The Nutrisystem Diet Plan, touted by celebrities such as Dan Marino and Marie Osmond, has created a program that makes it easy for you to diet. You don’t have to think about food, as it is provided, there are no calories to count, and it is easy to follow. Over thirty-five years in business indicates that this is a proven program. And according to the Nutrisystem website, over 9 million pounds were lost last year (2008) alone.
Nutrisystem promises weight loss based on three simple steps: Choose Your Plan, Order Your Food, and Eat Healthy. Recognizing that not everyone is created equal, Nutrisystem has devised four separate meal plans for men and four separate meal plans for women. You can choose from Basic, Silver, Diabetic, and Vegetarian. The idea is to choose the plan that best meets your needs and then create a menu based on that meal plan. The website walks you through the whole process.
By joining on the Nutrisystem website, you can plan your meals, order your food, track your progress and get support. Support comes in the form of community forums, discussion boards, daily diet tips, regular newsletter, and unlimited counseling. There are also weekly e-classes available with chat.
There is no exercise component to this program, as it is purely nutrition-based. While this may appeal to those who hate exercise, movement and activity is essential to a healthy body and a wise companion to weight loss.
NOTE: The Nutrisystem website does offer an exercise log, to track your calorie burn.
The majority of the food for this program is supplied, and is nutritionally balanced and formulated to help control hunger. Nutrisystem allows you to choose your own 28-day supply of food, or you can order a pre-selected package. There are over 170 Nutrisystem food items, but they don’t come cheaply. At $11 per person per day, that totals $330 month, plus the incidentals you will need to supplement the plan (fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy). For a family of 4, that would total a whopping $1320 per month, probably twice what an average family spends.* But it does offer convenience and will keep you out of the kitchen, weighing, measuring and slaving over a stove.
If you are lucky enough to live in NYC, you can take advantage of Nu-Kitchen, where you can order freshly prepared meals based on the Nutrisystem diet, many of which have been prepared with organic and/or local ingredients. This feature allows you to have daily meals delivered, or you can go a la carte and order only the meals you want each day, plus you can order enough for a the family or a dinner party, should you want to entertain.
*Based on 2007 U.S. Census median annual income of $50,233 with a national average of 14% of income spent on food.
Ordering food is easy online. Preparing the food requires little effort and there is no point system or calories to keep track of. The Nutrisystem food is portion controlled, providing you with the knowledge of what is good to eat. The plan also allows snacking and provides weight loss tracking tools for you to use on the Nutrisystem website.
While you do learn portion control and what constitutes healthy eating, you do not prepare the foods yourself, and once you go off the program, it may be more difficult to maintain the weight loss when preparing your own foods or defaulting to take-out or restaurant fare.
Food: $400+/- per month
As with any diet program, do your research first. Go to the library, search the internet, and above all, consult your doctor about any diet regimen that you are contemplating.