According to official program literature, the Nutrisystem diet program is designed to result in a slow and steady weight loss. Although their program heavily relies upon prepackaged foods, company executives claim that their diet will teach you to eat more healthfully.
How Does the Nutrisystem Diet Work?
The Nutrisystem diet program primarily consists of prepackaged foods purchased from the company. Participants consume 5-6 small, nutritionally balanced meals which combine these prepackaged foods with fresh produce, independently purchased by the participant from the grocery store. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to abstain from drinking alcohol and eating out. Although a variety of programs are available for women, men, senior citizens, diabetics and vegetarians, this diet does not directly accommodate religious, gluten-free or reduced salt diets.
Is the Nutrisystem Diet Effective?
Eating such small portions will result in short-term weight loss. Since most individuals find it difficult to live on such a low calorie diet for any length of time, the Nutrisystem diet is not a viable long-term weight management strategy.
How much does it Cost?
While a 28 day “weekends on your own” program is available from Amazon.com, a range of 28 day food-only packages, ranging from $229.99 to $535.52, are available from the Nutrisystem website. You need to also factor in the cost of purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables from the store. An online support community is available at no additional cost once the food has been purchased. Any supplemental cookbooks, program books and DVD can be purchased separately.
Level of Effort
Although many people think of Nutrisystem as “one stop shopping” for weight loss needs, fruit and vegetables still must be bought at the store and you must devote effort to planning exercise, if you would like to include it. Many individuals, however, find the prepackaged foods unpalatable, or downright disgusting. One blogger commented that they lost their appetite when they had to soak their hamburger before cooking it. Additionally, suddenly eating such small meals can be very difficult. Overall, the Nutrisystem diet requires a high level of effort to follow.
Pros and Cons
The Nutrisystem program is great if you do not want to devote much time or effort to meal planning. You merely order most of your food online and wait for your selections to arrive. Unfortunately, you still need to shop for fresh fruit and vegetables and, if you get hungry and eat extra food, you will have to plan other meals until you order another shipment.
Additionally, although the company publishes several cookbooks, it can be hard to resume cooking after becoming accustomed to eating convenience foods. So, many individuals may find it very difficult to maintain their weight loss.
Although the program suggests exercising for 150 minutes per week and offers a two-week exercise program, as well as a 30-minute exercise DVD to participants, no additional activity guidance is available for participants. Of course, since the program is not a long term weight loss solution, dieters will find themselves essentially repeatedly signing up for the same program or finding diet and exercise alternatives pretty quickly, as the Nutrisystem program is not designed for long-term use.
What is the Role of Exercise?
Although exercise is not a required component of the program, participants are encouraged to follow the national health recommendation to get a total of 150 minutes of exercise per week. The only support available toward this goal are the company’s 30 minute exercise DVD of aerobic and strength training exercise and a suggested 2 week exercise program.
If you desire a long-term weight management strategy, this diet is not a good option. In fact, following this program can be detrimental to your long-term weight loss goals because it develops dependence on program convenience foods and does not provide any training for independently making healthier diet and exercise choices. In fact, little else besides your wallet will become lean for the long-term by following the Nutrisystem program
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