diet programWhen it comes to dieting and implementing a healthier overall lifestyle, picking the best diet program for you can be tricky. Equally as difficult as picking the right diet program is sticking to it. One way to ensure you stick to your diet program is understanding whether you need a hands-on program that offers meals in addition to dedicated consultants and diet coaches, or if you’re better suited to a program that simply offers nutritious, portioned meals to help you lose weight. How can you tell which type of program works best for you? To help you decide which type of program is best suited for your dieting success, we break down the difference in hands-on diet programs and hands-off diet programs.

What is a hand-on diet program?

A hands-on diet program combines diet meals with personalized consultations for a more comprehensive diet program. With these types of programs, you’ll receive access to nutritionists, who can help answer any questions you have about your meals, as well as personal consultants, who are there to help you stay on track with your weight loss goals. Jenny Craig is an example of a hands-on diet program, and it encourages you to have weekly meetings with a consultant. You can choose to meet privately in person with the Jenny Craig In-Center program or by phone from the comfort of your home with the Jenny Craig Anywhere program, where your consultant calls you once a week to check in on your progress. The program also offers a fitness diary so you can track your exercise alongside your meals. Hands-on diet programs are generally more expensive than hands-off programs, as you’re not only paying for the diet food itself, but also for the support and expertise of dedicated diet consultants, but the cost can be worthwhile if you know you need that extra push.

What is a hand-off diet program?

A hands-off diet program is strictly a diet delivery program where meals are delivered to your doorstep, usually on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Unlike hands-on diet programs, these types of programs are less comprehensive and simply provide you with healthy, well-portioned meals to help you achieve your weight loss goals as well as some light reading material. You can choose whether you’d prefer a program that delivers complete meals, where the meals are ready to eat as-is, or a program that requires you to add supplemental foods (such as vegetables and dairy) to make the meals complete. While some of these hands-off programs, such as Nutrisystem and bistroMD, offer online weight loss and fitness diaries as well as access to consultants to help you with any dietary restrictions you may have, these types of programs do not offer the full support of a personal consultant. Additionally, while there are some programs that only offer a one-plan-fits-all approach, there are also more flexible programs that allow you to choose how many meals you’d like to receive each week (e.g., five meals per week) and which meals you’ll receive per day (e.g., one breakfast and one dinner).

How do I know which is best for me?

Deciding whether a hands-on or hands-off diet program is best for you comes down to how much support you’re looking for in your diet as well as what your personal weight loss goal is. If you don’t have much weight to lose and you’re a self-motivated person, a hands-off diet program may be better for you, as weekly calls or in-person consultations combined with less flexible options in your weekly meal plans may become more of a nuisance to you. On the other hand, if you need more support in staying on track with your diet meals and your fitness goals, as well as a more regimented diet plan, a hands-on diet program can offer you all the support and motivation you may need to achieve your weight loss goals.

If you’re interested in trying one of these programs out, you can read more about what they have to offer by visiting our diet delivery service reviews.