The best weight loss program depends on a person’s particular needs. There is no such thing as one ideal program for everyone.

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According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, factors that affect weight loss include:

  • age
  • ethnicity
  • cultural background and social circles
  • family history and genes
  • sleep habits
  • underlying medical conditions

All people have different factors that affect their weight. Though the weight loss programs within this article can be useful for females, anyone can follow and benefit from them.

Diet and weight loss programs may help with short-term weight loss. People may find certain programs offer more success than others.

Learn more about how to lose weight fast here.

When attempting long-term weight loss, it is important to bear in mind that many diet programs are typically unsustainable and often eventually lead to weight re-gain after the diet ends.

A weight loss program should not replace a healthful diet and regular exercise, which are important for maintaining a healthy weight in the long-term.

Learn more about successful weight loss here.

People can choose from a variety of low-carb diet plans. Each diet has its own rules for how many carbs a person can consume per day. There are two main levels of low-carb diet:

  • Very low-carb diets: A person consumes 20–50 grams (g) of carbohydrates per day or carbs make up less than 10% of total daily calories.
  • Low-carb diets: A person consumes fewer than 130 g of carbohydrates per day or carbs make up less than 26% of total daily calories.

How it works

A low-carb diet reportedly works by reducing the body’s dependence on carbs for energy. The low-carb model can help rapidly reduce weight for the first 6–12 months. Most people replace calories from carbs with calories from fat or protein.

The downside

There are potential downsides to eating a low-carb diet. According to researchers, these diets can increase low-density lipoproteins, which carry ‘bad’ cholesterol. They can also potentially increase mortality and cardiovascular problems. However, the research regarding cardiovascular outcomes and mortality is inconclusive.

Point-based dietary programs offer a simple points system for keeping track of food intake.

How it works

Point-based dietary programs assign a simple numerical value to each food. In most programs, a person is allowed to eat or drink a certain number of points per day.

A 2016 review of various points-based dietary programs found that Weight Watchers was an effective program for helping people with overweight or obesity.

However, a person should follow a points-based system consistently to get the best results.

The downside

A points-based diet can be overwhelming for some people. A person needs to keep track of all the foods they eat and determine how many points remain after each day. Additionally, not all programs are the same, as some may be more effective than others.

Meal replacement diets come in different varieties. Some, such as the Health Management Resources Program, provide premade meal replacements and shakes. Others may only replace a single meal with a shake or other food replacement.

How it works

The goal of meal replacement diets is to create a calorie deficit to promote weight loss. Meals come in the form of frozen or prepackaged and measured meals or shakes.

According to researchers at the University of New Mexico, meal replacement diets can be an effective weight loss strategy. Their study suggests that even replacing one high-calorie meal with a reduced-calorie meal per day can help promote weight loss.

Another review from 2019 supports the idea that meal replacement diets can help with weight loss. They found that participants achieved an average of 3 pounds more weight loss than those using other weight loss programs.

The downside

Prepackaged meals and programs can be expensive for some people. Others might find it hard to maintain eating only premade meals or shakes.

Another downside is that many of these meals have low-quality ingredients, preservatives, and generally lack balance. Some diet plans may require the addition of fruits and vegetables.

People may also find it challenging to transition back to a regular diet, and the program should try to address this transition.

Dietitian Marla Heller originally developed the DASH diet to support people living with diabetes and blood pressure issues.

This diet focuses on vegetables, fruits, and nutrients. According to a study, it is an effective method for weight loss.

How it works

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, people who follow the DASH diet focus on:

  • eating fish, poultry, nuts, vegetable oils, beans, and low fat dairy
  • eating vegetables, whole grains, and fruits
  • limiting sugary drinks and foods
  • avoiding foods high in saturated fats

The program also offers specialized instructions for those seeking to lose weight.

The downside

According to Harvard Health Publishing, some potential issues with the DASH diet include:

  • People living with food allergies may need to make modifications to the diet.
  • People are responsible for creating and regulating their own food and meals.
  • The potential for a person to develop gas and bloating due to the high fiber content.
  • The DASH diet food lists are not comprehensive.

A person can choose from many home-based exercise programs. Many of them focus on different areas, and each may be more effective for some people.

How it works

Home-based exercise programs provide guided exercise through videos. Some come in physical media formats, while others are available through streaming services.

According to an older study from 2010, home-based exercise programs were effective for the first 6 months. After this time, the results were not noticeable. Researchers also note there is a link between home-exercise programs and a reduction in blood cholesterol levels.

The downside

Not all programs will work for everyone. A person should research programs that fit their goals and needs.

One downside of home exercise is that some people may find it hard to maintain their motivation to follow the program’s activities and recommended diet regimen.

A person’s age, gender, race, starting weight, and other factors can influence how effective a weight loss program will be. The weight loss programs in this article are suitable for females, but not specifically for females only. Anyone can follow and benefit from them.

A person should not expect immediate results from starting a program. It can take several weeks or months to see weight loss results. People should also note that a weight loss program is not a long-term solution or replacement for a healthful diet and regular exercise.

Before starting any weight loss program, a person should talk to their healthcare provider.