Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, Et. al.-Need Your Reviews!

Updated on February 04, 2009
L.R. asks from Vienna, VA
8 answers

Greetings, Mamas. Here's the story: My husband and I need to jump-start some weight loss. We already practice a lot of good eating habits etc. but I'd like to spend a short time getting our weight down more intensively then carrying on with our good eating. We have the exercise part going, but I am wondering about short-term use of a plan that provides food like Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, Diet 2 Go or others. (Weight Watchers fans, I know WW is great, but I won't be able to get my husband to go to meetings, or do online check-ins or count points etc., and honestly, right now neither will I.) I'd like to hear from folks who have personally tried Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, Diet 2 Go or other plans that provide food: How was the taste? The food quality (some frozen or packaged stuff can be gross)? The portions? How much did you really have to supplement it with fresh stuff? (The commercials don't like to mention too prominently that you provide all your own veggies and fruits!) I'm watching cholesterol - did your plan help with that? Did it really help you shed weight? Did you just get sick of the choices and the frozen-food routine? Were there dishes so great you'd eat them just because they tasted good? I'd like some honest reviews. Thanks very much!

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answers from Washington DC on

DH used Nutrisystem. It does require that you supplement with fresh fruits/vegetables.

It was easy to follow, and effective at getting the weight down, primarily by portion control.

The food was OK - nothing was yucky, but nothing was really good, either. DH also complained that there wasn't enough variety. It really isn't something you want to do forever.

That said, we are contemplating going on Nutrisystem for Lent. We both could stand to lose more weight, and Nutrisystem for Lent probably is just the thing.

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answers from Washington DC on

I tried Nutrisystem, and all I can say is, bleh! Breakfast muffins that taste of chemicals, powdered eggs (just add boiling water!) where egg whites would taste so much better, similar freeze-dried soups and mac-and-cheese. Pizzas that look great in commercials bear no resemblance to what comes out of the Nutrisystem box. Dinner main courses have better flavor overall, but contain mystery meat of dubious texture. They are convenient--heat in microwave in 1 to 1.5 minutes. . .
But also, everything is full of soy protein, which is what they use to help curb your hunger. But, I happen to be very sensitive to soy of any sort, from soy sauce to tofu, so I ended up in severe stomach distress after trying to eat these meals for just 3 days. Ouch!
And then there's the dessert items. Also made with lots of soy protein, they taste awful, too, for the most part. There are some exceptions in the flavor department. The granola bar-type items tasted pretty decent, as did the biscotti, and some of the Italian-style entrees weren't too bad. But I was in too much discomfort to continue the program.
So, I am using Healthy Choice and WW's Smart Ones meals, and lots of healthy veggies and fruit, egg whites and Cheerios for breakfast, low fat cheese and lean meats when I make my own meals. Combined with very moderate excercise--I have arthritis in feet and hands--I have lost 7 pounds in about 2 1/2 weeks. Eat healthily and moderately and you won't need the programs. You can also get lots of free info from WW's website, so you don't need to join. Buy a good digital scale if you don't have one, and weigh yourselves daily. And be patient! It probably took a long time to gain the weight, so don't expect to lose it all in a couple weeks. Several months is more likely, and healthier. Good luck!



answers from Macon on

My mom was successful with Nutri System (about 40 pounds lost.) I remember her saying that she could barely eat all the fruit that they required because she was so full. She liked the meals and the portions. The only concern is that she went off the plan (stopped ordering the food) and has slowly gained about 10 pounds back. My husband and I do weight watchers---online only. No meetings. I'm about 120, he's about 205 and we are just maintaining our weight with it. The recipes you find online are GREAT and once you take two weeks to understand the point system then you won't be burdened with keeping track--you'll just know which foods to choose and not to choose. We've been doing WW for over a year now and I don't count my points anymore, I just know which foods and how much. I think we pay $20/mo for the online web access. Best of luck to you!



answers from Washington DC on

I was on Nutrisystem a couple of years ago and lost about 45 lbs in 6 months. I was 5 lbs away from my goal - high school weight(I'm 40 now). That's when I got pregnant with our second little boy... go figure! ;) So, I need to do it again. I actually still have some of the food left over from the last time... of course, I stopped dieting while pregnant.

As far as the taste, I think you just have to try a few things out. I'm not big on variety, and am a somewhat picky eater, but I found a few really good ones that I just kept eating over and over. One great thing about the program is that if you don't like one item and you have more of the same that you know you aren't going to eat, you just send it back and they send you your new choices.

It worked for me. If you're already living a healthy lifestyle, this may be the extra kick you need. I thought the chocolates were decent and particularly the lunch bars were good. You have to accept to some degree that it's not going to be gourmet, but it's certainly edible and some of it is down right tasty.

One other good thing about the program is that the food is not frozen. You store it in the cupboard... or the garage... or where ever you can find room. You order a month's worth of entrees and supplement with fruits and veggies.

Good luck. Happy Lent. ;)



answers from Washington DC on

I didn't use any of these systems, but I bought The Extreme Fat Smash Diet book by Dr. Ian Smith. (Make sure to get the EXTREME book). This is all you need to drop weight fast & healthy. I lost 10 lbs. the first week. 20lbs. total in 6 weeks. The reason I like this book is because it gives you a daily menu & exercise routine for 3 weeks. You keep repeating it until you've met your goal. Good Luck!



answers from Washington DC on

We did good on Diet 2 Go but we got a little tired of the food. I liked the fresher version where you pick it up over the frozen delivered.

I'm sure you eat healthy but there are a lot of misconceptions about healthy food.

I recommend checking out Dr. Mirkin. It's free, even his book (The Good Food Book) is free so you know this guy is not just trying to get your money. All the info is online. My DH lost 20 pounds. I've seen bookstores and websites selling his book for profit but it's free online!!! Complete with recipes. Most are pretty good too. I usually make a bunch (mostly the entrees, stews or soups) ahead and freeze. Can't do that with all the recipes though.

Oh, Dr Mirkin is one of those who recommend oatmeal in the morning. My dad didn't lose weight because he didn't need to but his blood pressure and cholesterol problems resolved by doing that. I lost my last stubborn 5 pounds of baby weight in 2 weeks and kept it off. Eating the food from those recipes probably helped too since I was making it for the family. Dr Mirkin recommends rolled, steel-cut or Irish oatmeal over instant. I usually make a bunch, divide it in individual portions so my DH can just microwave one serving every morning.

Check it out:



answers from Washington DC on

I couldn't agree more with Honor L. I am doing WW. My weight loss has been slow, but it's still good. I have lost nearly 40 pounds since last March. The Healthy Choice and the WW Smart Ones are pretty good. And I was relying a lot on them for my dinners, but last week, I decided I had to start making my own dinners, and I lost 2 pounds! Made lots of stir fry and fajitas. I used spray oil in my pan. But it was really good. You need the fruits and veggies. Drink at least 6 glasses of water a day. I wouldn't drink more than 10 or 12, though. Take a vitamin pill everyday. Join a gym, if you can afford to, if not, get some DVDs. I have a good one for yoga. Doctors and other health professionals will tell you that after the first 2 weeks (in which you may lose up to 10 pounds), your weight loss should be no more than 2 pounds a week, to be safe. Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

Not sure if you want any, none program advice, but since I've had two little ones 5 & 3, I lost 60lbs. with just counting calories.

Whatever the systems and nutritionists may say, if your goal is weight loss it's a matter of math. Burn more calories than you take in. The programs may make portions easier and healthy food is well...healthier, but calories are the primary issue with losing weight. Counting allowed me to enjoy some small treats like chocolate, etc if I allocated for it in the day's calories. Good luck.

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