How to Get the Most Out of Your Nutrisystem Weight Loss Program

Article posted in: FreshStart
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Does Nutrisystem really work? It’s a question we get often. Just read all of the amazing Nutrisystem before and after stories on the Success Stories page, and you’ll have your answer.

Nutrisystem has so many success stories in part because the plan is so simple: Portion control, filling nutrients and craving-busting snacks are built right into the Nutrisystem program.

But members get more than just shipments of food and instructions: Nutrisystem is truly a “system” of strategies, support, technology and yes, food, that help guide you along the path to weight loss success. Here are seven ways to get even more out of your Nutrisystem weight loss program. So you can reach you goals faster and with even better results:

1. Talk to a Nutrisystem Weight Loss Counselor:
Nutrisystem plans are clear and simple, and the foods are easy to use. But even veterans of the program sometimes have questions about the food, their plan, eating out or just how to get themselves motivated again. Fortunately, with Nutrisystem, you’re never alone: Expert weight loss counselors are available to members via email, online chat or phone from 7 a.m. until midnight every day of the year except Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Support is key to weight loss success. In one study, only 25 percent of people who enrolled in a weight loss program by themselves lost weight and kept it off for six months. Those with a support system did much better: Two-thirds were able to lose weight and keep it off.

If you’re a new Nutrisystem member and have a question about how to prepare a certain food, how your meal plan can fit into your every day life, or have a question about your next shipment, the counselors are available to help guide you through all the technical ins and outs of continuing toward your goals. Even more important, they understand what you’re going through: Many of the counselors have used the program themselves to lose weight, and are there to offer a friendly voice of encouragement, or just someone to talk to about your progress, temptations or even to celebrate your successes. Counselors talk to as many as 3,000 members per day, so there’s no problem they haven’t solved before, and no question too small to be answered. Don’t hesitate to lean on them!

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2. Follow Nutrisystem on Social Media Channels:
Another way to stay motivated and get support: Follow Nutrisystem on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. You’ll get daily motivation and recipes plus you can enter contests to win free Nutrisystem meals, or even appear in a nationally-televised commercial.

If you’ve got a question about your plan, your progress, or the contents of a social media post, just add it as a comment: Members of the Social Care team will reach out to you via private message to help keep things private and resolve any questions you might have.

Maybe the most important: You can interact with people who know exactly what you’re going through—other Nutrisystem members. They’re active on almost every post, adding their own tips and tricks, answering questions from fellow members, and offering encouragement and inspiration to help every member reach their goals. Follow these channels and ask away!

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3. Download the NuMi App:
Keeping a food diary—just writing down what they ate—helped participants in a 2008 study lose twice as much weight as those who kept no records of their eating. A pen and pad make a great food log, but that miraculous little phone in your pocket can be even better. In a small study from 2014, users of a smartphone app were more than 20 percent more consistent with their food logging and diet tracking over eight weeks versus those who used paper logs.

Nutrisystem’s “NuMi” app can make it even simpler. The free app already contains the complete Nutrisystem entree database programmed in, and it can be matched to your plan for seamless tracking of your meals. For when you’re not eating meals from your plan, NuMi has expertly curated recommendations for eating in or dining out.

But NuMi’s got more than just food stuff: If you’re using a Fitbit or other fitness tracker, NuMi syncs with the device. The app can give you real-time activity recommendations based on where you are, how much time you have, and how many calories you want to burn. And it helps track your progress, with a daily tracker, weekly progress report emails, and a guide for doing measurements so you can track your progress with more than just the scale.

NuMi users also get access to exclusive offers for free Nutrisystem products, discounts on other products and free shipping.

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4. Check out Recipes, Articles and Videos on The Leaf:
When you’re looking for more variety in your meals that still keep you on your Nutrisystem plan, The Leaf is the place to be. The inspirational and informative weight loss blog is home to hundreds of healthy, plan-friendly recipes. It’s got four different categories of recipes:

1. Tasty Takes on Nutrisystem Meals: Creative (and delicious!) ways to transform your Nutrisystem foods.
2. Flex Lunches & Dinners: Delicious flex meal ideas for when you’re on your own or want to cook for the family.
3. Healthy Sides & Snacks: Tasty side dishes that pair perfectly with Nutrisystem entrees and add more nutrition—and more flavor—into your day.
4. Shakes & Smoothies: Delicious and creamy, these shake and smoothie recipes will taste more like dessert you can drink!

The Leaf also features scientifically-backed weight loss tips and tricks from Nutrisystem nutrition experts, fitness and activity tips to help making moving fun, and inspiration and support from real people just like you—success stories from Nutrisystem commercial stars and other members who have used the program to reach their goals. Plus, our fun Weight Loss section is packed with simple tips and videos to help make healthy living easy (and fun!). And don’t forget to check out the For Customers section, full of tips and tricks for those navigating life on Nutrisystem. From “What the Heck Are SmartCarbs and PowerFuels, Anyway,” to “Flex Meals Explained,” this section is your one-stop-shop for Nutrisystem know-how.

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5. Download the Grocery Guide:
To round out your Nutrisystem meals, you’ll add in your own fresh vegetables and other grocery foods, and the simple Grocery Guide is your road map to success. If your plan says you can have two “SmartCarbs” per day, the Grocery Guide can help you know which foods—and how much of those foods—you can eat while staying on your plan.

The Leaf has tons of recipes that can help you use these SmartCarbs, PowerFuels, and Extras in conjunction with your Nutrisystem meals for more variety, more flavor and more filling fiber and nutrients. But if you’re planning to grab something from the Grocery Guide, make sure you pair it with a measuring cup—the measurements on the guide can help you from accidentally going over your plan. Overestimating your portion sizes can sabotage your progress and results—so when the guide says a PowerFuel serving of peanut butter is one tablespoon, that’s 90 calories. Over-serving yourself by half a tablespoon can increase the calories you’re eating by 50 percent. So use the guide, and measure!

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6. Customize your Nutrisystem Order:
If you find there’s a Nutrisystem food you really love—maybe the Blueberry Muffins make your mornings better, or the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Nut Bar crushes your sweet cravings—you can get more. With Nutrisystem’s customization and A La Carte options, you have complete control of the foods you receive for your plan: Members of a “Core” plan can choose from any shelf-stable foods that fit their plan, and “Uniquely Yours” members can customize using both frozen and shelf-stable foods to make sure their favorites are always on hand.

And having your favorites can be a key to satisfying cravings that might otherwise lead to overeating. Because when you’re craving chocolate, Nutrisystem dietitians say that the best way to calm it is to eat chocolate—in a portion-controlled manner that fits your plan.

“If I am craving something, I am eventually going to eat it,” McCormick says. When you want a chocolate chip cookie, all the pretzels in the world won’t fix the craving—and can result in eating more calories than satisfying the real craving would. “Rather than double up on calories by trying to find alternatives, I just eat what I’m craving but make sure to eat it in a mindful way.”

With customization options, you can always have that cookie or hunk of chocolate on hand, so when cravings strike, you can meet them head on. And by putting your customized options on an auto-order status, you can save calories AND money: Customers with auto delivery get 20 percent off their Nutrisystem orders. To start customizing, visit your My Account page.

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7. Keep Your Success Going Strong:
Once you’ve found weight loss success with Nutrisystem, it’s time for Success—a program that helps members transition from using Nutrisystem meals to homemade meals and snacks they make at home. With this plan, members learn to navigate one of the toughest parts of weight loss: Keeping the weight from coming back.

The magic behind Nutrisystem Success is color-coded containers that help make portion control of different types of food automatic. Pink containers correspond to protein, while orange containers are used to measure SmartCarbs. Have one pink and one orange for breakfast, for instance, and you’ve built a perfectly portion-controlled meal that will keep you full and at your goal weight.

Making measurement this simple can help fend off one of the biggest mistakes dieters make: Underestimating how much they’re eating. In a study of 2,000 men, participants underestimated the number of calories in popular food items by half—meaning in some situations they’re eating double what they think. The lesson: Serving sizes are hard. But with Nutrisystem Success, they’re easy.

You won’t abandon Nutrisystem foods all together, all at once: Success plans help you slowly find your way by adding in more flex meals and snacks over time. As one member said, “Success has helped me transition by teaching me how to shop smart and incorporate additional healthy options, all in moderation. I can also add in Nutrisystem foods, shakes and bars of my choice to make the tight times more manageable. Learn more about the Success plan here.