My Weight Loss Experience – Part 1: False Start, Lessons Learned

time to get startedThis is the first in a 3-part series of articles recounting my weight loss experience. I feel lucky to have succeeded in my journey by reaching and holding a healthy weight. I have lost (and kept off) 50 lb. in the last eight years. But the path wasn’t a straight one.

In Part 1, I describe my first attempt to get healthy. That’s a point I want to emphasize: I was sick, and I needed to get healthy. Weight loss wasn’t my primary goal. I knew that my diet and lifestyle were the reason I was sick, and I focused on those in my attempt to get back my health. Weight is easy to measure, and I thought it would make a good proxy measurement for health, at least to start. I remembered what I weighed when I was healthy, a distant memory by the time I decided that being sick sucked.

Nutrisystem – Ok, But Not for Long

My first step in weight loss was signing up for Nutrisystem, back in 2007. Remember the Dan Marino and Don Shula commercials? They convinced me to give it a try. My wife and I committed to it together, and we stuck to the plan pretty consistently. Marcy tells me that having a partner made it much easier to stay with the program.

We had our food delivered on a regular schedule. We completely redid our pantry, making space for the month’s Nutrisystem food. It came in big boxes that we’d unpack to the pantry. At the end of the month, we’d be picking through the last entrées or deserts we didn’t fancy. But we were pretty good, staying on plan.

I’m really glad that I started with Nutrisystem, because it worked well for me. I believe we had four months of deliveries. In the first three months, Marcy and I each lost close to 20 lb., and kept it off as long as we stuck to the Nutrisystem foods.

In my opinion, Nutrisystem is a great short-term diet. I lost weight and kept it off, which was great. But I got tired of the same, limited food selection. And over time I came to dislike the taste of whatever they use to bulk up the protein in their sauces. And almost everything had a sauce.

Not a Plan I Could Stick With

Three months was long enough for me. 2007 was a while back, and when I started writing this article I couldn’t remember how long we actually stayed on the Nutrisystem plan. I asked Marcy, “it was about a year, right?” “No,” she said, “it was only three months.” I guess it felt like a year, but I was happy with the results at the time.

If you go with Nutrisystem, have an exit plan. We didn’t and I’m sorry. We tried to switch to “portion control” meals from the supermarket. But we were already tired of that style of eating, and couldn’t stay with it. I was done with pre-packaged portion control who actually knows what’s in this food. Off the plan, I gained back everything, and more.

I hit a maximum weight of 240 lb. in 2010, and that’s when I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to do something drastic. I had to exert my will, and fix this. My eight years really start here….

… to be continued.

2 Comments

  1. I had the exact same issue with the pre-packaged stuff. I didn’t love the taste and I had no idea what was in it. I couldn’t read half the ingredients on the box..

    One thing I’ve found incredibly useful lately is using a food scale. Instead of buying pre-packaged foods I’ve found that buying whatever I enjoy and then making sure I only eat so many calories of it (by weighing it) works far better than eating boxed up food.

    Have you tried out a scale?

    • Craig,
      Thanks, that’s a great suggestion. Check part #3, and you’ll see that although I don’t use a scale, we have a similar outlook on eating what we want. Everything in perspective, there are probably lots of better ways to diet than pre-packaged food. It was a worthwhile start for me, but long term, yuk.

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