While a lot of people think that Nutrisystem is a fairly new program, it has actually been around for a very long time. Nutrisystem started up back in 1972 that was set up much like Jenny Craig with consultation clinics sprinkled around the United States. That would change when the new millennium started as they shifted focus into a home delivery program for weight loss food that was designed by Dr. Harold Katz.

Since then, Nutrisystem has been one of the biggest names in the diet industry, with a lot of different options. After changing their model, you can now find Nutrisystem foods in most major grocery stores and has one of the largest bases of both resources and celebrity clients. With its popularity, you would probably think that Nutrisystem works for a good majority of people. Let’s break down the plan and see where it excels and where it lacks to see if it’s the right weight loss plan for you.

Celebrities on The Nutrisystem Diet

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Nutrisystem is one of those programs that has relied on celebrity clients to endorse the product for mass appeal. It has certainly worked as these celebs appeal to a broad range of people both male and female. Here are a few of the celebrities that you have probably seen in a Nutrisystem ad and what they had to say about the program.

Marie Osmond – Singer Marie Osmond said that she was able to lose 50 pounds on Nutrisystem and has been the main spokesperson for the company ever since then. She says that it has changed her life, claiming that “I feel like getting out and rock climbing and biking, and doing things I love doing but didn’t because I was overweight.”

Melissa Joan Hart – Former “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” star Melissa Joan Hart has lost 40 pounds on Nutrisystem and has dropped three sizes. She was desperate to lose weight after having three children, and was able to get down to the lowest weight of her adult life, saying that “I just feel better…I have so much more energy.”

Dan Marino – Former NFL quarterback and Hall of Famer Dan Marino has gotten back into playing shape thanks to Nutrisystem, saying that “I haven’t been this weight since I started playing pro football back in 1983,” losing 22 pounds in the process.

Janet Jackson – Never one to do many endorsements, singer Janet Jackson has served as a spokesperson for Nutrisystem after dropping 50 pounds on the program in 2012. Jackson had struggled with eating beforehand, but said that thanks to Nutrisystem that she was able to curb some of her cravings.

How Nutrisystem Works

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Much like the Jenny Craig program, Nutrisystem works by delivering food to your house or buying the prepackaged meals at grocery stores (which has boosted their exposure). The meals on Nutrisystem are typically very low in calories and teach portion control, which is a big part of losing weight. A lot of people struggle with eventually eating more than what’s on their plate, but going back for seconds is a process that you’re probably not willing to go through in this case as you have to prepare another meal all over again.

Typically, you will be getting 1,200 calories per day from the Nutrisystem meals alone, which is around the standard minimum that you should be eating on a weight loss plan. For those that have a significant amount of weight to lose, this should equate in more than the usual one or two pound weight per week weight loss. There are nearly 200 menu options on Nutrisystem right now, so there are plans for those of all tastes, allergies and even ages as there is a teenage program.

There are three different plans available that last for four weeks at a time and can be customized for both men and women. These are Basic, Core and Uniquely Yours packages. Basic costs $9.82 per day, $10.54 for the Core and $11.96 for the Uniquely Yours. Let’s take a look at each one of these packages to see what they bring to the table.

What’s on the Menu

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Basic

You won’t get to customize your meals on this basic program, as the foods are already pre-selected and delivered to you. This can be tough for those that are lactose intolerant or want to avoid certain foods. Here is what the typical day looks like while on the Basic program that Nutrisystem has planned for customers:

Breakfast – Nutrisystem Breakfast Bar

Snack – Nutrisystem Vanilla Shake

Lunch – Nutrisystem Soup

Snack – Yogurt and Berries

Dinner – Nutrisystem Pasta

Snack – Nutrisystem Cookies

Giving a quick glance to the menu, it might feel that you get to indulge quite a bit. While the food doesn’t taste all that great, it’s certainly not bad. If you are wondering how you can eat things like pasta and cookies and still lose weight, it’s because the portions are actually quite small, and those cookies don’t have sugar like regular ones.

Core

The Core menu offers up some more flexibility, and is actually the most popular of the three. There are two differences between the Core and Basic programs, as Core allows you to pick out your own meals and also give you the ability to consult with dieticians and coaches at Nutrisystem. The eating plan looks the same with three meals and three snacks, but this time around it’s all your choice.

Uniquely Yours

The final and most expensive plan is Uniquely Yours, and the benefits that you get from the Core program are just about the same. The difference here is that there is a larger option of foods to choose from, which include more frozen foods. It costs more to ship frozen foods, which is where the price increase comes from for the most part.

Nutrisystem Foods

So now that you’ve been introduced to the plans, let’s take a look at some of the foods that you can choose from. Here is what a typical week will look like for you on the Nutrisystem program with their specialty foods over the course of one week.

Breakfasts

  • Granola Cereal
  • Caramel Apple Muffin
  • Buttermilk Waffles
  • Peanut Butter Bar
  • Nutri Flakes Cereal
  • Bacon, Egg and Cheese Muffin
  • Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Snacks

  • Soft Pretzel
  • Fudge Bar
  • Chocolate Cake
  • Snickerdoodle Cookie
  • Trail Mix
  • Popcorn
  • Cheese Puffs

Lunches

  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich
  • Hamburger
  • Red Beans and Rice
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Cheese Tortellini

Dinners

  • Ravioli Formaggio
  • Meatloaf
  • Meatballs and Rotini
  • Grilled Sausage and Peppers
  • Chicken Enchilada
  • Chicken and Baked Beans
  • Chicken Pot Pie

Losing Weight with Nutrisystem

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Looking at the menu, there are probably a lot of foods on there that you like. The way that Nutrisystem prepares them and packages them is where your weight loss will get kickstarted. The smaller portions allow you to eat the foods that you like, but you just don’t get to eat a lot at one time. While the long term success of your weight loss might be hampered once you get away from the prepackaged meals, it’s easy to get back into the program when you need to lose a few pounds again.

Adding exercise to your Nutrisystem program will also boost your weight loss, especially if you’re only eating around 1,200 calories per day. Although exercise isn’t a big part of the plan, they do suggest that you should be exercising at least 150 minutes per week. Nutrisystem has also come up with a plan called My Daily 3 that promotes 30 minutes of exercise each day in short bursts that include strength training and minor cardio activities.

Summing it Up

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While there are some drawbacks with Nutrisystem, it does work for the most part. You’re able to be flexible as long as you stay within your calorie count while you are eating out, but it’s encouraged that you stick to the prepackaged meals for maximum results. It can be a little hard to stick to only these meals, but a lot of people have gotten used to it to the point where it becomes a bit of a routine.

While there are a lot of resources available online, one of the negatives of Nutrisystem is that you have to pay to access them through their website, and it can be pretty costly on a monthly basis. Getting food straight from Nutrisystem also costs quite a bit of money, and some have found success on the program just buying prepared meals from their local grocery store.

For the most part, Nutrisystem has received above average reviews on the diet, though its lowest marks come from long term weight loss. It seems that a lot of people eventually get tired of eating frozen meals all of the time and drop back into old habits. It’s all up to the individual on the program and how they change their life after losing weight, but Nutrisystem has been shown to be effective in dropping the pounds initially with more weight loss recorded than control groups. Nutrisystem is definitely not among the worst popular diets out there, it just takes a lot of control outside of the prepackaged meals.

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