How to mentally adjust to Nutrisystem diet?

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The hardest thing I have found is mentally adjusting to a set way of eating. Somedays it's exhausting. Also, going shopping is tough seeing all the food you can't eat! What strategies do people use to keep them on track?..

Comments (30)

Your question was: How to mentally adjust to Nutrisystem diet?.

Vicki is so right, ~never~ go to the grocery store hungry. Take a list and stick to it..

And avoid those "trigger" isles. For me, it's the one with the Ruffles, Doritos, Fritos... you get the idea...

Comment #1

The salty snack aisle and the cookie aisle. UGH! Heck, add in the frozen treat aisle this time of year too. Heaven help me if they're baking bread or chocolate cakes when I get there!..

Comment #2

I have to look at this as a permanent change so I know I won't ever be able to go back to buying those "yummy" things I see in the store. I don't look at them and think "someday". I just tell myself those are gone from my life. I have developed a lot of self control and I am able to have a bite of something here or there without it tripping me up so I get a taste but that is all. And even with that, I am careful what I taste. You are rightit is mental and you have to make the adjustment.

My biggest weakness is chips and salty snacks so I just don't go down those aislesno need to since I am not buying from those aisles. It has gotten easier and easier the longer I am on Nutrisystem and the more I lose. Those chips are just not worth weight gainI don't need any more chips on my hips!!!..

Comment #3

I now go to the store and know exactly what to buy and it is soo much easier. I also look at at all the good things I CAN have - those really nice looking blueberries, onions, etc. Farmer's markets have the best produce..

I like having a schedule and one less thing to decide - I know what I can eat and when to eat it..


And the black mini poodles..

Comment #4

Having lost 100 pounds before and keeping it off 5 years I can tell you one thing that worked was a FREE day.One day to have what I enjoyed. It also acted as confusion to the body and allowed for more calories to be burned throughout the week...

Comment #5

These are my thoughts, and how I handle the grocery store and fast food temptation..

1. I am not a victim. I am choosing to lose weight..

2. I have choices. I can eat whatever I want. I also have to completely accept the consequences..

3. I wear big girl pants and accept where I am in life, and what I have to work with..

4. I am the CEO of my company, and all decisions I make impact my company directly..

5. Foods I see in stores and restaurants can be remade in a healthier way. If I don't want to take the time to do it, then I'm not going to whine that I can't have it...

Comment #6

Good thoughts, Katiebkool! I am not a whiner either so I like the way you put it in words..

Beyond_Therapy, the free day works for some people and if it works for you that is greatI can't do that but that is just me. I think the more you have to lose the more this might work. As I get closer to goal I really need to stay right on my plan and even then, I don't always lose each week. You just have to find what works for you...

Comment #7

Free days work for some, for me it's a recipe for disaster. I do occasionally splurge but try to limit it to one meal and only on occasion and I have to run off any extra calories. There's a price to be paid for everything...

Comment #8

I can do a free meal here and there (I'm in maintenance), but a free day didn't work at all for me. If it works for you, though, great..

As for the original question, I shop with a list and don't bother looking at things I don't eat (not things I CAN'T eat, because there's no such thing for me, but things I choose not to eat). And I fill my days with healthy foods that I enjoy eating, so I don't usually feel all that deprived...

Comment #9

I also got "used to" the FREE DAY on WW. We were taught to "save points" so that we could splurge once a week if we wanted to. It worked great for me, because I was not denying myself ANYTHING and could stick to the rest of the plan without totalling throwing in the towel. I was extremely successful with it. The only reasons I'm back now are: (1) my work schedule was such that I was working 16 or more hour days for 6 or 7 days a week for almost two years - there was no way to bring my own foods or keep them edible; most of the time, I ended up skipping lunch altogether because I was working and couldn't break away, (2) I left that job, and moved out of state due to my husband transferring - for several weeks, I was constantly working with realtors, contractors, moving coordinators, and making several trips to Las Vegas from Alabama to find a house. Once I got "settled", I ended up having to care for my then 3 year old grandson for 6 months while his mother was overseas. My mindset was "who cares" at that point, and I've only recently determined that I do care now - that's why I'm here...

Comment #10

But saving points for a splurge is different, because you're still accountable. Body for Life advocates an entirely free day. Eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and just don't worry about it at all.

For me, that can easily be a couple thousand extra calories all in one day. Which means more than three times what I normally eat, and a weight gain. Not water weight, real weight..

But if it works for you, go for it. Everyone has to decide for himself/herself what to eat...

Comment #11

We're all totally different, and this is just my own experience with "free days." Since starting NS, if I do splurge on foods that are not "made over" or foods that are non-NS, it is only occasionally, and that means once a month or less. And even then I carefully pick and choose a small portion of what I want to eat (I guess here I'm talking about eating out) that is not calorie-friendly, and combine with lots of veggies. I don't like the idea of going hog-wild and pig-crazy, even once in a while, as that doesn't feel like I'm changing habits that just feels like I'm holding back or reining myself in til I can let loose.

My kind of "splurge" now is making/cooking something I don't normally prepare and "treating" myself to something special, within the Nutrisystem guidelines. And that's working well for me. For example, I got a recipe here on this site for blueberry bread pudding using the blueberry muffin that I'm anxious to try. I normally just grab the muffin and eat, so that will be a new taste sensation/treat for me to try the recipe...

Comment #12

I think if you go into it saying I can have anything I want, this is not about denial it is easier to forgo the bad stuff. You can have it if you really want it, but it is not going to get you where you want to be so you are chosing not to have it. Sometimes you might chose to have it....or a bite or two of it. When you feel you CAN'T have something you want it all the more. If you know you can have it it loses some of it's appeal. Try thinking that way.

A lot of time that makes it easy to put right back where I found it. If you still want it, can you get a very small serving of it? Can you wait till the weekend and see if you still want it? Someone on here a long time ago had a thing for donuts (don't remember who, they may still be around) and said when the craving hit they would tell thereself if they still wanted it on saturday they would have a donut. Sometimes they had it sometimes they didn't care anymore. I have also found that after eating on Nutrisystem for awhile a lot of stuff doesn't taste all that good anymore....anything with a lot of fat just tastes like grease to me.. sometimes I will have a bite of two of something and not like it anymore so then I don't ever have to eat it again! Ok I think I have rambled enough....

Comment #13

I found a way to deal with the desire to eat :forbidden foods" was the food samples at the grocery store. They are very small tastes of foods and usually there are only a few things on any given day to taste. I set up rules for myself though... only one taste per food item, no going back at the end of the shopping trip to see if there was more out... only once per week or less frequently... I usually did this at Sam's Club and I only go there every two weeks at the most.

If it's fried I just walk right past it. If it's something that could be a trigger food for me (i.e. chips, cookies) I walk past it. I get excited now when they have fruits out to sample.

As for the orginal poster's question... the first month or two were difficult when I needed to read every label to find which things would work or not work for me. Now I have the basics of that figured out and know right where to go to get the things I buy. I go there and there only and skip the rest of the store. I have also learned which things I have to go to which store to buy. And which things to buy when I go home to visit with my parents because they are not available where I live.

Or even the state limits.

A list definitely helps... especially at first or if you are going to be deviating from what you normally purchase. My list might not be as specific as some people's lists... I'll say something like 3 good looking fruits rather than blueberries, peaches and small bananas. That way I can chose what looks good where I am and gives me the illusion as being somewhat spontaneous. For me that works.

The biggest thing to remember is to read the labels. Know what the stats you are looking for are and eliminate anything that doesn't meet those requirements...

Comment #14

I really like that especially since you decide what you are willing and not willing to waste calories on, and that you do it sometimes and sometimes not!..

Comment #15

Weight loss itself will keep you on track. As soon as your clothes start getting looser it will all pay off, suddenly those M&M's or burgers or whathaveyou don't sound so special anymore. I also noticed I lost any desire to cheat. I had said I would allow myself a cheat meal on a vacation here and there and when the time came I simply didn't want it anymore. The want to be skinny and happy is so much more powerful...

Comment #16

And it made eating in restaurants easier for me, because I knew that I didn't need to eat the off plan meals because I could still have little tastes of some of those type foods when I they were being featured when I was in a Sam's Club. I know it won't work for everyone, but I think it really helped me wean myself off those types of foods without lots of binges and feeling rotten about having binged etc.

I've always said that I was using Nutrisystem to learn how to control my eating and to be able to be a part of the everyday world without being obese. And to do that one of the things I have to learn is to be in control of the food choices I make and to be able to eat "regular" food without blowing my program. Learning to enjoy a taste or two of an endulgence and then to just put it down and walk away from it and not want to go back to it is a big piece of my mind makeover that I need. I'm getting better at it, although there are still some things that are triggers that it's best I just totally ignore...

Comment #17

Yes, I completely agree! I have a niece with a weight problem and she and I went to a steak house last month. I got a slider (no mayo, of course) and a bite here and there of this and that, a big lucious salad (of course), all while thinking about the Nutrisystem plan and where everything fit, and that week I ended up losing 2 pounds. I wanted her to see that, if you go out on occasion, carefully select a few items you want to have tiny portions of, & then eat Nutrisystem or NS-friendly all the rest of the time, it can work. She also saw me forgo the pizza, really fatty-looking dishes, and opted for fruit for dessert instead of the carrot cake on the dessert barthings that taste good & I love but are just too dang caloric for my new lifestyle (I knew I could have my Nutrisystem carrot cake later that day!!)...

Comment #18

I agree with that concept, and I have experienced it to be a beneficial thing. However, it has to be once in a great while because if your guard is down, one free day could derail me. I've only been doing this for three weeks and don't quite feel ready for that yet... down the road, when my new good habits are more solid and come more naturally to me. Then, the choices I pick on that free day will less likely be burgers and fries and more likely be sashimi and edemame...

Comment #19

I'm too petite to take whole days off NS, & (ontinue to lose, or to maintain weight. I've tried that, only to dis(over that it impedes progress. I o((asionally will take a meal "off" my program, but I wat(h my portions, when I do. When my sister was here, we had some ba(on as a "spe(ial treat", be(ause it's something she loves, but only allows herself to eat when she's on va(ation. It didn't bother my DH, but it made me queasy. I won't do that again!.

When I go to the gro(ery store, I just don't go down the aisles that (ontain the most temptation. I go to for dairy, meat, & produ(e, & dire(tly to the (he(k stand. I admit/(onfess that I've a serious sweet tooth. Thank heaven for NS's desserts...espe(ially the (ho(olate ones!..

Comment #20

One day how often?.

That doesn't fit Nutrisystem plan at all, but I guess if it works for you.....

I wouldn't recommend other newbies take this advice however...

Comment #21

Yeah I have to struggle for every pound. So there is no way that works with me. It would also be hard for me to go back to 100 percent on plan after a day of bad choices...

Comment #22

I also do a "day off," although it's really just one meal. And not very often. I find it helps when my weight loss stalls for two or three weeks..

Anyway, my biggest rule about grocery shopping, other than those that have already been posted, is to AVOID THE BAKERY...

Comment #23

Once a week I would take a free meal after the 8th week..

Comment #24

Once you eat low-cal, low-fat, healthy foods for a period of time, the old stuff starts to taste sickening sweet or way too salty..

Going off-plan and eating my own food consists of.

Fruit smoothies with just fruit (frozen fruit makes it thicker), 100% fruit juice, and a 6oz container of yogurt..

Healthy fries sweet potato strips from one sweet potato drizzled with 1 tsp olive oil and baked in the oven..

Grilled chicken with Grill Mates Mesquite flavoring on a Foreman grill with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat bread..

Low-fat strawberry frozen yogurt.


My tastes changed.

My only problem is that even healthy food is fattening if you eat huge portions...

Comment #25

Waiting for 2 months is a good idea before making any changes or alterations to the plan, if that's what you want to do. When I 1st started, I didn't know the program well enough to vary at all, so I stuck right to it. It was only after learning it very well that I would eat anything at all that wasn't on the plan, including using my own food to sub for the Nutrisystem entrees on occasion...

Comment #26

Having lost before with a free day and/or free meals I am comfortable with trying. When I get the weight off I will go back to a bodybuilders diet. So far I am at 11 pounds lost after one week. I am not excited because I know some of this loss is from water weight. I am going into week to anticipating a 2 to 3 pound loss...

Comment #27

This has been a huge MENTAL ADJUSTMENT for me as well, it's a journey that never seems to ends but must start somewhere..

Posting is very helpful and it is best to post with people that you can relate to (Same weight loss goal, gender, region or religion).

I give myself some freedom too for the same reason to confuse the body & it works for me too. I try to keep it to one meal and control my portions.


My taste changed as well, I have become very salt sensitive & I DEFIANTLY cannot eat the portion sizes that I use to eat..

GOOD JOB Stick to it, it will work for you if you work with it!..

Comment #28

A free day is a train wreck for me. Over time and with a lot of difficulty I have been able to curb a lot of my tastes. I've found that what has helped me more than anything with buying healthier options is the desire for my children to not have to go through what i've gone through with my weight. So I dont buy chips/ice cream/etc except for special occasions. They're kids though so more tempting things are in the house for them (pizza makings/mac & cheese.. ) which I struggle to not sit down with them for.

It helps that the kids love fresh fruit/raw veggies cause we'll out number daddy with votes on what we should and should not buy...

Comment #29

I guess because I move around so much for my job switching addresses for delivery can get a bit monotonous! Thats why I may go back to the BFL way after 2 months...

Comment #30

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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