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Back To Learning, Back To Eating Right

Fall's just around the corner.

Am I the only person who gains weight in the summer?

Summer goodies are my weakness, which isn't helped by all three of my kids having summer birthdays (my fault). I'm constantly tempted by endless birthday cakes and candy.

On top of that, my husband is a teacher, so since we're all off for the summer, we completely let loose– especially with food.

In addition to finding food for a family of five that everybody likes (we eat A LOT of mac'n'cheese), I'm filling up on chips, dip and cupcakes at picnics, family cookouts, and countless BBQs.

Now that summer is finally coming to an end, it's "Back to Learning" season. Whether schools decide to go virtual or in-person, September always means routine, and that's exactly what we all need–especially me!

For the past few years, I've been putting on weight, and every attempt to lose it has seemed to fail. I hate calorie counting or saying goodbye to carbs, and don't even get me started about preparing meals. I don't even remember how to cook a healthy meal in a normal portion for just me. So, I decided to sign up for Nutrisystem–a program that teaches you about the principles of portion control. It was my first step in achieving a healthier routine.

For years, I've been devouring whatever is in front of me, so I needed to retrain my mind and body. That's how Nutrisystem works–they send pre-packaged, individually-portioned meals that you just heat up and eat. I considered a number of weight loss programs, but Nutrisystem advocates eating six times a day, so you don't feel deprived. I figured it was something I could handle with my busy lifestyle.

Before my food arrived, I finished the last ice cream sundae in the freezer, so I had plenty of room and was ready to go. For my first dinner, when all three kids were at sports practice, I heated up a Chicken & Bacon Ranch Pizza- it was so yummy! And what other diet lets you eat pizza?

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Nutrisystem doesn't cut out any food groups, so I can eat pasta, bread, ice cream, and even mac'n'cheese! The difference is that my meals are perfectly portioned, and my diet is now high in fiber, so I'm providing my body with what it needs while not overfilling it.

Also, exercise isn't a required part of the plan. You can work out if you want, but I personally don't have the time–running around after the little ones is enough. With Nutrisystem, I can hit my goals without extra hours at the gym anyway.

After two weeks, I was back in my favorite black cocktail dress and my beat-up old jeans. I was feeling great! Before Nutrisystem, I spent every summer mindlessly eating out of habit. I don't even like cake that much– it was always because it was there!

Eating six times a day has been life-changing. I'm at a point where some of my meals are from Nutrisystem, and some meals are made at home–I can even enjoy takeout from our favorite restaurants with my family.

When all five of us are together, I have no shame in ordering takeout so I don't have to cook. I'm armed with more knowledge about the right food options that will sustain me, so I stick to my healthy lifestyle and won't be tempted by junk later.

Focusing on myself is the best thing I have done in years. Nutrisystem has trained me to know when I'm full and avoid overeating. I was able to lose weight, and I'm confident for the first time, in a long time, that this isn't fleeting.

The meals give much more structure to my days and have freed up my time to get the kids back into a healthy routine, too, just in time for loads of school learning. And I love all the energy I have so that I can be the best mom possible for my kids!

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