Best Weight Loss Programs for Seniors in 2024 Tested by Experts

Jan 24, 2024
Fact Checked
Need a reliable, easy-to-follow weight loss program? Read our review of the best weight loss programs to learn about costs, features, and what to look for.

Key Takeaways

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Studies show intentional weight loss in older adults—especially when achieved through a combination of diet and exercise—leads to several health benefits, including improvements in blood glucose, blood pressure, walking speed, breathing volume, cardiovascular fitness, and inflammatory markers. 

But taking the first step toward a healthier lifestyle can be difficult. Should you focus on diet or exercise first? What calorie level is appropriate, and which foods are best for weight loss? Who can you turn to with questions?

A reputable weight loss program can guide you in all of these areas. Our Reviews Team, led by dietitians and health experts, researched and enrolled in the most popular options to find the best weight loss program for older adults. 

Read on to learn which programs we rated the highest and why. We’ll cover the recommended weight loss programs’ costs, features, and drawbacks to help you find the best fit.

Best for seniors
Individualized meal plans with recipes and grocery lists
Website and app for tracking food intake, activity, and weight
Focus on healthy foods, increasing physical activity, and creating health habits
Best Overall

A quick look at the best weight loss programs

Why you can trust our weight loss program reviews

Our Reviews Team conducts in-depth research so we can provide a thorough, comprehensive review of the products and services we test. We spent two weeks testing various weight loss platforms and carrying out extensive research on nutrition, fitness, and overall healthy living to give you the most accurate review. To make our selections we:

The best weight loss programs as of January 2024

Starting cost per month $19.99 $17.42
Trial period Five days Seven to 14 days
Features Individualized meal plans; Website and app; Online group video sessions with doctors from the Mayo Clinic; Health coaching; Online member community Food tracking (no meal plans); App only; Health coaching; Daily lessons; Online member community

The best weight loss program reviews

Mayo Clinic Diet

Best for seniors

Starting cost per month: $19.99

Trial period: Five days

Key features:

  • Individualized meal plans with recipes and grocery lists
  • Website and app for tracking food intake, activity, and weight
  • Online group video sessions with doctors from the Mayo Clinic
  • Health coaching
  • Online member community
Best Overall

Doctors and other medical professionals at the Mayo Clinic developed the Mayo Clinic Diet from clinical research and experience. Because of its science-based health education, well-rounded meal plans, and extra support from trained health coaches, we named the Mayo Clinic Diet the “Best Weight Loss Program for Seniors.”

The Mayo Clinic Diet emphasizes the following three points for steady, sustainable weight loss:

  1. Focusing on healthy foods
  2. Increasing physical activity
  3. Establishing healthy habits and breaking unhealthy ones 

How the Mayo Clinic Diet works

Unlike most weight loss programs, which aim to keep you in the program for a year or more, this one starts at only twelve weeks long. You can choose a longer subscription if you want to stay in the program longer. 

The Mayo Clinic Diet consists of two phases: (1) a short initial period to jump-start your weight loss and teach healthy habits, and (2) a longer second period to continue your nutrition and exercise education and support continued, but slower, weight loss.

Lose It!

The first two weeks are designed to help you break unhealthy habits, like eating in front of the TV, and establish healthy ones, like choosing fruits and veggies for snacks. The website says members who stick to the Lose It phase for the first two to three weeks can lose anywhere from six to 10 pounds.

Live It!

The diet spends the remaining ten weeks following the initial weight loss phase to help you stick to the healthy habits you’ve started incorporating into your life for sustained weight loss. 

This is the period where you learn more about food choices, how to pick the right portions, how to plan your menu, how to dive into physical activity, and how to create lasting healthy habits. Some participants report steady weight loss, roughly 1 to 2 pounds weekly. This phase is designed to help you maintain permanent weight loss.

One of the reasons we love the Mayo Clinic Diet is its focus not on keeping you tied to a program (and a subscription fee) for life but its goals of equipping you with the tools you need to continue eating and exercising for a healthy weight for the rest of your life.

The Mayo Clinic Diet is more comprehensive than others but is still easy to follow. To sign up, you’ll complete a quiz on the website to determine if you’re a good candidate for the program and receive an appropriate calorie level for weight loss. 

Once you’re assigned a calorie level, you can choose the type of meal plan you want to follow. Your meal plan will give you seven days’ worth of recommended meals and snacks each week and a grocery list to help with meal planning. 

Our testers liked the simple meal options, such as peanut butter and toast for breakfast or a tuna sandwich for lunch. You can also change the suggested meals to suit your tastes or the ingredients you have on hand.

The Mayo Clinic Diet app creators recommend fruits and vegetables for snacks, and sugar and fat are limited. As with all of the best weight loss programs, advice about which foods to eat and those to limit will look similar: Eat more nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, and limit those high in calories but low in nutrients, like fast food, sodas, and sweets. 

One of our testers had this to say about her experience with the Mayo Clinic Diet:

I was a little stressed at the beginning of the diet. There was a lot to take in and not much of a “guide” to help you navigate through it. But once I downloaded the app that anxiety really dissipated. It’s easy to use and straightforward. Being able to customize your meals also makes it a lot more approachable.

Our tester

“I was a little stressed at the beginning of the diet. There was a lot to take in and not much of a “guide” to help you navigate through it. But once I downloaded the app that anxiety really dissipated. It’s easy to use and straightforward. Being able to customize your meals also makes it a lot more approachable.”

Healthy eating without counting calories

Unlike many weight loss programs (including Noom, which we review below), the Mayo Clinic Diet doesn’t involve counting calories. The program takes care of calorie tracking for you by including an appropriate calorie level for weight loss in your weekly meal plan. But you need to track your food intake to ensure you’re adhering to the meal plan and will achieve the weight loss you aim for. 

Exercise is important

The Mayo Clinic Diet encourages at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily, aligning with CDC recommendations for exercise. Consistent physical activity can boost your metabolism and mood, help build muscle and bone mass, and of course, help burn calories for weight loss. For older adults in particular, losing weight by restricting calories without exercising can place you at risk of losing important bone and muscle mass, but staying physically active helps prevent those changes.

We appreciated the app’s list of reasons someone starting an exercise program should see a doctor first. Not all weight loss programs include caveats or safety reminders, but they are important, especially for older adults.

Screenshot of the Mayo Clinic Diet app

Cost of the Mayo Clinic Diet

The subscription cost of this weight loss program is as follows:

The Mayo Clinic Diet is one of the least expensive weight loss programs we’ve found. Only Noom (reviewed below) is less expensive, but with the level of medical expertise the Mayo Clinic Diet offers, we feel it’s a great value for older adults and anyone new to weight loss programs.

After testing the Mayo Clinic Diet and comparing it to other programs, we can recommend it as a weight loss option for older adults. As always, discuss any changes in your diet or exercise regimen with your health care provider before putting them into practice.


Most affordable

Starting cost per month: $17.42

Trial period: Seven days

Key features:

  • Food tracking and recipes (no meal plans)
  • App for reading lessons, keeping in touch with community, tracking food intake, activity, moods, sleep, and weight
  • Health coaching
  • Online member community

Noom is a great weight loss program for those wanting a lower-cost plan and don’t mind paying upfront for a longer subscription to save money. We named it the “Most Affordable Weight Loss Program” for this reason.

Noom is based completely on an app and requires a smartphone to participate, so it may not be the best choice for someone who prefers a desktop computer or doesn’t want a web-based weight loss program. It gives you a meal plan based on a calorie level determined by a quiz you answer before signing up. 

One of the strengths of Noom is its focus on the psychological aspects of weight management, such as stress, emotional health, and sleep, all of which can affect appetite, hunger cues, and weight loss success.

To help with these aspects, the program provides daily lessons, health coaching, and motivational tips along the way to help you stay on track as you’re losing weight. We enjoyed most of the lessons, which are motivational and provide tips for working healthy eating and exercise into your daily life. See below for an example from the app.

The nutritional part of Noom is based on food tracking to make sure you stay below your calorie count for the day. The program attempts to encourage healthy eating by separating foods into three categories: 

Each category has a daily calorie limit, and the calories count down with each food entry you make. Green foods have the most calories, yellow foods are in the middle, and calories from orange category foods are restricted the most.

List of foods
Noom food categories

Our testers did have an issue with this system. Some very healthy foods like nuts, flaxseeds, and popcorn are in the orange category, meaning you have to limit your intake of those foods every day. Depending on your health status and medical concerns, this may be an unnecessary limitation and one keeping important nutrients out of your diet. 

Noom’s food list is one reason we prefer the Mayo Clinic Diet. Users receive a higher degree of personalized attention and a greater variety of meal plans based on their health conditions. Noom has more of a one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss, which may not work as well for some people.

Cost of the Noom weight loss program

The monthly subscription price of Noom is based on how many months you sign up for. The program determines how long it should take to meet your goals based on your answers to a quiz you take before signing up. 

Number of monthsTotal costMonthly cost
Nine $195$21.67

We didn’t particularly like this aspect of the program either. Although the advertised rate of weight loss is one to two pounds per week, if your quiz answers indicate you want to lose twenty pounds in the next two months (a rate of two-and-a-half pounds per week), you’ll be assigned a two-month plan and a calorie level to get you to your goal. But this may not be a healthy option for everyone and can also affect your monthly price.

But overall, we enjoyed Noom’s positivity and focus on helping customers stay motivated and moving forward on their weight loss journey.

Read our Noom review for more details on this weight loss program.

How to pick a program just right for you

With a wide variety of weight loss programs available, finding one to best fit your needs and health goals can be tricky. Read our list of things to look for to help you decide.

Education on healthy habits

The best weight loss programs don’t just list foods to eat and tell you how much exercise to get each day. They show you how to do it. This is where the Mayo Clinic Diet and Noom excel by providing daily opportunities to learn about healthy habits with lessons and online articles, as well as ways to put your new knowledge into practice by logging food and activity and taking quizzes to test your skills.

Gradual weight loss

Crash diets, those plans limiting food intake to a handful of choices and often severely restricting calories, have been proven to fail time and time again. It may be tempting to try them for rapid weight loss, but crash diets lack important nutrients and can lead to rebound weight gain, often leaving people with more weight than they started with.

True, lasting weight loss is not glamorous or quick. It results from permanent changes in eating and exercise habits, which become your new lifestyle over time. Any weight loss program promising a “new you” in a matter of weeks isn’t going to be sustainable in the long run. 

Weight loss medications don’t help users to establish new, healthier habits.  They suppress your appetite without teaching you how to make better food choices or establish an exercise routine. Learning and practicing new habits will get you on the right track and help you stay there.   

Coaching and community

Let’s face it. Eating a truly healthy diet in America is hard. With nearly 60% of calories in the typical American diet coming from ultra-processed foods, eating fresh fruits and vegetables and saying no to calorie-dense but nutrient-poor convenience foods can take a lot of willpower.

Health coaches and weight loss communities offer an opportunity to refine your eating habits and receive ongoing support. Mayo Clinic Diet, Noom, and many other weight loss programs offer online coaching and communities through their apps. Health coaches may or may not be certified in a health field, which is important to know if you need health information. 

But even if they don’t hold certifications, coaches have been trained by the program to provide motivation and help you troubleshoot if you run into issues on your weight loss journey. And meeting others working toward the same goals you are can be tremendously helpful. You can share similar experiences, celebrate each other’s victories, and trade tips along the way. 

Things to avoid

We spoke with Chrissy Arsenault, MBA, RDN, a registered dietitian with Pink Pamplemousse in Colorado, to get her insights into red flags to watch out for when shopping for a weight loss program. Here’s what she had to say.

“Be wary of any programs that promise rapid, unsustainable weight loss or severely restrict entire food groups or certain foods. Gradual weight loss is more easily sustained (0.5 to 2 pounds lost per week) over the long term. Additionally, the nutrition plan should promote a focus on nutrient density and incorporate a balanced intake of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals.”

Chrissy Arsenault, MBA, RDN

Steer clear of programs severely restricting calories, limiting the number of food groups, or making you feel bad about food or exercise in any way. A balanced approach to weight management incorporating good nutrition, physical activity, and health education will give you the best chance of lasting success.

Understanding weight loss

Weight loss is definitely not a one-size-fits-all process, and weight loss programs shouldn’t be either. We all have different metabolic rates (the speed with which we burn calories), energy levels, sleep patterns, body types, health challenges, and lifestyles. And those factors interact with each other to affect our body weight and the rate and degree of weight loss we can realistically expect. 

Before starting a weight loss program, learning about the contributors to weight gain can be helpful. Some of these are in our control, while others aren’t. 

For example, age is one major factor leading to weight gain, causing muscle loss, called sarcopenia, and slower metabolism. If you eat the same amount of calories and are as active as you were five years ago, you’ll probably gain weight because your body naturally burns fewer calories over time due to lower metabolism and less muscle (muscle burns more calories than fat, even when you’re not moving!).

Just as we can’t control our age, we can’t change our genetics. Science shows gene variations contribute to our natural, or set-point, body weight. Certain genes are linked to obesity, just as others are associated with the risk of cancer and heart disease.

But getting older or having a gene predisposing you to a higher body weight doesn’t mean you can’t lose weight. It just means one person may need to work harder at it. It’s encouraging to know even a small weight loss, just 5% of your body weight, has resulted in many health benefits, including lower blood pressure, blood glucose control, and less abdominal fat (the kind associated with heart disease and stroke). So if you weigh 200 pounds, losing just 10 pounds will help you feel better and make your body healthier. 

Mental and Emotional Wellness

Your mindset can make a big difference in your success with any health goal, and weight loss is no different. It’s important to set an achievable goal, which may be small at first, and work toward it every day without fail. Remember, the adage “slow and steady wins the race” is a mantra to live by when you’re working to lose weight. 

Staying positive and celebrating every victory, big or small, is vital to staying on track. Give yourself a pat on the back every day you stick to your meal plan, log your meals, exercise, de-stress, check in with your health coach, or anything else on your list of goals. Remember, the small wins will get you to the big win of reaching your healthy weight goal and enjoying better health. And you can keep celebrating your victories for years ahead.

Bottom line

Weight loss programs can be useful when starting a weight loss journey or getting back on track with healthy habits. The best weight loss programs, like Mayo Clinic Diet and Noom, help ensure success by teaching you how to make lifestyle changes leading to weight loss and improved overall health and quality of life.

We were impressed with the focus on education and the establishment of healthy habits provided by the Mayo Clinic Diet, and the positivity, emphasis on mental health, and clear learning path provided by the Noom daily lessons and food tracking system. 

For more information on healthy eating, check out additional resources about diet and nutrition for older adults.

Frequently asked questions

We rated the Mayo Clinic Diet the highest in our testing process for its medically backed process, well-rounded meal plans for various special diet needs, trustworthy health articles, and trained coaches.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends losing no more than one to two pounds per week for a healthy, sustainable rate of weight loss.

A plant-based diet is best—including mostly or all whole foods, very little to no sugar and processed foods, and a calorie level high enough to keep you from feeling hungry often but less than the number of calories you’re burning each day. 

Weight loss plans prioritizing a plant-based diet will give you the best weight loss results. It should be sustainable for long-term health and adherence so you can keep the weight off and continue the healthy habits you’ve established when starting the diet. A health care provider trained in nutrition, such as a registered dietitian, can work with you to create a realistic and healthy diet plan for your preferences, health considerations, and goals.  

Have questions about this review? Email us at


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  2. DiMilia P et al. Benefit-to-Risk Balance of Weight Loss Interventions in Older Adults with Obesity. Curr Diab Rep. November 4, 2019. Found on the internet at
  3. Penn Medicine. Want to Lose Weight Quickly? Here Are 7 Reasons Why Crash Diets Probably Won’t Work. June 22, 2018. Found on the internet at
  4. Baraldi L., et al. Consumption of Ultra-Processed Foods and Associated Sociodemographic Factors in the USA between 2007 and 2012: Evidence from a Nationally Representative Cross-Sectional Study. BMJ Open. March 9, 2018. Found on the internet at
  5. Yuan A. and Larsson S. Epidemiology of sarcopenia: Prevalence, risk factors, and consequences. Metabolism. July 2023. Found on the internet at for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Behavior, Environment, and Genetic Factors All Have a Role in Causing People to be Overweight and Obese. Genomics and Precision Health. Last reviewed Jan. 19, 2018. Found on the internet at,
Cara Everett, MS, RDN, LDN
Cara Everett Author, Medical Reviewer
Cara Everett is a writer and registered dietitian nutritionist who has been helping people reach their wellness goals for over 20 years. In addition to working in clinical practice, Cara writes extensively on hearing aid technology, keeping pace with new models and industry developments to help readers make the most informed purchasing decisions possible. She has spent more than 1,000 hours researching and testing hearing aids.
Amy Beney Medical Reviewer
Amy Beney is a Registered Dietitian in private practice outside Buffalo, New York. Amy has a BS and MS in Nutrition. After working with many people who have blood sugar issues and were diagnosed with diabetes, she pursued and received an advanced certification as a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES). She enjoys breaking down complex medical information into smaller pieces that people can apply daily.
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