Before you judge me, I put on a lot of weight recently, and needed something extra to shed those pounds. I’d been calorie counting and going to the gym semi-regularly, but kept losing my motivation, resulting in unhealthy binges and not really knowing, or caring what I was eating. This led to my weight staying constant and not budging from the overweight line on the BMI chart. I’d seen a few adverts for SlimFast on TV, liking the idea that they offered proper food now as well as just the shakes and bars, so one week, I just decided, hey, I’ll give it a go and see what happens. The meal plan itself is pretty simple. 3 snacks, 2 meal replacements, and one 600 cal meal of your choice. After several weeks, I can confirm that it works, but there’s a few things I’ve learned on my weight loss journey.
Oh boy does the weekly food shop rack up. the noodle boxes alone are £2.99 each in most places; and I have these for lunch every day. My attitude towards this is that it’s not forever, as once I’ve lost the weight, I’ll be more motivated to continue my calorie counting without SlimFast as a crutch. And the food bills will go down again. Also, you can’t put a price on your health. I want to be in the healthy BMI Bracket, so I need to lose weight, whatever the cost. I’d rather spend a bit now than my weight costing me years of my life (or the NHS’s money) in the future.
You’ll go through a LOT of milk!
If you have the shakes as your meal replacements instead of the bars (which is cheaper) then you’ll drink a pint of skimmed milk a day. The high protein content of the SlimFast diet is designed to keep hunger at bay, and to be honest, aside from when I’ve been hormonal and had a few cravings at that time of the month (who doesn’t?) I haven’t actually found myself longing for food like I thought I would.
The nutritional value and ingredients are not that bad (I swear).
So many people on forums bang on about the high sugar content of the shakes, but I did a lot of research before I decided to go for this, and the sugar content is a lot lower than eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and a curry for dinner, which is what my usual diet consisted of. There are a few more chemicals in the standard shakes than there are in the SlimFast Vitality shakes (which are more expensive), but after researching, I found that most standard microwave meals contain the same chemicals. There is also no refined sugar, and no added salt in the noodle boxes – which are by far more healthy than any of the other things in the diet. The other thing a lot of people have mentioned is the low fibre content. I made this a whole lot more simple, by adding a handful of fruit to my shake.
Don’t count fruits or veggies when snacking.
This is why I don’t feel hungry. I snack on peaches, apples, carrot sticks, celery, cucumber, tomatoes, grapes, blueberries and many other high fibre, low-calorie goodies throughout the day. If you avoid the higher calorie fruits like bananas and avocados, how much weight can you really put on eating a few grapes and a celery stick throughout the day? Especially if you are staying pretty active like I try to.
It takes a little while for your body to adjust.
I went through three horrible days of bloating, wind and general discomfort. I was ready to give up by day three, but then it all seemed to fall into place on the fourth day and my body was used to the different diet. I suffer from IBS, so I knew I’d have some kind of adverse side effects, but if you are thinking of doing this and you’re unsure, consult with your GP first.
It’s totally OK to have a “Cheat Day”.
By “Cheat day, I do not mean a full english breakfast, McDonald’s for lunch and a Chinese Takeaway for dinner. I mean, eat solid “Normal” foods for a day. Make sure they are relatively healthy and that you stay under 2000 calories, and every couple of weeks a “cheat day” can be a nice treat. I tend to make my cheat days the one’s where I’m going to be out for dinner, so I can still have a life without worrying about my diet constantly.
The Noodle boxes are AMAZING!
They are so low in calories thanks to an old favourite of mine – Konjac. Google it. It’s a really weird, low-calorie, low carb, high fibre substance from the Konjac plant from Asia, that is added to water to form a jelly that can be moulded into noodles, or sometimes “rice” and pasta. A lot of people have been really unsatisfied with the noodle boxes because they were expecting real wheat noodles – which would make the boxes around 250 cals – oh yeah, I’ve done my research. Because I’d been trying to incorporate this stuff into my diet before I started SlimFast (Eat Water is the most well-known supplier of Konjac Pasta, Noodles and Rice), I knew what the texture of the noodles would be like (a little rubbery, completely tasteless without sauces, and more chewy than regular noodles, if you’re wondering), but there have clearly been some naive, uneducated people saying the noodles taste “fake”. Once you get used to the texture, the ingredients of the sauces are all pretty natural. No added salt, just lots of herbs, spices, veggies and dehydrated meat.
It’s easier than calorie counting alone.
The only thing you have to count is your 600 calorie meal – which can be any meal of the day, so long as you substitute your two other meals with shakes or bars. My meal plan tends to go something like this:
Breakfast: SlimFast Porridge & Piece of fruit
Snack: Shake & Piece of Fruit / Veg
Lunch: Noodle Box & Piece of Fruit / Veg
Snack: Shake & Piece of Fruit / Veg
Dinner: 600 cal Meal
Snack: SlimFast Snack Bar
My reason for this plan is that then I can eat the same thing as my Fiance in the evening, so we can sit down together and have a normal routine. I have my shakes as snacks, because I find that my snacking is where I was getting the most hungry (Around 11am and 3pm) so the more calories I can intake there, the better. Plus the shakes are the main protein source so having these at the hungry times is a way of keeping those hunger pangs at bay.
Remember to drink plenty!
4 pints / 2 litres of water a day! I do this religiously anyway, but when you’re dieting it’s essential that you do this because it helps your body work a it’s full potential to flush out the fat. A way of doing this successfully is a pint every 2 hours between 9am and 5pm (or a half pint every hour). I even set reminders on my phone to keep me running to the tap. Yes, it keeps you running for the loo as well, but it will help you feel less tired, reduce your chance of headaches, cravings and hangovers and also make your skin brighter and keep your gut healthy too.
Tiredness – Gone!
So as I mentioned above, I have been drinking the shakes at snack times, and because of the high protein content, they have alleviated my afternoon tiredness. It’s a positive side effect I would have never expected, but I’m certainly enjoying it.
Mixing the flavours was a game changer.
Because I take both of my shakes to work with me, I found it easier to take just one big bottle. I used to just have a pint of one flavour shake, but then I decided I’d try mixing it up. I mixed the raspberry vitality shake with the summer strawberry shake, and had a summer berry flavour. Next I tried blissful banana with salted caramel – hey presto! Banoffee! Banana and chocolate. Strawberry and Vanilla. Raspberry and Banana. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination. If you’re also adding a handful of fruit to your shake, try mixing up the flavours there too. It’s been a fun thing to try each morning to see what combinations work and what don’t. It helps people with a short attention span stay interested in the diet, which is good, as after eight weeks, I’ve decided to carry on for a few more.
There are some cheaper substitutes.
I know I said above you can’t put a price on your health, but last week, I did decide to try Asda’s “Great Shape” range, which is a copycat of the SlimFast diet. I was a little dubious that they’d scrimp on the flavour and it’d be pumped with chemicals, but it’s not bad, and measures up nutritionally to the standard SlimFast shakes pretty well. I think I’ll be sneaking in a few more lower value “own brand” items to see if I can get the cost down a little, even if not a lot.
Watching the pounds fall off week by week has been incredible.
The moment I’ll bet everyone has been waiting for. How much have I lost? A grand total of 10lbs in eight weeks. I am chuffed with that result, but still have a few more to lose to get to my healthy target weight, so I’ll stick with SlimFast for a little while longer as it’s proven to be successful, and pretty easy to stick to.
Some final thoughts:
I think the trick to making a diet work for you, is actually making it work for you. If you keep in mind the vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body needs, and research what you’re undertaking, there’s no reason any diet can’t work for you on some level. I am so proud of my journey, and I am actually no longer dreading stepping on the scales each week now.
SlimFast – It really does work for me!
Have you tried SlimFast? What did you lose? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!