The annals of the Internet are an endless source of information for dieters. Plenty of it is valuable, but a huge percentage is poorly-researched nonsense with no basis in the realities of weight loss.

So how, in a world in which a simple Google search for “online diet program” returns 142,000,000 results, do you separate the wheat from the chaff? How can you and other dedicated dieters find the online diet program that’s right for you?

Start with the basics:

  • Is the program free, or does it require a subscription?
  • If it is a paid program, does it fit within your budget?
  • Is it a one-time fee, a monthly payment, or a yearly subscription? Which fits best into your life?
  • Are discounts offered for longer subscriptions?
  • Is online support from experts, like nutritionists and fitness consultants, available?
  • What other perks are offered? Are there tools to help you monitor your progress? Forums in which to seek and offer support and advice? Articles and blogs with suggestions and motivation to help you reach your weight loss goals?
  • Will this program fit into my schedule and lifestyle? Is it customizable?
  • Is there a free trial, or a money back guarantee?

Choose a few programs that caught your eye, and start researching them in more depth. Ask questions like:

  • Is the diet program safe? Does it ask participants to do things that seem unhealthy or dangerous?
  • Does the program back its claims up with science, or does it promise results without explaining why?
  • What have others said about the program? Search online for the opinions of unbiased doctors and weight loss experts, as well as the experiences of people who have tried the program. Look for reviews of both the quality of results (Was actual weight loss achieved? How much? Over what period of time?) and the quality of the program (Was customer support available and helpful?).
  • Does it sound too good to be true? The old adage is right – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

When you’ve narrowed down your options, consider consulting your doctor. Make sure that the program is A) Safe, B) Likely to be effective, and C) Compatible with your unique physiology and any health issues you may have.

Lastly, ask yourself this very important question: Am I excited about it? A diet program that doesn’t send your enthusiasm into overdrive isn’t a diet program you’ll stick with.

When all of these requirements are met, you’ve found the online diet program that’s right for you.

If you would like a list of diet programs we have reviewed you can check out the Weight and Diet category. Our Weight Watchers review also contains some good information if you are interested in that program.