prefer to go it alone or involve their friends or family rather than a forum)
  • Type of support: How much accountability do you need, and does that program fulfill that need?

 

Cost and Budget

Be wary of “initial cost” advertisements and initiation fees. Most diets have hidden costs and other fees that can make some plans become pricey. Ask questions before you commit to a plan.

  • Level: Do I need the basics or a more comprehensive plan?
  • Monthly costs: What is the overall cost I will be spending a month for this program? In 6 months? Many programs include initiation fees, food fees, etc. while others require you to buy expensive foods and/or supplements. Consider the “big picture” rather than the initial price they mention.

 

Meal Plans

Factor in time, convenience, and cost when determining whether a plan’s meals will work for you. If you prefer home-cooked meals, packaged shakes and shakes aren’t going to work for you; likewise, if a plan demands cooking your own meals, you’ll probably want a program that has the most support available to you to help assist you.

  • Packaged meals: Am I okay with prepackaged meals and/or shakes or do I need “real” meals?
  • Lifestyle fit: Can I feasibly do this plan with my lifestyle?
  • Caloric intake: Will the meal plan keep me full considering my metabolic requirements? Can this program ensure it will fulfill what MY needs are as an athlete, diabetic, etc?

 

Individual Foods Allowed on Program

If most (or even some) of the foods on a plan aren’t enjoyable, within your budget, or readily available, you’re going to find a particular plan hard to stick with. Ask yourself: Realistically, do you have the flexibility you need in what you eat?

  • Preferred tastes: Am I going to enjoy this food or will it feel like a “diet” food that I won’t be able to eat long-term?
  • Accessibility to foods: Will this food fit into my budget?
  • Food allergies: Is this a potentially allergenic or reactive food, particularly if I eat it frequently? (e.g. Soy, Dairy, Eggs, Gluten)

 

Your Personal History

  • If you’ve tried one of these types of weight loss programs before without success, treat it as a learning experience. Perhaps you’ve learned a few things about yourself in the absence of the program and want to return to the program and give it another go. Great! But if you’ve tried it more than once and still have not had sustainable results, it’s time to move on to something new.

Keep in mind that every experience you have throughout your weight loss journey, consider it a learning experience. You’ll discover what works for you, and just importantly, what doesn’t. The key in the end is to not find a short-term diet, but a long-term solution to your weight loss goals. Always begin with the end in mind!

 

You Got This!

1L8A0475Shelby McDaniel

Owner

 

 

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  • Kadie B | A New Me!

    I know the pictures couldn’t be more different – the before pic of me at the beach and the after of me going to a formal event this weekend.  I don’t even have a spanks or girdle or anything on under that dress – what????? Anyways I think the pictures actually do a good job […]


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  • Paula J | Wedding Dress Success!

    I had the idea of wanting to have a picture in my wedding dress for our 25th anniversary but I was not feeling my best and the size 2 dress really did not fit. Thanks to your program I was able to lose 11 lbs and wear my dress for our 29th instead. My husband […]


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  • The Amazing Jane loses 25lbs

    We’re always thrilled to share success stories from our online weight loss program! I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jane through our Lifestyle Intervention program. She was always determined to reach her goals, and really took to heart the coaching and advice I provided her, I knew she was bound to be super successful! Jane was enrolled with us […]


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  • Mimi |120 Pound Weight Loss

    “My weight has been a struggle for me since the age of 18 years old. My troubles began when I started going to food for comfort because it “helped me feel better” or so I thought at the time. In actuality, in that moment it did help me feel better but soon after I felt […]


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  • Eric F

    In Nov 2010 I was introduced to Shelby and that is when she gave me the tools to success, my own personal nutrition plan. Initially I was 226lbs and 11% BF. In our initial, Shelby asked me what was my goal? I had a picture of one the former Weight Loss contest winners and said this is […]


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  • Gina W

    Shelby worked with me in the couple months prior to my big A race of 2011: Ironman Arizona. She not only reconfigured my nutritional needs to get some undesired body weight and fat down but also helped me ‘carbo load’ prior to the event as well as work with me on my nutritional needs for during the […]


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  • Leslie S

    Who woulda thought??? Really after an entire life (42 years) of having what I thought was my body, I never realized I could have this new one. I never realized my true potential. My average “heavy” weight even while working out was 135-145 lbs.My heaviest steady weight was 150 lbs. plus. After 4 months with […]


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  • John H | Competitor, USMC

    Shelby McDaniel…WOW!!! What can I say! It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with her. I have been competitively competing in bodybuilding for 3 years now. My first year I worked with someone else and I did really well, however I wanted someone that I could talk to and someone that could devote […]


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  • Rachel Dillon

    Testimonial provided by husband Patrick I just wanted to send you a very, very big thank you for EVERYTHING that you have done for and with Rachel over the last several months. I know that I wouldn’t be able to get all of this out next weekend at the show but I wanted to make […]


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  • Mike Pope | MMA Athlete

    “My experience with Shelby has been amazing, I’ve seen dramatic results not only in the cage and on the mat, but in my everyday life. I fought six MMA cage fights, and countless different jujitsu tournaments before being on Shelby’s plan, all of which involved cutting at least ten pounds each time, and honestly I […]


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  • Colton Smith | MMA Athlete, Veteran

    I’ve been a client of Shelby’s for much of my professional MMA career. With her dedication and proven knowledge of nutrition and fitness it helps develop a tailor made plan for every individual. I’ve competed in wrestling for almost 20 years and used many different weight loss techniques, with Shelby’s overall assistance and guidance the […]


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  • Stephanie McLamb OCB Figure Competitor | Fitness Enthusiast

    My experience with you has been so unforgettable and helpful. I use to have no self-esteem or confidence in myself and now I know I can do anything I want to in life as long as I put my mind to it. With your help I lost weight and a lot of body fat and […]


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  • Tamara Christman |Competitor

    I had always wanted to compete in a figure competition, but the responsibilities of being a full-time parent and employed educational manager always took priority.  Shelby proved to be an experienced professional in the sport of figure for me, as well as other physique competition preps.  Her ability to see where I needed to tighten […]


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  • Scottie Lynn | NPC National Figure Competitor | Competitive Runner

    I am a competitive runner and have always wanted to embark on a figure competition, I just did not know where to start! My high school acquaintance and now dear friend Tammy Christman (Also a TNT Nutrition client) happened   to  see a Facebook post where I stated I was going to try to do […]


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  • TNT Nutrition Student Wins the Battle Against Type I Diabetes!

    After being hospitalized and becoming a newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic at the age of 22, my whole routine and life in general was flipped upside down.  I had always been involved in competitive athletics and had plans to compete in multiple events in the near future.  However, when I lost a significant amount of weight […]


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  • Anonymous

    Growing up, I was a healthy happy person.  I never focused on my weight.  I was a size 6 and was active in sports (basketball and rowing) and things were good.  Life took a dramatic turn for me 15 years ago.  While leaving work one night, I was attacked by a stranger, raped and  left for dead in […]


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  • Christine W | Virginia

    THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR YOUR WORK WITH CHRISTINE!!!!  As you have probably deduced, she is thrilled with the results!  Before she came to you she really was at an impasse and I think she saw her desire to lose weight almost as an impossibility.  You changed that and gave her the hope, encouragement […]


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  • Debra S | 54 Years Young

    I joined the TNT nutrition program in May 2012. At my weigh-in last night, I have lost 9.5% body fat and 20 pounds! I have gone down two pant sizes and feel great! My energy and endurance during my cardio workouts and weight training have greatly increased; I can now jog 3 miles at a time […]


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  • Megen G

    The TNT Nutrient Program serves as a building block to educate on the importance of eating healthy to maintain a healthy body, healthy mind, healthy cells and organs.  The program outlines portion control, eliminating bad food habits, understanding carbohydrates, essential fats, and proteins foods and how they fuel the body.  The program gives a full […]


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  • Keedah S

    Change was not easy.  Sticking with a work out plan and committing to changing what I put in my mouth was even harder!  I decided that NOTHING was going to change until I decided to get up and do something about it! ….Then came Sunny and Shelby w/ TNT Fitness and Nutrition!  They have changed my life.  […]


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  • Catherine S

    Shelby, thanks SO MUCH….honestly, from the bottom of my heart this is what I NEEDED and the fact that you have been willing to work with me has meant the world!  Thank you just doesn’t seem enough to convey my gratitude, but I want you to know what this has meant to me!  I have […]


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  • Crystal | Northern VA

    My entire life I have always struggled with my weight and was always a plus sized girl.  At the height of my weight I was a size 18 and weighed just over 200 pounds.  I was never an active person, I was always lazy.  I watched a lot of TV and sat at the computer surfing […]


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  • Katie M. | Northern VA

    Prior to joining TNT Nutrition, I was a Weight Watcher.  I was a little hesitant to leave Weight Watchers because I had a lot of success on the plan.  On Weight Watchers, I could eat whatever.  As long as I followed my 29 (and now only 26) points, I was promised weight loss.  Eventually though, […]


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  • Janice | Virginia

    I enrolled in Nutrition Plan with Shelby with a goal of a 10 lb weight loss. I have exceeded that goal, but more importantly I am now equipped with nutrition tools that    will last a lifetime! You won’t believe this but I have lost 11.5 lbs so far and I have never gone hungry and […]


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  • Tara H | Virginia

    I think no matter how much weight you have to lose it always feels like a daunting task.  I had been trying to lose 5 to 10 lbs for years but had very little success in keeping it off.  The TNT Nutrition program was perfect for me.  I wanted a plan that was easy and […]


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  • Sandy Z | Northern VA

    These words are from a song:  I’m so excited, I just can’t hide it!!!!  That is the way I feel since I joined the TNT Nutrition program.  I am so excited I did because I have lost over 25 pounds, but I look like I lost more weight because my body fat has dropped immensely […]


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  • Stacy C | Tysons Corner, VA

    When I started TNT Nutrition, I was really nervous because I had no idea what it would involve and what I would have to eat.  Then I started to study the customized nutrition plans that Shelby made especially for me and my work and work-out schedule.  Shelby promised that even though the plan assigned me […]


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  • Charlotte

    At my highest weight, I was 108 pounds more than I weighed when I got out of the military. I could not believe I had let my body go! With the help and support of an old friend I joined a CrossFit gym and also began following the Zone Diet way of eating. The diet […]


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  • Chuck & Merry | -70lbs

    My personal trainer Chris encourages his students to be successful and talks about the TNT trinity:  classes, cardio and nutrition.  He recognized my struggle last fall and began to talk to me about Shelby and the TNT Nutrition program.  Since, my husband Chuck does much of the cooking at home, and he is a very […]


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  • Julia

    Here at TNT Nutrition, we work with all types of goals, weight loss being numero uno. Losing weight for the long-term is not easy, hence why we try all the quick fixes we can before we come to the realization that it’s really a matter of making lifestyle changes. It’s a very personal journey as […]


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  • Chris | -25lbs, -3.5% bf, -5.75″ waist

    My personal trainer was urging me to get assistance with my nutrition, but I was hesitant. This past summer I started getting blurred vision in my left eye.  It got progressively worse over the course of a few days.  I went to the ophthalmologist and it was determined I had retinal vein occlusion.  Retinal vein […]


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The TNT Difference: We are your nutritionist, counselor, mentor, motivator, and top provider of realistic, personalized weight loss coaching solutions.