Up until this year I’d always dismissed the idea of calorie counting. My approach to weight control has always been to just eat well most of the time and then allow myself some naughty cheat days in moderation when needed.
Earlier this year, however, I was going through a bit of a tough time and suddenly all of my resolve went out of the window. I rapidly lost half a stone and when I got my appetite back put it back on just as quickly and not in a good way. I was being lazy, eating takeaways and lots of sugar and carbs and it just left me craving more.
For the first time in my life I decided that I needed some help to put some structure and control around my diet so I accepted an invite from Protein World to take part in their 30 Day Challenge – a lifestyle plan based around their Slender Blend Protein powders.
Here’s how I got on!
So what is the Protein World 30 Day Challenge? Well, it’s a 30 day weight loss programme based on the following guidelines for women:
You can buy the Slender Blend protein powder on it’s own or as part of a package of complimentary Slender Plan products for a reduced price. I received:
The Slender Blend vanilla protein powder surprised me by tasting really good! I mix it with 250ml cold water if I’m out and about but if I’m at home I blend in a handful of frozen strawberries which bulks it out so that it fills a whole jar. Either way the shakes are nice and filling and keep me going until lunchtime which I wasn’t expecting if I’m honest.
The porridge is good too although as this needs to be cooked on the hob I only tend to eat it on weekends when I have a bit more time. My preference is the chocolate flavoured version.
I’ve also tried the overnight oats peanut butter recipe from Protein World’s online recipe store. It doesn’t look all that appetising but tastes seriously scrumptious! The only downside is that the calories are on the high side for what I’d usually allow myself for my breakfast.
I found it difficult to stick to the plan to the letter but understood the general principle so I adapted it to suit my busy lifestyle. I was supposed to take the capsules every day but they remain unopened in my cupboard as I wanted to achieve any weight loss in a natural way. I also haven’t followed the exercise plans so I haven’t really toned up at all!
To counteract my lack of exercise I aim for the lower 1200 to 1400 calories a day, which I make sure I stick to by logging my food into a diary using MyFitnessPal. This app has been a game changer for me and makes calorie counting a doddle. I even used it when I went to Wagamama which helped me to find the healthy options on the menu.
The shakes are only 150 kcals each so when it’s practical for me to have them twice a day this makes staying within the calorie allowance really easy whereas on days where I can’t do this or can’t have shakes at all I find keeping within 1200 calories a lot harder. I went out for lunch today and had some sweet potato fries. I could have cried when MyFitnessPal informed me that a portion of them alone is 508kcal!
For dinner I try and make fresh low cal dinners if I can but there are of course days where I don’t have time to cook or just want to be lazy and free up some time. On those I’ve found that Weight Watchers frozen meals are a winner as most are below 350kcals but are really quite tasty and hearty.
For the 30 days on the challenge I faithfully stuck to having a Slender Blend shake or porridge for Breakfast and another for either lunch or diner, along with one other normal, calorie controlled meal and some healthy snacks.
I’m 5 foot and started off weighing 7st 13lb and had dropped to 7st 9lb after a month which far surpassed what I’d expected to achieve.
It’s now been four months and I now drink one shake a day and two regular meals. Realistically with any kind of ‘diet’ you need to stick to it and when I have off weeks and cheat weekends I do tend to put on a pound and then have to be really good the next week to even things out again, but on the whole my weight is much more stable.
Going on a calorie controlled diet won’t be the right solution for everyone, but it has helped me to take control of my diet and feel better about my health, so I’ll never say never again…
…well not about calorie counting anyway! :p
Disclaimer: Protein World kindly provided me with the products to take part in the 30 Day Challenge in return for my honest account of my experiences.