My Experience with Nutrisystem and alcohol

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After being on this board for a little while, I notice that the topic of "to drink or not to drink" is a fairly divisive issue. However, the purpose of this thread is not to discuss whether or not you should or shouldn't drink - you can do that somewhere else. I wanted to start this thread to share my experience drinking alcohol while on NS. If there are others who care to share - go for it. I think that the information provided here would be more useful than simply offering opinions about whether you should or should not drink..


I finished up 4 weeks of Nutrisystem food on Friday (2/8). I started eating in an NS-esque fashion about 2 weeks prior, because I had committed to start the program, but due to a screwup in my order, I had to wait awhile to get my food. So, I've been "walking the walk" for about 6 weeks now, and the 4 weeks I spent on the program, I was close to perfect as far as my adherence to the "rules". The only thing I did that wasn't strictly by the book was that I did not measure my veggie serving at dinner, and typically eat at least twice the specified amount of veggies (I have had either broccoli or cauliflower with every dinner)..

When I first got started back in early January, I was 230 lbs. As of Friday, I was below 200 (198, to be exact), and I had planned all along to allow myself one indulgence once I got below 200, then another for each 10 lbs.

The Plan.

On Saturday, we went down to the Orange County Marketplace (which, for those who don't know - and why would you - is basically a bunch of outdoor booths where people sell junk. Not old junk (like a flea market), but new junk - mops, t-shirts, sunglasses, pottery, and there's also a couple of pretty good, cheap produce stands (my main reason for going)..

I haven't been to the "swap meet" as we call it in awhile, but I've become accustomed to having a beer or two while I'm there. The weather was perfect, and I was feeling very satisfied with my progress to this point, so I decided to have a plan whereby I could enjoy a few without paying the price later. So I decided to do the following:.

- I would get up early and walk for an hour (which I did).

- I would exercise again in the afternoon (yup - 45 minutes of full-court basketball)..

- I would not eat any of my free foods that day (I used only balsamic vinegar as salad dressing)..

I know this is discouraged, but I also decided to make the following changes to my meal plan just for that day:.

- I did not eat my additional carbs allowed at breakfast and dinner..

- I did not eat any fruit, but rather, substituted a veggie serving with both breakfast and morning snack..

Again, the dietitians do not recommend this, so I'm certainly not recommending it, either - I'm just telling you what I did. I figured that the extra carbs and wasted calories from the beer could be somewhat offset by these changes.

The Drinking.

At the swap meet, I drank 3 light beers over the course of about 2 1/2 hours. They were 14 oz beers, so let's say it was about 3 1/2 beers. That evening, my wife took all 3 kids over to her parents for dinner. I went into the jacuzzi and drank 3 more light beers. That's roughly 650 calories of beer, for those of you keeping track at home..

The Math.

Okay, so 650 wasted calories. I saved about 160 calories cutting out my added carbs, 60 calories eliminating freebies and maybe another 60 replacing fruit w/ veggies. My net excess is about 370 calories..

I'm 6' 3", 198 lbs, 36 yrs old. Based on an online tool that I used, my body, assuming a sedentary lifestyle (and I would probably categorize mine as "moderate", but I wanted to err on the side of LESS activity here) my body will burn about 2400 calories in 1 day..

I also went here and determined that I probably burned about 500 calories playing basketball, 350 calories walking (before the swap meet), and maybe another 400 walking around the swap meet itself..

So, in theory, my calories burned yesterday would have been somewhere in the vicinity of 3650. Based on my estimates of what I ate/drank, I probably consumed about 1800-1900 calories..

I'm going into all of this detail to demonstrate very clearly that I had a plan. I thought all of this out beforehand. I knew exactly what the caloric implications of the beer itself were, and I know, that that alone would not have any significant effect on my weight loss..

The Hunger.

One of my biggest problems in the past with drinking was not the calories from the alcohol itself, but what it seemed to do to me in terms of cravings. A few beers would lead to a bag of potato chips, followed by something sweet to compliment the salt, followed by something salty until I was a bloated mess..

I'm happy to say that I had no such problem this day. I enjoyed my beers, then enjoyed my salads, veggies and Nutrisystem entrees. I'm starting to think that maybe the issue with the snacking had as much to do with my diet as the drinking itself, but who knows? All I know is that I felt completely satisfied, had plenty of energy, and had no problem making this a one-off thing (as of now)..

The Aftermath.

Well, I don't know. I decided yesterday that I was not going to weigh after the drinking. There are reports that alcohol causes water retention, and I made a decision not to punish myself with the guilt of 1-2 water pounds after well-deserved reward. As I stated on another thread, I need to stop being such a slave to the scale, anyway. I will weigh in at the end of the week, and I'll provide information here as to how this week, ultimately compared to weeks past..

Aside from the scale, there's no issue. I had a great "on plan" breakfast this morning, and am going to try to find time to exercise this afternoon..


None yet. I will post back on this thread as the week goes on. I'll post midweek if I have any issues that I haven't experienced before (greater desire to drink, eat non-NS foods, etc), otherwise, I'll post at week's end with my weight results..

Hopefully, someone will find this information helpful/useful. Again, feel free to share your personal experiences with drinking on NS, but do not use this thread to share your opinions about whether you should or not. There are many other threads that you can use for those..


Comments (91)

Your question was: My Experience with Nutrisystem and alcohol.

MCFerg thank you so much for writing this post. It clearly took quite a bit of time and thought in working out how you were going to consume..

This time next week I will be on an alcohol-filled vacation and I fully plan on partaking in the libations. I, too, also plan on compensating with increased exercise since it will be readily available. The food will be of course difficult to control in these all-inclusive places and I anticipate lots of buffet style meals. I will do the best I can in that department..

I have been on the program for almost 6 months and periodically, I have a glass of wine or port. I find it curious that the scale is always lower the next day. It tends to rebound, still following my usual weight loss level of an average of 1.5~ish lbs per week. I am pleased with my results and do allow in the couple hundred empty calories from time to time. It has not had a huge impact.

Next week is certainly going to be more consumption than my typical "from time to time" and I am prepared for the gain when I return...

Comment #1

The most important thing I took away from your post was the fact that you were in control of your decision. You thought it out, you didn't mindlessly eat, letting the alcohol affect your resolve and you are trying to learn something from it. I wouldn't be having 6 beers in one day very often, but you proved to yourself that you can make the choice and not let circumstances guide your behavior...

Comment #2

I'm not in the "no drinking" camp, but I will say there is one big difference between you and me. You, sir, are a man My sedentary number is 1835. My caloric intake is 1500-1600 because I have an extra snack as advised due to my exercise schedule. That means I have a daily food deficit of 250 (ish). I workout every morning M-F for 1 hour burning 300-500 depending on that day's activity. Sat and Sun I workout for 1.5 and burn right around 600.

Huh, there's those 6 beers taking up one day. On a perfect week, at my current weight, I'm lucky to lose 1.5 pounds. You knock off the progress from one day, the water weight that comes with, suddenly my "week of really good except one day" is a pisser. You on the other hand, will most likely still have a loss and probably close enough to what your average at 4-6 weeks is, but that is because 650 calories in your mantabolism is so much different (lucky b*stard). Having said all that, I personally have a glass of wine or a cocktail with diet mixer if I feel like it.

I'll look forward to your future report...

Comment #3

I came across two articles recently on alcohol and you might find them of interest and Just to add to what you already know about the effects of alcohol on your diet.

This is a key passage from one of them:.

So, to summarize and review, here's what happens to fat metabolism after the odd drink or two..

A small portion of the alcohol is converted into fat..

Your liver then converts most of the alcohol into acetate..

The acetate is then released into your bloodstream, and replaces fat as a source of fuel..

I knew that alcohol distracts your liver from processing fat out of your system, but I didn't realize that it processed alcohol into acetate which your body then burns instead of fat for fuel. Pretty interesting, I thought...

Comment #4

Thanks for the input, Loopy...and I think this from your quote is the main thing - if you kill one day's weight loss...that's 1 more day before you reach your goal. To me that's no big deal. If I add an entire week over the course of the program, I'm okay with that. Other people may feel differently..

As for the water weight, though, if your scale reading is up due to water, that's a temporary thing - and not something I'm too concerned about...

Comment #5

Right - I have experienced the same thing in the past. That's why I said that "it had been reported" that alcohol causes you to retain water. I always thought alcohol "dried you out". The majority of hangover symptoms are caused by dehydration, and the physical properties of alcohol suggest it would not cause you to retain water..

Of course, all the water stuff should be temporary...if it dries you out, and you show a loss, it will come back, and if it causes you to retain water, producing a gain, it will come back down, too...

Comment #6

I don't want to get into this too much, because this isn't really the purpose of this thread, and it's discussed elsewhere, but, suffice it to say, this information is not known fact, but, rather is just what some people think. I've read it many places many times, and the language always says things like, "It appears that acetate..." (that's specifically from one of those articles). I've yet to see any legitimate study results or lab tests that support these claims (and I have looked)..

Don't mistake this for me arguing that drinking doesn't have an adverse effect on weight loss. I just want people to know that those statements, while they appear on many websites, may or may not be true..

On the other hand, if you have a personal experience with drinking while on Nutrisystem that supports this sort of thing, please share it here...

Comment #7

I spend all week looking forward to my girl's night out on Friday which includes burgers and brews at a local bar. I try to get a little extra exercise in on Friday's, skip the bun, and substitute a salad for french fries. I also tend to skip my Nutrisystem dessert that night as well. I know I wouldn't stick to this diet if I didn't splurge every once in a while, and like they say, it takes an excess of 3500 calories to gain a pound. But this is something that everyone really needs to look at for themselves and decide if it's worth it or not...

Comment #8

It all comes down to behavior modification. Nutrisystem is a diet based on behavior modification. The food isn't special or mixed with secret ingredients that help weight loss. It is teaching smaller portions, smarter choices and multiple meals throughout the day. Once you drop the weight, I believe you can do an occasional splurge. If you are willing to pay for it in increased activity.

I drink a few, I run to "pay for them.".

This is my second time doing NS. I did it once back in 2005 as a support partner to my wife who was trying drop post pregnancy weight. While I did not really have too much weight I needed to lose, I found giving up beer to be my hardest part. however, I gut it out and dropped more weight than intended..

My recent re-entry into nutrisystem was due to injury and stupidity. Typically, I run a lot and this enables me to eat and drink what I like (within the limits of sanity).

However, when I got hurt this Sept on a climbing trip, I continued to eat and drink as normal, despite being unable to run. I jumped up from 205 to 235 through the holidays. At this point running hurt due to the excessive weight gain (dummy).

My strategy:.

I began Nutrisystem last week and dropped 5 lbs already. I gave up beer for lent (This is a religious thing associated with Catholicism) as of ash Wednesday..

I will not have a beer until Good Friday and should be significantly lighter by then..

I like big high-carb beers. I have 5 gallons of Belgian Lambic (Rasberry) aging in my fermenter right now (I love homebrewing). It gets bottled next week. I will sample a bottle as a reward on Good Friday..

Meanwhile I am doing alternate cardio exercise on an eliptical trainer and treadmill. I dabble in running but my progress is slow..

I anticipate that when my weight drops to 215, I will begin a structured run program..

When I drop to 205, I will stop Nutrisystem and raise up on running. However, the modified behavior must continue. multiple small meals spread out through the day and absolutely nothing after 2 hours before bed..

I hope this helps someone, but remember, what works for me, doesn't work for everyone. I am in the military and moderate to very active..

On a final note, a year in Iraq or Afghanistan can easily drop you 20-30 pounds. Although I don't recommend this as a diet strategy (LOL)!!!..

Comment #9

My weekend cocktail hours(Friday and Saturday) have always been part of my life and I continue to enjoy them while I am on NS. White wine and a couple of vodka tonics (diet) ..... no problem. Thanks for bringing it up...

Comment #10

I appreciate your post MCFerg! I'm very impressed with your resolve in the research as to what you could do to enjoy yourself for this special occasion and minimize consequences.

I'm guessing your weigh-in will be positive...

Comment #11 are becoming a diplomat...OMG!.

Great post! (though I always enjoy your posts...even with the banter).

BTW, my downfall is the churros at the OCMP, not the beer...but I have avoided them thus far..

Looking forward to see good loss for you at end-of-week weigh in..

Comment #12


Really enjoyed your thoughtful post. I appreciate it especially since I have a drink every once in a while. I have only been on Nutrisystem since January 8th, so I don't have tons of experinence yet. So far, I have had maybe 2 drinks per week. I measure my drinks, so that I can account for the calories. I have either red wine or rum with diet, caffeine-free coke.

Per week. I workout 3 times per week (for about 45 minutes each). I'm 5'4 and currently weigh 139.5 lbs. Since I do not have a lot to lose, I don't lose weight very quickly. So, my conclusion (so far) is that as long as I don't over-do it, keep up with my exercise and wath the rest of my little cheats, free foods, etc., I will continue to lose on target.

Also, I get a bit of a rebellious feeling and think that I can do what ever the heck I wantwhich incudes eating rebelliously...

Comment #13

I have had maybe 3 beers in the last few months, and the next day I was always up 2 pounds - without fail. Water retention..

For me, one beer is more than enough - especially with the weight loss, can't hold my liquor like I used to LOL!..

Comment #14

I wonder if it depends on what type of alcohol you consume. There were times that I was actually lower the day after. I haven't kept very good track of it (but now maybe I will) but it seems that wine is better than beer in the area of water retention...

Comment #15

A big ole bottle of red wine! I haven't had ANY in about 4 weeks now and was getting used to my 2, 3...maybe 4 glasses a night before I joined NS! You have all put a lot of thought into this....I know you kind of have to! Eating, drinking and being merry is what got us here in the first place! Ha! Cheers!..

Comment #16

I'm so glad I don't drink anymore, hence this is not a problem for me. When I tried Nutrisystem before, I was drinking pretty heavily therefore Nutrisystem didn't work for me because I was madly reducing foods to compensate for the alcohol calories. Never ate my fruit, veggies, dessert or protein. There just wasn't enough food left. I was starving. Obviously it wasn't very healthy either...

Comment #17

Wow, that's kinda deep. So, you don't drink anymore as in temporarily b/c of the diet or no more as in forever?..

Comment #18

No more as in forever (I hope). It was definitely out of hand!..

Comment #19

Hey - I can't be a smartass ALL the time, or I start to get on my own nerves!.

I've always imagined that churros are burro turds...after all, they roughly resemble something extruded through sphincter, do they not? Maybe that's why I stayed away...

Comment #20

First off, I want to thank everyone for sharing their experiences. I really think there's a lot of value in just saying how doing something, anything affected you. I know it has helped me to hear those willing to share here - both those who's experiences were similar to mine, and those who were different as well. Thank you guys, and keep 'em coming!.

As for me, I thought I would share this:.

It's about 7:30 here, and I'm about to eat my dinner. My family is having meat loaf, and I am having Nutrisystem meat loaf. I picked out my dinner about 2 hours ago, and I haven't stopped thinking about how nice a glass of red wine would be with it..

I'm not going to drink it. I had my indulgence yesterday, as planned, and I'm sticking to that plan. I just wonder, though - am I craving the wine just a little bit more because of the beer yesterday? It's been kind of a stressful day, so that may be playing it's part as well. It's not *hard* for me to resist or anything - but it would be nice - that's all I'm saying...

Comment #21


I believe that it is a combination of your indulgence yesterday coupled with your stressful day. At least, that is how it happens with me. Once I give in a little to something, I realize that the temptation is just a little bit stronger the first few days after. It's lmost as if giving in that one (or two times) chips away at our shield. Sometimes it makes me wonder if the little cheat is even worth it since it carries such baggage.....

Comment #22

Exactly, and that's often why I find myself yo-yo dieting. I do well to lose weight, but, as I approach my goal, I start giving myself too many free passes. At first, I'm aware of them - I take my indulgence, then get right back on track, but it seems like these little things get closer and closer together until they're more the rule than the exception. This is why, in my adult life, I've probably been within 10 lbs of my goal a dozen times, but never reached it..

All of that being said, you also have to learn how to rebound from going off of the strict Nutrisystem just have to be careful...

Comment #23

That's EXACTLY my story as well! I tried a margarita a couple years ago and got sick, so foo-foo drinks don't interest me, and wine & beer definitely affect me now, whereas they never did before. Not worth it for me..

McFerg, I love to read your posts! You are such a good writer!..

Comment #24

Another quote from my original reply "Having said all that, I personally have a glass of wine or a cocktail with diet mixer if I feel like it. I have no intentions of giving up drinking for the rest of my life, so like the food I'm learning moderation with alcohol." I think that quote is the "main thing" from my original reply. Obviously, I agree an extra day or even a whole month added to the end of my long @ss haul is not a big enough deal to skip the occasional drink. I do, however, think learning moderation when drinking alcohol is just as important as when eating.

As far as the scale up due to water weight, sure it's a temporary thing, but when you get on the scale on weigh in day and instead of being down a pound you're up a pound - it's still a pisser. Again, I don't think this is an issue for men. MOST of the men seem to lose 3-6 pounds a week. If weigh in day they're retaining a little water, they're still down on the scale from the previous week.

I do miss a white Russian and a bag of doritos sometimes but that particular combo IS permanently off the list of options for me...

Comment #25

Yeah, but is once in a while supposed to be every week?..

Comment #26

Hey Ferg, next time you do a time trial will you run it on a 8 oz glass of Baily's and Butterscotch Schnapps on the rocks? *winks*.

I have indulged only once, a glass of red with dinner with friends. I normally am a 3-4 glass drinker with friends and found that one was a nice change. I was suffering from a cold so the one was perfect that night. I am a daily weigher and the scale the next day was down it's usual .2 for the day. Of course I flushed with 3 glasses of water that night.

Melissa ( who turned siggy off on this post)..

Comment #27

I think that the idea is to find a way to make eating right a lifestyle. I am not giving up my occasionsal drink for the rest of my life, so I have to find a way to make it work in my life and still meet my goals..

I think your thoughtful plan sounded great - you found a way to make it work within your life and still met your goals...

Comment #28

I like this thread. I know they say everything in moderation. But if I'm going to drink, I'm going to drink (if you know what I mean) I have been on Nutrisystem for 3 weeks, lost 7 lbs. All the while drinking (probably more than 6 beers) one night a weekend. That is my little incentive.

The way I look at it, I'm eating better than I ever have and am drinking less than I ever have.

May take me a little longer but I still get my reward.

By the wayI don't compute everything to the dot, but if I get the munchies after my beers, I make myself a HUGE salad. Seems to work, plus I feel better the next day...

Comment #29

My experience was that once I was away from alcohol for awhile I became a total lightweight when it came to being able to drink. Even 1 large glass of wine would (1) make me incredibly sleepy and (2) cause me to wake up in the wee hours of the morning with a headache and (3) incredibly thirsty no matter how much water I pounded before going to bed..

Last summer, our golf club had a divot filling party. Members walked the fairways of one of the courses followed by a little golf truck and sand. We filled all the unfilled divots (holes made by golfers as their clubhead comes in contact with the ground). Oh yeah....and the "party wagon" carrying huge water jugs of margharitas. Well, it is very easy to consume 3 or 4 drinks from large plastic glasses with lids & straws while walking with a sand bottle in one hand. I had no problem with the impact on my appetite...I ate nothing..

I cannot express how awful I felt by 3am..

I've never craved alcohol again.....

Comment #30

I look at everything as something that needs to be dealt with in the world and and if alchohol is your thing, you will figure out a way to deal with it. Long term it comes down to this. While portion control is important, your calories in and out everyday are just as important. Whenever the calories go too high, you can gain. If alchohol which has it's own calorie unit of 7/grams is consumed and it fits into your calories per day, you aren't going to gain from it. Now would you at any time want all your calories in alchohol.

The literature will talk about it giving you basically the munchies as well. That is where it is a detriment to dieting. That is about it. No real literature that supports possibly anything else.

So on maintainence the way I deal with things is if they fit in my calories per day I can do it. I will have a glass of wine here or there. I tend to like to eat more when I do so I keep the alchohol minimal for me.

Great day. Interesting thread because it is a big issue for most people..


Comment #31

Hi! Interesting post. I love gourmet dining and good wine. I've lose 70 lb.s and 6-7 sizes in 7-8 months on NS. I'm maintaining my 108 lb.s by walking, weight training, & yoga breathing and stretching daily, and taking 3 Middle Eastern/Spanish flamenco dance classes weekly, and very carefully planning 1-2 glasses of wine a week, and the very rare glass of champagne or cosmopolitan. I'm petite, so gaining 2-5 lb.s will mean that the size I'm wearing now won't fit. You can dring ( read sip) on NS, gut you can't DRINK( read guzzle). Enjoy in moderation! Kat D..

Comment #32

I've approached Nutrisystem since day one as a lifestyle change rather than a diet..

There are, however, limits as to how many changes I am willing to make in my life - and completely giving up alcohol didn't make my list of changes..

I have certainly made some concessions in the alcohol department - I have had only a small taste of a margharita since March 2007, and those were always my choice of beverage with Mexican food before I started NS. I realized that for the calorie count in one large frozen margharita, I could have 6 or 8 Scotch & waters ( my usual choice of imbibing) instead, - far more than I would consume in one evening.

I have continued my friendship with Scotch, as well as friendly occasional get togethers with the Wine family, during my Nutrisystem journey.

Has it slowed my weight loss? I'm sure it has, but not to the point that it has disappointed or caused me concern..

I have no intention of going throught the rest of my life without having a cocktail if I choose to - just like I have no intention of doing without the benefits of the Nutrisystem way of eating - so far I'm well satisfied with the path I have chosen..

Good luck to all - !..

Comment #33

Thank you! As another poster pointed out on another thread - it keeps me away from the pantry...

Comment #34

McFerg, love this thread. It's what I have been wondering about since Sunday when I drank a beer or 12. I haven't weighed myself yet either, but my clothes are even looser than last week, so I think I am going to be fine. I too took out a few calories before I did this. I didn't eat all of my meals either, so that was probably bad! Ohhh well, as long as I got away with it! Thank you thank you thank you for starting this thread!..

Comment #35


Thank your for your post. It's mid week and I'm already thinking about Friday Night happy hour. It's been that kind of week. Before NS, Friday happy hour meant really good hot wings and at least 4 gin and diet cokes. I've replaced the hot wings with salad (sigh) and was having 1 gin on the rocks until I looked up how many calories there are in an oz of gin (72). I'm not giving up happy hour which would also affect seeing some of my customers.

I'll add exercise and not have any free foods. You made a great point about pre-planning. I'm anxious to see how you made out. Best of Luck!..

Comment #36

I've been meaning to post here, but haven't had time. I also see this as a lifestyle change and not a diet. I dance alot and it's a fact that for me a drink helps me relax and not be so hard on myself. I don't drink at home as the wine coolers that over a year old and the bottle of Bacardi that's still in the freezer after almost four years will attest (btw, does Bacardi have a shelf life? ). I also don't get munchies from drinking, possibly because I'm too busy dancing?.

The other thing I do is have a bottle of water or two per drink (I'm currently drinking Jaeger bombs, so not a lite drink). I've always mixed in straight water though to keep dehydration and hangovers at large. Also, I'm not drinking to get drunk as the minute my spins get a little wobbly or out of control (more than normal<bg>), I'm done for the night.

Those bottles of water are not counted in my normal daily intake of 4-5 liters, but extra. I also don't skip any meals if I can help it. I normally will change dinner for lunch as I don't like to dance on a full stomach.

My weight the next morning is normally the same or maybe up just a tenth or two of a lb. Something I can definitely live with on this journey...

Comment #37

Hey - what a great point!.

If you want to go out and drink - why not go somewhere you can dance it off?.

Well, I'll tell you why I can't: I'm a white man. End of story. Don't get me wrong - I have very good rhythm (you need only hear me throwdown a freestyle rap to know this), but I don't have moves. There are those that think rhythm is all it takes, but if you flail around like an idiot - even if it's on the beat, you still look like - you guessed it - and idiot..

Woe is me. I guess I'll have to actually jog it off. Poop...

Comment #38

LOL No excuse! Ask SFfan It's called organized dancing. I do West Coast Swing dancing every Friday and I do Country Swing every Saturday night. Sometimes I'll get some Country in on Tuesday and Thursdays, but those are more a miss than a hit.

Find yourself a dance club - a group of dancers, not nightclub and take some lessons. If you are single, you'll find yourself on the market in a hurry. There are never enough guys to go around..

Comment #39

I'm gald to know about drinking... I've be on Nutrisystem for 8 days and have not had a drop...Maybe i'll have one this weekend!..

Comment #40

I want to be clear that I did not start this thread to advocate drinking. I also would point out that I was on Nutrisystem for several weeks before having my first drink. I'm also not here to give advice about drinking either. The purpose of this particular thread is simply for people to share their experiences with alcohol while on NS..

So, if you do choose to drink this weekend, please come post here. Tell us what you had, how it made you feel, etc...

Comment #41

I've had a couple of nights out since starting in January, and, I must say, my tolerance has hit rock bottom. Whoa, am I a cheap date now! Two drinks hit me like a ton o' bricks..

Not sure if it's the jogging, the low calories, or the extra effort my liver is making to churn through that fat, but I just can't hang like I used to...

Comment #42

It's probably the smaller you combined with the less frequent use. Sadly, I do not experience this benefit, particularly with light beer. On the other hand, in the past, I have experienced it with wine. One good-sized glass and I'm nice and warm.....

Comment #43

I weighed in this morning after my night of drinking on Sunday night. I am down 3 lbs. Works for me!..

Comment #44

Holy Smokes - 3 lbs..

It's now the fifth day after drinking, and my weight is exactly what it was that day (this past Saturday). I'm not really concerned, and I don't think it's related to the drinking, but I guess you never know. My official weigh-in day is Saturday, so we'll see what happens between now and then. I did have a spell of about a week earlier where I didn't lose any weight, after which I lost like 7 lbs in the two weeks that followed it. I'm hoping that's what's going on here...

Comment #45

I wouldn't worry about your weight staying the same. You have already lost so much! it's normal to go a week and not lose anything. I bet the following week you will see big results. I've been there! Drinking or not, it's normal. You are doing great. You still have a couple of days before you weigh and I'm anxious to see what happens. Don't forget to let us know!..

Comment #46

Are the wheels falling off?.

Well, no, but last night, I had a couple of glasses of red wine for Valentines Day. I didn't really make any dietary concessions for it, and I didn't exercise. I did have a lunch entree for dinner (as well as for lunch), because I am finishing up my current shipment of Nutrisystem food, and I was short one dinner and had one extra lunch (and 2 extra breakfasts - go figure). I guess I shoulda checked my order more thoroughly..

Today, I'm still at the same weight. 6 days into the week and no movement. As I said before, this isn't the first time this happened, and I'm personally not discouraged about the weight loss..

I am, however, concerned that I treated myself twice in the same week (a week with no weight loss, no less), and the second time was not planned..

Ah well. Back on the wagon...

Comment #47


After breaking it off with the guy I've been sort of dating the night before, I went out last night and ended up having three Jaeger bombs, but I also drank four 16 oz bottles of water. I believe I got all my food in but the veggies, I just couldn't make myself fix them at midnight. I also had 3 liters of water during the day..

This morning I was down another pound, but although there were only a couple of guys to dance with last night, I was able to keep hopping. I did the fast West Coast & Two Step songs and let the other women have the men for the slower songs..

Comment #48

Not to preach, and not to offend, but, alcohol is not the answer. Come to the boards for help..

Alcohol is a depressant, we're not. Please don't use alcohol to numb pain. It's so self destructive..

Let us help instead, plz?..

Comment #49

Aww, you will rock next week. Dont' get down. It's ok to treat yourself as long as you stay on the plan and don't fall into your old habits. I think if you are sticking to the program even slightly, you will still see results. I don't know about you, but it's way healthier than what I was doing before. I'm finding now that I am half way to my goal, I feel good and want to celebrate and get out more.

Water and lemon help when you are retaining water and so does green tea. I use half of a lemon in a jug I drink out of that is probably 3-4 glasses. Try those and see what happens. Stay near the restroom

Comment #50


I don't use alcohol to numb pain. Please don't give my drinking a purpose that it doesn't serve. I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to my dancing and get really uptight. I use it when I'm out dancing to relax me. I don't drink at home and have a bottle of 4yr old Baracadi in the freezer, along with three wine coolers in the refrig that are over a year old to attest to the fact..

I also stop drinking the minute that I feel the slightest inclination that it's affecting my dancing and in couples dancing at my level (I compete at an advance level), you know immediately or your partner will look at you with that "tone" in when a turn is slowed or wobbly. I have a high metabolism for alcohol, so it's a good thing that I don't drink to get drunk or I'd be spending my whole paycheck to get there. Of course, I also don't have hangovers either...

Comment #51

I give up. I'm trying to help. I don't try to hep for a pat on the back. My concern comes from personal experience..

Do intentions count for nothing? Does anyone give a rat's behind that I care?.

"After breaking it off with the guy I've been sort of dating the night before, I went out last night and ended up having three Jaeger bombs".

It's not a jump to think that the two events are related...

Comment #52

"After breaking it off with the guy I've been sort of dating the night before, I went out last night and ended up having three Jaeger bombs".

I thought maybe it was to celebrate ! - For some reason, it made me think of the segment on GMA (I think) earlier this week about the "Divorce Cake" that is creating a lot of business for at least one upscale bakery !.

Anyway - as McFerg stated at the beginning - this is not about if we should or should not drink - it is just about our experiences when we do drink. And apparently there are those of us who do !..

Comment #53

I suppose I have a different take on this than most peoplethanks to the perspective of my personal trainer! I don't figure my caloric intake by the DAYI consider it in the context of the WEEK. X amount of calories per week taken in, X amount of calories burned per week in exercise, etc. Unless we eat the exact same meals day in and day out, we all have days where sometimes we consume 1200 calories, sometimes we consume 1100 calories, and some days we consume 1400 caloriesthat's just the normal ebb and flow of caloric intake.

So, to me, having a couple (or 6) beers in one day isn't the end of the world, if it's only occasionally...

Comment #54

Hmm, I like that take. And after reading that, I see that I figure my caloric intake in the same wayby the weekwithout really realizing it...

Comment #55

I just came across this thread today and have to say thank you McFerg for starting it. I've seen a lot of discussion on the boards about why to or why not to, but no real testimonials about people's weight loss experiences after having a drink or two (or twelve)..

I've been on Nutrisystem for about six weeks now (I think?) and have had three nights out with drinks. The first time I had four vodka and club sodas. The second time I had three. The third time I had two. Each time I drank vast amounts of water, and only the second time did I also splurge on extra "off-plan" food. Each time I gained exactly 2 lbs that it took me the entire next week to lose again (putting me back a zero net loss).

How much I worked out, how much sodium was in my add-ins, etc... but it still makes me hesitant with alcohol..

I'm very curious as to others' experiences, and McFerg's ultimate outcome for the week...

Comment #56

LOL I don't know that it was to celebrate as I really, really liked the guy, but finally had to admit that he wasn't what I needed in my life. Guess that sentence does make it sound like the 3 drinks were abnormal, when it wasn't. Jaeger bombs are my current drink of choice and I normally have two or three of them over the course of a night. At $11 a round (the Jaeger, a bottle of water and a $2 tip), I don't drink too many simply from a money point of view I'd need four or five more to get drunk, but having a alcoholic stepfather, it's something I've never had any desire to do...

Comment #57

I've found this thread very interesting and thought I'd add my two cents. I started Nutrisystem about a year ago and have lost a total of 50 pounds. Because I was dating someone who enjoyed drinking at the time, I didn't want to give up having an occasional cocktail during this program..

That said, I had my moments of overindulgence as well as my weeks of abstinence and continued to take off the weight. I'm sure a large part of it is my workout schedule (I log between 75-120 minutes cardio/day plus 30-45 minutes weight training), but it still worked for me. Currently, I am in the midst of multiple marathon training, and my drinking has decreased substantially but so has my weight loss (as I'm probably about where I will want to be, although tempted to try for another 3-5 lbs)..

When the majority of my weight was coming off, I was still drinking. The ex and I enjoyed wine with dinner, and I would eat my Nutrisystem dinner and enjoy a glass or 2 (or 3...) of wine with him. Or we would go to a local brewery and I would enjoy beer. The biggest thing I have had to learn is that my tolerance is NOWHERE near what it used to be 50 pounds ago, and that is what led to the aforementioned overindulgences..

Finally, I just want to point out that like everyone else, I'm not advocating or shooting down the decision to drink. I enjoy wine and beer and will continue to do so and have learned to adjust my intake accordingly. It worked well for me AND I weigh less than AND I'm running faster and longer than I have in my entire life. Obviously everyone needs to do what works for them, and if I had not lost weight while continuing to drink, I would have reconsidered my decisions...

Comment #58


For what it's worth, after nearly one year on the plan, here is my story..

First, don't be a slave to the scale. Weighing every day is kinda like checking your heart rate every five develope a thought pattern that may set you up for ultimate failure. Do it once a week...say..Friday morning..

I like Friday's because we are more likely to "cheat" on weekends and therefore are probably at our heaviest on Monday's. That way I never know what I might have gained on my "cheat" days and I have all week to feel good, stay on the plan, and see what Friday brings. In the first 6-8 weeks we lose so rapidly, it is easy to expect continued success of rapid weight loss. For me it did not work that way...after initial rapid loss I hit several "plateau's" ...where I would go for up to 2 weeks with almost no change. Each time I had to increase excerise in order to have a breakthrough. To me, you are on a great pace thus far..keep the faith..and just know that plateau's are a normal condition and DO NOT let them deter you from your ultimate goal..

Now as for the alcohol...i will give you my experience..not an endorsement.. not a recommendation...just my experience..

I have never been a big drinker, do not like the taste of beer. However, I do like wine...and I have a glass nearly every day...usually within the hour before bed. On Friday and Saturday nights, I may have several. I have done this for nearly 5 years...after being told by my Doctor that 4-6 ounces of red wine per day actually was found to be beneficial. The point is...this regimine seemed to have NO effect on my weight loss. Now, having said that, who knows, maybe if I did not drink at all I might have lost 5 more pounds in the last year? All I know is, I like my glass of merlot, or shiraz (ironically I currently like "Fat Bastard" merlot) before bed..and a lil' more on weekends.

__________________________________________________ _____.

"Why is it a penny for your thoughts...but you put your two cents in, somebody is profiting a penny!"..

Comment #59

Here is what I've experienced so far. I started the program on 1/7/08. I have followed the program pretty close. When I add more food, I log it into the online planner and have stayed around 1400 to 1500 calories consistently. I am 5'8" and when I started...I was 190 lbs. I also work out 3 to 4 times a week for an hour.

I only ordered one month of food, so now I am on my own...but have found meals that closely mirror the Nutrisystem meals. From the first week...I have had my ususal 2 to 3 beers on Friday and Saturday night. It's not something I is something I enjoy. It helps me unwind and relax after a long week at work. Now, I did switch from Bud Light to Mich.

As of today (I weigh on Sundays), I am down to 172 lbs. What I have learned from this program is portion control and balanced eating. It's not as much what I eat, but how much I eat. I am also concious of making sure I add plenty of vegetables and fruits.....and lots of water...probably 10 to 12 glasses a day. Anyway, that's my story...and I'm sticking to it!..

Comment #60

I agree with this concept. I can't keep myself from weighing all week. I want to, but I have been unsuccessful. I DO, however, NOT weigh on Monday or Tuesday, then usually weigh every day after that..

I also make my weigh-in day Saturday morning, because it motivates me to stay strictly on plan straight through Friday night..

I'm not deterred. I know how it works. For those keeping score, my drinking endeavor (that turned into 2 days with drinks, as you may recall), was during a week where I stayed exactly the same (198lbs) for the entire week. I did just weigh in today (Sunday) and was down to 197lbs, so it seems (hoping, here) that the plateau has been broken. I have been kind of sick, so I've been exercising less this week - got back on track yesterday (coincidence?)..

Regarding the alcohol - I'm gonna lay off for awhile again (probably till I hit 190 lbs) and see how it goes. I DO love beer, but I also really like wine, so I'll probably stick to that once I allow myself to drink again. I tend to drink less of it..

CSTraylor - sounds like you've got a system that works. I would agree that the amount you eat affects your weight loss more than what you eat directly, but I think that WHAT you eat greatly affects how satisfied you feel. I'm totally satisfied eating 1500 calories that are NS-balanced, but if I ate, say 5 candy bars per day (about 1500 calories), I think I would be starving most of the time..

That was my problem w/ Weight Watchers - you have the flexibility to eat whatever you want, and I found that, because I wasn't using my allotment of points properly, I felt like I wasn't getting nearly enough food (and I think I was actually consuming more calories than I do on NS...

Comment #61

Ive been on Nutrisystem for almost 4 months. I drank pretty much daily before the diet. I cut alcohol out for the first 3 weeks completely, and now I allow myself wine or vodka/diet cherry vanilla dr pepper (awesome btw) on weekends. My tolerance for alcohol has drastically the hangovers are outrageous even though I make sure I drink a big glass of water in between cocktails. I just started working out in the 3rd month. I have never noticed the scale do anything related to my drinking.

I feel it's the nature of any weight loss program to have big weeks and stalls regardless. Just my experience in the myriad of diets Ive tried...

Comment #62

So, I have never participated in Lent before (though I've been serving God for over 10 years now). I decided however, just today, that I will give up alcohol for Lent. I don't drink very often, but I do occassionally and of course, it is not allowed on this plan. I have drank about 6 times since starting Nutrisystem (started January 8th). It is a little difficult to completley cut out alochol, but if I try to do it for a purposethen I usually am successful. I would like to see if my weight loss will be smooth after this, and/or increased.

BTW, my promise/faith will be tested several times before Lent is over. I have a couple of parties and nights out planned in the coming weeks.......

Comment #63

In my best Andrew "Dice" Clay voice:.

Wine...Holy Water...What's the differencye - OH!..

Comment #64

I gave up wine for lent. Cant give it all up or everyone in the house would be miserable...LOL.

Overdid it on vodka and diet coke last night. Happy today that president's day doesnt come with a family gathering...

Comment #65

Wow, I'm home! What a great thread. I too have never been much of a drinker, but there are occasions when I really want one to unwind. Just one...maybe two depending on the day.

I have been on the program for 4 weeks now, and I have been oh so good. I'm down 16 lbs. and check in to the discussion boards daily for inspiration and recipe ideas.

This has been a great thread. Full of personal experience and well thought out plans..

Today is the day! I've been very good today. I have already downed 4 litres of water and spent 2 hours shovelling heavy wet slush that came off my roof in the night. A drink is in order!.


Comment #66

Wow, I'm impressed! I'm just getting ready for my third one... of course, I haven't spent two hours shoveling heavy wet slush..

Comment #67

This thread is a trip! I like to drink also. I have tried to decrease my intake since Nutrisystem which I started 1/28/08 (or around there) I still drink one time a week. That is my rule. Have noticed that I don't (actually can't) drink as much and the hangovers suck.

It is more of a social thing with me. A lot of my friends drink and when we go out they actually EXPECT me to drink. If I don't I get hazed. I'm like look guys, I'm trying to better myself with this NS/no drinking thing and you are giving me a hard time about it. What's up w/that? Oh well, I've never been one to stand up to peer pressure and fold pretty easily. So, I haven't been going out much lately...

Comment #68

Thanks for the thread. I love your humor, and especially the expression on your face in your photograph. Although I have GREATLY reduced the amount that I drink (being Irish and all...), I do have an occasional wine and as you can see by my weight ticker below, continue to have rapid weight loss results. I agree with twestra (above) that the hangovers are worse. UGH..

Fortunately, for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Baltimore on 3/16, which all of my Irish cousins attend, I am the designated driver. I did not inherit the beer gene. It will be hard to resist the Bailey's Irish Creme, however, but I can do it. Wishing you much success. I'm showing my signature just to be ornery.....

Comment #69

Hi Everyone, I am new to Nutrisystem and love the program but am finding it too difficult to give up my wine. If you do indulge, do you cut out a snack or cut back on a meal or do you stick totally to the program? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks and have a great day!!..

Comment #70

No, no, no, no... no cutting back on snacks or meals. You still have to stick totally - 100% - with the program. The "punishment" for going off is you have to take those extra calories on the chin. I do tend to go with the entrees that have fewer calories such as the hamburger instead of the meatloaf But all foods must be eaten. They provide required nutrients, alcohol does not..

Comment #71

Thanks, Judi I'm still seeing the old one, even when I hit the refresh button, but I know it will catch up with me eventually...

Comment #72

Thanks for the advice Ginger...I will try to opt for the lighter calorie meals and also kickup my exercising after I indulge to help off load the extra calories...

Comment #73

Ok - I'm a newbee and this really interested me. I really like how you planned your beverages into your meal. Gives me hopes on enjoying my summers out on the boat. Anyhow, my question may be off topic, but what are the "extra carb" allowed for breakfast and dinner and what calorie count is given to them?..

Comment #74

I grew up in Southwest Baltimore "Irvington" near St. Joseph's Monastery, but now reside in Carroll County. I have never lost my "Balmer" accent.

GINGER - Your avatar photo is too much!!! LOVE it!..

Comment #75

Kinda your neighbor Connie...northern Frederick County Here.

Coach Mark..

Comment #76

I live in Baltimore County on the Carroll County line (Hampstead)..

Comment #77

On the men's program, you get a carb with your breakfast entree and with dinner. They're supposed to be low GI (whole grains and such) and about 80 calories...

Comment #78

I just ended my first week with NS. I must say, the food is pretty decent however there are items I just don't like at all so will not order again. I have done other diets successfully but over time (alot of time) have gained it back. As I get older it's harder having the discipline, so is the reason I'm trying Nutrisystem to kick start my weight loss toward a healthy life style and exercise. I enjoy having a glass of wine after a stressful day and on weekends a couple with my husband. I was always able to incorporate a drink or two in my other weight loss programs and hope that it will work with Nutrisystem or else it's not a great plan for me.

I will not do without my dairies and vegetables or Nutrisystem meals to accomplish this but will eliminate the Nutrisystem dessert. I am determined to enjoy life and live a healthier lifestyle!..

Comment #79

Okay, so I had a couple of tequila shots last night as I read the incredible thread on signatures.

I really enjoyed the drinks, and had a few Nutrisystem pretzles, it doesn't seem to take much drink to give me a buzz...seems a few pounds really makes a difference on how you handle alcohol. The night was a huge success, and I felt great.

This morning was horible. I woke up at around 4 am with a massive headache! I usually atribute this to lack of water, but I am drinking about 6 litres a day. Can't be the water. I think my body is just rejecting the whole idea of the alcohol. I only had about 3 oz. not nearly enough to induce a hangover.

I still have a headache. Unless I discover that I am coming down with the flu, I don't think I'll be having another drink any time soon. Just not worth it...

Comment #80

Nothing witty to add here..just wanted to say hi to everyone..

Gotta get some sleep..

Coach Mark..

Comment #81

Great thread. I always feel guilty on any other to even say I will not give up happy hour. My husband and I always have and probably always will have it before dinner. Dieting is one thing but I doubt he would like not having happy hour. So far, it has never proven to be a problem in the weight loss dept. But I just assume when I start getting to the nitty gritty that it might slow things down. Either way I'm changing my lifestyle on eating and acohol is not one I'm willing to change right now...

Comment #82

When I first started Nutrisystem and was awaiting my first order, I basically got told in the boards to give it up. So I love this thread! I indulged a bit too much this past sunday, which didnt seem to effect my diet too much. Didnt lose but didnt gain either, which has happened for the past month..

Unfortunately, even my 3 advil with 24 oz of water before bed didnt hold off that hangover...and I drink water in between cocktails!! Im convinced it's not dehydration that is giving me that headache....I wonder if it has something to do with the low sodium in the diet? Thats something Ive never paid mind to on any diet, and I havent had this issue on any other either. Although I never gave up this much alcohol either so it may be a tolerance issue....or worse yet age creeping up on me......

Comment #83

Perhaps it's the type of alcohol you are partaking in... I dated a guy who could drink beer all night without feeling it, but a single glass of red wine would leave him with a splitting headache in the morning...

Comment #84

I try to be as good as you can be when it comes to the booze. I like dry white wine and vodka (with diet soda), which is the best calorie wise. Neither have ever given me a hangover like this. Im sure the one I had this weekend was from the 3 shots of goldenschlaeger (sp??) that went on top of the vodka and diet cokes....I earned that one...LOL.

But honestly 2 glasses of wine and Im done the whole next day with the headache. Not to sound awful, but Im more on the side of a seasoned drinker. Ive never had hangovers like this ever..

Seems that Im not the only one with the issue so Im kind of curious as to what it is. I always assumed the hangover was a result of dehydration...Im so hydrated Im wondering if it's water intoxication!.

Not veering from the diet however....occasional hangover so be'll keep me from indulging too often. My fiance and I both agree we save $ with me on Nutrisystem just in alcohol so it's all good!..

Comment #85

I hate this thread. It seems to be giving some people "permission" to drink and somehow think drinking will not affect their weight loss journey. Giving up a nutritious dessert for a few drinks (which are definitely not interchangeable), hangovers, whatever..

Guess I just don't get that giving up drinks is so hard or that someone can't be sociable with spouses, significant others or go out without drinking..

Don't get me wrong. I have done my drinking, am not against drinking and could put quite a bit away, but I never felt that not drinking was such a sacrifice...

Comment #86

And to think I was the only one on Nutrisystem who LOVES her wine!! This is only day 10 on Nutrisystem for me, but I have to admit that the first few days were the most difficult. Pre-NS, I would have a glass of white wine while cooking dinner...and now that I'm not cooking, but rather just punching some buttons on the microwave, it's definitely a little easier. Interestingly, I did manage to fit in three glasses last weekend.....

Comment #87

So I have been lurking on this thread and reading all of the posts. I have had my struggles with trying to cut back. Which is exactly what I am doing. Although I miss cocktail time w/my hubby during the week (ok glass of red wine) I feel that I reward myself after being so good all week long, so I look forward to that time on the weekends. I don't plan on eliminating it, but I do know that I should cut back. I am on the No Wine zone board too.

Some of us with cheeseburgers and fries and some of us with alcohol. Just get back on the program and don't beat your self up. I don't eliminate any of my foods, but then I am not really eating the amount of calories that I should either..

Great post McFerg....

Comment #88

I dont understand why anyone would hate the thread? We are just all being honest, and plenty of people in it love it and get to discuss how we feel about it. This is the most laid back thread Ive seen! Is it better to feel guilty and alone like you are the only one experiencing this, because thats how I felt when I started?.

Personally for me it is a sacrifice. Ive given up wine for Lent because I love it so much. I dont feel anyone is advocating drinking here, or holding of on foods. Anyone that has posted that theyve done so has quickly been advised not to do so. You live and learn...isnt that a part of the journey?..

Comment #89


I don't think anyone here thinks that drinking won't affect their weight loss journey! I know that it has and will continue to slow mine down, but I'm here for the long run and not just rushing to goal. It's a lifestyle change and working the one or two drinks in is a part of that. I enjoy one or two drinks I have when I'm out dancing and it definitely does take the edge off my competitiveness and therefore does relax me, so that I dance better and make fewer mistakes.

I've also said more than once that if you are going to drink, you still must eat all your food... the extra calories are your "punishment" for your decision. You drink, you take it on the chin...

Comment #90

The originator of this thread was quite clear in what he was looking for when he posted and it puzzles me whenever I see these type responses. I am not exactly sure if you did not read the original post OR if posting your "message" somehow makes you feel superior to the other posters who enjoy a drink now and again..

I believe that most posters here are over 21 and don't need mine or anyones elses "permission" to do most anything...much less the choice to drink..

The fact that you suggest that myself or my fellow posters here are incapable.

Of sociability without drinking...again...smacks of the notion that you are somehow superior because you don't..

I too am not much of a drinker, which you would know if you read my post, I justed wanted the originator to know my experience thus far, because he asked..

Now that you have stated your are part of the permanent record of the thread...I would ask that in the future that refrain from posting unless you have some experience that is relevent to the topic at hand..


Coach Mark..

Comment #91

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