**Please Note : I am not a dietician or a doctor. What I am writing about is just my experiences and my opinions.**
I know you are probably thinking "Well no shit. I already knew that I have to lower my calories." Which is true... but did you realize by how much? The average calories that I consume a day while on NutriSystem is about 900-1000 calories a day.
Before you start thinking "There is no way I will be able to live off of 900 a day when I am suppose to have 2000 calories a day!" You are correct! Well, kind of... let me explain.
According to MyFitnessPal.com (a great app to download onto your Smartphone) if I wanted to just maintain my current weight, without exercise, I would need to consume 2080 calories a day. That means... eating more than 2080 = gain weight; eating less than 2080 = lose weight.
What NutriSystem does is safely lower your daily caloric intake whiles still providing you with the nutrients that you need. Your body will start to slowly start using your fat for energy and that is how you lose weight.
I saw my doctor after starting this diet to get his opinion on these types of diets and he had a positive response about it. He mentioned that weight lose isn't about exercising (even though exercising helps many other aspects of your health it is not needed for weight lose). He said it is all about calories in and calories out. Don't mistake this as advise to eat just cheese and water because that is the wrong way to lower calories. The way NutriSystem's lower calorie count work is that is does so while still providing you with daily nutrients and doesn't trigger your body into starvation. EATING TOO FEW CALORIES will put your body into starvation and you may not even lose weight.
Eating fewer calories isn't permanent. You are only suppose to stick with it until you have lost the weight you desired. Once you reach your healthy goal weight, then you increase your calories to a level that will sustain your weight. In my case it will be ~2080 calories per day. Which doubles my current calories... yum yum.
Keep in mind that you do not have to go as low as ~1000 a day to lose weight. Since I just need to eat 2080 calories a day to stay the same, then anything less than 2080 will drop my weight. The more I drop my calories, safely, the faster I will lose the weight. Eating ~1500 calories will still get me to where I want to be, it will just take me longer. NutriSystem even mentioned optional additions you can have with your meals (adding a dairy, vegetable, etc). They are just optional. You can find your comfort level and stick with it.
So in the end you are right... you do not want to live the rest of your life eating only ~1000 calories a day. Just lower your caloric intake until you lose the weight you want. If you are worried about what is a safe level, see your doctor.
* This is designed for someone who does not exercise. If you are a very active person (such as a runner) you will need to increase your daily caloric intake to make up for your exercising. Why? Because your body needs calories to burn for daily use. Having too low of a caloric intake will lead to starvation and fatigue.
** Using an app like MyFitnessPal.com is a great way to track your calories to make sure you don't go too high or too low.
Hope this helps :)
Next Up will be Portion Control.