What Makes Nutrisystem Different
INTRO NUMBER TWO: The Billboard Effect.
Both Lean Cuisine and Nutrisystem provide prepackaged meals that complement a well-balanced diet and weight-loss program. All meals are designed by nutritionists for proper nutrition with low calorie content.
Both meal programs provide foods that are easy to prepare and do not take a long time to cook. Lean Cuisine foods are available in the frozen food section of the grocery store. They do not create your weekly meal choices or offer any packaged snack foods, daily meal choices or daily dietary fresh food requirements. Nutrisystem foods are ordered monthly and are delivered to your home. All meals are planned out in advance. You choose your meal options from breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert sections on the monthly food order form, according to the Nutrisystem website.
Except for personal choices, Nutrisystem is designed so you do not have to design a diet meal plan. Both plans require that you purchase fresh vegetables and fruits in addition to the regular meals.
Lean Cuisine has limited support services. You need to register to use the tools. The support is mostly in FAQ question-and-answer format with nutrition and exercise advice provided as well. The Nutrisystem tools consist of weight and measurement logs, progress tracker, food diary, meal planner, grocery guide, dining-out guide and an exercise tracker.
They also offer live counseling and support services. Lean Cuisine does not offer meal plans. A few thoughts on some of the objections: I wasn't excited about dehydrated food, either.
But do you realize how much processed foods most of us use anyway?? Unless you're making your own breads, pastas, yogurts, growing your own veggies and fruits, etc etc, you are definitely eating a lot of processed foods, even if it's "healthy".
At least this food is formulated by doctors to be nutritionally balanced and healthy for you. I heard the price and laughed. But then I sat down and looked at how much I was spending on food: I ate a lot at my work's cafeteria or coffee bar.
The portion of our grocery bill that was stuff I wouldn't use while on Medifast was huge. Suddenly the cost looked so much more manageable. Support on this program is free, unlike other weight loss programs so I was saving those fees as well. Plus consider how much you spend on doctor co-pays, medicines, and how much you could spend ultimately in hospital and other medical bills if you don't lose the weight. If you've spent money on failing on other plans in the past, why keep going back?
The only way to know if you'll succeed on a different program is to try it. In the case of Medifast, if it's not the program for you, return your uneaten food and get most of your money back. This program does not abandon you once you've reached your goal.
It will teach you how to transition back into "real" foods again and then finally teach you how to use those real foods to keep the weight off and be healthy for life.
And with TSFL -- the support is free to you for life, even if you're not using the Medifast products anymore. Not a bad deal. Some of it I won't touch again. But a lot of it is really fairly decent and some of it I downright love And then for those foods you're not so crazy about, there are all sorts of creative people out there on the internet who find ways to prepare foods in completely different ways that do make them enjoyable.
For example, unlike Alanna, I can't stand the chocolate shakes. But they make a pretty decent cupcake! I never thought that a program that provides most of your food for me would ever work.
I LOVE fresh foods -- fruit in particular was hard for me to give up. When you see results like this as quickly as this, suddenly it's not quite the sacrifice. And I know when I reach my goal I get to have those foods again. I love this journey and I love helping others reach their health goals as well.
There's no better feeling than this! Good for you for taking control of this, and I say whatever works! Great job so far!! However, once I had a little success with Medifast I was motivated to keep going. Since starting my Medifast journey I have started exercising regularly, my foot pain from plantar fasciitis is all but gone along with all my other aches and pains and I no longer get migraines regularly.
I have also started tracking all my food in MyFitnessPal and I will continue to do that after I get back to eating real food to help maintain my weight loss. Yes - Medifast is not a perfect plan and I would much rather be eating fresh food that I prepare myself, however I needed this to help jump start positive changes in my health. I wish you continued success on Medifast and your journey to better health.
I like it, thank you. And you're the second person today to mention a half marathon, good for you and Mark! It really is a life-saver for so many. Six months is excellent, stay with it!
Good luck with doing WW with your friend, here's to both of you! I so get that. I'm so glad you've found something that is working for you now. We have different ideas on what's processed food and what's not processed food, but I hear you on each of your points. And I'm so glad you brought up the long-term support, that was new to me. I remember when we first knew one another and talked about the differences between Weight Watchers my way and South Beach yours.
The weight isn't "melting off" me like it does for some on Medifast but still, each day when I get on the scale, each day when I feel bones I haven't felt in some years, I feel grateful.
I would've expected better of you guys. Your reasons for switching from WW to MF could have been written by me last summer.
I had lost on WW, but the gained back exactly half of it, all the while attending meetings faithfully and sort of following the program. When my daughter decided to try MF last January, I was supportive of her but skeptical of the meal replacements. She did really well, so I decided I would give it a try. I decided to commit to 2 months and see where I was. Well, 6 months later, I am still here and down 50 lbs.
It isn't easy, but it certainly is simple. I am a longtime and, fortunately, a successful -- so far -- WW member , and I read you for inspiration and recipes. I wish you nothing but the best with this and hope you will update us in your "journey.
Meanwhile, keep on cookin' with Medifast. I'm glad you found a plan that works for you at this time. Thank you for your honesty and courage to write about your switch. Keep up your success. Looks like you don't have too much farther to go!
My story is that 11 years ago I lost 40 pounds in about two months. It was too much too fast, but I was "ready", as you say, to just get rid of the weight. I dieted and exercised the heck out of every day--eating very little. After losing the weight I felt better and ate normal, healthy meals. Over the last five years I have gained about 15 pounds.
Reaching 40 was like a stopwatch to my metabolism. In November I picked up running to spend more time with fit family and friends. I am doing the "Run Double C25K"--an app to help you run a 5k in 9 weeks. Since I have never ran a step in my life, this is a challenge, but I want to be healthier, fit, and to spend time with other healthy people to stay on track.
I haven't lost one pound and use that as motivation to keep moving. Surely all those skinny runners looked just like me when they started! Alanna you look great and each of us will succeed using different methods, sometimes even the same methods at different times. Can't wait to hear more about your successes.
Thanks for your honesty and for revealing that different things work for different people at different times of life. A friend at work lost a lot of weight using Medifast and it's transformed her life--she even just went platinum blonde and is still slender after transitioning to mainly real food again--in her early 60s. I lost a little over 30 pounds counting calories in my early 40s when I developed hypertension and around 10 of them slipped back on with perimenopause I've figured out I need more protein now and less carbs.
Hard realization for a carb lover, but my body is talking! Thanks for the inspiration! And you size up the program exactly right, "It isn't easy, but it certainly is simple. I didn't realize you were a successful WW!!
You've really got me thinking on that one This column inspired me to take a chance on a new program. I've been considering going back to WW "again", to loose the 20 pounds which crept back over the last 6 months. But I'm a very picky eater, a great cook, and to top it off, help my neice operate her scratch bakery.
Not a good weight loss combination. Since I am certain you are particular about food with a discerning palate would you be willing to share your favorite medifast "meals".
It's a short list. At first, I could tolerate the chicken noodle soup but I've got three boxes on hand and am having to force myself to eat one a day just to get rid of it. I like the spice pancakes and the chocolate pudding but don't order them because I really don't want to get used to sweet and carb-y things, which I didn't eat before and certainly don't want to get started on.
I hated the eggs. I hated the sloppy joes. I hated the vegetable soup. I liked so few things, I sent everything except shakes and bars back Medifast has a good return policy and stopped trying any others. I'm not bored with the shakes, they're filling, they help me drink more liquid, I like them hot and cold.
I know that the Medifast forum is full of people who take the food and turn them into something else eg some today who doesn't like the chocolate shakes says that they make good brownies but I do not want to pretend this is "cooking" or "real food".
So I ignore those possibilities. For the record, I am NOT a picky eater with real food. While there are a few things I don't care for sweetbreads and Wonder bread or prefer cooked one way more than another boiled kale vs sauteed kale , it is rare for me to not like something. The one thing I'd say is, do everything you can t take charge now at 20 pounds. Don't let it turn into 30 or 40 or worse. I wish I'd followed my own advice.
Thank you for the article. I at a point where I really need to loose the weight-again-and keep it off this time. My health is affected by the extra weight. I know of other people who have chosen meal replacement programs with great success. My question to you which I can't find in the article is why this program and not Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem?
I was younger than 40 at the time and thought "not me!! To be honest, I was in my late 40s when I began to notice this. It wasn't just weight creeping up, it was that I didn't feel well eating like I did when I was younger. At about the same time I read about a group of people who maintained their health and had minimal weight gain throughout their lifetimes.
It didn't prompt me to eat the way they did, but it did inspire me to find out how people in other countries and cultures ate. There were a lot of similarities and some differences -- mostly in exactly what they ate. I also started thinking back to when I was growing up in the s and s -- when it was rare to see someone who was truly overweight.
I was also in contact with older adults, many of whom weren't significantly overweight and had few health problems. I either observed or asked them about their eating habits. I started noticing some similarities. The slim, healthy people in other countries and the slim, relatively healthy older adults I saw had some things in common.
Most never ate processed foods. If they did, they were consumed rarely. And contrary to the advice now to snack throughout the day, most never snacked. If they did snack it was only once a day. Among the older adults, those who were slim ate less than they had when they were younger. Not little enough to be malnourished, but definitely less than when they were in their prime. I eat three meals daily and rarely snack.
About the only time I snack is if a meal is going to be significantly late. I do eat less at meals. Two of my meals, usually breakfast and lunch, tend to be smaller and one is larger.
I don't feel deprived because I'm satisfied with how much and what I eat. There's nothing I don't eat, but many things that I don't eat often. If I really want something, I have it. I also have a general plan of what to eat at meals.
I'm also a fan of Michael Pollan's mantra: I've found that I don't need to eat as much real food to be satisfied. Another thing I learned is that it's perfectly normal, in fact, somewhat necessary, for a woman to gain pounds from the time she's about 20 until her mids.
It has to do with reproduction. This has been observed throughout the world and throughout history. It's even observed in art where maidens are slim and matrons are, well, more matronly. Part of the reason it may be hard for those of us "of a certain age" to lose weight is that we're not supposed to weigh the same as when we were younger.
Alanna, I wish you the best of luck on Medi-Fast! A couple of years ago my friend lost 40 pounds on the program, at the same time I was losing 20 lbs on Jenny Craig. Two years later, she's gained 35 lbs back, and I've gained Since I've gone vegan 9 months ago none of those "packaged" plans will work for me, they all rely on animal protein of some sort.
However, if you "use" Medifast as a jumping point and maintain from there, awesome! I just couldn't do it, call me a packaged diet failure. Alanna, you look wonderful! I really enjoyed your story. I'ts similar to mine. I lost 80lbs and my husband lost lbs on WW about 12 years ago. I am a lifetime member and even worked for WW as a meeting leader for a year quit because a new job forced me to travel a lot.
However, like many of us, I've gained the weight back. I wanted to do Medifast for a while, but I was worried that it really didn't teach about how to cook or eat. It, like many other weight loss programs, just gives you the food to eat to lose weight. I liked learning what a portion is i. However, my sister-in-law pointed out something to me. She said, "You worked for WW, you know how much to eat, how to cook, and what you should do.
You're just having a hard time doing it. If you're goal is to lose weight and feel better, Medifast can help you do that. Then implement what you know you should do to keep it off. I just was having a hard time doing the WW plan; too "open" for me right now. So, on to Medifast. I've lost 38lbs in 3 months and I haven't had one issue following the plan. Thanks so much for your post and inspraition. So glad you posted this! As it turned out, I just got back from a trip and started on Medifast yesterday for the first time the package arrived while I was away.
Love the tip about making the shake with coffee. I'll definitely try that. I don't have a lot of weight to lose only about 15 pounds , but have just not been able to motivate myself to reduce my food intake enough to get rid of it. I think that putting myself on a diet like this where I have specific food to eat each day is the kind of structure I need to jump-start my weight loss.
I usually eat well fresh foods from scratch, with lots of lean protein and veggies, not many sweets , so the idea of the pre-packaged food wasn't all that exciting to me. I just bought the 2-week variety pack to try it out. If it works out OK, I'll order more. Since I don't need to lose a lot, I don't expect to be on it for more than a few months.
If I find it hard to stick with it for a long stretch of time, perhaps I'll try alternating the Medifast food with home-cooked food on alternate weeks or even alternate days. As long as I'm lowering my overall food intake, I should still lose weight, though more slowly, of course. Congratulations on your weight loss, and sticking with it! It's a great inspiration to me. Hi Alanna--I left a message on your blog but I guess it was after you closed it to comments. I am just wondering why you chose medifast over other meal replacement systems like Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig.
Congrats on your weight loss--I hope to be down 20 to 30 lbs by this summer. In part, that's because I didn't "choose" Medifast, it chose me by virtue of my friends Kathy and Georgia starting it. I did no other research. I honestly didn't even think of it but also know that I am often confounded by too many choices, leading to long periods of indecision.
Sorry, not much help as you make your own deliberations! The "snack" ideas do resonate, since one of the things I most appreciate about Medifast is the frequency of the food intake. A meal implies something else, and for me, at least for now and I hope for later, more small and healthy meals during the course of a day feels right, keeping my sugar levels even over many hours.
My idea for these "non meal" meals are a small bowl of vegetable soup or a small salad or a small piece of protein or a small piece of fruit. There IS a difference between a girl's physique and a "matron's". My very thin friends somehow appear gaunt and wiry and tired, those with some healthy weight seem to glow.
Thank you, thank you, for adding so much to this conversation. Is "vegan" working as a weight loss vehicle for you? Mark Bittman of course lost many, many pounds with his "vegan until dinner" approach. I know that the first time I gained weight, back in my 30s, was when I stopped eating meat.
It's not fair to blame vegetarianism, it's just that I wasn't well-educated and switched to cheese as one protein source. That is terrific, go, go, go. And it really encourages me that I'm not alone in using both WW and Medifast as different tools at different times in our lives. Your sister is a wise woman! If you're not used to caffeine, be careful using a full 2 cups of coffee to make the shake, it will, at least it did me, give you a bad-bad case of the shakes!
Really interesting post - I'll be looking forward to hearing about your experiences going forward. Keep up the good work. Just for clarification, by "snack" I mean anything eaten between the three major meals.
I define "treat" as cake, cookies, anything dessert-like. I don't see popcorn as a treat so much, but carmel corn or any of the sweetened popcorns would be a treat. So a snack isn't necessarily a treat, but it could be. Your goal around "thinking about food less" really hit home for me. Any tips on how you reached this goal would be appreciated! I have been a lifetime member of Weight Watchers since , but spent a lot of that time over goal. Two years ago, I got back down to goal and am now working part time for Weight Watchers.
I agree that the importance of maintaining a healthy weight trumps other considerations. I believe everyone must do what works best for them. I am so glad that you are losing weight, becoming healthier and feeling better about yourself.
Losing weight is difficult, and maintaining a healthy weight is even more difficult. We constantly must start over and try new techniques. Good luck on your healthy living journey. By the way, my husband and I enjoyed Chicken Sybil for lunch today. Alanna, so feel like we could be sisters. Have treasured this blog, along with Veggie Ventures for years. Have been on and off WW for almost 40 years. Still believe WW is best program if you take time to plan and follow program.
Four years ago I was at my highest weight ever. My father in law had been on Medifast without telling us. He asked if I really wanted to loose weight. I had been skeptical about packaged foods and cost. Yet when you really step back and think about it, it was skilled at buying ingredients with the best of intentions, changing plans, forgetting the recipe and then throwing away the food. Wasted food, larger clothes, and most importantly diminishing health can be even more costly than the MF plan.
With thyroid issues, to ease my mind, I also checked with our family physician. He gave his seal of approval. Originally I questioned how some of the prepackaged "meals" could keep me full.
Like you, it took trial and error to find the meals I preferred. Tastes do change over time. Recommend reconsidering some of the items you did not like earlier.
I started Medifast in May and am approaching 60 pounds lost. This is my "mindless", stress management diet. I keep a variety of products well stocked so I can change my mind easily for each meal. Looking forward to maintenance, I can see Medifast as a quick option if those pesky 5 or so pound start to creep back on. I do believe that everyone is different and will champion any plan that works for someone as long as they are not compromising their health in the process.
For me, going truly low carb makes a difference. It irritates me to see all of the high carb options with WW and the many "healthy" frozen entrees by a number of brands. Wish they'd focus more on ramping up veggies and decreasing carbs. Enough of my Saturday morning rant. Thanks for being a blessing to so many of your readers. Dear Alanna, I have only just "met" you having stumbled on your site while looking for a recipe. I am a Weight Watchers Lifer who after several false starts on WW finally lost over 70 lbs 8 years ago and have kept it off.
What did I do differently my last time on WW? I had also heard the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and execting different results.
Once I lost the weight it was always "Woo Hoo! This time was different. Then when I reached my goal weight 8 years ago I was so excited because I was finally able to start what I had set out to do when I joined. It was like I was finally in front of the door I had been waiting for for so long. I was going to start the maintenance program. And I have never looked back. If you think you can eat a lot on WW when losing weight, you should see what Maintenance looks like!
I wish you much success on Medi Fast but if you ever end up back on WW you might want to consider my strategy. Thank you for your great blogs and your enthusiasm for healthy food and for including WW points in your recipes. There's a big difference between my goal and my current reality.
The goal was to really step away from food, to stop reading about it, to stop writing about it and definitely to stop cooking it and thus going through the constant consideration of What's in the fridge? The reality is that I got away from that last but not away from the first ones, you'd think they would have been the easier ones!
I'm still a work-in-progress on this regard but I am slowly filling my time with non-food interests again.
How would you do it? I am happy that official WW people are finding what I'm doing to make sense, if only for awhile. Your words really made my day, thank you. I'm so glad you wrote. I know it's because my practice was to do 18 points a day most days, then relax on the weekends. And that system worked for me for about four years! Thanks for sharing Alanna. I lost 50 pounds thru attention to diet and exercise a few years ago but still had about 50 to go.
You have inspired me to try medifast. Thank you for posting your experience and being so honest and forthcoming. I'm a WW life-timer and loyal to the program. I've been hesitant to post a comment because I did not want to appear as a troll or as negating others' experience.
That's not my intention. So, that said, here is my concern One's overall health status and underlying medical conditions can be at the heart of being unable to maintain a healthy weight. I understand the struggle with weight loss and maintenance. After all, I didn't end up in Weight Watchers because I ate healthy and exercised regularly. However, I've often struggled since attaining my goal weight. Some times, I wasn't faithful to the program, and that is correctable.
It's these times that a physician, not a new weight loss plan, was my best course of action. So, my intention is to encourage your readers to evaluated their own health and visit their doctor prior to adopting a new diet if they think it might be necessary.
I, too, needed a change from Weight Watchers. I am a lifetime member, but currently over my desired weight. I tried WW several more times, with no success I decided on Jenny Craig for many of the same reasons, and I am finding the change was a good one.
As a real-food cook, I was worried, but the meals are tolerable, and once I got past the first week of starving, even cooking for my family is ok--they were kind enough to eat dinners out the first week! I worried about all the processed food and still do , so I was glad to hear the friend's advice that the important thing is to lose the weight and keep it off. I do the Jenny 5 day plan loosely , which gives me 6 meals a week on my own, with their guidelines.
I sometimes do more than 6 on my own, but have plenty of Jenny meals and snacks in the freezer for back up. I agree--find something that works for you in this stage of your life. There's another way to lose weight and lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease, as well as most other common diseases of aging, but it requires a complete paradigm shift-- to being fueled by fat, not carbs.
In this way you can keep your blood sugar low and consistent without having to "eat" every hours. And I think you're totally right to be suspicious of highly processed food-- it's not food!
Look at what humans have been eating for most of our time on this earth-- it wasn't grains or sugars, and it sure as heck wasn't processed food. The longterm health risks of a carb-fueled, processed-food diet are still significant, even if you lose weight. And starving yourself is not the answer. You'll lose weight with calorie-restricted carb-based diets, but it will always come back.
I've been eating this way low carb, meats, veggies, nuts, seeds, fruit, all real unprocessed food for two years and have never felt better.
Best wishes to you and thanks for a great source of wonderful veggie recipes! Alanna, Three years ago, I reached that very low place where my weight was at an all time high, and I was no longer chubby but FAT. I, too, knew many people who were successful on Medifast. I considered the plan for months before I dove in. I was on Medifast for almost 6 months, and lost 31 lbs.
Considering the fact that I lost 7 lbs. I went on a cruise, celebrated my daughter's high school graduation, and never deviated once. I reached a very happy goal weight of lbs. As soon as the holidays came, I started to fall off the wagon. I did not do a good job transitioning and making the permanent changes necessary. I am sad to say that I am starting again on Medifast tomorrow, and I am not sure how long I will last, or how I will do.
I have a limited supply of foods remaining from past orders, so I want to use them up and not order anything new, but I will see how it goes. I think I have enough for at least a month or two. I wish you luck in the transition and maintenance phase.
It is truly the hardest part. I just switched to Medifast myself, which is something I said I would never do, but I just could keep joining WW time after time and failing. I needed something different, and so far so good. Of course I would rather be eating whole foods, but I have tried that way too many times with little success I will continue this until I am at goal. I also know that I will have to do what I am told if I am to maintain.
With weight, indiscretions are visible to all. I wanted to thank you for posting your switch from WW to Medifast. After reading your decision, I started to investigate and found out all I could about MF. I started my journey in February and am now down 40 pounds. I have more to go, but this is the first time in 30 years I have been able to stick to a diet long enough to be successful.
So again, I thank you. But, like you said, I wasn't working the program. I hate how they change it every year so nothing is consistent anymore. Plus, I'm food obsessed. WW was too permissive because I could anything and this made me push the "anything" boundary until those choices were unhealthy and I'd "make up" for it by making more unhealthy choices to compensate.
What I love about MF so far is I just don't think about food anymore. I eat to fuel. I can't wait to get to goal so I can enjoy real food again and I hope that this "reprieve" from my obsession with food may help me develop a different mindset about food in my future. I was reluctant to try it--and I don't share that I'm doing MF with many people--because in a way I feel like I gave in to something "easy" or that I'm cheating in this weight loss.
Except, it's not easy, it just seems to be working. If so, how is that going? I have been doing Medifast on my own and lost 60 pounds so far. I loose and average of three a week! A's book explains how you CAN do medifast without buying the food! This allows you to eat Organic non processed food AND it gives a better option for people with Soy issues or prefer to stay Vegetarian! One of the best ways I have found to stay motivated is to blog diymydiet I love reading about other people who are successful against the "fat" battle!
Thanks for all the info and the super detailed post! I have had the same problem as you with ww. I am lifetime but I feel like all I do is think about food when I'm on it. I have been feeling like a sell-out to good health for considering mf so I really appreciate your honest input. I am going to give it a try! And btw, your comments to others are always so kind and considerate. Thank you for being such a lovely voice on the internet when we are barraged with so much ugliness!
I think that I started to put on weight again after losing 30 pounds on WW in beginning in when I started writing A Veggie Venture. Thank you for the reminder. PS You put your concern so very gently, no worries about sounding like negative or like a troll!
Figuring out what works for each one of us, what a revelation. I hear such good things about this whole approach. I think it would be an easy transition for me And down 40 pounds, whoa!!
Thanks for adding your experience! And good luck, it takes commitment, of course, every program does.