Looking for the perfect weight loss plan that suits your lifestyle and does exactly what it promises? Well, today we’re going to compare two of the best programs on the market: Nutrisystem vs Weight Watchers.
Both of these programs have helped thousands of people around the world reach their goals related to healthy nutrition and overall improved fitness. Both of them work on a subscription basis and provide different plans to choose from. But even though their goals are more or less the same, their means to an end vary greatly.
So, how do you choose which program will really work for you? This article covers all the pressing questions and important differences between Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers – and even some of the less obvious details you should consider before choosing. We’ll compare their pros and cons, different pricing policies, and how easy (or difficult) it is to cancel your membership, if you decide to.
And finally, by the end we will reveal which of these products is our favorite, and why we believe you may like it too.
So let’s begin.
Main differences between Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers
The main differences between Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers are:
- Nutrisystem provides ready to eat home-delivered meals, whereas Weight Watchers provides only its support system and guidance.
- Nutrisystem plans differ in food quality and variability, whereas Weight Watchers programs represent different platforms and services.
- Nutrisystem focuses on convenience and organization, whereas the Weight Watchers program allows more freedom and flexibility.
- Nutrisystem provides relatively expensive all-in-one service, whereas Weight Watchers basic packages are more affordable.
What is Nutrisystem
Nutrisystem is one of the oldest operating weight loss and nutrition programs in the U.S. It was founded back in 1972 in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania as a physical brick-and-mortar service with dedicated centers. As the time went by, the company adapted to modern trends and focused more on the individual needs of its clients.
Today Nutrisystem is one of the country’s leading providers of pre-prepared dietary meals, which are offered under several different programs. Most of Nutrisystem’s customers start their subscription simply because they want to lose some weight, but the company claims that weight loss is only a welcomed side effect of the program. What Nutrisystem really offers is a well-balanced nutrition that can transform your lifestyle completely and make you healthier, happier, and less prone to various diseases.
Nutrisystem is very convenient. It provides you with (almost) complete nutrition in the form of pre-prepared meals delivered right to your door, which is great if you’re too busy or inexperienced to prepare them yourself. At the same time, the program teaches you step-by-step, how to understand your body and how nutrition affects your overall condition.
What is Weight Watchers
Weight Watchers program was here even before Nutrisystem. The company was launched in New York in the early 1960s, firstly operating only as a private counseling and support group, but quickly transforming into an international enterprise with hundreds of franchises.
Weight Watchers, commonly known simply as WW, is currently one of the largest commercial weight-loss programs in the U.S. But aside from helping you get thinner, the Weight Watchers program also promotes a modern holistic approach to health and fitness, including useful gym and exercise recommendations and sale of athletic equipment.
Unlike Nutrisystem, the Weight Watchers program doesn’t provide you with ready-to-eat meals. Instead of doing all the hard work for you, this program tries to teach its clients how to create and maintain healthier lifestyles for themselves. This approach centers around the idea that a good weight management program must be individual and take many different factors in account, which is also supported by various scientific studies. Depending on the plan you choose, you will receive customized digital or personal support, which gives you guidance and flexibility at the same time. This makes Weight Watchers suitable for many of those, who find conventional weight-loss programs too rigid and limiting.
Nutrisystem: Main Features
An effective weight-loss program usually consists of a number of features that complement each other on different levels. After all, transforming your lifestyle and achieving a permanent change requires a lot of commitment, so every little detail counts.
How does Nutrisystem stand if we focus on its features one by one?
Nutrisystem has eight plan options – four for women and four for men. All of them include almost complete daily nutrition in pre-prepared meals and shakes (shelf-stable or frozen). What makes these plans different from each other is your ability to choose from numerous basic or high-end food options. Of course, each of the plans is firstly adjusted to your real needs based on the survey you take when you register.
Nutrisystem meals are delivered weekly right to your door, and the shipment is free of charge. In general, it is recommended to stay on this scheme for at least four weeks. The first one should work as a kickstarter, while the last one is preparing you to maintain your new habits even after the program ends.
Nutrisystem vows to make weight-loss simpler than ever before. You don’t have to research, find and prepare your healthy meals on your own anymore. Nutrisystem will deliver 60% of your daily caloric intake to you in convenient, ready-to-eat and perfectly balanced meals.
The program focuses on low-carb (or smart carb) diet, which is low in sodium, saturated fats, and trans fats, and includes high-fiber whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein. At the same time, it includes various tasty treats, so your efforts will be rewarded regularly. As for the rest of your nutrition, you will be guided to choose the best fresh ingredients in your local shops.
Nutrisystem offers comprehensive support via multiple communication channels. These include a 24/7 chat through your mobile app, so you can use the service flexibly and efficiently wherever you go.
The company, however, still emphasizes personal counselling as the best means of support. That’s why everyone who commits to Nutrisystem gains access to real-life nutritional counselors whenever they need help or motivation. This is especially important if you have some special condition (e.g. diabetes) and require a more personal approach.
Nutrisystem is a perfect choice for those, who lack the time, energy or will to work on their healthier lifestyle proactively. Nevertheless, it still teaches you some useful tricks, how to maintain your newly achieved fitness in the long run.
If you interact with all of the provided tools and materials, you’ll learn about the glycemic index, how each of the nutrients affects your body, or how to choose the right portion size. On the other hand, maintaining your new weight after you stop eating the special Nutrisystem diet can be quite challenging, so the long-term effectiveness of this scheme can be discutable (but that probably applies to most of the weight-loss schemes, as some studies suggest).
Nutrisystem offers money-back guarantee with all of its plans. This means that you can cancel your plan without any fees or penalties, if you do so in the first 14 days. In order to get a full refund for unused products, you must contact Nutrisystem’s customer care and return unopened, non-frozen items within the next 48 hours.
However, if you decide to cancel your plan later, you can be charged a steep $125 cancellation fee. For contact details and additional information, check our dedicated Nutrisystem cancellation guide.
If you follow the instructions, Nutrisystem promises to help you lose between 1 and 2 pounds per week. Reviewers usually claim that this system really works, although some of them complain it took quite long to see the effect. Most of Nutrisystem’s customers were also satisfied with the overall food quality and taste, enjoying the ability to eat snacks such as ice cream or waffles, which are often tabu with other dietary plans.
However, many clients are complaining about lack of guidance, missing instructions, or rather unfriendly cancellation policy. Some of the users also doubt Nutrisystem’s value for money ratio.
Weight Watchers: Main Features
Weight Watchers is considered to be one of the most enjoyable and flexible weight management programs around. However, you have to be willing to actively participate in the process and get used to WW’s unique features, which might be a bit discouraging for some.
Here are the Weight Watchers’ main features:
Weight Watchers program comes in three different forms – purely digital, digital with limited coaching, and full-package of digital and coaching services. One of the program’s key elements is its adjustability and customizability. Weight Watchers’ new program is called myWW, and it’s built around the idea that the most effective weight-loss program is the one that truly adapts to your lifestyle and predispositions.
Before you start with a WW program, you will be asked to provide many details about your current condition and general habits. Based on these, Weight Watchers will prepare your unique “game plan”. In this program, there’s no “good” and “bad” food. Nothing is off the limits, as long as you stick to the guidelines.
Unlike Nutrisystem, the Weight Watchers program requires some proactivity from the very beginning. To motivate and make the whole process more understandable, WW transforms calories counting into collecting so-called SmartPoints, which turns the whole process into some sort of a game. But for those who are completely new to this system, it can be a bit confusing at the beginning.
However, once you settle with the program, you should find WW very convenient and easy. The program offers a wide range of digital tools, that help you track your daily intake, activities, goals and achievements. If you need flexibility rather than strict rules, Weight Watchers could be the most convenient option for you.
Weight Watchers program is basically all about the support. There’s a dedicated technical support and a team of nutrition experts, who can be contacted either online or via telephone. Of course, the most important support you get comes from your personal WW couch (not available in the basic Digital program).
You get to choose one of 800+ couches, so you should be able to find someone who really suits you. Depending on the plan you buy, he or she will be ready to discuss your progress on a regular basis either through Zoom sessions, or in person in one of the WW’s numerous branches.
Weight Watchers is designed to help you understand how your individually balanced nutrition and healthy lifestyle should look. Unlike Nutrisystem, WW is not offering their own meals, so you effectively learn how to find and buy healthy food in your local stores. This plus the program’s holistic approach to well-being in general makes it easy to follow WW’s guidelines even when you end your active membership.
Although the Weight Watchers program is one of the most flexible products in its class, it still has some strings attached. Initial commitment period is 6 months, and after that, you will be charged the standard monthly fee. If you cancel before your commitment period ends, an early termination fee of $39.95 will be applied.
If you decide to cancel your WW membership, there’s an easy-to-follow process described in our Weight Watchers cancellation guide.
Weight Watchers’ users usually praise the system for its effectiveness and flexibility. Just like Nutrisystem, WW also claims you can lose 1-2 pounds a week with its guidance, which is considered healthy by most specialists too.
Customers like the affordability of this program, especially in comparison with some competition. But you shouldn’t forget that this price doesn’t include any physical products – you still have to invest in the nutrition itself. Reviewers also like the friendly community-like atmosphere of the whole program and claim that this personal touch helps them to stay on the right track.
Nutrisystem vs Weight Watchers – Pros and Cons
- Convenient delivery of heat-and-eat meals
- Nice variety of healthy meals to choose from
- Easy to follow program
- Higher price
- Strict cancellation policy
- Discutable long-term effect
Weight Watchers Pros
- Fully flexible and customizable program
- Affordable prices
- Enjoyable game-like scheme
Weight Watchers Cons
- SmartPoints system can be a bit confusing
- Lack of strict rules can be counterproductive for some
Nutrisystem vs Weight Watchers – Pricing
Nutrisystem program offers 8 different plans – four for men and four for women:
- Basic (women $10.18/men $11.61 per day) – Kit with preselected ready-to-eat food
- Core (women $11.07/ men $12.50 per day) – Choose from variety of foods, or try Favorites
- Uniquely yours (women $12.50/men $13.93 per day) – More food variety + frozen meals
- Uniquely yours + (women $13.93/men $15.36 per day) – Best available food choices + high-protein shakes
Nutrisystem regularly offers reductions on various programs and “buy 1 get 1 free” type promotions. Visit their webpage for more information.
Weight Watchers program offers 3 different schemes to choose from:
- Digital ($3.22 per week) – Customized best-in-class app in your pocket wherever you go
- Workshop ($6.92 per week) – Digital + 30-minute Zoom/in-person session with WW couch
- Coaching ($12.69 per week) – Digital + customized game plan and 1:1 support
With selected plans, you can now get the first three months of your WW membership completely free. Visit here for more details.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Feel like neither of the above would really suit you? Here are some alternative weight-loss programs that could interest you.
Jenny Craig Diet
Do all healthy meals taste lame to you? Jenny Craig Diet is one of the most popular weight-loss programs for those, who need their diet really tasty and colorful. You can choose from three alternative Jenny Craig plans (from 2 to 4 pre-prepared meals per day) with weekly deliveries right to your door starting at $12.99/day. If you’re on the budget, there are usually some price reductions or special offers available.
HMR program is considered to be one of the most sophisticated and reliable weight management programs in the country. The fact that it’s used in over 200 medical facilities in the U.S. really speaks for itself. Clients can expect an average weight loss of about 23 pounds in 12 weeks of this program, which makes HMR one of the fastest working programs around.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers
How is Nutrisystem delivered and how much is shipment?
Nutrisystem meals come in shelf-stable or pre-frozen doses of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks, and they are delivered on a weekly (or other prearranged) basis. All orders are shipped for free directly to your home. It usually takes less than seven days after you place your order.
What are Weight Watchers SmartPoints?
Weight Watchers gives you a number of points per day that indicate what should you eat in order to reach your goals. Number of these points depends on various factors, like your initial weight, age, gender, and level of activity. As you continue on your journey, these amounts change to reflect your current needs.
How much does it cost to lose weight with one of these programs?
Both Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers offer different plans for individual needs and budgets. The cheapest digital support programs can cost only several dollars per week, while the all-inclusive packages with ready-to-eat meals start at about $10 per day.
Our Verdict: Nutrisystem vs Weight Watchers
My personal favorite weight management program is definitely Weight Watchers. Even though it requires some level of proactivity, and its points system can be a bit confusing at the beginning, the flexibility of this program is simply great.
Moreover, this freedom to eat whatever you like and adapt the plan to your actual lifestyle (and not the other way around) really works in the long-run. It’s also relatively easy to learn all the tricks and follow them once your subscription expires.
Another WW’s benefit is that it offers low-cost digital plans, which are great for those who can’t afford the full package, but also for those who already have some experience and need just a tiny bit of support.
Finding the perfect weight-loss program is definitely not easy. But if you make the right choice, it can literally turn your life around. What matters the most is how painful or enjoyable your experience with the program is, because that alone can determine whether you can stick to your newly acquired good habits in the long-run.
We hope that this article helps you choose the program that will lead you to your long-yearned-for goals. But if your program of choice eventually doesn’t work for you, we’re still here for you to help you cancel your membership.
Our guides to cancelling weight-loss programs membership can be found right here.