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Life on Nutrisystem During a Pandemic

I don’t think I have ever met someone who is more of a foodie than me. I am always excited to try new meals and figure out what my next favorite dish is. This sounds very strange, but a solid meal could completely turn my day around. Imagine going from life literally revolving around food to barely eating 1,000 calories a day?

Last year, when we were told in March that we would be home for the rest of the semester, I found myself eager to make some sort of change. With summer right around the corner, I figured it would be a great time to try to get in shape and lose some of that "freshman fifteen", which definitely felt like more than fifteen. Basically all my life, I have always been very active and loved to work out. I grew up playing sports all year round and never knew how to sit still. But, I never had that proper athletic body that I was happy with. And after finding out I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) right before the start of college, it made things even harder for me. I was never very fit or super muscular, and no matter how hard I tried, I felt like I had always come to a dead-end. 

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After being home for two weeks of quarantine, I decided to take things a step further and follow a food plan that helps with dieting and losing weight: Nutrisystem. For some reason, whereas most people would have dreaded it, I was actually very excited. When they continued to promote guaranteed weight loss, it was like literally dangling a carrot in front of my face. Basically, the company would send a month’s supply of food: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack for 28 days. This foodie knew it would be a challenge, but I was up for it.

I will never forget the day the first month’s food came. I opened the box and picked up one of the lunches, and it was literally the size of my hand. Growing up with the whole table covered in food for every meal, I was very much taken aback by the small portions. I remember just knowing that there was no way something so tiny could fill me up for at least three hours. I obviously found myself super hungry all the time. Not to mention that because of the pandemic, my life had completely come to a standstill. There was nothing to do, and I am 100% the kind of person to eat when I am bored...even when I just ate 10 minutes prior. I remember the first week being so rough and feeling like I was starving myself every day. 

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As time went on and I continued to do it throughout the summer, it was horrible. I started going out again and hanging out with friends more. Because my town is small and the pandemic was still pretty serious, the only social thing we really do is go out to eat. I became obsessed with counting my calories, considering I was consuming roughly 1,000 a day. I remember going to a friend’s birthday party where everyone was eating BBQ foods and I just sat there. It was definitely very tempting and you can only imagine how many times people asked me why I was not eating. 

Telling people that I was doing a dieting food plan was not something I wanted to share for a very long time. It felt kind of embarrassing to do it at 19-years-old and I thought no one would really understand it. I knew I would get questions about why I decided to do this and that it would not be worth it. I did not want to be judged by people, I just wanted them to see the results. At the end of the day, I liked how I was finally doing something for myself, even if it came with many challenges. It definitely taught me discipline and I am happy I found a form of motivation to inspire me to work harder at something I truly care about...but I have to say, I definitely did miss all my guilty pleasures for six months.

Avani Dang

U Mass Amherst '23

Avani is a junior at the University of Massachusetts studying Business. Outside of Her Campus, Avani loves participating in the Women in Business club. She enjoys working her part time job as an event coordinator with The Slumber Society Events. Her hobbies include working out, art, and traveling. You can find Avani writing about life as a college student, news in the media, and more!
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