It is about this time of the year that you start to think you need to take your diet seriously. Those Christmas pounds are still clinging to your hips, you are using the cold weather as an excuse to comfort eat and, with the days getting longer, spring is just around the corner as is less clothing to hide behind!
Being mum to a nine month old, I had always imagined that losing baby weight would be a clean trajectory downwards. Much like putting it on was. A steady 2-3 pound weight loss per week. I had even plotted out on my calendar what weight I would be by the end of the year. How wrong I was!
What’s worse than having two stone of baby weight to still take off? Adding another 5 pounds from Christmas.
I decided to give myself a break for the first few months of 2014 and enlist some professional help. There are literally dozens of diet meal delivery services for those seeking help. I was pleasantly surprised to have so many amazing choices for different budgets and taste buds. I would also argue that they are not all as expensive as you may think. For example, on Diet Chef, I actually spent less than I was spending during my weekly shop. In fairness I do shop at Waitrose.
It’s good to know that help is out there if you need it.
With London Fashion Week about to start, you can be sure to see more than a few models clutching their Radiance Cleanse bottles on the tube. Very popular with the A-list, Radiance is a lovely cleanse with fresh tasting juices. My skin looked brighter after just one day. It’s not for the faint of heart though, as it is juices only. I did the easiest one, their signature cleanse which includes a cashew milk juice with maple syrup and Himalayan pink salt which is divine. They have an all-greens juice cleanse for the hard-core. I would say don’t try to do this for more than 3 days unless you have the willpower of Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s also very pricey but it remains one of the most popular cleanses for a reason. I love that they have a ‘new mum’ box as a gift to give a friend who has just had or is expecting a baby – not as a stand alone cleanse but as a way to top up their meals with nutritious juices. A three-day juice cleanse is £215 , a five-day is £345. I didn’t lose too much as I cheated but that was on me.
Raw to Door
I couldn’t recommend this one more. I tried Rawtodoor’s “Raw Til 4”. This is a variety of fresh juices during the day and then a healthy meal at 4pm. I loved this because if I was feeling tired or just plain hungry I had a meal I knew was coming up to look forward to. And the juices were incredible –really delicious and I loved every single one of the dinners. The meals you get are plant-based meals and free from sugar, dairy, gluten and wheat. But they are so good. They are not afraid to use spices, which I loved. The company believes that while juice cleanses are great, they understand that a full-on juice cleanse isn’t for everyone. If you want to feel healthy, energetic and maybe even lose a few pounds, but a 100% juice cleanse isn’t for you, then the Raw Till 4 plan is a great alternative. Raw to Door cleanses start from £185 for three days. Each cleanse comes with (in addition to juices and meals) Pukka cleanse teas, Lipicol Pysillium Husks and Westlab epsom salt bath crystals. I lost 4 pounds in three days.
With the 5:2 diet plan being so popular at the moment, My Food makes it easy. I love it! Each week enjoy five 1200 calorie days, from three healthy meals with two days of 600 calorie fasting days, from three smaller meals.
Choose either red meat, poultry & fish or a vegetarian plan. The food is delicious, spicy with a nod to a variety of ethnic food tastes with things like Egg Fried rice, Turkey Biryani and Tortilla and Green Bean Salad. Really delicious. This one I really would do for a month based on taste, cost and how easy it was to stick to it. 28 days for £490.
Pure Package Japanese Body Boost
Pure heaven. Excellent quality Japanese-style eating; a healthy balance of delicious low calorie foods; and the food is so good for you that you get a lot of it. You are literally never hungry and feel like you’ve been eating at Zuma or Nobu. Packed with antioxidants and essential minerals this 3 day boost felt original, inventive and was utterly delicious. Things like a Brown Rice Salmon Sushi box for lunch and Miso Snapper for dinner. The noodles made from seaweed were a stroke of genius, and the prawns perfectly cooked. The only downside was that I could NOT handle the Miso soup with Shiitake Mushrooms in the morning but if you let them know they may be able to substitute something else. It’s pricey but if I could afford this I would happily do this indefinitely. £95 GBP for a three-day trial from Pure Package. I lost 3 pounds in three days.
The key word here is fresh. Every meal tasted like it had just come from a farm stand. Really, super-clean tasting food that is unprocessed and ethically sourced. A great variety of options like spelt pasta salad, as well as a healthy take on a classic coconut and almond curry. My only complaint here is that most of the items seemed under-seasoned to me. I was constantly reaching for the salt shaker and spice rack. If you love spicy food this is definitely not the one for you, on the other hand if you really want to eat clean and seasonally, give it a try. £23.99 per day for a three-day plan at 1200 cals per day or £19.99 per day – if you sign up for a Balance Box subscription plan. I lost 2 pounds in the week I tried it.
Good value, great food. From something like £6 per day. They give you breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack for each day of the week. Everything is calorie counted and portion controlled and the food is really good. I love the fact that unlike any of the other ones on here, I got to choose my own meals. And I can honestly say there was not one thing I tried I didn’t like. With 100 dishes to choose from I loved their Indian curries, Italian foods and Thai options – I really didn’t feel like I was on a diet, it was like super health takeaway. Most people lose around 2 pounds a week and I found this to be true. All Diet Chef meals can be stored in a cupboard so they didn’t monopolise my fridge. My husband, who was not dieting, loved them and has asked me to sign up again. The cost is £45 per week on the 12 week plan and totally worth it.