150+ Weight Loss Programs, Diets, Shakes & Plans

150+ Weight Loss Programs- a must-read if you are trying to lose weight.
When choosing a weight loss program, you’re spoiled for choice. The problem is it can be overwhelming trying to choose between so many similar programs, and also those that seem to contradict one another. Our advice is to choose one that resonates with you, and then tune the other ones out, staying faithful to your choice until it sees you to your goal. If it doesn’t suit you, you can always switch up your game plan!


Fitness + Diet

These plans ask you to pay close attention to what you’re eating and get more exercise to lose the pounds and reveal a new you. This balanced approach has proven very effective for many followers.

fitness and diet

Body for Life
This has its origins in a book by Bill Phillips that outlines a way of eating, lifting, and doing cardio that work in tandem to transform your body in 12 weeks. At the height of its popularity, they would run annual million dollar challenges. You can still compete in a challenge but the prize is less money now.

This is the follow-up of Body for Life by Bill Phillips. It incorporates some of the same advice, but goes more towards a holistic view of the body and includes more mental and spiritual health in its approach to fitness. He’s still kept the competitions going, but this time with more money on the line.

recommendedThe Step Diet
The idea here is that if you gradually get your daily step count to 10,000 and start eating less food at each meal, the result will be a leaner, more fit you. There’s a book that has the details, and you’ll want to get a pedometer to get started on it, but with quality pedometers available for less than $2,0 this is a pretty low-cost fitness plan to start on. Plus, you can walk just about anywhere and you don’t need a gym membership.

Denise Austin
Denise says that in just four weeks, you’ll see your fatty areas start to take the shape you really want. It’s a pretty comprehensive set-up with an eating plan, fitness suggestions, and recipe guides so you have a step-by-step plan of attack. She also offers coaching and a forum so you can ask questions and get answers from others on the same path.

The Six Week Body Makeover
What’s nice about this package is that it has you determine what type of body you have first, and then gives you an eating and fitness strategy customized to how your body responds. It gives you before and after illustrations so you’ll get a good idea of what you’re going to morph into once you follow the system.

The Best Life Diet
This program has the benefit of getting a thumbs up from Oprah, and tries to separate itself from being just a diet, and more of a healthy lifestyle that you’d follow for the rest of your life. They make the distinction that a diet is something you go on and off of, but with their program you incorporate it as part of your new healthy life.


Ancestry Based

Ancestry Based Weight Loss Programs

recommendedThe Paleo Diet
This diet plan claims that Paleolithic man was the best model for health, and says we should eat foods that were the norm before agriculture came around. Followers take a pass on any processed foods, dairy, pasta, or grains, and anything with sugar in it, instead opting for meats, fruits and vegetables, nuts, and fish.  For more information, check out our Paleo diet guide here.

Jesus Diet
The theory here is that if you eat the sort of food that was around during the time of Jesus, you’ll lose weight and be healthier. Some also add in verses from the Bible as further proof of the sort of diet God wants you to eat. There are varying interpretations of this diet, with some involving more spirituality and religion than others.

The vegetarian diet is one of the most popular diets today. It involves avoiding most animal products and eating plant-based foods whenever possible. Many proponents of a vegetarian diet refer to the low rate of chronic diseases of vegetarians compared to their meat-eating peers.

Raw Diet
This involves eating foods that are uncooked, a throwback to our time before discovering fire. Some raw foodies eat raw eggs and other raw meats like sashimi, but many raw dieters skip the meat and follow a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle, eating only raw fruits and veggies, with various nuts and seeds.

recommendedOrganic Diet
The only requirement here is eating foods that are organically grown. Almost anything is on the table, including meat, foods with carbohydrates in them, foods with fat in them, and all other foods that generally get nixed from mainstream diets. Instead the focus is on what you’re not putting into your body, like preservatives, pesticides, antibiotics, and herbicides.

Macrobiotic Diet
This diet involves eating foods that are not processed, and has a strong focus on eating grains. It cuts out meat from the diet, and various parts of the world include different food items. For example, in Japan, one staple of a Macrobiotic diet is having miso soup, which is a soup that isn’t very popular elsewhere but is a staple in Japan.

Eat Clean Diet
The food that you’re supposed to eat on this diet are from clean sources. In other words, they do not contain any harmful added ingredients, such as refined sugar, preservatives, or food dyes. They say that this diet works to stabilize your weight, and will cause you to gain, lose, or maintain weight depending on where you’re currently at.


Extreme Fitness

These plans are all about intensity. They are designed to push you to your limits, and past your plateaus. Take them on if you feel up to it, or get a bit more fit with other programs first and then move on to these.

extreme fitness

This is one extreme fitness program that is supposed to take 90 days to complete. It uses a system of making the body guess. It includes a three phase meal plan, but the real magic happens from the intense workouts done daily. Tony Horton gets you moving in these videos, and he’s good about reminding you to ease into it and don’t go all out at first.

They devised this workout to live up to its name, and it’s supposed to push the limits of even the fittest of the fit. Shaun T is your host, showing proper form for each exercise, and bringing his own style of motivation. There’s also plenty of fitness model guys and gals so you can see how it’s done, with modifications of the exercises so you can go at your own pace.

Riding on the heels of Insanity, Asylum is designed to take things even further. This program has more of an athletic feel to it, and is for those that want to condition themselves for competitive sports. Of course anyone that wants to get an athlete’s body is welcome to use this program to get results. Shaun T returns on this program, bringing even more intensity, yet still showing you the right way to do each move.

These programs are becoming the norm when it comes to getting more fit, or breaking through a plateau. Certified instructors take you through a series of exercises that work out all of your major muscle groups, and get your heart rate going with circuit training so you’re all around fit, unlike some programs that only focus on muscle or dieting.

This is the Navy SEAL version of CrossFit and is supposed to get you special ops ready. It’s hard to argue that SEALs aren’t some of the fittest personnel out there, so the theory is that if you mimic what they do you’ll end up with the same body. Even if you fall a little short it would still be an impressive feat.

ChaLean Extreme
This is an extreme program that’s geared more towards the ladies, not to say that any of the others are for men only. They say that in three months you’ll be able to lose 60% of your body fat, which would definitely make for a structural change in your body. The body you’ll create is a lean body without bulking up.

TRX Training
This might not look intensive at first glance it uses your body weight and forces you to stabilize yourself. It’s a workout that has its origins in the Navy SEAL program, and is extreme as you want it to be. The neat part is that it can be used for a more moderate workout as well, since you’re in control of the intensity level.

Boot Camps
Many gyms across the country have their own “boot camp” training programs. They borrow the name from military training that is supposed to put you through the wringer. They only last an hour but you can expect to get a full body workout, and the instructor/trainer will typically be able to map out your fitness plan depending on your personal goals.


Doctor Based

Nothing adds credibility to a diet plan more than a doctor-developed program. The following programs are the brainchild of cardiologists, physicians, plastic surgeons, and other MDs and doctor types.

doctor diets

The Zone Diet
Barry Sears is more scientist than doctor, but he’s the man behind this highly successful series of books, supplemental foods, and several home delivery programs. The “zone” refers to getting your body in the state where you feel energetic, alert, and at your best. He proposes getting there by eating the right mixture of proteins, carbs, and fats, as well as supplementing with fish oil.

Dukan Diet
Dr. Dukan lends his name to this diet program, touted as the number one diet in all of France. His approach uses four phases, and his site can calculate with precision when you’ll be entering each phase, and how many days each phase will last. The last phase is all about stabilizing your body at its new weight, and maintaining long-term results.

Ornish Diet
Based off of his book The Spectrum, this diet plan is a bit like the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland – how far down it do you want to go? It can accommodate those that want to lose a few pounds and be healthier, as well as those that want to go full tilt and avoid more serious health problems later in life.

recommendedMayo Clinic Diet
The Mayo Clinic is often regarded as the go-to on sound medical research and recommendations. After a phony fad diet became popular and used their name, they seemed to have attempted to set the record straight and released the true version of their diet plan. They break things down into two main phases, and emphasize educating yourself on new, healthy habits.

The Genotype Diet
Your first task on this diet is figuring out which category you belong in, which is based partly on your blood type as well as your genetic make-up. The theory is that when you start to eat foods that are best for your genotype, your body automatically responds well to them, and the results come almost effortlessly.

Eat What You Love
The main strategy with this method is to stop beating yourself up over the foods you eat, and start eating more of the foods that make you feel good. They advocate dropping your obsession with food by getting out of the habit of eating foods you’ll later regret.

The Bonus Years Diet
The benefit of following this diet is that you’re getting the best of both worlds, with Ralph Felder being both a physician and a chef, you’ll get foods that not only taste great, but that work for you instead of against you. The claim here is that you can add six or more years to your life by following the plan and the recipes.

The Park Avenue Diet
Stuart Fischer is the doctor behind this program, which puts an emphasis on not only losing weight, but on improving your overall image and looking your best. Often looking good is at the heart of the reason for wanting to lose weight, so it’s good to take the approach of improving your appearance from multiple directions.

Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight Solution
Even though Dr. Phil is not a medical doctor he’s still trying to use his celebrity to break into the weight loss industry. He’s already settled out of court on a line of supplements, but is back with a new diet plan which outlines seven steps to take in order to lose weight and keep it off.


Low Carb

The no-carb craze has died down a bit since the height of its popularity, but there are still several diets that promote watching your carbohydrate intake as the crux of their program. Be sure to do your homework on these before jumping on board.

low carb diets

Atkins Diet
This is the diet that is single-handedly responsible for the low-carb craze, and is almost synonymous with a low-carb lifestyle. They’ve tried to distance themselves and broaden the diet so that it can avoid the low-carb label, but at its heart that’s what it still is, and it still comes with its list of allowed and disallowed foods.

Slow Carb Diet
This diet was developed by Tim Ferriss in his book The Four Hour Body. Rather than not allowing food with carbs, it recommends eating “slow carbs” or ones that your body processes over a longer period of time, which keeps you full without spiking your glucose levels. The nice part about it is that you get a free day every seventh day when you can eat anything.

recommendedSouth Beach Diet
This is another carbohydrate-based diet program that enjoyed a lot of attention and is dubbed as one of the diets Hollywood celebrities use to stay movie-ready. It was originally developed by a doctor to help his patients avoid heart disease, but it caught on because it offered a stark contrast to the low-fat diets that ran the show at the time.

Rosedale Diet
This isn’t a no-carb but a low-carb diet that was developed by a doctor and it aims to replace carb sources that are burned up quickly by the body with foods that the body burns slowly so you enjoy the benefits longer. Starting with the premise that all carbs turn into sugar, he makes a pretty good argument for avoiding them, or at least limiting them.

Stillman Diet
This is a hybrid of a low-fat and low-carb diet and is heavy on the protein. Protein is often thought of as a food that doesn’t have any negative effects on the body, but it is taxing on the liver, so it’s best to study up on how much protein your body actually needs before embarking on this diet plan.

Carb Cycling
Those that criticize a no-carb diet say that a better solution is carb cycling. This doesn’t involve a bike of any sort, the cycling refers to the alternating of no carbs with carbs. The idea is that you can keep the body in a ketogenic state where it’s burning fat for fuel. There is a lot of debate as to whether this sort of diet is good for the body, but little argument over the short-term results it provides.

Choose to Lose
If you are unsure about how carb cycling works, and want someone to guide you through the process so you know you’re doing it right, this is the program for you. This also shares some similarities with the Every Other Day diet, in that you’re eating carbs one day, but not the next, and then alternating like that as a strategy.

The Schwarzbein Principle
This is a five step program, and only a small portion of it is carb-related. It also stresses balance, which is something that other carb-based diets don’t do, but it recommends using protein as the backdrop to your meal, with other foods acting as the sideshow. It’s also geared towards women, with the fifth step being Hormone Replacement Therapy.


Best-Selling Books

Popularity isn’t always the key to a good diet, as we’ll see with fad diets, but sometimes the masses are on to something and it can be a good guide to a better way of eating. These programs all originated from best-selling and well-reviewed books.

diet books

The Full Plate Diet
The best part of this diet book is that you can read it for free when you sign up for their website. The principles are sound enough, with no calorie or point counting, and eating a balanced diet of foods that are generally thought of as healthy. They’re turning it more into a lifestyle that will allow you to eat out at restaurants and stay on it long term.

The Power of 4
The four pillars that are discussed y Paul Owens are exercise, diet, lifestyle, and supplements. It’s hard to argue that combining dieting with exercise and a healthy lifestyle will work synergistically to make rapid changes in your body. Supplements may provide the extra edge that will accelerate your results and complete the picture.

The Plan
This is an anti-inflammatory diet that is not only supposed to help you lose weight, but also helps to fight off diseases that are the result of inflammation in the body, as well as holding off the aging process. This diet takes into account the way each person will process foods differently. They offer additional coaching and can help you establish your own personalized plan.

The Virgin Diet
This diet has nothing to do with virginity, it’s named after its author, JJ Virgin. The promise is by cutting out seven foods from your diet you’ll be able to lose seven pounds in just one week.T he premise here is that some foods are not tolerated well by the body, and it does its best to cope with them once you eat them. Cut them out and your body will function more properly.

recommendedWheat Belly
This book is jumping on the no-wheat bandwagon that’s been rolling through town. Wheat seems to be under heavy scrutiny from the gluten-free crowd, to the Paleo diet followers, and here’s another source saying that if you simply cut out the wheat from your diet you’ll notice improvements in the way you look and feel, and can help with several different health problems

Eat to Live
Dr. Oz gave this book the nod, and the premise is pretty simple. You have to increase your intake of nutrient-packed foods like superfoods you’ll lose weight. When the balance is reversed and you’re mostly eating foods that don’t pack a nutritional punch, you gain weight. It’s set up as a six week program, which makes it easy for most to follow along.

I Can Make You Thin
This book by Paul McKenna was also made into a television show in which he expounded on the core principles. There’s only four major tenets to his system: 1) eat when you’re hungry, 2) eat what your body is telling you to, 3) enjoy every mouthful, and 4) stop eating when you’re full. It sounds simple enough, and a lot of his practices involve retraining the mind.

The Fiber 35 Diet
As you might have guessed, fiber is being hailed as the natural ingredient that holds the key to weight loss. The 35 refers to the number of daily grams of fiber you’ll eat when following this plan, and this is what is supposed to be responsible for the magic. It allegedly curbs your cravings, keeps you regular, and gives you more energy throughout the day.

You: On a Diet
This book is co-written by Dr. Oz, but to avoid a shameless plug he doesn’t reference it directly on his show. It involves a more scientific approach, with the two doctors that wrote it serving as translators of the complicated chemical reactions taking place, and boiling it down into tips and advice the layperson can understan.


You may also like our list of 127 Weight Loss Tips


Online Based

Many online diet programs have emerged and solidified themselves as free ways to get solid fitness and dieting advice either for free or for a nominal cost. Some are Web 2.0 enabled so you can share your accomplishments with your friends.

online weight loss programs

recommendedSpark People
The people behind this program are really trying to make losing weight accessible to just about anyone that wants to do so. It’s free to join and there are a ton of features and loads of information available right from the start. The site is ad supported, and of course your personal information has value, but you can put your credit card away on this one.

This site is mostly focused on getting active any way you can, and posting your achievements online. This not only gives you a trail of breadcrumbs on your fitness journey, but they’ll also turn it into useful graphs and other data for you to analyze. With a few clicks you can even keep your Facebook friends in the know of your latest workout.

This company bills themselves as a social fitness site, and offers a lot of tools and features such as calorie counters, mobile apps, diet plans, fitness plans, and a community of like-minded individuals that are willing to help you along the way to a healthier version of yourself. Track your workouts, track your dieting, and make more informed decisions as you go along, all for free.

Boasting six million users, this is a site that lets you track your food intake and provides a lot of colorful and handy charts to help you visualize and make objective choices about your diet plan. This can be very useful because the mind will play tricks on you and make you think that you’re either not doing enough, or doing too much, so it’s good to have a record to look at.

Regardless of your feelings about Lance Armstrong, few can deny that the nutrition and fitness advice provided at the LiveStrong website is anything short of awesome, and all provided for free. They’ve got it divided between men and women and run the gamut on everything you need to succeed for food, fitness, and overall health.

Truth About Abs
You’ve no doubt seen an advertisement for Truth About Abs, but you might not have known that’s what it was. This is a weight loss and fitness program that helps you cut through the myths and get down to what it really takes to see your ab muscles. There’s an online community of other ab chasers and the author of the book even answers questions directly.

While eDiets is primarily a diet food delivery company, they also offer help and support to their members, and have plenty of articles on diet and nutrition. They offer online weight loss tools in the member’s area, and also allow you to ask questions directly to registered dieticians so you’re not getting third hand information on what you should and shouldn’t be eating.

recommendedBistro MD
This is broken down into men’s and women’s programs and is focused on delivering pre-portioned meals to your door. But the program also offers a lot of side benefits, including being able to talk with doctors about your weight loss goals, and to chat with fitness instructors about what you should be doing to supplement your dietary changes.


Fad Diets

Technically, several diets on our list could be labeled as a fad, but we’re going to stick to some of the more outlandish or restrictive diets that people have tried over the years, and have gained notoriety.

grapefruit diet

The Cabbage Soup Diet
This involves making a big pot of cabbage soup and then eating from it as your major source of nourishment for days on end. The diet was outlined in several faxes that went around during the heyday of the fax machine, and it shows what to do on each day in addition to eating as much soup as you feel like. Ten pounds lost in seven days is the usual claim of this diet.

The Subway Diet
This diet was made popular by Jarod the spokesperson for Subway restaurants. He allegedly lost his weight by eating sub sandwiches every day. Details on the diet are sketchy, but it would involve not getting the footlong sizes, skipping the mayo and cheese, getting a lot of walking in and not drinking soda with your meal.

The Grapefruit Diet
This is another diet that received a lot of attention after it circulated between fax machines. Some clever person put the term Mayo Clinic Diet on it to make it sound more official, but they didn’t have anything to do with it. The big claim here is that grapefruits possess fat-burning power, and half a grapefruit should be eaten with each meal.

Juice Fasting
This involves drinking nothing but freshly prepared juices, and not eating solid foods for a duration of time. This is a diet that can be done for many reasons, but when used as a way to lose weight quickly, it can be labeled as a fad diet. It’s designed for short term benefits and not meant to be carried on for the long run.

The Green Smoothie Diet
Green smoothies are becoming more and more popular as a way to get a lot of nutrients into the body in an easily digestible form. It didn’t take long for it to be linked to a diet, and there is even a book on the subject. It says you can lose weight, use it to detox the body, get more energy, and prevent or fight diseases.

The Lemonade Diet
Beyonce resurrected this fad diet a few years back when she let it be known that she used this in order to drop weight when preparing for the movie Dreamgirls. The main thing here is, you guessed it, lemonade, or rather lemon juice mixed with maple syrup and cayenne pepper. The fast can last for two weeks or longer in extreme cases.

The Kind Diet
This one is all about the warm fuzzies, and was developed and promoted by Alicia Silverstone as a way to lead a life that doesn’t harm other creatures and that makes you feel good inside. This diet takes into account not just the harm done to animals in order to produce meat, but also to the planet as a whole.

The Cheater’s Diet
A lot of modern diet programs advocate taking a free day once a week, but this diet gives you the weekends off, and let’s you have 36 unbridled hours to have what you want. The only kicker is you have to play by the rules and get active and eat right during the other 132 left of the week. The book claims that you can lose up to 20 pounds in two months.


As Seen on Dr. OZ

Dr. Oz has a habit of showcasing all sorts of diet programs, tips, and health advice. There are mixed reviews on Dr. Oz, with plenty of fans and naysayers as well. Here is a sampling of some of the diet plans he’s advocated on his show and website.

doctor oz

Tony Horton’s Breakthrough
Tony Horton is most famous for his role as the instructor on P90X, and the diet plan that he created for fans of the Dr. Oz show is also 90 days. It says that you only have to exercise for ten minutes a day and involves a few simple rules for eating that includes drinking smoothies. Dr. Oz even got in on the exercise during the show.

7-Day Crash Diet
It’s not the norm for a doctor to endorse a crash diet, but then again Dr. Oz is no normal doctor. This diet has only three steps to follow, and they’re all relatively easy. You’re supposed to eat nutrient-packed foods, and the focus is on berries, onions, mushrooms, and what they’ve dubbed “skinny shakes” as a way to detox yourself.

Ultimate Diet
This is a two week plan for those that think that seven days just isn’t long enough to get the job done. One of the steps is clearing out your house of any foods that will stunt your progress, and then going out and restocking your house with foods that will move you along your journey. It’s also suggested to cut 100 calories from your diet for long term results.

48 Hour Weekend Cleanse
If you’ve ever wanted to do a cleanse but didn’t want to ask your doctor about it, and didn’t know what to get from the supermarket, or how to make the recipes, Dr. Oz has you covered. This is a plan to follow if you’re turning over a new leaf, if you’ve never cleansed your body before, or just to get a boost of energy.

The Shred Diet
The claim here is that you can lose inches off your waistline and decrease in dress sizes in a matter of six weeks. The program is developed by Dr. Ian Smith and is based on the glycemic index, using foods that rank low on it in an effort to keep your blood sugar levels stabilized, and feeding you four times a day plus snacks.

3-Step Diet Plan
This plan is also led by Tony Horton, and true to its word it only has three steps. First, you only eat foods with one ingredient, use snacks as mini cheats, and use meal replacement shakes to get you through those panicky times when you’re most susceptible to jumping the tracks and veering off course with a bad meal.


As Seen on YouTube

Ever since YouTube started sharing their ad revenues with channel owners, there is some really good, free content to be had. You can start a diet and fitness program today with nothing out of pocket.

as seen on youtube

Fitness Blender
With Fitness Blender you might forget that you didn’t have to pay anything to watch their videos. The production values are great, and their accompanying website lets you sign up for free and gain access to articles and nutritious recipes to try. So they really have you covered when it comes to diet and exercising.

Jenny Ford
These full lenth videos are way better than the short clips you typically find. She offers several different workouts so you won’t get bored with the same one over and over again, and many of them don’t involve a lot of equipment so you can get started today. Check out her site for recipes to lose the most weight.

They’re all about the fitness here, so you’ll need to get your nutrition plan from somewhere else. But they have so many different fitness videos that you’ll never be at a loss for what to do on any given day. They have downloadable guides depending on which area of the body you want to train, like the butt or the abs, and also have an extreme 30 day plan to follow.

Angry Trainer Fitness
Don’t let the name fool you. This guys is actually really nice, and doesn’t bark out orders like you might expect. But don’t expect to be coddled either, he’ll show you the right form for the different exercises you’ll be doing, and cuts to the chase when it comes to getting into the right mindset, and steering clear of what doesn’t work.

Nerd Fitness
A workout plan for the rest of us! If you’ve ever been intimidated by fitness programs or the health industry in general, here’s a way to get the information you need presented in a way that is very down to earth and easy to understand. They feature articles and a community and have dubbed it a rebellion that you can join in on.

Taylor Fitness
This is more for guys that want to learn how to beef up. It’s presented by Chad Tayor and many of the videos are basically him in the gym showing you which exercises to do, and how to do them the right way for the best results. He also gets into the mental mindset you need to have in order to successfully stick with a weight lifting program.


Calorie Based

Calorie based programs make a strong case, fewer calories in and more calories burned equates to weight loss. Of course, there’s more to it than that, and these programs get into the nitty gritty details.

calorie counting

recommendedMy Fitness Pal
This is a diet and fitness site that makes it easy to track the number of calories you’re eating, and see all of the data in easy-to-understand interface. With the addition of mobile apps it makes it easy to keep track of things even when you’re on the go, a major drawback of other programs that don’t have this ability.

The Biggest Loser Diet
Fueled by the popularity of the TV show, they came out with the details on how to eat like the contestants so you too can make impressive changes. This is a combination of eating fewer calories and getting more exercise, and it would be a good idea to get a personal trainer, just like they have on the show.

The 100 Calorie Diet
No, this diet doesn’t limit you to just 100 calories per day, but it does have you break everything down into 100 calorie segments. With so many snack makers providing smaller-portioned snacks in 100-calorie sizes, snacks are easy, and they say that they have tools available for helping to keep track of everything else.

The Cambridge Diet
This gets its name from the prestigious Cambridge University in England and limits the total number of calories its followers can have per day. It’s over 40 years old now, and it mostly involves eating very low calorie amounts, plus taking supplemental vitamins and minerals to account for the lack of food intake.Keep in mind that prices may vary with this one.

The main use of this diet is for those suffering from hypertension, but the nature of it will help most anyone that follows it lose weight. It’s developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and there has been testing and research into the results to see how well it works for those that follow it.


Culture Based

It’s no surprise that Americans are the fattest country in the developed world, so we often look to other countries and cultures for tips on how to stay lean and healthy. Here are some of the top contenders.

cultural eating

recommendedThe Mediterranean Diet
Europeans are often thought of having a diet that is full of flavor and rich foods, but also as being relatively thin and having a good longevity. The Mediterranean Diet promotes eating foods that are found in the Mediterranean regions, which for many Americans would mean a step in a better direction than what is typically on the menu. Check out this article to learn all about the Mediterranean Diet and why it works.

The Okinawa Diet
Since the Okinawan people have some of the longest life spans in the world, their diet was studied to see what they’re doing differently than the rest of us. Keep in mind that part of their daily eating habits often involve only eating until they feel 80 percent full. They also live an islander life and generally get more physical activity than their mainland counterparts.

The Inuit Diet
Some of the parts of a traditional Inuit diet would seem a bit extreme for the passive dieter, but as a whole it would definitely be a welcome change from the pre-packaged and calorie laden junk food that passes as normal fare in big cities. It’s more of a hunter-gatherer type of diet, eating locally grown foods and game.

The Asian Diet
There are a few books with the same name promising to show how you can cook Asian food and use it to lose weight. As a whole Asians men and women are thought to be more naturally slim, and their diet is often regarded as the way they keep their shape. Of course, it’s only a part of the puzzle, and you have to look at the lifestyle as a whole.

My Big Fat Greek Diet
Don’t let the name fool you, this diet book actually analyzes several different diets and outlines the journey of how an overweight doctor lost hundreds of pounds and now maintains his ideal body weight. He’s supposed to be able to teach you how to follow his seven areas of weight loss to achieve similar results. list of tahini recipesWant more Greek food? Check out this that aren’t all hummus!

The Omega Diet
This borrows much of its tips and theory on The Mediterranean Diet, and focuses on increasing the amount of food fats in your diet, including those with omega-3s to help combat all of the omega-6s we typically get. They’ve broken it down into seven guidelines so you won’t be overwhelmed and can incorporate it right away.


Fat Targeted

Fat is often referred to as if it were an evil villain, and when you get down to the bottom of it, that’s what we’re trying to get rid of by going on a diet. Here are plans that try to zero in on it by taking different approaches than other diet plans.

lose fat

The Fat Flush Plan
This is one of the few diets out there that puts a lot of emphasis on the liver. The author states that a toxic liver makes it easy to gain weight, and hard to take it off. By flushing the liver of toxins, the theory is that it will function better, allowing the other organs do do their jobs better and experiencing better health and weight loss as a result.

Fat Loss 4 Idiots
The major draw to this diet is that they help you avoid all of the other diets they say don’t work. They steer you clear of low-carb, low-fat, and low-calorie diets that have probably let you down before, and give you a new way of looking at diet, nutrition, and exercise that are effective and make more sense

The Fat Smash Diet
Even though the author dubbed this the last diet you’ll ever need, he might have done so prematurely because later he came out with The Shred Diet. In this book he shows how to help rid the body of toxins during the first phase, and then starts reintroducing foods as the diet goes along.

recommendedFat Loss Factor
In this program, they try to dispel some of the myths that have been holding you back from losing fat, and show you a new system that will not only help you lose weight around your midsection, but will give you other health benefits as well, like a good night’s sleep. High energy and a bolstered immune system are also promised.

Food Lovers Fat Loss
If the thought of trying to lose fat makes you sad because you won’t be able to eat the foods you love anymore, then this diet is for you. It let’s you eat the foods you really crave, but you do it in a specific way so you’re not storing the fat anymore. It’s a way of eating smarter so you don’t have to starve yourself or feel deprived.

The Dark Side of Fat Loss
Like Darth Vader, ths program wants you to join the Dark Side, but in a good way. This shows how the masses are getting it wrong, and wants to put you in the minority of people that actually get it right. It starts by showing you why it’s not simply a matter of calories, or an equation you need to solve.


You may also like our list of 85+ Diet Food Delivery Services


For Women

Many diet programs are based for women, but OK for men too. These diet programs take things a step further and are specifically for women. They may not come right out and say it, but you won’t find many guys following along with them.

for women

Jillian Michaels Weight Loss Plan
Almost everyone can recognize Jillian Michaels these days, even if they’ve never seen an episode of The Biggest Loser. She’s done a good job of promoting her various workout programs and now she’s got your weight loss plan all figure out for you, and includes tools, videos, and apps to help you get it done.

The Flat Belly Diet
This plan takes 32 days to implement and stems from a book by two top ladies at Prevention Magazine. You start off the diet with a four-day phase that restricts you to certain foods, and then you start incorporating foods with healthy fats, and increasing your daily meal count to four meals per day.

Turbo Fire
If you’re tired of lame cardio, and rehashed aerobics workouts, this program is going to turn things on its head. It’s brought to you by the same company that produces P90X and Insanity, so they know a thing or two about intense workouts. It also includes an eating guide so you can maximize your results.

Curves Diet
Curves is a place for women to workout without having to feel like they’re being checked out, and without having to share equipment with sweaty muscle-bound jocks. They also have a 30 day diet plan that is specifically geared towards women and the issues they have when trying to lose weight and keep it off.

The MILF Diet
The name might ruffle some feathers, but learning to embrace the monikers is part of the program. It’s basis is on eating whole foods, as well as shifting to more plant-based foods so you can really look the part. It’s holistic in that it is bringing together your body, and mind and focuses on your spiritual nature as well

02 Diet
With this diet you’re not counting calories or carbs, but you’re still counting. This time the focus is on the oxygen radical absorbance capacity of the foods you’re eating. Some foods that get the green light are fruits and veggies (surprise!) as well as whole grains, lean meats, and green tea. It’s all about the antioxidants.

Sexy Forever
Suzanne Somers is still promoting her weight loss strategies and is still looking great well into her 60’s. She’s come a long way from promoting the ThighMaster, and has all the tips, tools, and resources you’ll need to replicate the way she’s living. This is geared towards the over-40 crowd that’s having trouble losing the fat.

The Abs Diet for Women
The Abs Diet was originally written for everyone, but since it came from a men’s health magazine it seemed a little bit skewed towards men. The same author made this book especially for the ladies, with modifications to the diet and the exercises that are more tailored towards creating a feminine core.


For Men

Most of the diet programs for men focus on muscle and strength building, and eating larger amounts of protein. But some of them take a more comprehensive approach and include man-specific eating tips.

for men

The Abs Diet
This started off as a book by David Zinczenko, who at the time was the Men’s Health magazine editor. This book was one of the first to bring things like trans fats and high fructose corn syrup to the mainstream spotlight. It includes smoothies and peanut butter as major staples to the program, and details the exercise program for a six pack.

recommendedThe Men’s Health Diet
Men’s Health Magazine has their official diet now and they say that in just 27 days on it you’ll have six pack abs, the goal of many men. For good measure they toss in extra muscle all over your body and the ability to have great sex. That’s like the trifecta for most every guy on the planet, and it comes from a trusted source.

The Simple Guy Diet
This is a book and website that is geared toward your average guy, and doesn’t over complicate matters with a lot of rules and intricate exercises. It stresses simple foods that are easy to find and don’t cost a fortune, so it really appeals to most guys that don’t want to spend a ton on the food they eat.

The Alpha Male Challenge
This is a 10 week plan that is designed to bring out your true alpha nature, and give you the body that goes with your inherent top-dog status. It says that you can’t truly be an alpha male unless you’ve got the body that girls are attracted to, and the stamina to go the distance where it counts.

Flat Belly Diet for Men
This was originally the Flat Belly Diet for Women, and apparently there were enough disgruntled guys to warrant their own version. They say you can eat your way to six pack abs, which makes sense because for many guys their abdominal wall is already in place, they just need to get rid of the fat blocking the visibility.



A lot of diets use a gimmicks to make it easier to remember what you should be doing, and also to brand themselves and separate themselves from other programs. Some are odd, and some make sense.

fab diets

The Five Factor Diet
This diet does everything in fives. You eat five times per day, exercise five times per week, etc. Anything and everything that can have the number five worked into it does, right down to how many ingredients are in each recipe. Some celebrities have credited this diet with weight loss success, but doctors are split.

The Every Other Day Diet
With this diet you simply eat every other day, with the result being a net caloric deficit at the end of the week or month. There are different variations to this, with some diets limiting what you can and can’t have on the days that you do eat, and some that allow you to eat certain foods on the “other” day.

Eat This Not That
They refer to this as a “no diet weight loss solution” because it’s not really a dieting philosophy but a way to get a quick alternative to foods you might be considering eating. By making better food choices your body should automatically start to drop pounds. They also have a guide for what to eat while at a restaurant.

The Lunchbox Diet
This diet is popular in the UK and is making its way across the pond. It involves eating a normal breakfast and dinner, and then packing a lunch box sized container that you eat from between those two meals. So you’re not having a traditional lunch, but rather grazing throughout the day. Further details are in the book.

The gimmick here is that you are encouraged to use Herbalife products in order to take part in their diet program. It’s similar to Slim-Fast in that you drink their shakes or eat their meal replacement bars in lieu of breakfast and lunch and then have a sensible dinner. You can also make money by becoming a rep and selling the products.

The No S Diet
As the name suggests, this involves not eating foods groups that start with S, including sugars, snacks, and seconds. So you’re cutting out a bunch of food because of the sugar content, cutting out between meal snacking, and cutting out overeating by not going back for more. Sounds like it would definitely be effective. Addicted to sugar? Here’s why it happens and how to quit.

The 90/10 Diet
The numbers here refer to percentages or a ratio, with the 90% being foods that are healthy and good for you, and the 10% being foods that aren’t, which they label “fun foods.” Since you aren’t being deprived of your favorites on any given day, they say that it’s easy to stick with for the long term and can even help fight off diseases.

The Baby Food Diet
With this diet the idea is that you eat baby food to lose weight because it’s already blended up, is more natural, has simple ingredients, and portable. It’s a pretty flexible diet, and you get to choose how you want to use it, either to replace certain meals throughout the day, or go all out and only eat baby food.


Science Based

Science is usually used to justify certain diet tips and programs, and it carries a lot of weight if a diet has been clinically verified, or comes from someone in a science field. These programs all use scientific studies to justify their claims.

science based weight loss programs

Body by Science
A complaint of many dieting programs is that there’s no research to back up any of the claims made. This book sets off to provide verified research studies for each tip or tidbit of advice so you know that you’re not just reading one person’s opinion of what should work, or how the body functions.

The Samurai Diet
Even though it has an ancient-sounding name, this book provides scientific evidence for each of the claims it makes about what to eat and when to eat. Much of the advice provided looks at how our ancestors ate, and then provides the why behind what it’s actually doing to the body, and how it’s been proven effectiv

The Science of Skinny
This book broaches a subject that many might only remember from high school: chemistry. It gets down into how the body breaks down food at a chemical level, and how those foods interact with the body to make us feel the way they do, make us fat, or make us lose weight. The idea is once you understand the science you can make better choices.

The Metabolic Effect Diet
The body’s metabolism is usually given the spotlight when it comes to lifting weights and building muscle because this is thought to increase your metabolism and help you burn calories even while you sleep. This book breaks down the science behind how your metabolism really works, and give solid tips on how to rev it up.

The Simple Diet
The claim here is that you can lose 50 pounds in 12 weeks, and this program says they’ve got the scientific proof to back it up. Science does have a way of simplifying things, and in this modern age of fad diets with strange gimmicks and hundreds of gurus all contradicting each other it can be refreshing to follow a simple plan from a doctor.

Glycemic Index Diet
The glycemic index gained popularity after it was found that diabetics who controlled their blood sugar levels also lost weight. It basically involves eating foods that rank low on the index so that you don’t spike your glucose levels, which triggers excessive amounts of insulin, which ends up turning into fat. Check out this list of diabetic friendly foods to help stabolize blood sugar levels.


Specific Food Based

The diets either tell you to eat more of, or totally avoid, a certain food or ingredient. They make an angel or a demon out of this food as an easy way to adjust your diet and see results.

food based diets

The Coconut Diet
A lot of research has been conducted on the nutritional benefits of coconut and coconut oil, and there’s a book that details how to use these to help you lose weight. The underlying diet is a low-carb one, so this is a matter of adding a healthy supplement to a diet program that has already shown to get short-term results.

The Dairy Free Diet
This is simply a matter of cutting out dairy from your life as a way to lose weight and be healthier. The premise here is that dairy is the reason for a lot of digestion problems, and that contrary to what the dairy industry would have you believe, we just don’t need it in our daily diets. Check out this list of dairy-free recipes.

The Morning Banana Diet
The banana gets the spotlight here, with the program consisting of nothing but bananas in the morning, and a few other rules to guide you along a healthier path. This includes no eating after 8pm and getting to bed before midnight. While a sensation in Japan, this has yet to make a full transition to America.

The Chocolate Diet
Yes, that’s right, there’s actually a diet that has chocolate at its foundation. But it’s not as if it’s the main focus at each meal, it simply allows you to indulge in small amounts of chocolate during the day, while following a healthy eating plan the rest of the time. With more and more studies show in the antioxidant value of dark chocolate they may be onto something.

The Cookie Diet
This diet would definitely appeal to the inner Cookie Monster, but can it actually help you lose weight? Well, these aren’t the cookies you may be thinking of, their specially formulated diet cookies and you use them as a sort of meal replacement, similar to the Slim-Fast diet. Cookies for two meals and then a sensible third meal.

The Egg Diet
If you’re an egg fan this might appeal to you. There are several variations on this, with some saying that you should only eat eggs to sustain you, and others saying that eggs form the foundation for a broader selection of foods. How far you want to take it would be up to you, but most versions incorporate other lean proteins and vegetables. Here are some incredible benefits of eggs.

recommendedGluten-Free Diets
Wheat is the culprit here, or more specifically the gluten in the wheat. What started off as a way for those with gluten sensitivity to avoid foods with gluten in them has caught on and now those that haven’t even been diagnosed with the condition are getting in on the act. Gluten-free foods can now be found in supermarkets everywhere.

Sugar Busters!
Sugar is the enemy with this dieting program, and it’s thought that just by cutting out sugar from the diet you’ll immediately start to improve your waistline and health. When you consider that the typical diet in America is laced with copious amounts of industrial grade sugar, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea to take a break from it.


Time Based

Time can be a good motivator, especially if it helps you wrap your head around a finite goal to achieve. These diets all try to get you on board with a short time span so you can stick with it more easily.

time based

recommended17 Day Diet
Two weeks and three days is the promise here, and they stress that this plan was developed by a doctor. The program actually involves 17 day cycles, so the first 17 days is just the first of four, but surely The 68 Day Diet wouldn’t have sold so many books. If you focus on the 17 day cycles it should be easier to follow though.

The 28 Day Diet
The purpose of this diet is to take a month to establish good eating habits, get rid of bad ones, and find a plan that you can follow on an ongoing basis. It’s broken down into four weeks, with a different focus each week. So it’s not a crash diet, or one that you are supposed to see amazing results from in just one month.

10 Pounds in 10 Days
This sort of diet is often sought out by those trying to fit into a wedding dress or get ready for some other big event. If you’ve waited until the wire to lose the weight, you’re going to have to take it to extremes, but hopefully you’ll be able to find a healthy medium after the ten days is up and maintain your results.

Slim in 6
In six weeks you’re supposed to be able to get a slim sexy body that focuses on all of the areas you might have problems with, including the midsection and the thighs. It also has a jumpstart eating plan that lasts the first six days and says it can help you drop six pounds and six inches. The focus is on cardio and light resistance training.

Check out our article on how to lose three pounds in a week.

The 8 Hour Diet
This book is from the same author as The Abs Diet and Eat This Not That, and says that it’s not so much what you’re eating, but when you’re eating it. The recommendation is to eat within an eight hour window, and then spend the other 16 hours fasting. It’s supposedly backed by science and can help fight various diseases. You might also want to check out intermittent fasting!


Up and Coming

Here are some diet plans and programs that are emerging and in some cases finally getting noticed. Some have been around for awhile and have flown under the radar. Catch them before they become super-popular and end up as the next fad.

perricone md

The Engine 2 Diet
Developed by a firefighter this diet is centered around lowering your cholesterol and dropping the pounds. It’s set up so that you can complete it in just 28 days, but the reasoning is sound so you can follow it as a lifelong eating and fitness plan and won’t have to worry about regressing back to your old ways.

A Flexitarian Diet
This is a mix between being vegetarian, and not. It allows more flexibility so you can enjoy the health benefits of eating a vegetarian diet, but not miss out on your favorite meat dishes. This seems like it would be a great plan for those that always wanted to try to be a vegetarian but didn’t want to take the full plunge.

The Gene Smart Diet
Originally released several years ago, this diet takes into account the different genes that make up each of us, and proposes that we give the genes what they want, rather than fighting against them. The claim is that by eating the food your body handles best you’ll not only lose weight, but have less chance of developing chronic illnesses.

The Instinct Diet
This dieting plan gets down to our basic instincts and then tries to work in line with them. Most diets go against our instincts, forcing us to forego our hunger signals, and eat foods that don’t agree with what we’re craving. By going with the tide instead of against it the theory is that you’ll lose weight, won’t go hungry, and keep the weight off naturally.

The Perricone Diet
This is an anti-inflammatory diet that is not only supposed to help you lose the fat, but also the wrinkles. What else would you expect from a dermatologist turned nutritionist? The diet includes the not only which foods to eat, but which supplements to take, and shows you how to keep your skin looking great throughout the process. Read more about the anti-inflammatory diet here.

You might have seen an ad for this weight loss bar. The idea is that if you eat it with a glass of water before you’re ready to have a meal, you’ll eat less at the meal and be less likely to want to have dessert and other snacks throughout the day. The net result would be that you’re eating fewer calories, and all else being equal you’d lose weight.


Muscle Focused

If you’re more concerned with building strength and having big muscles, and weight loss or fat loss is a secondary concern, here are some programs that promise to bulk you up. Many of them come with a nutrition guide as well so you know what to eat and supplements to take. Check out our article on the ultimate strength building exercises for women.

Body Beast
This program is all about the muscle, and stacking pounds on top of your currently small frame. It’s made by the same company that produces P90X and Insanity, so you know it will be intense, but this time it’s centered on building up the muscle and not on cardio and other aerobic workouts. Choose how big of a beast you want to become with three different options.

recommendedLes Mills
Les Mills has several different programs, and no matter if you choose a class in the real world, or one of his DVD programs, you’re going to get an intense workout that will build up your muscles and have you looking great. Take for example his PUMP program, where you use his repetition training with lower weights to sculpt your muscles quickly.

Bony to Beastly
If you have trouble putting on weight this site is for you. It’s specifically for the skinny type that often gets overlooked because the majority of people are looking to lose weight. They’ll give you tips and advice on how to go from skinny with no muscles, to lean and bulky so you can fill out your clothes.

Here’s what to eat before you workout.

Critical Bench
The training here has a dual focus, both building muscles that look good, but also building the strength behind it so it’s not just for looks. The emphasis is on the bench press, which they say may be the one exercise in the gym that should get the lion’s share of your attention. They have a program that includes charts and is in a step-by-step format.


For the Obese

When you have a lot of weight to lose, the rules change. You should definitely check with your doctor before starting any weight loss program, and follow their recommendations. Alway remember to start slow and go steady rather than going to extremes.

This program is specifically for those that need to lose a lot of weight, and involves replacing all of the meals you eat each day with Medifast branded foods. This takes the guesswork out of what you should be eating, and starts to change the status quo. It is a bit extreme in that you’re replacing all of your meals, but it gets results.

They say the average person that follows this plan loses 50 pounds, so this is not a diet for those that just want to lose five to ten pounds. This is a liquid based diet, so the results are almost guaranteed in the short term. Be sure that you have an exit strategy and that you talk this over with your doctor before starting.

This is the eating plan produced by Richard Simmons. What’s great about his program is that he also provides a lot of encouragement, and he has the ability to connect with those that are very overweight because he once was too. He recommends getting more movement in your day, even if you just start off with simple, basic, slow-paced actions.

Other Options
Most any diet plan can be used to lose a lot of weight, but you have to remember to take it at your own pace and keep the long-view in mind. It’s easy to get frustrated and want to lose all your weight at once, but that’s not how you gained it, and straining yourself could actually be hazardous to your health. Slow and steady will win this race, so develop a plan today.

Consider a weight loss pill? Read our reviews here.


Famous Diets

These diets are so famous that they’re almost synonymous with the word diet. They’ve been marketed and promoted for years, and have undergone several incarnations that they’re now a part of the mass consciousness.

recommendedWeight Watchers
The longevity of Weight Watchers adds to it being one of the most popular diet programs in the country. It’s a point-based program, assigning points to all the different foods and then having users watch their point intake. They’ve got an all-online program now, so you don’t have to go to meetings or do weigh-ins.

recommendedJenny Craig
A main competitor of Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig came on the scene some 20 years later and is now one of the go-to programs that people try out. They have you eating a lot of their own branded foods, and also offer online coaching and tools to help you succeed. The program is based on eating a balanced diet, portion sizes, and getting more active.

This is a diet delivery program that sends you all of the food you’ll need throughout the day, including all three meals plus snacks and desserts. It’s gotten so popular because it’s advertised heavily, and also because the price is set at a point that makes sense compared to buying all the ingredients and making the food yourself.

“A shake for breakfast, another for lunch, and then a sensible dinner.” That was the pitch and sums up the entire program in just a few words. Slim-Fast has been around for decades and has expanded their product offerings to meal replacement bars and other snacks. It makes sense that you’re eating fewer calories, but make sure you have a long-term strategy.

You can also check out our review on meal delivery services here.


Your Overall Strategy

Many of these diets will get you started on your path to weight loss, and will show results in the short term. You have to be ready for the transition from weight loss mode to maintenance mode, and have a plan in place for what you’ll do to keep your results. The important thing is establishing a new lifestyle that you can follow from here on.


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