Thursday, July 22, 2010

Diet That Didn't Work #2...Nutrisystem

Doesn't the Nutrisystem food look so good in the commercials? You would think they were prepared by a gourmet chef. I know when I decided to try the program a couple of years ago, I was looking forward to the meals...especially because all of the people in the testimonials couldn't stop bragging about how delicious everything is. I thought it was a win-win situation, that I would be able to eat food that tasted good and was healthy for me...and lose weight. Plus, it would be easy to follow since I wouldn't have to plan recipes and menus to cook myself. All I had to do was warm up prepared foods...which was very welcome with my busy schedule.
When the box arrived, I was sure that there were a couple of other boxes missing somewhere at UPS. There was no way that a month's worth of food could fit into this one box. WAS the entire month's supply of food, plus the one "free" week of meals that I was promised upon signing up. It was like taking apart a puzzle getting all of the meals and snacks out, and a few of them were smashed...most likely in the attempt to make it all fit. I checked off the list and everything was there. It was obvious that the portion sizes were EXTREMELY small. I got everything ready to try the next morning.
I started on a Sunday with breakfast. The muffin caused a burning sensation all the way down my throat and into my stomach. It was very dry, and even after I tried to wash it down with black coffee I could feel crumbs still stuck in my throat. I drank a lot of water, which is a good thing, but at that point it was mostly to make the muffin go down. The rest of the day's meals did not go much better. Everything was SO salty, which I couldn't imagine was very healthy for me. I most certainly did not feel satisfied after eating, but I was determined to stick with it...thinking that I just had to get used to the food and it was an "acquired" taste.
On Monday morning I ate a different muffin, and I had the same burning sensation as I did the day before. Nothing improved. I went to work carrying my Nutrisystem lunch and a bottle of water. All morning at the office I felt lightheaded because that muffin was so small and I was starving. The serving size was one muffin, and I didn't want to overeat on the plan and run out of food too fast. By lunchtime I was ravenous. You know those old cartoons where the character is so hungry that he starts imagining his friends look like a big, juicy chicken leg? I was starting to think that cannibalism wasn't such a bad idea. I warmed up my special lasagna in the microwave and settled in to eat it. The taste was so bad that I almost threw up after a couple of bites. I choked the rest of it down, since it was the only thing I had to eat. There wasn't enough water in the world to wash that taste out of my mouth.
After another disgusting little meal at dinner, I decided that I was not going to last on this plan. If the food was making me ill as I ate it, how would I ever be able to stick to it? I packaged everything back up just the way the instructions said to, used the special return label and waited patiently for my refund. Two weeks later...another box of food arrived at my door. Nothing was ever mentioned about the return I made, so I called and spoke to someone at Nutrisystem. She apologized and told me to send the second box back as well, and she would make sure the charges were taken off my credit card. I did...and two weeks later ANOTHER box of food was at my door! I called my credit card company, who said that the first two boxes were not taken off the card. I was able to file a dispute with the credit card company and the third box was taken off. I was told that I would have to get Nutrisystem to remove the other charges. I called them again, and was told that the lady I spoke to the first time no longer worked there. (Isn't that what always happens?) This new lady told me she made a note not to send any more boxes to me and the charges would be removed.
The food stopped coming, but the charges were never removed. To this day I'm out $580.00 from Nutrisystem, even though I've tried calling, writing, and e-mailing. And even though they promised full refund, I tried to bargain that if they deducted the 2 days of food I actually ate and reimbursed me for the rest that I would be fine with that. Nope...I didn't get one cent back from them. To only make me angrier, I kept receiving "We Miss You!" postcards in the mail from them asking me to join again. Talk about nerve!
So buyer beware: don't kiss your money goodbye for lousy food. And don't believe the pretty pictures. Just like in cookbook photos, food stylists are used to make the food look its best. Most of the time it isn't even the actual food being photographed...they use other products that look like the food, such as shaving cream in place of whipped cream. It's like having an artist "sculpt" food, just as pictures of models are photoshopped. Really look into any product you're thinking of trying. I would NEVER recommend Nutrisystem to anyone, ever!


pearlslaceandruffles said...

Wow, sorry to hear hear you got ripped off like that!

WriterMarie said...

Thanks...learned a valuable lesson! :o)

brinethery said...

I'm sorry to hear about what you had to go through with them. I was always skeptical about Marie Osmond actually losing weight on this program because I remember a coworker going on Jenny Craig and the foods didn't look very good. I figured that Nutrisystem probably wouldn't be any better.

Marie Osmond probably has a personal chef who prepares all of her meals (I'm sure she can afford it!) and then gets paid by Nutrisystem for however much she loses.

Have you considered changing your way of eating to low-carb? I've been extremely successful on it and dropped 23 pounds without exercising or feeling ravenous before lunch. I still have 8 more pounds to lose and I hear the last pounds come off slooow no matter how a person tries to lose weight.

The reason why I tried this diet without exercising is because 1.) I'm lazy, and 2.) I read in a book called 'Why We Get Fat (and what to do about it' that studies have shown the people who change their way of eating but don't exercise actually take off weight easier than those who do exercise. I'm not discounting exercise though; I think weight-lifting is awesome and I want to get back into it soon.

If you're interested, here is my recommended list of books starting with the most important one:

'Why we get fat (and what to do about it)'
'Protein Power Lifeplan'
'Good Calories, Bad Calories' (a looong read but something everyone who eats food should read in their lifetime)

Anyway, great blog post :-). I think it's great that you're warning people about Nutrisystem. I've seen so many complaints on the internet about them and I hope people can find an alternative solution that works for them. Having a meal taste good and feeling satisfied (I think) are critical to staying on plan because it's more about people making a permanent change and not just depriving themselves for a few months and then going back to old ways.


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