Nutrisystem Review: How I Lost 100 Pounds on the Plan
Nutrisystem is one of the most popular diet plans to lose weight. As I lost 100 pounds on the plan, I want to do a Nutrisystem review to share honestly what I think about it and if they offer a good solution to lose weight.
As I’ve shared in detail over the past 18 months, I’ve always struggled with my weight, even as a child. Although I was extremely active growing up, playing three sports, I always had a problem with weight. Having just turned 40 I knew if I didn’t make a change it likely wasn’t going to ever happen.
I was always tired. I had little to no energy and would be winded after walking a flight of stairs. That was not the kind of life I wanted. I knew a radical change had to take place. I wanted to add years back to my life and losing a significant amount of weight was the only way to do that.
Thus, I turned to Nutrisystem. This was not a financial decision, per se, as you’ll see they can be relatively expensive – though there are ways to save significant money on the plan. Rather, it was a life decision. There was no real reason why I chose Nutrisystem. I likely chose them after seeing their ads and thought I’d give it a chance. They have a variety of meal plans to choose from and I liked the customization aspect.
I pulled the trigger in February 2014 and on June 19, 2015 I reached my goal of losing 100 pounds. That all being said, let’s move on to my Nutrisystem meal plan review.
Nutrisystem Meals – The Good
As I see it, the Nutrisystem meal plan does one thing really well – it teaches you about proper portion size. Prior to going on Nutrisystem I was consuming over 4,000 calories, as I can best estimate, on a given day. I was eating the amount of food needed to feed a small Russian army. The problem is, I looked like a small Russian army. 🙂
Jokes aside, what I really like about Nutrisystem is they reset your mind to look at eating in a more balanced way. You eat what you need. No more, no less. Honestly, at first, this was a literal shock to my system. I went from the 4,000 calorie a day consumption to 1,000 calories per day – for the first week.
I had migraines. I was going through sugar withdrawals. It wasn’t pretty. Three days in, I didn’t think I could make it any longer. I called in and they bumped me up to 1,500 calories per day. That did the trick.
The other thing I liked about the Nutrisystem diet plan is they have a lot of variety, not to mention balanced meals. You have plenty of different foods to choose from. I never counted them, but for each meal there is at least 2-3 dozen different options to choose from. As you’ll see below that came in handy. Variety and portion sizing were key in helping me lose weight. Without either I don’t know if I would have been successful.
Nutrisystem Diet – The Bad
You can choose from three meal options with Nutrisystem. The first option allows no choice over the meals you receive – they select them for you. The second options allows you to select what meals you receive. The final option allows you to customize plus the ability to select frozen meals.
I chose the highest end option that came in at $360 per month. The other two plans cost $250 and $300 per month, respectively.
Let that sink in for a moment. $360 per month. Our grocery budget is $500 per month so this was another shock to the system. However, I don’t know I could have stayed with the plan without the frozen items. The plan allows you 10 frozen meals for each breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks with the other 18 meals being non-frozen – per monthly shipment.
To be quite honest, the tastiness of the food varies quite a bit. Some of the food was pretty good. Many of the frozen meals were no different than something you’d buy at the store, aside from the portion size. None of the meals are truly bad, though not too many of them are great. After about a month or two I learned what I liked and stuck with those. That does lead to a bit of monotony, but I was willing to do it if it worked. You should also keep in mind that the food is processed. If that’s important to you to avoid, you will want to keep that in mind.
Another challenge many face is what to do when you travel or go out to eat. I didn’t deal with that much though can see how it can be a challenge. Nutrisystem has quite a number of packaged meals you can take on the go to deal with the travel component. Think KIND bars, or something similar.
Eating out was more of a challenge for me, but I found a good rhythm, though we don’t eat out much anyway. My solution to eating out was to order a large leafy green salad, without dressing and I was usually good.
If you can manage those two challenges and find enough food you like, you’ll be fine.
I should also point out to get this pricing you do need to agree to a recurring monthly shipment. That was the route I took, but can see how you might not want that. They offer weekly plans at a slightly higher price. You can go that route at first to see if you can manage it, then move up to the monthly plan.
Nutrisystem Savings Hacks
As we try to live frugally I instantly wanted to find a way to save money on the Nutrisystem meal plan. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to do just that. Nutrisystem constantly runs different deals, especially at the beginning of the year. Often times they’ll allow you to try the first week or two for free and offer different customizable savings options.
My Nutrisystem savings hack actually came as a result of Costco. Our Costco sells a lot of different gift cards, one of them being for Nutrisystem. The standard deal is a $100 Nutrisystem gift card for $80. I would buy three per month and redeem them when ordering my food and save $60 for the month.
Several times during my 15 months on the Nutrisystem diet plan Costco lowered the price to $60 for a $100 gift card. I would stock up during those times, allowing us to save $120 per month.
I also bought discounted gift cards through EBay that provided similar savings. I believe I paid full price only the first month as there was ample opportunity to save money.
What Do You Eat on Nutrisystem
I was commonly asked what you can eat while on Nutrisystem. When you’re on the Nutrisystem meal plan you get your three meals plus two snacks per day. They allow you supplement that with a variety of items.
Breakfast: Nutrisystem breakfast plus a low sugar Greek yogurt
Morning snack: One piece of fruit – usually a banana or orange
Lunch: Nutrisystem lunch plus, bell pepper and some protein (usually a ½ slice of cheese or serving of peanuts)
Afternoon snack: Nutrisystem snack
Dinner: Nutrisystem dinner, large leafy green salad and more protein (usually 2-3 pieces of turkey lunch meat)
Evening snack: Nutrisystem snack
As you can see, you’re eating throughout the day. You will be hungry many times, but that’s the point. You don’t eat to be full. You eat to be satisfied. Thus, the portion sizing I mentioned earlier. I will also point out that as I got closer to my goal I cut fruit and the protein at lunch to cut down on the calories.
Nutrisystem Review – My Take
I will be the first to say that a diet plan like Nutrisystem isn’t for everyone. I believe I had to be at a certain place to be successful with it. They do a great job of helping you learn about portion sizing, encouraging you to exercise and be successful.
Nutrisystem also offers a lot of different tools to help encourage and motivate you. They have trained dieticians and counselors to speak with you if you ever have questions. They have an expansive website to get feedback or support. They encourage you to track your progress and reward you by sending a stuffed animal for every ten pounds lost. That’s admittedly a bit silly, but I found getting the next bear challenged me to move on. Stupid, I know, but it worked. You’ll see my haul above by the way. 🙂
I know it’s a challenge to spend money to lose weight, especially when the food isn’t always the best. I dealt with that. I used the money we spent as a motivation to continue. I knew if I went off the plan that I might as well be throwing money in the trashcan. That’s the last thing I wanted. That being said, if you’re committed and work at it the Nutrisystem diet plan is a good way to try and accomplish your weight loss goals.
Have you ever tried a diet plan like Nutrisystem and what was your experience? How many times can you eat the same thing in a week without tiring of it? Would you ever pay to lose weight?