You've seen the television commercials touting the effectiveness of Nutrisystem, the diet plan based on strict portion control and eating a variety of food. Under the plan, meals are delivered to your door in microwaveable pouches. However, you can create your own Nutrisystem plan at home if you have neither the budget nor the inclination to have your meals prepared and delivered. Get to know the right food portions, read nutrition labels and strategically plan your meals for an at-home plan that will have you shedding the extra weight.
Weigh yourself, measure your height as well as your bust, hips and waist to keep track of your progress. Use an online calorie calculator to determine the amount of calories you need each day to lose weight based on your weight; or talk to a registered dietitian for a more personal analysis. Write down the number of calories that you can consume each day to lose weight, using the figure from the diet calculator or your dietitian.
Get to understand portion sizes. Read the labels on food items to find their portion sizes and go online to find the portion sizes for food that don't have nutrition labels, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Write down the portion sizes for the food in your diet and post on the refrigerator for easy reference. Use a food scale, measuring cups and spoons to weigh and measure your food. Measure out the correct portions of food like chicken and fish and put them in the freezer so they are ready to use.
Browse cookbooks, magazines and websites for healthy and tasty recipes. Create a meal plan for each day of the week, basing it on a variety of foods and sticking to the amount of calories you're allowed. Plan three meals and two snacks each day, one snack between breakfast and lunch, and the other between lunch and dinner.
Read the nutrition labels at the grocery store to help you to buy healthy foods. Get lean sources of protein such as beans, nuts, chicken and fish. Fill your grocery cart with fresh produce such as broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, apples, grapes and bananas. Avoid processed foods and foods with added sugar. Buy low-fat dairy items such as yogurt and skim or soy milk. Select whole grain products when buying bread or cereal. Choose one dessert item for the week, such as low-sugar frozen fruit bars or dark chocolate.
Make the meals on your meal plan, paying attention to portion sizes. Avoid adding extra food or ingredients to your meals without changing your plan to keep the calorie count at your target number. Make the meals as you go, or make all the meals for a week on one day and freeze them until you are ready to eat them.