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Operation shift the baby weight – three month update

Malteaser bunny

Another monthly update on my weight loss progress. After a fantastic start to the month when I did Exante Diet for a week and lost 6lbs things haven’t been going particularly well on the healthy eating and weight loss front. I know there aren’t any excuses but this miserable weather has really not been helping matters. I’m still planning our meals every week which is brilliant. It saves me having to think what to cook every night, and it has helped reduce our food shopping bills this month. However, I have had a bit of an unhealthy obsession with Malteaser Bunnies and have just been eating far too much chocolate. I need to refocus and get back on track next month. I was doing so well before Christmas, it would be stupid to let that go to waste now. So the plan for the next month – get back to tracking calories on My Fitness Pal and cut down on the chocolate!

So time for the stats: (Figures in brackets are my original starting weights and measurements):

Weight: 12st 11lb (13st 8lb) – lost 11lb

Waist: 33.5 inches (37 inches) – lost 3.5 inches

Hips: 43 inches (45.5 inches) – lost 2.5 inches

Bust: 40 inches (42 inches) – lost 2 inch

I’m not overly pleased with this but things are still moving in the right direction. So, to next month. Onwards and upwards!

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3

Review: Exante Diet

Exante diet

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.

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…

Before After Loss
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

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

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3

Operation shift the baby weight – two month update

This is just a quick update on my weight loss progress. What with Christmas and visiting family (and my mother-in-law-who-makes-all-the-cakes) I was expecting a bit of a disaster this month. Despite my best intentions not to go crazy over the festive period I managed to consume quite a lot of chocolate (and wine!) but actually it’s not looking too bad as far as the numbers go. Since last months update I managed to lose 2lbs, put 3lbs on over Christmas, and then lose 2lbs again in the last week – so if you’re following the maths that leaves me 1lb down overall. And I’m calling that a win!

So time for the stats: (Figures in brackets are my original starting weights and measurements):

Weight: 13st 2lb (13st 8lb) – lost 6lb

Waist: 34.5 inches (37 inches) – lost 2.5 inches

Hips: 43 inches (45.5 inches) – lost 2.5 inches

Bust: 40 inches (42 inches) – lost 2 inch

So far so good. Now although my long term goal is to improve my general eating habits without being on a diet I’ve been given the chance to try a meal replacement diet (Extante Diet) for a week which I’ll be doing next week and blogging about when I’m done. Hopefully it will just give me a bit of a post Christmas boost so I can then carry on with my sensible and balanced eating.

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0

Operation shift the baby weight – one month update

A month ago I decided it was time to start doing something about losing the 3 stone I put on while pregnant with Toby. After a four month experiment (i.e. just eating whatever I fancied) it turned out that it wasn’t going to disappear on its own!

So, how are things going? Very well I’d say! I’ve been using the My Fitness Pal app to monitor my calorie intake. It’s really easy to use – there is a massive database of any kind of food you could think of including branded and supermarket own brand products. You just search for what you need, or you can even scan the barcode if you’re using a smartphone, and add it to your daily diary. Only once was I not able to find the product I was looking for but then it’s easy to add the nutritional information yourself and that also makes it available for other people to search. You can also save a meal which is a really handy feature for me – we only have about a dozen evening meals that we eat regularly so once they have been entered the first time I can just copy the whole meal. You can also use the app to keep track of any exercise you do and the calories burned are added to your daily allowance.

So using the app I have kept track of what I have been eating and I have to say I really don’t feel like I’m on a diet – which was my aim all along. I have had plenty of treats this month – there’s been cake, chocolate and even a glass or two of wine!

And so to the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

Here’s the progress I’ve made (I’ve included my starting point in brackets):

Weight: 13st 3lb (13st 8lb) – lost 5lb

Waist: 35 inches (37 inches) – lost 2 inches

Hips: 44inches (45.5 inches) – lost 1.5 inches

Bust: 41 inches (42 inches) – lost 1 inch

I’m really happy with how I’ve done so far. But now I have Christmas to negotiate so we’ll have to wait and see what next month’s update looks like!

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4

Let the battle commence! (Or ‘Time to shift the baby weight’)

I’ve battled with my weight since my teens. I wrote about it quite a lot on my other blog in my pre-baby days.

My weight issues explained
Up the ladder
And down the snake
The pre-wedding plan

So essentially, before I met the Mr I lost 3 stone with Lighter Life. I then put some of it back on, lost some again in time for our wedding and then put more back on (with the help of a three week honeymoon in America!). And then I got pregnant…

36 weeks pregnant

My massive baby bump

For the first three months of pregnancy I felt sick constantly. I was only actually sick twice so I count myself as one of the lucky ones, but the only way to ease the nausea was to eat. And eat I did. Then the nausea went away but I kept eating. I loved my pregnant body. For the first time in a lot of years I was proud to show off my tummy. But for the first time in years I also ate whatever I wanted without feeling guilty about it. With the result I put on 3 stone over the course of my pregnancy (and I was already a stone over my ‘happy weight’ before I started!). As you can see from the picture I got pretty big – everyone was convinced I was going to have a massive baby but in the end he was only 6lb 10oz.

I lost a stone over night when I gave birth but that was 4 months ago and I still weigh the same now.

I think 4 months is long enough for my ‘I’ve just had a baby, I don’t need to lose weight yet’ rational so the time has come to start doing something about it. I always say that my problem isn’t what I eat for my meals (apart from the not-so-occasional-lately take-away) but all the chocolate that I eat inbetween. Being on maternity leave has also seemed to include a lot more cake than before too!

So, here’s the plan. I need a bit of motivation so I’m going to post my progress here each month. I’m not going to go on any crazy diet (I’ve done enough of those in my time) and I’m not going to turn to an organised weight loss group (although I’ve done those before too). I’m just going to be sensible with what I eat and I’ve downloaded the free My Fitness Pal app to keep track of my daily calorie intake and any exercise I do.

So here’s my starting stats:

Weight: 13st 8lb (That actually makes me feel a bit sick to type)

Waist: 37 inches

Hips: 45.5 inches

Bust: 42 inches

Let the battle commence – wish me luck!

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