**This was mostly written late last month, but I didn't finish it until recently. I have my reasons! Why do you have to be so judgy? Guh...
Before I ate lunch on Sunday afternoon, I got on the scale. I was actually scared of
weighing myself because if I hadn't lost anything, the whole week of
miserable food and being hungry would have been a waste. A week of
feeling tired and weak, and not being able to open bottles myself and
not going to the gym because I didn't have the strength, and almost
crying in target because I wanted a chicken finger and couldn't have it.
Not to mention the weird lightheadedness and over bright lights I'd
dealt with on a regular basis. All of that would have been for
nothing. So I weighed, and the scale showed that I'd lost 4 pounds and
12 ounces. I should have been thrilled. I was glad, to be sure, but I
was also pissed. The program was a success, I lost some weight, but was
it worth it? Not really.
This program only claims to
allow you to lose 5 pounds in a week, and I suppose if I'd been willing
to follow through with it to the very bitter end, I technically I could
have lost the last 4 ounces to reach the entire 5 pound mark. I know
this and I'm not complaining about it. In fact, good for Nutrisystem for keeping their word! However,
after going through this process, I have to be honest: The provided food
is not really good, I don't think the diet is balanced, and I'm not
completely convinced that it's entirely healthy. I DO know it isn't sustainable at all, but more on that later.
course, I'm not a nutritionist, so I could be completely wrong about it
not being healthy. However, just what I learned while going to see a
nutritionist, something about it seemed fundamentally wrong. Your lunch, dinner and
the two shakes are supposed to be eaten along with a serving of
vegetables. Theoretically, you could have all those things and not be
hungry, and you can also probably get most of your vitamins and such.
But there is no dairy, very few (if any) complex carbs, little to no
sugar (either natural or processed, and believe it or not, you do still
need some sugar from time to time) and tiny portion sizes. I actually
counted the calories, and if you take just what was in the box, on a
average day, you were only given around 830 calories. If you were to add
the vegetables, you might get another 150 to 200 calories. Might.
Depending on which vegetables you chose and how (if) you cook them, you
could have as few as only 30 calories added on. Once I counted the
substitutes and snacks that I'd personally had, every day I was barely
over 1,000 calories. While that might be great for losing weight, it is
not good for either feeling well or healthy. If you go to bed so
hungry that you can't sleep, that's bad. If you don't have any energy,
and you don't have the strength to do normal things, much less exercise,
that's also bad. You might be losing weight, but you are probably
missing something important that your body needs. I was taking a multivitamin and still felt like I was sick the whole week. It could have just been me and how my body reacted with the program, but as far as I know I'm healthy and shouldn't have had any bad reactions to cutting back on food.
Here is where I get indignant. The Nutrisystem 1 week program only claims to help you lose 5 pounds, and as far as I can tell, it's telling the truth. If you eat their gross, not-quite-food-flavored-food in the miniscule amounts that they dole out to you on a daily basis during the week, you will lose weight. I'm not going to deny that or say that they are falsely advertising. Maybe if you can stand it and decide to keep on with the monthly Nutrisystem plan afterwards, you can lose more weight. Gobs of weight. Whole peoples worth of weight even. But if you think for a second that doing this Fast 5 thing is going to help you lose weight in a sustainable way, you would be wrong. You know how I know this? I'm writing this entry on Thursday morning, after stopping the program Sunday afternoon. Between Monday and Wednesday, I'd already gained back 3 of the almost 5 pounds I lost. (EDIT: I gained back all the weight by the Sunday of that week.) I haven't been gorging on junk food either. Yes, I had a hamburger on Sunday night, and I finally got some Goldfish crackers on Monday, but 3 pounds in 3 days? Unless I have some kind of weird metabolic disorder (which I'm pretty sure I don't) or I'm eating more than 3500 calories a day (which I KNOW I'm not) this shouldn't be happening. This is a perfect example of what happens with the popular, restrictive diets where you have to leave whole sections of the food pyramid out of your diet. You can not cut things out of your diet and expect to keep the weight off unless you never go back to eating regularly. Restrictive diets, and by that I mean restrictive by the omission of something like sugar, carbs, whatever, are not long term solutions to losing weight. Yes, you may lose some weight while you're on that diet, but going back to eating sugar, carbs, or whatever, will undo it all. I'm not even talking about just eating junk, I'm talking about eating NORMALLY. This Nutrisystem diet is not sustainable unless you decide to pay tons of money to continue on with their program, and even then, you'd have to reduce your calorie intake even further after a certain point or you'll stop losing weight. You can exercise, of course, and that would make you lose weight, but if you're anything like me and you don't have the energy to work out after eating the provided food, you won't be doing yourself any good because you wouldn't be able to work out in a useful way.
So, what did I learn through all this? Well, number one, I guess, is that the Nutrisystem diet food is mostly gross. That is my own personal opinion and I'm usually not that picky when it comes to food. There were a few things I didn't mind eating, but for the most part, it was inedible. Number two, you might lose some weight, but don't expect it to stay gone unless you decided to carry on with the regular, monthy program which is incredibly restrictive and, just FYI, prohibitively expensive for most people. Number three, I've realized that cutting things out of your diet isn't very useful in the long run. Granted, yes, if you want to eat better, you have to change your diet, which might mean cutting out junk food/candy, but cutting out whole food groups or nutrients is bad. You need sugar and you need carbs, and as long as you are eating the better kind of those things, you won't be missing anything. Number four, you really shouldn't rely on programs like this if you really want to lose weight and be healthy. Yes, the program is convenient, since you just pick up what you are supposed to eat that day instead of wondering what you will have to make, but convenience rarely equals quality. Plan out your meals. Make them ahead and freeze them or store them and then grab what you want. This program is really not worth the convenience it affords. Look, I'm not a health nut, and I'm nowhere near as healthy or thin or whatever as I could be, I know this, but going through this program has proven to me that losing weight the right way is far better than trying to do something like this. You may not lose weight as fast, but you'll feel so much better in the long run.