This past year I watched a friend of mine lose thirty pounds using Nutrisystem. Compared to me, she looked great before dieting. Now, she looks like a Barbie Doll. I still look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man’s twin sister.


I’ve been walking around in this fat suit for a few years now. I’ve become quite accustomed to it. I’m even comfortable in it. After all, I’ve already paid for the wardrobe  and it seems like a lot of time, effort, and money to have to change. Anyway, that’s what I’ve been telling myself, lo these many years.

But the time has come.

We went on a winter vacation down to New Orleans. Had fun. Ate our way through that part of the south. I gained ten pounds to my already ridiculously overweight body. I could barely walk five blocks without having to stop and rest, and the last night of our vacation, I seriously thought I was having a heart attack. My arm and jaw still hurt the entire next day. It was time to either make peace with leaving the earth, or make some kind of effort to live.

I’d ordered Nutrisystem right before we left for our seven-day vacation. I knew it would be waiting for me when I got home. It was the perfect time for me to re-start my life and get control of my weight. I’d had two days of feeling worried about my heart and health, then I came down with a stomach flu which gave me cramps and a need to race to the bathroom every time I drank water, so yes… minimal food intake was something I was even looking forward to.

Today is day-four using Nutrisystem. This first week is a jump-start where I’m getting 1,000 calories or there-abouts each day. I’m doing fine, although I always feel a little hungry, which isn’t killing me. I’m hoping I can get to a point where feeling a little hungry feels good. I’ve been running on full for way too long.

The funny thing is the portions. Seeing them makes everything so black and white. I look at the tiny little ½ cup of stew in the package I get for lunch and think… well, no wonder I’m fat. This is smaller than most appetizers I eat. Do they fill me up? Well, for about an hour. If I eat some vegetables with it… and I can have as many non-starchy veggies as I want, I can certainly get two or three hours out of that little serving. I’m assuming there are some nutrients and vitamins in the prepackaged entrees that keep me going. I’m willing to trust it. But yes, after a few hours, I kind of need another meal.

Not to worry! With Nutrisystem, you eat six times a day and drink a horse tank full of water! The water seems like a huge pain the ass, but the six little meals are needed. A basic day can look a lot of different ways (this first week). It might be a muffin or a power bar or a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Then a turbo shake which by no means should be compared side-by-side with a milkshake, but I’ve come to enjoy them quite a bit. Lunch might be a lunch power-bar, or a little bowl of stew. Then half way between lunch and dinner, I have a crunch bar… yet another kind of power bar. I usually cave around 4:30 and have ½ cup of carrots, and that’s fine. Then supper comes along and I get a package of maybe Rotini with meatballs, or a little pizza. Something warm. With that, I eat whatever vegetables I have on hand, like green beans or cabbage or pea pods. I sauté them and eat them with the meal. Oh, and I really fill my plate with the veggies, almost to the point I’m tired of eating them before I finish my meal. But again… the program encourages that. There is no limit on non-starchy veggies.

This first week, that’s all I get, and I’m doing just fine with it. I don’t know what next week will bring, but I assume I’ll be able to add in a little more here and there along the way. I’m looking forward to fruit… never thought I’d type those words… and I’m eager to keep trying the different entrees they have.

And that brings me to the point where I have to say I really like this program so far. It’s hard to change the way a person cooks/prepares food, and the prepackaged meals which are labeled: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, take all of the worry of meal planning out of the equation. That’s the most difficult part of adjusting how one eats, at least for me.

I’m obviously not a person who craves veggies, fruit and salads, nor do I enjoy cooking low-calorie foods. And I love to cook and create, but I do it with cream and cheese and butter and pasta! Can I make a lean Chile? Probably. But my instincts want to use sausage and hamburger and refried beans to make it nice and thick… oh… and then I want to serve it with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of cheddar, and some chopped green onions! Then I’ll want to have seconds because it’s so goooooood!

I think I just identified my problem. It’s not that I like to cook. It’s not that food tastes better when fatty foods are part of their creation (it does, of course!). It’s that I’ve got no damned self-control! I’m a brat who needs to be told “NO!” and then redirected to something more positive. Eating is the easy way to make myself feel better. It’s the band-aid for boredom and anger and sadness and joy and worry and self-loathing and exhaustion and it’ll never be something I can quit altogether. I have to eat. Every day. We all do.

So, yeah. I have to find self-control and that’s something I’m not too good at. I can do it… but I have to dig really deep. Maybe Nutrisystem can help me do that. So, wish me luck. So far so good. Oh, and I’m 6 lbs down, but then again, I was 10 pounds over, so I guess I’m still climbing up hill, but hey… at least I’m climbing.

Sundays at Red Path — Tamsen Butler

Seward, Nebraska, January 15, 2017: Red Path owner, Jeanne Wiemer and Nebraska Writers Guild member, Gina Barlean, have partnered to bring three great things together to make a year’s worth of events: The Red Path Gallery & Tasting Room, The Nebraska Writers Guild, and Nebraska Authors!

This will be a monthly event throughout 2017, on the third Sunday of each month (except for Easter and Father’s Day, in which the event will be on the following Sunday.) Each of these Sunday NWG Author events will begin at 1:30pm with a half hour reception where you can buy something to drink from the Red Path Gallery while you mingle with friends and meet the author who will be speaking. The author (and on some Sundays, two authors) will speak from 2pm to 3pm. There is no charge to attend these events.

About The Red Path Gallery, and Nebraska Writers Guild: Red Path Gallery & Tasting Room is located on the Historic Downtown Square in Seward, Nebraska.  Built as a bank in 1886, the space was converted in 1951 into a law firm – the oldest in Nebraska. Through a labor of love, original architectural features were uncovered, and the historic building was renovated and transformed into an art gallery and wine tasting room. The Nebraska Writers Guild was founded in 1925; its charter members included Bess Streeter Aldrich, Mari Sandoz, and Willa Cather. Today’s NWG members represent a lively cross-section of Nebraska life. Guild activities center on two annual conferences. Novelists and historians, poets and journalists, agents and publishers, screenwriter, editors and columnists ­ all have shared their insights on the art (and business) of writing at these conferences.

If you enjoy art, a nice glass of wine or non-alcoholic beverage, are looking for something to do on a Sunday afternoon, love to read and learn about new authors, wish to support the arts in Nebraska, or just want to learn more about the Nebraska Writers Guild… please come!

This is the poster for the first event. Our NWG author will be Tamsen Butler of Omaha. She’s funny, smart, and a great speaker. She teaches about public speaking, using humor in public speaking, and is proof that one can recover from a stroke and continue a very full life! Tamsen’s writing career focuses on financial help books, which will be available for sale. Please visit Tamsen’s website at tamsenbutler.com