Betty Stone: Dismal diet

September 17, 2011 9:12:00 AM

Betty Stone -


I have just finished a month of Nutrisystem; and, while yes, I may have lost a little weight (never enough!), I found out a few things I feel urged to share, such as "buyer, beware."  


Here''s why: The example of celebrity customers who lose about 100 pounds is not typical. The small print tells you so. People normally lose 1-2 pounds a week, roughly what one would lose on a 1,200 calorie diet.  


The plus side of this system is that you really don''t get hungry. In fact, you feel as if you''re eating all the time, with both mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. You provide the snacks yourself, and that''s where you get your dairy products and protein. That kind of food stays with you longer and keeps blood sugar levels from spiking and dropping sharply. However, it is not part of your packaged deal. You have to provide it yourself, as well as any other treats you see advertised.  


The same is true for anything with bread. No bread is supplied, or even encouraged. Do not expect to get frozen meals, ice cream or goodies you see on TV. Nope. Nothing. Nada. 


What is supplied is your carbohydrate staples, mostly pasta. Nearly every dinner entrée is some kind of pasta, usually swimming in tomato paste. If it is labeled as some kind of meat, like chicken spaghetti perhaps, there will be a few pieces of meat about the size of a thumbnail. The most I counted in any entrée was six fingernail sized bits. Of course, no serving of meat should be larger than the palm of your hand, but in only a few entrées did mine approach that much.  


I am so burned out on pasta and tomato paste (never my favorite thing) that I doubt if I will ever want to eat it again. Lunches also are pasta or soup or a combination. The system should be called "Primarily Pasta," because you provide nearly everything else, fresh or frozen. Something frozen, like Lean Cuisine, has a better taste. 


I guess, however, the goal of a diet is not to taste good, is it? Neither do you look forward to a mid-morning snack of a hard-boiled egg or a piece of deli meat. No pleasure, just sustenance. 


But, as I said earlier, you are sustained. You do not feel like a victim of Auschewitz. And, goodness, there is no provision for a social life. 


I still felt a little bit ripped off. I felt I had paid for the cheap carbohydrates with the system, but then had to buy the more expensive items. Even so, the soups were good, and there were some desserts provided each day, although some of those were pretzels. 


When a company representative called to get my order for the next month, I declined. I don''t think I can handle it much longer.  


I did learn a few tricks. If you have to snack, make it protein or low-fat dairy. Maybe I can continue to follow the principles, even if I am one of those unfortunates who do not lose easily. The truth of the matter is that any diet will probably eventually work. You just have to stay on it. 


Aw, shucks.

Betty Boyls Stone is a freelance writer, who grew up in Columbus.