Understanding Popular Weight Loss Programs: A Therapist’s & Trainer’s in Depth Review

An image showing typical foods from weight loss programs including bananas, strawberries, and a smoothie.

Comparing Noom, Weight Watchers, Medi-Weightloss, and FASTer Way to Fat Loss

Navigating the vast array of weight loss programs can be overwhelming, especially when trying to find a sustainable and healthy approach that fits your lifestyle. As a licensed therapist and personal trainer in the eating disorder and body image space, I hear about MANY diets. This post delves into four popular programs: Noom, Weight Watchers (WW), Medi-Weightloss, and Faster Way to Fat Loss (FWTFL). We’ll break down their key features, offer personal insights, and discuss their strengths and potential drawbacks to help you make an informed decision.

Noom Weight

Noom is a weight loss program that uses a mobile app to provide personalized coaching, daily lessons, and food logging. It focuses on behavior change and building healthy habits.

Key Features

Behavioral Approach: Uses psychology to help users change their eating habits and relationship with food.

Food Logging: Encourages logging meals and snacks to increase awareness of eating patterns.

Color-Coded System: Foods are categorized into green, yellow, and red based on their calorie density, encouraging users to eat more low-calorie-dense foods.

Personal Coaching: Provides access to a coach for motivation and guidance (at an additional fee)

My Review

First, I must acknowledge that I worked for Noom for over a year back in 2020. While I can remain neutral in this review, I do know much more about this company than the others. Overall, I support Noom’s efforts to educate their users and integrate psychology and behavior change into their program. While still focused on weight loss, Noom does teach skills such as assessing for hunger and fullness and offers users many tools for mindful eating.

There are no foods that are “off limits” on Noom, however, the company has been criticized for its low-calorie allotment. The app allows you to earn more calories through logging steps and exercise, however, I feel this creates an unhealthy association between fitness and what you are allowed or not allowed to eat. Additionally, it is tedious and time-consuming to log food. The system is very confusing and inaccurate at times. While they were well intended with their color system, categorizes foods by colors still promotes labeling food as “good” or bad.” Plus, between the daily readings, chatting with your group/coach, and food logging you feel like you are glued to your smartphone. For an all-virtual program, the price is high if you want the support of a coach.

If you can’t beat them, join them. Welcome, Noom Med which launched in May 2023. Noom’s chief of medicine cited that “weight loss outcomes are so much better” and they wanted to support their users more. They continue to pair their behavioral change program with medical interventions. While I am not against weight loss medications, I am not sure why Noom and Weight Watchers (reviewed below) would integrate them into their programs if they truly believed their approaches achieved sustainable results.

Weight Watchers (WW)

Now known as WW, Weight Watchers is a weight loss program that uses a points-based system, rather than calorie counting, to support weight loss and encourage healthy eating and exercise habits. Weight Watchers has been around for over 60 years.

Key Features

Points System: Foods are assigned points based on their nutritional value. Users have a daily points allowance based on starting weight and how much they want to lose.

Flexibility: Users can choose any food they like if they stay within their points budget.

Support: Offers community meetings, online support, and personal coaching.

Focus on Wellness: Emphasizes overall health, including fitness and mindfulness, with tools such as workouts, meditations, meal plans, and recipes.

My Review

To be as popular as they have been for so long, WW must have good things going for them and they do. First, they do not promote branded products, making the plan accessible and easy to follow. Comparatively, they are also the most affordable weight loss program out there. From a health perspective, respect that they promote gradual weight loss of 1-2 lbs per week. They do not advertise themselves as a quick-fix option.

On the flip side, there are some things about WW that I do not support. A major one is “zero point” foods or ones you can eat as much as you want. If you are listening to your hunger and fullness cues, you could easily “overeat” these zero-point foods. Furthermore, following WW does not guarantee a balanced diet. For example, you could use all your points on fried food and still be within the guidelines of the program. Lastly, users are given extra points for exercise which could lead to increasing exercise for the sole purpose of being able to eat more. This is not a healthy behavior as it encourages “earning” or “burning off” your food.

WW recently began offering GLP-1 agonists to those who qualify in December 2023. This is an interesting move from a company so focused on “lifestyle changes.” My personal opinion- they didn’t have a choice but to start offering access to medication if they wanted to compete. The company does still advocate for behavior change modification even for its users utilizing weight loss medications.

Faster Way to Fat Loss (FWTFL)

FASTer Way to Fat Loss is a program that combines intermittent fasting, carb cycling, and macro tracking with high-intensity workouts to promote fat loss and muscle building. It is an online program and you work with a FASTer Way Certified Coach.

Key Features

Intermittent Fasting: Encourages eating within a specific time window and fasting for the remaining hours. FASTer Way uses an 8-hour eating window and a 16-hour fasting window.

Carb Cycling: Alternates between high and low-carb days to optimize fat loss and muscle gain.

Macro Tracking: Focuses on tracking macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats) to meet individual goals.

Exercise: Includes a structured workout plan with a mix of strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). The workouts are at least 5 days per week.

My Review

FWTFL is like a diet layered on top of diet on top of another diet! This process just seems exhausting. You have to track EVERYTHING and your macros are changing constantly due to carb cycling.  There is nothing intuitive about FWTFL as everything related to food and exercise is laid out precisely. They hook you in with a “6-week program” which is pretty “quick fix-ish” to me. Plus, who can do this for more than 6 weeks!?

Furthermore, Intermittent fasting is not indicated for pre-menopausal women. Post menopause it can be alright, but it is not magic. It works because it creates a calorie deficit, but if you fast and then binge you will not lose weight. If you are a woman of childbearing age, I strongly suggest doing your research and proceeding with caution.

While FWTFL is not an MLM, it does use coaches to sell the service. Coaches earn money for recruiting both new dieters and other coaches. This could be why it is hard to find unbiased reviews out there as most are written by coaches.

Honestly, I don’t have much positive say about FWTFL. I suppose they have created a supportive community and it can be really uplifting to feel a part of something bigger than yourself. That a bit of a stretch though. From a therapist’s perspective, many factors of FWTFL could ultimately harm one’s physical and mental health.


Medi-Weightloss is a medically supervised weight loss program that provides customized nutrition and fitness plans tailored to individual needs. It offers personalized diet plans potentially supported with weight loss medications and supplements.

Key Features

Medical Supervision: Each participant undergoes a comprehensive medical evaluation, including lab work and EKG, to create a personalized plan.

Nutrition Plans: Provides individualized meal plans, including both real food and Medi-Weightloss supplements.

Behavioral Counseling: Includes support from healthcare professionals to help modify behaviors and develop sustainable weight loss habits.

Regular Monitoring: Participants have weekly visits to track progress, adjust plans, and receive ongoing support and education.

Exercise Guidance: Offers fitness recommendations and plans tailored to individual fitness levels and goals.

My Review

Overall, Medi-Weightloss is overly restrictive, expensive, and difficult to follow. The first phase of the plan involves significantly cutting carbohydrate intake so that your body enters ketosis. Due to carbohydrate restrictions, one may feel very limited at restaurants and in social situations, making this very difficult to stick to long term. Additionally, the plan involves tracking food which can be hard to sustain. While Medi-Weightloss does not require you to log overall calories, you are tracking protein intake as well as the number of servings of healthy fats, fruit, and vegetables you consume daily.

Furthermore, there is the option to receive an appetite suppressant. While this may curb hunger initially (probably so you can stick to the restrictive diet and see initial weight loss), you are not learning the eating skills you need for when you come off the medication. This diet is very much a quick fix versus a long-term, sustainable way to manage one’s weight. Lastly, there’s very little research on the effectiveness of the program apart from studies funded directly by the company.

The positives, while not many in my opinion, at least the program is physician-supervised should you opt for the appetite suppressant. The doctors can support people with diabetes and other medical challenges to better manage their conditions. Additionally, many workplace or personal insurance companies will cover the cost.

Ranking Weight Loss Programs: A Clinician’s Perspective on Mental and Physical Health

When it comes to weight loss programs, each has its own set of pros and cons, especially when considering both mental and physical health. Here’s how they rank from my perspective as a clinician and certified personal trainer practicing from a weight-inclusive, health at every size, and anti-diet approach.

  1. Noom
  2. Weight Watchers (WW)
  3. Medi-Weightloss
  4. Faster Way to Fat Loss (FWTFL)

While I don’t think any of them are great long-term options, if you feel like pursuing intentional weight loss is a must for your health, my top pick would be Noom with a close second of WW for their emphasis on behavior change. Both programs at least take an “all foods fit” approach without promoting additional supplements.  It is important to note, however, that all four programs emphasize weight loss over well-being, which can lead to disordered eating, body dissatisfaction, and an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise.

If you are truly looking to make changes in your life and work on health-related goals, I recommend seeking either a registered dietician or licensed therapist who can help you move towards intuitive eating and intuitive movement.

Why Choose Intuitive Movement and Intuitive Eating

Instead of strict diet rules, intuitive movement and intuitive eating focus on listening to your body’s natural signals. This approach encourages a healthier relationship with food and exercise by prioritizing your overall well-being rather than just the numbers on the scale. By learning to trust and respond to your body’s needs, you can achieve sustainable health and happiness without the restrictive and often harmful practices of traditional dieting programs.

You will learn to move your body in ways that feel good and eat in a manner that nourishes both your body and mind. This holistic approach leads to lasting positive changes and a more fulfilling, balanced life.

To take steps towards intuitive eating check out my FREE Food & Feelings Journal

To experiment with intuitive movement download my FREE 5 Day Intuitive Movement Challenge.

Embracing intuitive movement and intuitive eating is about more than just changing how you approach food and exercise; it’s about transforming your entire relationship with your body and your health. By shifting your focus from restrictive dieting to understanding and respecting your body’s cues, you foster a sustainable and joyful approach to wellness.