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First question I have is Do Nutrisystem diet shakes really work? Thanks in advance for any answer. Second question.. The first question deals with stretching before working out. Last night I pulled a hamstring while doing the workout dvd which sucks but completely my fault for not knowing how to stretch properly. How long should I stretch for and what are some good stretches? I remember, of course, stretching before PE classes back in grade school but that was a million years ago. Please let me know..

The second is thanks to Discobolus for getting my mind rolling on cheating. Is having a planned cheat day a good idea? On one side, I don't ever want to cheat but on the other I will have massive cravings and I'm afraid I'll binge for days before getting back on the wagon. I can see that having a planned cheat day (or even just 1 cheat meal) a week or month may have an advantage mentally. Your thoughts, opinions?..

asked Apr 21 at 06:27

's gravatar image


Good question... I dunno what is the answer to that question. I'll do some research in Google and get back to you if I bump into an answer. You should email the people at Nutrisystem as they probably could give you an answer..

answered Apr 21 at 06:50

's gravatar image


I always try to stretch for 5-10 minutes before and after exercise..

I don't set a defined "cheat day", however I do try to plan for events like birthdays, holidays, etc by planning to make sure that I don't over do it..


answered Apr 21 at 07:55

Johnathan's gravatar image


Jack Lalane (look it up if you're not very old.

) always made the comparison about if a lion took time to stretch before it took off after an antelope it would soon starve to death..

So, to each his own on the stretching bit..

As to cheat meals it depends on what you mean by cheat and how often you do it. You can eat "off plan" without cheating and still eat well. Grilled fish or chicken, a small steak. Steamed or grilled veggies, salad, etc. Special events let your conscience be your guide. Case in point - Thanksgiving this year I had reached goal.

Gained 10 freakin' pounds. 10! Took me 2 week to get back where I was before. So how much are you willing to risk? Your choice...

answered Apr 21 at 08:35

's gravatar image


Yeller, I see what you mean.. I guess my version of cheat should be taken into account. I have, once or twice.. (ok three times in the past few months), gone to Hardees and grabbed a Monster burger which presumably has 50 thousand calories, give or take..

As for stretching, those are all good ideas.. I need to stretch afterwards as well which I didn't think of...

answered Apr 21 at 09:30

Dylan's gravatar image


This is just my opinion, but I would have to suggest that if you are eating 5350 calories in one sitting while trying to lose weight.....

answered Apr 21 at 10:50

Rodney's gravatar image


On the stretching, I listen to my body, if my legs are tight before I get.

Started or even right after I start, I will stop and stretch for 5 or so minutes..

I agree with Mobay, I will hold a stretch for 10-15 count usually 2-3 reps..

Cheating, if your trying to make this a lifestyle, is it really cheating?.

There have been times we have planned on going out to eat, Yellerdog.

Nailed it, eat sensibly. I love burgers and Mexican food. So when I want.

A burger, I'll grill some turkey burgers or even a Nutrisystem burger will do for my.

Fix. Mexican food, Chicken fajitas, and I will still have the rice and beans,.

Chips and salsa..

It is moderation and it is OK, IF you are living it..

If your on a DIET, DON"T CHEAT!..

answered Apr 21 at 12:09

Adam's gravatar image


I usually don't stretch at all. But, I always start somewhat slowly on the eliptical trainer to get my cardio up at the gym before ever lifting any weights or doing anything else..

Actually, I take that back...I've recently ended with some stretching on a few occasions. I have bad knees from my weight, and I've taken to a couple times a week working on getting some flex back into them now that I weigh less. But, it's usually after I do 60 crunches (3x sets of 20), I'll get onto the mat and and flex my knees a couple minutes. Nothing formal, just old football stuff stuck in my mind from back in high school...(and no, we didn't wear leather helmets back then....

As far as cheats, I stayed pretty close to the path for my first couple months. Since then I have had a few planned cheats, but they tend to be much healthier choices then I would have done before. And certainly, they are smaller portions even if they are not perfect..

Today for example, I'm going to lunch to have a grilled chicken sandwich and a salad. I've done the research and I know the stats on the food there and while it'll not be a Nutrisystem lunch, it won't be a "pig-fest" double cheeseburger and extra large fries....and it'll let me get out of the office after a long week to clear my head and have some "alone" time...since the lunchroom here tends to just be an extension of my desk..

I just spent two weeks out of the country with only a few Nutrisystem bars as a fall back helper. I walked for hours and hours each day, I made reasonable choices (even had a couple pints in the pub) and I was able to lose 6 pounds while I was there and most importantly never feel deprived of anything. This is encouraging, because I see Nutrisystem as like "training wheels" to hold me up as I learn a new skill set..

The "cheats" need to be thought out and understood. It may slow your loss, but that may not be a concern to some people. I'm not really looking at this as a race with anyone. It took me years to get this fat, so if I lose 8 pounds instead of 10 in a month, I can accept that...IF it keeps me losing overall and heading in the right direction. If I ever go back up more than a pound or two, I will re-access and likely be more strict until the loss starts again..

So it all just comes down to decision...everyone has different goals and expectations they need to examine and understand...then you can make the choices that work for you...

answered Apr 21 at 12:11

Blake's gravatar image


The two key words to this whole "cheating" issue have already been mentioned - lifestyle and diet. Someone asked me last night if I was about finished with my diet. I told him I wasn't on a diet, but rather what he was seeing was a lifestyle change. I eat non Nutrisystem meals a bit more often now then I have been as I work toward maintenance and since this is a lifestyle change for me, there have been no problems. If you've taken the time on this journey to educate yourself, then eating non Nutrisystem foods is no big deal as your "education" should help you to make the proper decisions concerning the food you are going to put into your mouth..

Cheat days? I think they're bad news. As for me, I don't ever want to go back to those days where I cut loose and eat like a hog. I 've come way too far to go there again and so have so many of you!.

'Just my humble opinion...

answered Apr 21 at 13:36

Aaron's gravatar image


I don't usually say too much, but I can't resist on this one. I get frustrated with two of the words used in this thread much to often. Cheat and Diet..

First off, let me say, there is a lot of good advice on this thread already about cheating and Lifestyle change etc. We should all take a good look at it and remind ourselves why we are doing this in the first place..

Now, if we are on a diet, doesn't that imply that it is a temporary thing? If so, what are you going to do when you are finished your diet? Are you going to go back to eating like you did before? Nutrisystem isn't cheap, so I would say that would be pretty stupid. You pay all this money only to get to where you want to be and then go back to the way things were? Not a good idea and not very healthy..

We need to get our minds around the fact that this is NOT a diet, but as it has already been said, a lifestyle change..

Now that I've said that, if we are changing our lifestyle, then how does cheating fit into that? I don't see that it really does. Don't get me wrong. I think you have every right to have a little treat every now and then, but taking a day and eating 3 days worth of calories? What's up with that? Look at the big picture. What does it give you, a moments satisfaction, then a whole lot of heart ache, possibly some weight gain and then the depression afterwords of realizing you've made a mistake. Is it worth it? I don't believe so..

With Christmas coming up, I am planning on forgoing the Nutrisystem foods for a few days and enjoying what everyone else is eating. I'm not going to over do it, I want to stick to plan and not regret anything, but I will have turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and the rest. I might even have a small slice of pumpkin pie. But that is my choice. I'm not going to call it cheating, because it is a decision that I will make and the only one that it affects is me..

Cheating has something to do with others, not just for yourself. So I would ask you, who are you cheating?.

So that's my 2 cents worth. Take it or leave it...

answered Apr 21 at 14:28

Colby's gravatar image


I figured that what I did would be frowned upon here. I do admit I took it a little too far, the quart of egg nog was not necessary!.

Outside of the "dieting" world, in the areas of bodybuilding and sports nutrition there is a lot of support for "cheat meals". Bill Phillips in his Body For Life program endorses a "no rules" cheat.


Each week. Dr. John Berardi, who is one of the leaders in sports nutrition refers to this as the 10% rule. Essentially 10% of your meals can be off plan and he says there is essentially no difference in results if you stick to a plan 100% or 90%..

I'm a little bit split about this and certainly don't know the answer. I guess it depends on personality. The questions I ask myself are:.

1. Is it easier to go 100% or actually practice moderation off plan, which also requires some discipline itself?.

2. Are you more likely to binge if you stick to a plan 100% until you mess up, or if you make a provision for pre-planned off plan meals?.

3. Which of the above is easier to come back from, the binge or the pre-planned off plan meal?..

answered Apr 21 at 15:21

Christopher's gravatar image


That's kind of my point. What is 100% on PLAN? What is the best plan for you, for me? See, we are trying to make our lifestyle different than what it was when we got fat. NO? So if that is the case, then what the heck are we doing planning binge days? The point is, live your life and make the decisions you need to. But if you get to a Christmas dinner and you want to have a slice of pumpkin pie, make sure that it is one slice, maybe even a small slice, with a drop of low fat, low cal topping and call it quits..

It has to be a conscious decision and you need to know what is going to cause you to go overboard. If you don't, then you haven't learned the lessons that got you to that place where you knew you had to make a change..

Anyway, I've said enough. Just think about your choices before you make them. Think to yourself "is this the start of a slippery road?", "How will I feel about this decision afterwords?", "Is it worth it?"..

We have all joined Nutrisystem for our own reasons. I think that most of us have come to a point in our lives where we realized that we needed to make a change or we would be in trouble. For me, one day a week off plan, is NOT worth it..

Anyway, just some more food for thought...

answered Apr 21 at 16:56

Finn's gravatar image


You can rationalize it anyway you want, but if you need a 5000 calorie binge meal (not day), then I don't think you can make a lifestyle change. The programs you mention aren't really geared at people that need to lose greater than 100 pounds. And guess what...people that are on body for life or some other program probably call a "cheat" day as consuming 10-20% more than they would normally, not 300% more..

The reaction you are getting here is because you are in a forum with a whole bunch of people that have been REALLY out of control with their eating at one point or another. We can see your rationalizations and have, at some point, all made the same arguments in our head. My advice is to stick 100% on plan for 2 months and then see whether you really WANT to eat like crap (and feel like crap) for a day..

Man up and put down the pint of ice cream. Just my $0.02. Good luck...

answered Apr 21 at 17:02

Colton's gravatar image


This is the MEN'S ROOM Right? I agree with Exfootball61. Man up!.

Seems that I have read several posts on several different threads.

That you have made. If you stop and think about them, it SEEMS.

That you are trying to justify NOT sticking to plan..

There is a saying that makes a lot of sense. "Results Not Typical.".

The reason they say that is because people in general don't follow.

Directions TO THE END. In my uneducated opinion, we get started on.

Something, "Figure out how it works", then start doing what WE think.

Is the right thing. If you want to eat all that crap, feel like crap, take.

Tums like candy, not lose weight and still be the fat a$$ that we all.

Started out on this program being, then keep JUSTIFYING why you.

SHOULD eat all the extra or off plan meals..

If you want to lose some weight, ask, Mobay, Damon, Wizzbomb, Fit Tom,.

Pam, DaOneth, Yellerdog and several others HOW they did it..


The one thing that has kept me going is to see the weight tickers that started.

Out in the high 300's and even mid 400's. These guys have taken the.

Steps to BECOME something different. It has motivated me to lose almost.


Sorry dude, but if your trying to figure out a way to beat the system.

Already, don't waste your money. But, if you want to lose some serious.

Weight and be about 225-250 by next Christmas, work the plan and don't take any off plan meals..

Just my $2 worth...

answered Apr 21 at 18:00

Arthur's gravatar image


My son and I started Nutrisystem at the same time and after our first 30 days, we went out to a local Mexican restaurant for chicken fajitas (yep... good stuff. one of my favorites too, warrior.).

We called this our 'cheat night', but really it is our reward for 30 days of a successful new lifestyle. Each month, we end up only being able to eat about 1/3 of the plate and bring the rest home. The leftovers end up lasting through two more meals, so I don't think we strayed that far from plan. Heck of a reward though!.

As far as stretching before exercise, I think it's pretty important. Here's an informative page.


That shows five basic stretch routines that should help get you warmed up and ready. But it also emphasizes that stretching can also be important during the cool-down period after exercising..

I'm just getting started trying to develop my own exercise routine, but I've found that some basic stretching is helping me...

answered Apr 21 at 18:35

Alberto's gravatar image


I'm a big believer that an occasional, pre-planned, off plan meal is an excellent idea. Being someone who used to routinely indulge in meals that were 2800-3300 calories, I consider myself a food addict. My new lifestyle does not result in deprivation but it does result in my making better choices at all times. As previously mentioned, the off plan meal can simply be a slightly larger portion of healthy food. Or it may be a far less frequent meal of unhealthy food. Either way, the off plan meal is a tool that I rarely use, maybe once every 3-4 weeks.

I don't believe it is wise for any person that has struggled with self control to plan a binge of any sort. As to the OP, remember that planning ahead is the key for a healthy lifestyle, and that may include an off plan meal. If you display moderation, do it infrequently and if it helps you avoid feelings of deprivation, go for it...

answered Apr 21 at 19:11

Francisco's gravatar image



These guys are tough. It's what got me hooked, They call a spade a spade. Do yourself a favor, Give the plan a chance. In the short time you've been on program, you've done a great job..

You're obviously very intellegent as you're a physician. Most intellegent people are stronged willed and can do anything they put their mind to. If your not ready, that's also fine. Nutrisystem is just a tool to help you eat properlly. There's no earth shaking wonder drug here. Just properlly sized meals spaced out and snacks.

Nutrisystem just made it easier for me to apply..

I can give you hundreds of reasons to stick with NS. I can give more reasons why not. It's up to you. Don't let your reason to return someday be because you've had a heart issue or some other thing (I'm sure you know the medical stuff, I'm just a retired engineer)..

Be proactive, The choice is yours..

You've taken the first step..

Keep at it for a while and then see how you feel about..

My 2 1/2 cents...

answered Apr 21 at 19:45

's gravatar image


I'm going to advocate a contrarian approach to the stretching issue as well..

The popular sentiment on exercise is that you should always stretch beforehand in order to prevent injury..

Stretching a cold muscle is not likely to to reduce incidence of injury and is actually likely to increase it. Stretching.


A warm-up. A warm up involves doing some sort of activity that raises your core body temperature. A warm muscle is less likely to get injured, not a stretched one..

In fact a meta-analysis was published in the British Medical Journal which showed no decrease in injury with pre-workout stretching..


Then if it doesn't decrease injury it must increase performance, right? Nope, a study showed no increased in vertical jump height after stretching as compared to before stretching..


I could even point you to multiple studies that show that pre-workout stretching can reduce explosive power and strength..

When I was in college (where I earned a degree in exercise physiology) and competing as a shotputter and discus thrower I would not do static stretching prior to training, but would typically do some sort of aerobic activity for 3-5 minutes in sweats following by ballistic stretching such a leg swings, hurdle drills, and sprint drills. When I was doing this I didn't have any problems with injuries..

I think the static stretching can be done as a cool down if your really want to, but it isn't going to do much to increase your flexibility, and pre-workout stretching isn't going to decrease injury. The best warm-up is exactly that, some sort of activity that increases your core body temperature...

answered Apr 21 at 21:01

Abel's gravatar image


1. Yes to both. If you can't go "off plan" and practice moderation you are not ready to go "off plan"..

2. Eat "off plan" occasionally. It's good to take a break in the routine, plus it's good practice for maintenance. PLAN is the key word here..

3. The latter. Binge indicates a lack of control. Pre-planned keeps you focused..

IMHO of course...

answered Apr 21 at 22:03

's gravatar image


I personally believe in the off plan planned cheat meal. However, I personally don't partake in one every week. I do about once a month or even longer these days. It really depends if I feel like it or not. When I do cheat I try and do it in as healthy way possible only increasing protein calories and SOME extra fat cals. Having said this I don't see much of a difference when I do...

Losing weight comes secondary. So, in this way cheating would be a benefit if don't moderately and even perhaps slowly over years get to a point where cheating all-together is no longer necessary. Be honest with yourself. If you've done well all month and have a craving than it's better to plan to satisfy that craving than just acting on impulse. Thats when most of us get into trouble.

As for stretching. I do some but like disco I'm not sure of it's benefits as far as not injuring yourself. I think injury can occur for many reasons but stretching is probably not one of them. The best thing you can do to prevent injury is be in control of your body during exercise. Harder to do in theory though. Its when we push too hard and we are off balance when we get injured.

So perhaps indirectly it can cause injury. Keeping in form and in control is key to injury prevention this is why power lifters focus on this as being key...

answered Apr 21 at 22:12

's gravatar image


I also agree with the planned 'off-plan' meal occasionally. One thing I have noticed - the day after break from the plan I do go up in weight (about a lb), but then I take a large jump down. It is as if the slight change in menu seems to kick start the weight loss into hugh gear again..


answered Apr 21 at 23:00

's gravatar image


Understandably, the word 'diet' has quite a negative connotation to it for many people in that once you're done with a 'diet,' you go back to your old eating habits. Obviously none of us want to go back to our old eating habits after Nutrisystem so when I say 'diet,' I certainly don't mean the negative meaning of the word but rather a lifestyle and mental change..

Prior to NS, like most people, I binged a lot which obviously brought me to where I am now. So now, I see myself eating very healthy but my addiction to food will creep back up in the mindset due to the fact that I have basically quit binging cold-turkey..

I need to push myself to hold back on those mental pitfalls that urge me to eat a massive load of fast food. As many have stated, if I do 'cheat,' I may not want to do it once a week but space it out even farther and when that time comes, if I truly need to, I will stick to not going out of control but a little bigger portion of something healthy or a very small amount of a food that isn't healthy...

answered Apr 21 at 23:03

's gravatar image


You can look at my graph and see my very slow journey and see that I have had my share of stalls. Some of the stalls have been of my own doing, I played fast and loose with the guidelines. However, during the 2 longest stalls (each over 2 months at a time) I tried that greasy bucket of chicken, jump start thing. That made me very sick and it didn't break the stall. I've tried a bag of Taco Bell, but that didn't break the stall either. I've even tried the Bag-o-Burgers, the most memerable part was not chitting for 3 days cause the cheese stopped up the works..

After trying this/trying that, my body was so confused it doesn't know what to do. I've been on plan/off plan so frequently my body basically just maintained..

This plan works because of the very carefully balanced matrix of consuming certain different types of food, in certain quantities, at specific times..

A little tinker here, a little tinker there and the next thing you know you're standing around with your junk in your hand wondering why the plan isn't working for you anymore..

If you're gonna be on plan then, BE ON PLAN. Don't end up a wussy wobbler like me..


I have a real good idea what maintenance is gonna be like...

answered Apr 22 at 00:38

Jakob's gravatar image


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