I’m absolutely riveted by weight-loss infomercials. The testimonials, the amazing before and after pictures, the enthused exhortations of "If I can do it, anyone can!" It's hard not to get caught up in it. The promise of someone finally making it “easy” to lose all that weight is hard to resist, cost be damned.
I had been watching NutriSystem infomercials obsessively for some time when I finally decided to give it a shot. I'll cut right to the chase: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And that advice definitely applies here.
In a nutshell, NutriSystem supplies you with three entrees (breakfast, lunch and dinner) along with snacks and desserts for a reasonable $10 per day. The entree portion is extremely controlled, smaller than what you get with a Weight Watchers or Lean Cuisine frozen meal. Depending on the meal, you supplement the entree with a variety of fruits, vegetable, and dairy items you purchase separately from the food furnished by NutriSystem.
In theory, NutriSystem makes perfect and obvious sense: a small entree supplemented with healthy sides and snacks, assuming that the entrees are as delicious as is claimed in the infomercials. I was actually impressed with the plan when I first received it because I thought it addressed healthy, well-rounded meals.
Unfortunately, I found very few of the entrees as tasty as advertised. I had about three I actually liked, but quickly tired of them. Needless to say, most of the meals don't look like they do in the ads, but that wasn't a surprise as they never do. I could live without the aesthetics if the food was at least appealing, but it wasn’t.
Some of the meals were downright nasty. The Green Pepper Steak with Rice was especially appalling. A boatload of gravy with a few tiny chunks of what I assumed was some sort of beef and about a tablespoon full of gray, pasty matter standing in for rice. It was hideous. I mopped up the bowl-o-gravy with a roll and tossed the rest. I wasn't about to put the "rice" in my mouth. It was a total waste.
The three (count 'em, three) entrees I actually liked were the chicken breast (which I usually ate on a burger bun), the hamburger, and hotdogs. Doesn't really sound like a healthy, well rounded diet, does it? I didn't think so. The pancakes were generous and good, but there was no guidance as far as how much syrup I could use. The illustration on the mix packet showed a minimal --more decorative than anything — amount of syrup as part of the meal, but pancakes alone are pretty dry and I'm sure the amount of syrup I used probably negated the weight-loss aspect of the meal.