Fit by 40 // The weight loss diaries (Day 111-149)

Fit by 40 weight loss diaries

Here’s the latest instalment in my weight loss diaries – I’m now up to 149 days and 30 lbs lost. There are a few of my diary updates from September and then I’ll bring you up to date with what’s been going on for the last month, and where I go from here.You can read the rest of my Fit by 40 posts here. Read more

Fit by 40 // The weight loss diaries (Day 83-102)

Here’s the latest instalment in my weight loss diaries – I’m now up to 102 days and 25 lb loss. This is how I’ve been  feeling for the last three weeks or so and how I’m trying to plan for what is still to come. I’ve also included a little video of what I eat in a typical day following the Shake That Weight Woman with Meal plan. You can read the rest of my Fit by 40 posts here. Read more

Shake That Weight // The results after 4 weeks

Shake That Weight banana shake

Four weeks ago I started the Shake That Weight diet – I followed the Woman with Meal plan which involved having three Shake That Weight products and one 400 calorie meal a day. There are other plans depending on your weight and lifestyle and there’s a handy tool on the website to help you choose. You can also read more about Shake That Weight on my previous post.

So what did I think of Shake That Weight and how did I get on?

I ordered a selection of different products to try and there were plenty to choose from. Ordering was easy and I liked how the website tells you how many days worth of products you have in your basket. It also lets you know how many more products you need to add to take advantage of the Buy More, Save More offers. Read more

Review: Certaslim meal replacement diet

I’ve mentioned before that I have done a few different meal replacement diets and although they’re not for everyone I have always found them a relatively easy way to lose weight, and to lose weight quickly. Of course if you go back to your previous way of eating after then the weight will come back but they are good way to boost your weight loss if you are planning a lifestyle change, and they can also be very useful if you have a lot of weight to lose.

Certaslim boxes

I hadn’t heard of Certaslim until they got in touch and asked if I would like to have a two week trial of their products. Certaslim has several different plans, some of which include ‘real’ food and some don’t. The plans are designed so you can switch between them, rather than coming off the plan altogether so that it is easier to make it fit in with your lifestyle.

I chose the Boost plan which is a complete meal replacement plan. The other plans are Rapid, Flex, For Life and even D2 which is for people with diabetes or who want to control their blood sugar for some other reason.

Unlike some other diets I have tried which only have three meal replacements each day, Certaslim Boost has four meal replacements and one snack. I chose a mixture of shakes, soups and meals, and I also tried some of the Certaslim snacks.

Getting started

I ordered all of my Certaslim products online. It was very easy to do – you just choose which program you want to follow and for how long and the online shopping cart shows you how many products you need to choose. You can also add individual products if you like but it is cheaper to buy several weeks in one go. The products arrived quickly and were well packaged in Certaslim boxes. These were also very handy to store the products while I was following the plan.

A selection of Certaslim products

As well as the option to order online Certaslim also has consultants who run groups where you can be weighed and get support. You can also purchase the Certaslim products directly from one of these consultants.

What were the Certaslim products like?

I tried all of the shake flavours (of which there are nine) and I liked most of them. I wasn’t keen on the hazelnut, caffé latte or chocolate orange flavours but that’s really just down to my personal taste. I found all the shakes mixed well, some seemed thicker than others but I didn’t have any problems with them. I always use a stick blender to mix my shakes and would definitely recommend it over just using a shaker.

I also tried the tomato, vegetable, chicken and mushroom soups. Again, I liked all of these but I think I the chicken was probably my favourite out of all of them. I tended to have soup at lunch times and accompany it with a small side salad which counted as my snack for the day.

Certaslim tomato soup and side salad

There are also some meal options, although perhaps not so many as with some other diet programs. I tried the Apple and Cinnamon porridge which was OK but more like porridge soup than actual porridge! I also tried the Savoury Cottage Pie which wasn’t too bad – a bit like instant mash with a few bits of soya protein in it. Lastly from the meals I had the Italian Style Carbonara Twist – despite containing real pasta which was reasonably palatable I really wasn’t a fan of the sauce and again the soya pieces. I suppose it is a matter of taste and I guess some people like these product or they wouldn’t make them but whenever I do this kind of diet I always find the meals disappointing and wish I had just stuck to shakes and soups.

Italian Style Carbonara Twist

For the snacks I tried the Salt & Vinegar and Cheese & Onion Incredi-crisps which were…odd, is the only way I can describe them. They weren’t unpleasant but they just tasted a bit weird as they are made from some sort or soya protein rather than potatoes. To be honest I think if I can’t have actual crisps I’d rather not have something that is pretending to be crisps either!

Salt and vinegar Incredi-Crisps

I did have a couple of the snack bars too – Chocolate, and Lemon Crunch and they were both quite pleasant. However, there is also a list of ‘real’ foods that you can have as snacks (fruit and veg, small portions of meat, eggs, low fat cheese etc) and I think if I were continuing the Certaslim program long term I would stick to snacks from this list.

Did it work?

Of course the big question – did I lose any weight? I did! In the first week I lost 6 lb and then another 2 lb in the second week. It is common with these sort of meal replacement diets to have a big loss in the first week and then for weight loss to slow down. If I were continuing the program I would probably expect to lose 2-4 lbs per week after the initial loss.

Was it hard to stick to the plan?

Not really. Of course I knew I was only going to be following the Certaslim program for two weeks but I think it would be relatively easy to sustain long term. Having four meal replacements and a snack every day means you don’t have time to get hungry. You also have a daily milk allowance and can have one tablespoon of oil and some condiments (handy for making salad dressings). If anything the only problem I had was finding enough time in the day to fit in everything I was supposed to be eating! Since finishing my two week Certaslim trial three weeks ago I have kept this weight off and managed to lose a bit more too. People often think that the weight will go straight back on once you stop this kind of diet but that isn’t necessarily the case.

Would I recommend it?

If you are looking for a meal replacement diet then Certaslim is definitely easy to follow and there are good selection of products available. There also seems to be a good amount of support available, either through the website or one of the local consultants. The Rapid and Boost programs cost around £8 per day depending on how many products you order in one go. This isn’t particularly cheap but I think it is a similar price to most meal replacement diets out there. If you want a pretty much guaranteed way of losing weight without worrying about counting calories or planning meals then Certaslim could be for you.

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

We're going on an adventure

Review: Exante Diet

UPDATE: I wrote this post back in 2014 – you’ll still find it useful if you are considering following the Exante Diet Total Solution. But, you can also pop over to my latest post to find out about the Flexi Solution AND get a discount code for 30% off the whole of the Exante range.

I was given the chance to try Exante Diet for a week and it seemed like a good opportunity to give my weight loss a boost, especially after the excesses of Christmas! Exante Diet is a meal replacement diet (also known as a VLCD or very low calorie diet). All conventional food is replaced by three food packs per day (if you are following the Total Solution) – giving you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals in only 600 calories. Now I know a lot of people don’t agree with meal replacement diets and to be honest although I have used them before successfully I don’t think I would do one again long term as I am trying to establish a healthy, mindful attitude to food. That said, they do work if followed correctly so I am writing this review assuming you have already chosen to do a meal replacement diet and are just looking at the options available.

Exante diet

The Details

Exante DietExante Diet is a purely online product. That means there are no weekly weigh ins and no counselling sessions to attend (unlike some other VLCDs). I suppose it depends on you whether you think that is a good thing or not! They also claim to be the cheapest meal replacement diet in the UK. Individual food packs retail at £2.58 but there are big discounts when you buy in bulk. There is quite a variety of food packs available; Shakes come in six flavours, there are four different soups, seven ready meals (including porridge) and four different bars. You can have any combination of these each day. There are also flavourings that you can add to water available.

>There are then three different diet plans to choose from; Total Solution (three food packs a day), Working Solution (three food packs plus 400 calorie low carbohydrate, high protein meal a day) or Simple Solution (three food packs plus 600 calorie meal). The plan you choose depends on your BMI and any pre-existing medical conditions. There is plenty of advice on the website to help you decide which plan is right for you.

The Pros

  • It works! If you follow any VLCD without cheating it will work and you will lose weight, probably more quickly than you would following any other diet. Also, because the diet puts you into a state of ketosis (where the body starts using its fat stores for energy) you won’t feel hungry.
  • It’s simple. There’s no need to count calories or points. If you are following the total solution then there’s no need to make any choices about food other than which food pack to have. Once you have tried the different products you can choose the ones you like and stick with those.
  • It’s cheap. If you choose the bumper 4 week pack it works out at £27.09 a week. I don’t know about you but I definitely spend more than that on my usual weekly shop.
  • It’s convenient. You can order all your food packs from the comfort of your sofa and have them delivered to your door.
  • There is quite a lot of variety in the different food packs. I liked all the shake flavours (I definitely recommend using a hand blender to mix them though), the vegetable and mushroom soups were also quite nice and didn’t really taste like a diet product, and the chocolate bar was very chocolately and almost fudgy, again not something you would expect from a diet product.
  • With Exante Diet there are no weekly weigh ins or group sessions to attend (if you consider this a plus point).
  • There is lots of information on the website – details about how the diet works, tips for weight loss and keeping the weight off, success stories, recipes (if you are following the Working or Simple Solution), and also a forum to speak to others following the diet.
  • It works! Seriously, if you follow the diet to the letter it is foolproof and that has to be the biggest positive about it.

The Cons

  • It’s boring. Although with Exante Diet there are quite a variety of products, in my experience, you will find a few that you like and stick with those. If you have a lot of weight to lose you will need to follow the diet for a while and lack of ‘proper’ food can get boring after a while.
  • It doesn’t really encourage you to change your eating habits in the long term and so there is a danger that you will put the weight back on when you return to conventional food. A programme such as Lighter Life (which I also have experience of) includes counselling sessions which aim to help you work out why you have put on weight in the first place and help you to keep it off in future. There is no such support from Exante Diet.
  • I found most of the ready meals rather unpalatable! They all smell quite nice, and the first few fork fulls are OK but then they just…aren’t very pleasant. I think it’s the texture more than the taste – all the ready meals are made with soya protein and it just feels a bit spongey in your mouth. The spaghetti bolognese was OK and the mushroom risotto looked worse than in tasted but I really didn’t like the curry and ended up not eating it. The red berry bar had to be the worst of everything I tried though. I actually ended up throwing some of it away!

The Verdict

If you just want to follow a meal replacement diet and don’t want to attend weekly weigh ins or group sessions then it seems to me that Exante Diet is as good a choice as any. Personally, I didn’t like some of the products, but I’ve read opinions of others on the Exante forum saying they like them so maybe it’s just down to individual taste. I did like the shakes, and if I was choosing this sort of diet in the longer term I would stick with shakes anyway. I find it easier to avoid food altogether on this kind of diet rather than eat something vaguely reminiscent of a ‘proper’ meal but nowhere near as nice!

Despite any reservations I had about the diet, most importantly I lost weight. So lastly, here are the all important figures, I’ll let them speak for themselves…

BeforeAfterLoss

Weight 13st 2.4lb 12st 10.4lb 6lb
Waist 34.5 inches 33 inches 1.5 inches
Hips 43 inches 42 inches 1 inch
Bust 40 inches 39.5 inches 0.5 inch

 

March 2016

Since writing this review Exante now have lots more products and different plans available. I recently tried the Complete 5:2 Diet Plan for two weeks and you can read about it here.

 

**Disclaimer: I was sent one week’s supply of Exante diet products in order to write this review. However, all opinions are my own.

**This post contains an affiliate link – I will receive a small commission on any purchases you make after clicking on this link but you will not be charged any more.