#31: The Holy Grail of Weight Loss
Updated: Jan 5, 2022
Nutrisystem is the holy grail of weight loss for me. I concluded that it works because 1. the food tastes good. 2. It removes all the decision that create risk, but not the fun decisions, and 3. The food is purposefully designed to be filling. It’s a very low-calorie diet, which nutritional coaches would hate, but it works.
The food tastes good. I find myself excited for every Nutrisystem meal because I genuinely like the food. I get to eat a variety of foods including pizza, ramen, mac and chees, ice cream bars, muffins, etc. You name it! Sure, the portions are small, but that’s to be expected if I want to make real changes.
Nutrisystem removes the decisions that create risk, but not the decisions that I look forward to. I don’t have to go to the grocery store several times a week and bargain with myself about what I’m going to make for each meal and have for lunch, which eliminates potential errors I would make in allowing myself to buy chocolate chips, cookies or even just fried rice. However, I still get to choose the foods in my shipments and which days I’m going to eat which meal. I don’t feel restricted because I have the autonomy to choose from foods that I’m excited about. I don’t have to worry about the portion size either. How many grams of chicken to make? How many tablespoons of peanut butter? Can I have an extra chocolate chip? — I don’t have to worry about answering these questions for myself, so it minimizes decision fatigue and frustration with myself.
The food is designed to be filling and give you the nutrients you need. For example, my chocolate chip cookie snack had 140 calories, 7g of fat, 19g carbs (4g fiber) and 5g of protein. A Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie has 180 calories, 9g of fat, 24g carbs (0g fiber) and 2g of protein. This doesn’t sound much different when I write it down, but the few extra grams of protein and fiber keep me full much longer and prevent cravings than the Nestle cookie would.
At the end of the day, Nutrisystem works because it’s a 1200 calorie diet, which is about a 900-calorie deficit for me. That is a much larger deficit than most dieticians would recommend, but it’s worked for me time and again. A larger deficit means that I have larger margins in case I estimate wrong or go over for a day or two when I’m with friends. I find that this sort of deficit acts as a reset for my stomach capacity, which helps to keep the weight off later when I start eating regular food again.
Losing weight is not easy no matter how you do it—because it if was then everyone would be successful- but I’m grateful to know what works for me. I’d rather have lower energy levels with a larger deficit than create more problems for myself trying to make so many decisions and wind up gaining weight on a diet like I was before.