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Nutrisystem

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My husband has been unable to exercise for a few months due to recovering from a surgery. This has led him back to a cycle of overeating... which is why he decided to order nutrisystem. Has anyone tried it? Do these meals actually taste good? I fully support him doing this- while we both would prefer he eat fresh foods/veggies, he feels that the regimented system without having to think about portion sizes will help him "jump start" the process... and we can transition back to home cooking in 2 months or so. It's also going to be a bit strange with me cooking just for myself for the next few months (I generally cook very healthy as a side note). At least I won't have to cook as much! :}

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  1. I saw some online articles that rate the taste and texture as pretty poor. I would say that spending that kind of money so that 2 months from now you can transition to home cooking just sounds odd to me. Unless you are going to clear your frig and cabinets of all "tempting" food what will your husband do when the Nutrisystem meal wasn't fulfilling? There are so many options, I hate to think the best is frozen food with little flavor or texture rather than fruits and veggies with good, lean proteins..

    1 Reply
    1. re: escondido123

      He gave a lot of thought to this. Our fridge doesn't have "tempting" options; I don't keep junk food in the house. The problem is more out of the house than in. He'll eat healthy at home but then he'll slip at work or when we go out with friends. With nutrisystem, now he has an excuse not to order pizza or a burger when with his co-workers. Also, his motivation just isn't high at the moment; part of the downward cycle. Once he sees himself losing weight, he'll start to feel better about himself, which will push him to exercise... which will lead to him not needing such a strict regimen.

    2. Had a friend who tried this, but years ago so take her report however you like. She said ALL of the food sent to her was shelf-stable, meaning no refrigeration required. I know they've changed some of this lately and have some frozen foods available now, but most of it is still shelf stable, from what I understand. A lot of it is also swimming in sodium to keep it shelf stable, and most of the stuff was rubbery and bland/tasted like cardboard. Definitely not for a food lover, but just for someone who doesn't really want to think about self portion control and wants meals portion-controlled for them.

      There are numerous reviews of Nutrisystem's food online, as well. I'm positive I just read one on Yahoo News less than two weeks ago, and the review of a day's worth of food was pretty much what my friend told me.

      Also, keep in mind that Nutrisystem also wants you to supplement their food with fresh fruits and vegetables, in addition to milk and other ingredients you have to buy in addition to the food they send you. I say if you're going to spend that much money on food and have to spend MORE on fresh food, just go to a company that does fresh, refrigerated meals and delivers/can be picked up weekly. I know Diet-to-Go is one such company if you're willing to pay the high price of meal delivery (there's always a coupon for 20% off first order on retailmenot). I'm sure there are tons of other companies out there, as well if you want to go that route.

      1. If Nutrisystem is still like it was last time I had it - more than two decades ago, so make of that what you will - no, the food does not taste good. It tastes mostly of salt. I just checked Nutrisystem's website for the sodium info to see whether my recollection is accurate and found that each entree contains between 25% & 30% of your sodium RDA, which seems like a lot to me.

        And even though you hope that Nutrisystem will keep your husband from thinking about portion sizes, he will still be thinking about portion sizes, as in, "how is this even a portion?" I could easily put away 2-3 of those entrees, and I'm reasonably sure I'm a lot smaller than your husband.

        If you're already cooking pretty healthy meals, he'd be better off (and happier) just eating what you cook. In my opinion.

        4 Replies
        1. re: small h

          If simply cooking healthy meals was the answer then he'd have lost weight already. I'm not disputing that home cooked meals are better than nutrisystem; of course they are. But it hasn't worked, which is why my husband decided to order the program.

          1. re: NicoleFriedman

            The best method for him is the one that works, of course. But reading the other responses on this thread - that you have to supplement the Nutrisystem meals with salads and the like - makes me think he may as well just knock together his own pre-measured, home-cooked meals. However, I can also see how laying out the (not insubstantial) cash for Nutrisystem might make him more committed.

            1. re: small h

              That's definitely part of it. He's paying for it with his own personal cash so he'd only be wasting his own money:}

              1. re: NicoleFriedman

                Yes, the gym membership model. Cash out, and you will be more inclined to toe the company line. I wish your husband success with Nutrisystem, and a speedy return to a less restricted (and less salty) way of eating.

        2. The only thing in Nutrisystem that is worth eating is the red sauce pastas (lasagne, etc.) I kind of liked the salisbury steak but its not good. The problem is that even with Nutrisystem you have to prepare other stuff like salads, etc. for a well balanced meal (at least 5 years ago you did) so its not like you suddenly don't have to do any work to eat.

          The good part is that they are shelf stable, so you can keep them at the office in your desk.

          1. Is the food good? I would categorize it under "acceptable." It's not good or awful, but it's "for the cause" and so justified. But, I still wouldn't recommend it.

            There has yet to be any documentation that shows that a good number of people that go on Nutrisystem keep the weight off. (And you can bet that the company would advertise that like mad if it were the case.) Your husband certainly has the right idea in jump starting the process, but that's easier said than done. Also, if I'm going to go on a calorie watch diet, I say the hell with (most) healthy items and would count calories from candy and junk food. If the food is limited, I mind as well savor every bite.

            One thing that I'm really confused on: Since you do cook, and do it well, why not just have you control the portion size for him?

            2 Replies
            1. re: ediblover

              My husband is a grown man and not a child. My yelling at him on a daily basis about portion control, especially when out of the house is just not working. We'd be out at a restaurant and I'd literally have to kick him under the table when he'd order something he shouldn't have, or if he'd eat an extra roll. I'm actually beyond happy that he took the initiative to try this, because my old approach- cooking healthy and yelling at him- just wasn't doing the trick:}

              1. re: NicoleFriedman

                As someone who has battled weight issues ever since I tore both my ACL's (and didn't have surgery) I'd just like to add some tips that have worked for me in the past and are working for me now.
                1. Stay away from fat-free stuff....it's loaded with sugars.
                2. Don't by into that huge breakfast and then little meals during the day. Have a small breakfast, a big lunch (but eat slowly and drink lots of water before, during and after. For dinner, eat enough, but stay away from carbs because this will cause you to be hungrier later.
                3. Don't have cheat days. You can literally waste a week's worth of dieting in one day.
                4. I don't really eat desserts, which allows me to splurge on things like wings.
                5. Try and make takeout meals last for two meals.
                6. If your husband is like me, he'll walk into a pizzeria and order two slices. Now when I do have pizza, which is rare, I order one and leave. I don't have the luxury of going back and find that one is plenty.
                7. Scrap fries and rings as a side for a salad. You're ordering for the burger anyway, eat that first and then tackle the side.
                8. Don't avoid things you like. It will defeat your positive atittude.
                9. Cheese is good for you...it's the bread, crackers, chips that you get with it that is bad.
                10. Don't weigh yourself every day. I used to believe the opposite, but when you are good two days in a row and don't lose. If you lose an inch on your waist, don't run out and get new clothing. it'll be tight and you'll get discouraged.
                11. And here's the thing where I feel Nutrisystem is bad...don't eat something different than the rest of your family. Just eat less of it.
                12. If you're the cook....don't make as much. I used to make a batch of chicken cutlets and eat them all. Now I cook one, maybe two if I don't bread them. I usually freeze them in individual bags and only take one out, so I am not tempted by the leftovers.

                I'm not an expert...believe me. But I've lost over 30 lbs in less than four months on two occasions and 70 lbs in sixth months on another. I'm currently down about 30 lbs doing these things now and that's without cutting out anything I enjoy, drinking pretty frequently and having a very inactive lifestyle.

                regardlesss of how he proceeeds, I wish him luck

            2. I would stay away from any of these "systems." One, they do not work. The taste (from what I've tried is absolutely terrible. I know many people who have lost weight from weight watchers, using their point system. That being said, whenever you're eating something out of the microwave, chances are it's going to be terrible. My suggestion would be a gradual portion reduction. I'm speaking from experience. I've lost considerable amounts on diets multiple times. Keeping it off is the other thing. Something about four months of celery and carrot sticks makes you want a burger...every day!

              1. I did nutrisystem for 3 months and lost 20lbs. After 3 months, I couldn't take the food anymore. The breakfast and desserts are fine...the walnut chocolate chip cookies are actually really good. The lunch and dinner choices....meh. Some are awful, some are palatable. The burger is actually a favorite of mine since you can put tomato, onion, mustard, lettuce, etc on it and really jazz it up to be like a real meal. And it does teach portion control. But you do need to add in your own food as others have said. It works if you follow it.

                1. Nicole, I would not recommend it at all. My mother in law did it, and she went into congestive heart failure. Her cardiologist told me to toss all of it, and put her on a low sodium and high fiber diet. She lost 20 lbs and kept if off.

                  Don't do it. It's a dangerous and poor nutrition diet.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                    I'm sorry about your mother-in-law but I've read the ingredients. While it can't compare to fresh food, it does not look dangerous. I'm sure that if there were other mitigating health factors, that may be a different story.

                  2. real food is better and cheaper and necessary to lasting results.

                    1. My SO did nutrisystem while I did Jenny Craig. Most of the NS food is horrible and they ration how much of a good stuff you can order at a time. They advertise heavily to men on sports shows, etc. which is why my SO insisted on doing NS rather than JC. The Jenny Craig food was much, much better, but still not great. Good luck to him!

                      1. In the last issue Consumer Reports did a taste test with Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem. The general consensus was that while both sucked pretty hard JC sucked a little less. He'd be better off buying Lean Cuisines and Smart Ones frozen stuff in the supermarket if he's that concerned about portion control and doesn't care about eating lousy processed food, and he'd save a boatload of money too. I'm not sure about LC but I know SO has breakfast stuff.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: MandalayVA

                          That's not very encouraging; I've tried lean cuisines myself when desperate for a fast work lunch and have found them pretty vile. My hubby ate his first NS dinner tonight and found it palatable. As long as it works:}

                          1. re: NicoleFriedman

                            Nicole: What worked for me w/ NS (in addition to exercise) was the simple attitude of: [Looking at the pouch/package, etc.] "This is it . This is what I get. This is ALL I get. This is what I paid for, so I'm not gonna deviate." I don't know if NS still does the weekly meetings, but if your DH is competitive/has any pride, that is a pretty motivating factor.

                            Of course nothing succeeds like success, so it'll be self-reinforcing. Wish him luck.

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              I did Nutrisystem way back when, when they did the weekly meetings. They haven't done that in decades, but a friend who was on it really enjoyed the online community stuff.

                              I'm actually doing a short course of Nutrisystem right now for all the reasons mentioned: I know how to do healthy cooking/shopping/portion control but I just wasn't feeling up to putting the effort into doing it myself. This is easy, and the fact that you've paid for the food is a good incentive to stay with it. After this shipment I plan to transition back into doing it myself, but I needed a jumpstart.

                              I think the fact that you have to add your own produce -- which some people have cast as a negative -- is actually a good thing, since it gets you in the habit of shopping for and preparing vegetables and finding new ways to incorporate them into your routine that will hopefully carry over when you're done with the program.

                        2. Nicole: Ten or so years ago, I did Nutrisystem and lost 67 pounds. Much of what is written here about the food is correct--it's not all that good. Still, after trying certain options, pretty much everyone finds some things that are palatable, borderline enjoyable.

                          The advantage of Nutrisystem for many--including myself--is that the food is pre-portioned and easy to "prepare", which makes it difficult to overeat. The fat/carbs/protein balance is OK, and the # of dishes per meal adds variety. These things, together with training yourself to eat slowly, helps you to actually feel full.

                          If self-restraint isn't working for him, Nutrisystem might be a good choice.

                          1. i'm curious - why did he specifically choose Nutrisystem? considering where you guys live, he has other, fresher options that deliver daily or weekly such as NuKitchen, 5 Squares, Nutropia, or even Zone programs like Fresh Diet. they don't use nearly as much processed, packaged stuff as Nutrisystem does, and he wouldn't have to "fill in" so much of it with fresh produce, dairy etc.

                            is it a matter of cost?

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Cost definitely was a factor, although I told him that this is about his health and I'd be more than willing to figure out a way so we can look into a better option. However, mostly it was convenience; he ordered it a work without having to take too much time to think about it.

                              1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                got it. hopefully there won't be a next time, but if there is, encourage him to do more in-depth research...at the end of the day, all the extra $$ you spend to "fill in" what's missing from the stuff NS ships probably negates any savings over better, more complete options from another service.

                                but i hope this works for him, and that you two can go back to enjoying Chow-worthy meals together soon!

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Thanks for the encouragement! I have a good feeling that he'll be back to "real food" soon- when he puts his mind to something he follows through.

                                  1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                    that's great...and after living on the packaged N/S crap for a while, i bet he'll appreciate your cooking even more ;)

                            2. I have a pretty good relationship with my postman.

                              He delivers my mail, but never my food.

                              It's my job to figure out just how to eat right.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                While I respect your opinion, I'm just wondering if you've read any of my posts. Some people need extra motivation. Sometimes eating healthy isn't always just about knowing what you should eat and how much. Eating can be tied with emotions and other psychological factors which people don't always recognize.

                              2. I've used Nutrisystem to lose weight and it worked well for me. Is the food good? It's palatable to me but EVERYONE is different. I found it a means to an end. I lost 4-5 lbs./week and was on it for 10 weeks. The reason it worked for me is that there's no thought that needs to go into it. You pick whatever meal your going to have, heat it up and eat it. It teaches you portion control. I did not find the food salty, in fact I was told by my M.D. to add some salt to my diet after a month on NS because it was low ( I was also working out). I wish your husband luck.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jnk

                                  Thanks!

                                2. I am not sure why you asked the question since it does not seem to matter that the food is not good and because he is already doing the program. You have refuted all the answers with defense. And it does not make sense at all not to just do the l.c. or w.w. if it is all about portion control. A lot cheaper. Usually people need a crutch to get going and that must be what the idea of nutrisystem means to your husband. I am not truly snarking because I am a good cook, know portion control, etc., but if I could afford Diet to Go or any fresh food delivery I would use it.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: cocoagirl

                                    cocoa: "I am not truly snarking because I am a good cook, know portion control, etc. ..."

                                    Truly not.

                                    1. re: cocoagirl

                                      My OP was not whether or not people on CH think that NS is a good idea; it was whether or not they've tried it and how it is. Meanwhile, I'm getting a lot of random dieting advice which is not what I was asking for.

                                      1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                        I tired it and hated it.

                                        If your husband is dead set on using it, then my only advice is to check each shipment carefully as they often include out-of-date items and random substitutions for items ordered.

                                    2. Has he looked into a slow carb diet? This doesn't look crazy, expensive, or dangerous, and it certainly looks like you'd get all the nutrients your body needs from real foods:

                                      http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/...

                                      I have the 4 hour body book out from the library right now, it's definitely an interesting read. I might even try and see if I can stick to the diet for a month (but not until Chinese New year is over!). I would like to drop 5 lbs, but I've wanted to drop those 5 lbs for the last 10 or so years...I guess I've always enjoyed food far more than those 5 lbs bug me.

                                      1. Dieting is expensive for the most part. Any diet made up of lean poultry and meats, fish, fresh vegetables and salads including yoghurt and cottage cheeses as examples of low fat type diets cost more than eating cheap carbs and sugary foods, fattier cheaper cuts of meat, processed stuff. You can definitely feel fuller eating cheaper food!!
                                        I am on week 3 of a diet, I have spent more at the grocery store than I usually do but I am not filling myself with toast, potatoes, pasta, bread, pizza etc etc - I have lost 8lbs so far. I also needed a kick start diet (I am doing protein and citrus for 3 weeks) and next week am switching to low calorie. I feel quite determined to get the last 20lbs off that I have been promising myself for years but without the kick start I might have given up early.

                                        18 Replies
                                        1. re: smartie

                                          ahh yes, the famous Grapefruit Diet. i'm just glad you're not doing the cabbage soup one ;)

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Cabbage Soup Diet, OMG that was vile. My whole staff did it one year, and I tried it out of curiosity. I was never so glad to see day 7 in my life.

                                            And to the OP, I did NS about 5 years ago and only made it to Day 3 before I had to throw in the towel as I couldn't deal with the food. I've also had multiple knee surgeries and there is no silver bullet for taking the pounds off while rehabbing, drat. How does your husband do with Atkins-style diets, where food choices are limited but not so much on the portion control. If portion control is his weakness, perhaps he might find one of the high protein/low carb diets to his liking if NS doesn't work out for him.

                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                              He has done Atkins before, and while I think he would be open to doing it again the high level of protein doesn't seem healthy to me. Truth be told, I'm not worried about my hubby- I have no doubt he'll lose weight as long as he sticks to a plan, whether it's NS or something else. I'm worried to death about my mom. She has a myriad of illnesses but worse she has numerous allergies & sensitivities. She has gained almost 80 pounds due to her illnesses (chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia among others) and almost no nutritionist will see her after she explains that she can't eat soy or is sensitive to all of these other foods. Right now she barely eats- she's afraid of food because she gained all of this weight without eating abnormally. I didn't even bother starting a thread on my mom's diet issues because I doubt anyone can help me with this one.

                                              1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                there's nothing unhealthy or dangerous about high protein intake as long as fluid and fiber intake are sufficient and he's not subsisting solely on processed meats packed with chemicals...so if he hates the N/S food and just can't stick with it, don't worry about him if he switches to a low-carb plan.

                                                re: your Mom, it saddens me that other nutrition professionals refuse to help her - i'm guessing it's because they don't know how to. i would have been happy to see her when i was practicing back East! shoot me an e-mail - let's see if there's anything i can do to help, or at the very least find her someone who can. use my CH name at yahoo.

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  I really appreciate that. Thankfully she just found someone who will see her. But if it doesn't work out I may take you up on your offer:}

                                                  1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                    no expiration date on the offer. if you need anything just let me know!

                                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    That's absolutely true about high protein, and I've reversed long standing kidney damage by eating 30-35% of my calories from protein for over a decade now. But I want to add that Atkins is not any higher protein than a standard American diet, it's higher fat if done as written.

                                                  3. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                    Nicole, so sorry to hear about what's happening to your mother. I can certainly see why you would be so worried for her . I wish I had, or knew, something other to recommend that might help, but I don't. I always revert to alternative treatments and a good Naturopath, but if your mother isn't so inclined, or have a reliable referral, it's probably not a viable option. Good luck to your mom.

                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                      Thank you.

                                                    2. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                      Never done Atkins, but South Beach is great. It's not really a diet after the first 2 weeks. It teaches you how to eat healthy foods and which foods are triggers for you. For me, juice is a killer. So I don't drink it anymore.

                                                    3. re: DiningDiva

                                                      What is a cabbage diet?

                                                      1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                        cabbage soup diet. it's RIDICULOUS...

                                                        http://www.cabbage-soup-diet.com/eati...

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          It might not be ridiculous if you are a overweight, poor, Eastern European vegetarian.....LOL

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            goodhealthgourmet: "[C]abbage soup diet. it's RIDICULOUS".

                                                            It's ridiculously unappetizing, I agree. Since you're a nutrition professional, you probably know that this diet's genesis was with a cardiac surgeon who frequently had exigent need to have his patients drop weight quickly in order to qualify for potentially life-saving heart and vascular surgery. It then became popular for awhile as a quick way to drop a few pounds before bikini season.

                                                            Distasteful as it is, it does what it's supposed to do.

                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                              Since you're a nutrition professional, you probably know that this diet's genesis was with a cardiac surgeon who frequently had exigent need to have his patients drop weight quickly in order to qualify for potentially life-saving heart and vascular surgery.
                                                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                              actually, as a well-informed nutrition professional i know that's an urban myth. no cardiologist at Sacred Heart Memorial Hospital - or any other medical institution - created the cabbage soup diet, regardless of what you may have read or heard.

                                                              have you read the specifics of the 7-day plan in that link i posted? it calls for consuming much more than just the soup...and the whole thing is just bizarre.

                                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              Ok, I I read the ingredients. It doesn't sound all that bad. Except the Lipton Soup Mix.

                                                              1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                Actually, you need the onion soup mix for a modicum of flavor and seasoning. Without it, it would be pretty bad. The soup is actually not horrible the first couple of days because of the novelty of it, which wears off pretty quickly.

                                                            3. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                              Cabbage is the best cultivated veg on the planet.
                                                              It will save us when we all have to get down to the basics,

                                                              Whether shredded in slaws, or fermented to kraut
                                                              or baked, or broiled, or placed within soup

                                                              It becomes us as citizens to seek of its sustenace.

                                                      2. Moot since he's already signed up. But a neighbor of mine who doesn't really even like good food, did it for the minimum time (two months?) and thought almost all of it was pretty dreadful. When they started bugging her on the phone to order more, she got pretty strong in her criticism of the food.

                                                        And I'm curious. Is he going to carry this stuff when he goes to lunch with co-workers or when y'all go out with friends? My impression is that it's a 24/7 program. No?

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          Maybe the reason NS works is because the food isn't very good so you don't overeat.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            He's been taking the food to work. I have a feeling he wouldn't go as far as to take it to a restaurant. We've already discussed his "cheat" days; our football party coming up and his birthday. Otherwise, he's going to try not to go out to eat so he won't have to worry about it.

                                                          2. I had some of the instant eggs passed along to me at work from someone who had finished the program (or got sick of it or something), and I used them a couple of times in the micro at work for quick breakfasts. They actually weren't that bad.