Nutrisystem, part 2

by Lisa Rosen on March 30, 2010

Here’s why we chose Nutrisystem:  it works.

If you follow the plan, you will lose weight.

Here’s why:

It’s calorie-restricted.  That, after all, is the secret behind any diet that works (to lose weight, remember, you need to burn more calories than you consume).  So if your best friend lost weight on the Atkins/South Beach/grapefruit/twigs-and-acorns diet, it wasn’t a function of what she ate as much as a function of how much she ate.  Nutrisystem food is packaged by the serving, so there’s no overestimating or having just another taste.  You eat the serving of soup, or pasta, or chili, or whatever, and that’s that.

It’s planned for us.  We don’t have to count calories or add and subtract points or anything complicated.  Nutrisystem sent us a box containing an entree for each meal, and we supplement with fruits, veggies, dairy, and protein servings from a very specific list.  Open package, nuke, eat.  For Delaney, particularly, who thrives on order and structure, the simplicity of the Nutrisystem plan is especially appealing.

It’s balanced.  This was important to me, as a mother worried about my kid’s health.  I really don’t want to stunt her development or cause her a nutritional deficiency or anything; because she’s such a rule-follower, I think she’s actually getting more fruits and vegetables on this diet than she was before, when I was the one pushing them.  Now, they’re “on the plan,” so she’s more open to them.

There’s just enough variety.  We chose which entrees we wanted to try, and we choose our supplemental foods from a pretty long list.  And because we’re coming up on spring produce season, I know the fruits and veggies are just going to get better in the coming weeks.

The food is well-spaced throughout the day, so just as I’m starting to feel really famished, it’s time to eat again.  Never underestimate the importance of the afternoon snack.  It’s what keeps my head from exploding most days.

It’s a really excellent way to sort of “re-program” your mind and body to understand what is an appropriate amount of food.  It’s really hard to maintain perspective on portion control in this country, where we’re surrounded by super-sized and venti and jumbo.  I’m reminding myself daily that the time I spend eating Nutrisystem-sized portions will help me re-learn how little, really, my body needs to function healthily.

There are a few drawbacks:

The entrees are not the tastiest food I’ve ever had.  Delaney, being her mother’s daughter, has pretty high food standards, so the adjustment to food that’s not quite as delicious as she’s used to was a little rocky.  But we’re coping–Lee’s theory is that the first month is exploratory:  figure out which things you like, then load up on those for the second month.

It really cuts into our social lives.  I’m not so worried about that for myself–I’m creative, and I’ll figure out work-arounds–but I don’t want Delaney to start feeling like this diet is ruining her whole life.  We’re working really hard on making sure she is learning how to balance her emotional needs with her body’s requirements.

Ultimately, while I would love for her to lose some weight (and of course I want to lose the pounds I’ve gained recently, as well), what I most want is for her to absorb some life lessons that will serve her well for years to come.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sonja Foust March 30, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Should you ever get so tired of Nutrisystem that you just can’t stand it anymore, I suggest eDiets. Their food is pretty tasty, and fresh, which you can’t beat.

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Lisa Rosen March 31, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Oh, thanks for the tip, Sonja. I took a quick peek at their website; it definitely warrants further exploration. I’ll take a closer look . . .

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