Free online weight loss plans offer you a very useful way to get advice, support, recipes, and tips–whether you are starting a diet, trying to lose weight by a certain date, or just hoping that something might work this time to help you shed those pounds. With one of these plans, your dream might come true
There are quite a few plans online, and here I will describe several of the most popular. This article is focused on thefree online weight loss programs. Ones that cost something are covered elsewhere.
Which will be best for you? Consider SparkPeople and the other free ones, described in detail below. If none of them feel like a good fit for you, or if you just want to explore, consider some of the paid choices. Weight Watchers , Jenny Craig, Jillian Michaels, South Beach, and other well-known weight loss names have online diet services with a variety of features. You may not have heard of ediets, but it is considered to be one of the best of the paid online weight loss programs.
Why would you want to try an online plan to help you lose weight? How useful are they really? It turns out that scientific studies have shown that people who receive online weight loss help and support do lose weight as a result. The ideal kind of support for losing weight has long been considered to be working one on one with a private counselor, who can focus attention on one client at a time and can cover a wide range of topics, from nutritional advice to exercise tips to exploring emotional and self-esteem issues if they come up. But such programs are costly, and in today’s world many people simply don’t have extra money for them. It can also be difficult to find time to attend appointments, not to mention the time for transportation to them, perhaps child care, and so on.
Advantages of the Free Online Weight Loss Plans
 In any online weight loss community you can take part whenever you have time, whether that is late at night or at any other time. You don’t need to be consistent about what time you take part, either. You may want to log in every evening–or more often– during a time when you are starting a weight loss program, then when you get into the groove, you might not stop by much. Hit a snag? Go get some motivation from the program, whether in a forum or just by reading some weight loss success stories. (It’s also pleasant that nobody there knows what you look like or how you are dressed.)
 They don’t cost anything. You can explore your options for losing weight without paying a monthly fee or even a one-time fee. Now admittedly, you might decide to buy some nutritional supplements or foods that you read about, or maybe some resistance bands or other home exercise equipment, but any of that would be optional.
 As mentioned in the part about scientific studies, they increase your chances of success at weight loss. That is a compelling reason. Of course, just going to the sites doesn’t cause you to lose any weight at all. YOU are still the one who will be eating more carefully, you are still the one who will be working exercise into your life as needed. But these sites can really help you keep your dedication and positive attitudes going!
 These plans offer you companionship along the weight loss trail. There are forums where you can post questions and help others out as well. You may want some diet tips, or wonder if fast weight loss programs are safe and effective. Maybe you are considering a vegetarian diet, a low carb diet, or some other way of eating–and you want to connect with others who follow that kind of diet program. Of course, be skeptical of medical advice dished out by well-meaning enthusiasts.
 Some of these websites offer you a variety of weight-loss programs, or maybe it would be more accurate to say that people can create their own diet plans and wellness goals. Some are simpler than others but all can assist you in in creating diets and routines.
What to Look for in These Programs
Various websites are set up in different ways, and if the one you try out first isn’t exactly your cup of tea, then do sign up for another. And do allow some time to figure out a site! The descriptions in the next section are meant to help you find one or more that could be a good match for you. Every one of us is unique, and it is a good thing there are a lot of different sites so we can all find something that suits us as we work on losing weight.
Here are some things to consider:
- Does the program generally seem to match your interests?
- Does it offer support through emails? For example, it may send out motivational emails daily or weekly. (You always have a way to turn these off if you want to.)
- Does it have a forum, and if so, is the forum active? You can see how many posts different discussions have, and that will give you an idea of whether your own questions will be paid attention to. Notice the most recent dates too.
- Does it cover a variety of diets, and more importantly does it cover the way you want to eat to lose weight?
- Can you do a food journal and log your nutrients, no matter what method you are using?
- Does it promise that you will lose weight fast, or does it take a more sensible long-term approach?