The Nutrisystem weight loss program has been around since 1972.
Originally, dieters visited a Nutrisystem center where they weighed in, purchased food, received counseling, and attended classes.
Today, there are no centers. Everything is handled over the internet or the phone. Weight loss counselors are available 24/7 by phone. In addition, members can initiate a live chat with a counselor via a click of a button from 7 A.M. to 12 A.M. ET on weekdays and from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. on weekends. E-mail is yet another option.
The basic daily meal plan consists of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert for women. A daily snack is added for the men’s plan. Dieters can choose between a 28-day program and a 20-day program (Flex.) Those who elect the 28-day plan and want a no-brainer can choose a 28-day Favorites package, in which case 28 breakfasts, 28 lunches, 28 dinners, and 28 desserts are selected for the dieter. (Men also receive 28 pre-selected snacks.) Alternatively, plan members can pick and choose their own meals from among 150 entrèes and desserts, including a variety of fresh-frozen items for those who register for the Nutrisystem Select plan.
Flex plan members eat Nutrisystem meals 5 days a week and prepare their own meals the other two days. They are able to choose a 20-day Favorites package or select each of the 20 days worth of meals individually; however, the fresh-frozen items are not available to Flex plan members. A free recipe book containing 80 easy-prep recipes that members can use to prepare meals on their two “free” days is provided under this plan.
According to information on the Nutrisystem website, the menu features foods that are low in sodium and fat, and high in protein, fiber, and low-glycemic carbs. Plan members are advised to supplement the meals with fruits, vegetables, and non-fat dairy products.
What are The Benefits and How Much Weight Can I Lose with Nutrisystem?
A weight loss of one to three pounds a week can be expected, according to Nutrisystem. This is well within reason since the average daily calorie count of the meal plans ranges from 1,200 to 1,500, with the men’s plans occupying the higher end of that range. In the end, it is always all about caloric intake. Eat fewer calories than your body burns, and weight loss is a foregone conclusion.
Nutrisystem makes it easier to consume less calories. The meals are all portion controlled and all the counting has been done for you, so you can put away your calculator. Except for the fresh-frozen meals that members of the Nutrisystem Select plan will receive, the entrèes require no refrigeration and little to no preparation, so you can easily take them with you to work and even on vacation if you so choose.
In addition to online counselors, Nutrisystem offers 30-minute, weekly e-classes that are led by registered dietitians and follow a question/answer format. There are also a number of online guides and tools available to members. Mindset Makeover is an interactive week-by-week guide designed to teach the skills necessary for long-term weight control.
The Dining Out guide provides members with smarter restaurant menu choices. Complete workouts, exercise demonstrations, and articles on fitness promote the physical activity component of successful weight loss. Tools to track weight, body measurements, and exercise are also just a click away.
Disadvantages of Nutrisystem
The taste of the food and the small portions seem to be the biggest complaints. Taste appears to be…well, a matter of taste. Some program members rate it “good,” some “tolerable,” and others “horrible.” The response to the portion-size complaint has been that the small meals should be augmented by fruits, vegetables, and non-fat dairy products, as Nutrisystem instructs. Doing so may also help the dieter when it is time to transition from the prepackaged foods to real foods after reaching goal weight.
A couple of other points are worth mentioning as well. Dieters who sign up for the Nutrisystem Select plan will need to ensure they have the freezer space to store the fresh-frozen entrèes that are delivered. And, like a lot of diet plans today, Nutrisystem has only a website presence, so face-to-face contact is not available.
Cost and Coupons for Nutrisystem
Nutrisystem may prove to be the lowest priced of all the meal-delivery type weight loss plans if all the available discounts are utilized. If the member chooses the month-to-month option, the basic 4-week plan is $352.23 a month, which includes shipping. If, instead, the member opts for auto-delivery, the regular price is $299.95 with free shipping, which translates to $10.71 a day. Currently, a special Nutrisystem coupon promotionon the website offers three weeks of food free if a member chooses auto-delivery.
Reading the fine print, you will discover that the promotion provides a free week’s worth of food with each of the first three 28-day deliveries. So, this amounts to 35 days of food for $299.95, which reduces the cost to $8.57 a day. Bear in mind that these are costs for the basic plans. Other plans may cost more. For example, the regular price for the Nutrisystem Select meal plan with the auto-delivery option is $388.94 a month, which includes shipping.
The company does offer a money back guarantee on first time program orders. If you find you do not like the food and call customer service within 7 days of receiving your order, Nutrisystem will refund your purchase price, less shipping, when you return the remaining three weeks of food to them. (Fresh-frozen foods are non-returnable.)
Who is Nutrisystem For?
Anyone who is serious about dropping some pounds but who doesn’t want the hassles of counting, planning, measuring, and cooking that accompany a lot of diets may find success with the Nutrisystem program. Convenience is definitely Nutrisystem’s strong point. The portion-controlled meals are packaged to make them easy to take to school, to work, or on the road. Shopping requirements are minimal, and online tools are available to provide guidance and to help dieters stay on track. The total package may provide just the jump-start that some individuals need at a price they may be able to afford.
If the concept of a meal-delivery service appeals to you, but your wallet isn’t carrying around as much weight as you are, you may want to log on to Nutrisystem’s website and check it out. Eating the calorie-controlled meals provided while supplementing them with fresh fruits and vegetables and non-fat dairy products will lead to weight loss. It’s a simple matter of mathematics. The almost-no-prep, portable meals make the program very convenient, and it is one of the cheapest of its genre—if not the cheapest. Utilizing the online tools available and incorporating physical exercise will result in even greater success.
You may need a heavy dose of will power to supplement the small portions with the recommended healthy foods and not a handful of chips, however. And if you don’t continue to control your portions, eat healthier foods, and continue with an exercise program after you have reached your goal weight, all those pounds will come back to you.
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