I guess if you look at it in terms of pounds lost, smaller used clothing, and lifestyle changes, most would consider my Nutrisystem journey a success. I have lost most of the weight I wanted to lose and have kept it off. And I am reasonably confident that I will be able to maintain this and not regain the weight. I also look at food in a much healthier and less obsessive way.
Then the other day a coworker asked me what my secret was. Because I knew someone else who had been on this diet and who hadn’t had the same kind of lasting success. I think I suspected I was skipping meals or not adding the toppings with every meal or was exercising in a dangerous or unhealthy way. None of these things were true. There may be a few things that have contributed to my success. I’ll let you decide if you want to call them “secrets” or not. But I will share them in the next article.
Is the “friendly glycemic index” the secret of Nutrisystem ?: Most experts will tell you that this diet is primarily effective because the ratio of carbohydrates to calories and protein in the foods they give you is such that it encourages ketosis. This causes your body to burn more fat for fuel, as it doesn’t have free rein on continuous carbs (which it had probably been providing previously).
Now, I will certainly concede that this certainly helps. I mean, fewer calories ingested and more calories burned or burned is fine and I know this works. However, adding a little more fat burning can only help and can sometimes deliver better and faster results. This is always good because it’s the results that keep you wanting to continue. Very few people will go on a diet and resist when they are not rewarded with the results. So yes, glycemic consideration helps. And I strongly believe in it, so much so that in the initial stages of the diet I never ran out of ketone strips to make sure this diet was doing its job and putting me in ketosis.
What I think is the real secret of Nutrisystem (and for those who lose a lot of weight 🙂 As I hope you can see, I really appreciate the low carb in these foods, but I think the real key to this diet is a little deeper. I think the real secret to success with this diet is that the manufacturers understand the psychological obstacles that dieters face. The company seems to really understand the realities that nobody wants to talk about.
What I mean by this are things like this: I am inherently lazy. I don’t want to have to “work” too hard to get results. Yes, I am willing to change what I eat a bit. I know that I will not eat my favorite foods every day at every meal. But I can’t deny that I want to enjoy what I eat. I want to be able to wait for a meal once in a while. And I don’t want to be kept away from foods and desserts that I really enjoy a lot. I mean, I don’t want to have to say goodbye to burgers and chocolate cake forever.
I also don’t want to be a gourmet cook. It shouldn’t be difficult to find the foods that will help me lose weight. I remember trying to learn how to make an almond crusted cheesecake for the local diet. The cake was good, but it took me about two hours to prepare and I knew when I was enjoying it that I would never try again. Working that hard just isn’t sustainable over a period of time.
The company seems to understand this because they do most of the work for you. They provide most of the food you will consume. They have already counted the sugars, carbohydrates, proteins and calories. They have listed everything for you so you don’t have to guess when, how, or what to eat. They have provided free advice that only requires you to log into your computer or pick up the phone to use it. In short, they anticipated any objections or difficulties you might have and either eliminated or fully addressed them.
Finally, if I were to define what I do that I would classify as my “secrets”, it would be just a few things. For me, the real key to all of this is choosing your food well. (I always go with the personalized package so that I can choose by hand what I want). I know that as long as I am happily eating the food, I will not have the temperament to quit my regimen. And sure, Nutrisystem pizza, burgers, and chocolate aren’t exactly what I would eat from the diet, but they’re acceptable, taste pretty good, and mean my jeans continue to get smaller. I still buy ketone strips because this lets me know that I will be responsible when I cheat.
And it finally occurred to me that exercising, even a little bit, would make this go so much faster. I will never love the gym and will probably never go. So, I accept this about myself in the same way that I accept my laziness in the kitchen. Instead, I just walk briskly after dinner or walk home from my son’s school after dropping out. It’s five miles and it was tough at first, but now I enjoy this and recharge my MP3 every weekend ahead of time for the next week.