This is mum – aka Karen. She’s 54 years young and has been on a diet for, well, as long as I can remember.
We’re talking low carb, low sugar, no dairy, no fun. You know the sort.
And whilst many of these fad diets help shift a few pounds in the short term, the long-term deprivation of all things good and tasty inevitably leads to binges, guilt and eventual defeat.
So with this in mind, I attended a #HealthisWealth event to find out more about what’s hot and what’s not in the health and fitness ‘sphere’ for 2016, and it was there that I had the opportunity to taste-test a range of Exante diet bars and shakes. I was pretty darn impressed by how good they tasted but wondered, cynically, exactly what made these products any different to other diet bars and shakes I’d tried before.
My question was promptly answered and I learned that Exante products are ‘total meal replacement’ products – that is, you should be able to function perfectly well, get all the nutrients you need and lose weight without starving yourself, simply by substituting normal meals for a bar or shake.
This sounded pretty tough to me. Nothing all morning but a shake? Feeling satisfied at lunchtime by a diet bar? Unlikely, I thought.
And so I did what any caring and thoughtful daughter would do.
I enlisted my mum to trial the VLCD Total Solution for one week; a 600 calorie diet plan consisting entirely of Exante meal replacement diet bars and shakes for people with a BMI over 25 and a desire to lose weight fast.
“I’ll interview you each day and write a diary blog about your experience”, I kindly offered. That’s just the kind of daughter I am.
And so here is our (combined?) effort at trialling the Exante Total Solution diet plan.
Diet start date: Monday 9th November
Completion date: Sunday 15th
Start weight: 12.5 stone
“I’ve never followed a diet plan where I haven’t cheated before” – Karen
After an indulgent weekend consisting of cake, prosecco, more prosecco and a little more cake (we were celebrating alright!) I was ready for my diet challenge.
I started with a Chocolate Caramel Crunch Bar for breakfast and both the taste and texture were nice. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t taste like the calorific alternatives you find in confectionery isles but then I was hardly expecting it to.
And the most incredible thing? I still wasn’t hungry by lunchtime. I confess, I had a banana mid morning but that was more out of habit and because I didn’t feel hungry enough for anything else.
That banana took me all the way through to 6pm, where I made myself a Toffee Caramel shake. That’s right…no lunch. I was really impressed with the taste but would recommend using a blender for at least a full minute as a quick blitz in the Nutribullet left my first attempt full of powdery lumps.
Went to bed feeling fine – not hungry or dissatisfied.
First day verdict; I can do this!
Woke up – still not hungry. Very bizarre. Usual diet procedure suggests that by now, I’d be climbing the walls in desperate need of cream cakes.
I chose a chocolate coated Peanut Butter Bar for breakfast. Sounds very naughty but I really want to put this diet to the test. Lose weight whilst eating chocolate? We’ll see…
The bar was very nice and very filling. In fact, I couldn’t actually eat it all so I wrapped up the last third and took it to work with me.
Lunchtime arrived and feeling a little peckish I finished my Peanut Butter Bar and blitzed together a Lemon Cheesecake smoothie which was delicious. Particularly smooth and zesty.
I had a banana free afternoon and was ready for my White Chocolate and Raspberry shake at 6pm. I made the shake a little larger by adding more water than recommended which just made it smoother and a little more filling.
Day two verdict; feeling completely fine and have no desire to snack.
Today, I had a Toffee Nut and Raisin Bar for breakfast. It tasted really good and the nuts and raisins make it seem like a pretty standard breakfast. I don’t feel like I’m on a diet right now and I can’t believe I’m still not hungry.
It’s a Strawberry Shake for lunch which is sweet and creamy – perhaps a little too sweet for me. It felt more like a dessert. I snack on a couple of tangerines.
Clearly not put off by my sweet lunch, I enjoy a Double Chocolate Bar for dinner instead of a drink. Amazing how we have separate rules for chocolate isn’t it? There were tiny caramel pieces throughout – this was truly delicious but STILL hard to finish!
Look how easy that looks…
Day three and it’s time for a weigh-in.
To my delight, I’ve lost 3lb – and without even trying!
I haven’t had any cravings and I haven’t felt hungry. So far, big thumbs up.
I wake up optimistic thanks to last night’s successful scales experience (I’ve rarely said that sentence before).
I go for a Chocolate Coconut Bar to kick start the day. It has a really strong coconut flavour which is lovely and combined with the chocolate coating, the bar is really dense and again, hard to finish.
I have a Vanilla Shake for lunch but add a shot of coffee which transforms the drink into a filling, creamy and indulgent-tasting coffee.
I choose the Chocolate Shake for dinner which tastes strongly of cocoa and isn’t overly sweet which is surprising based on last night’s luxurious dinner.
Day four verdict; can’t believe I’m already over half way and if anything, I feel better than I did before the diet! Plus, I’ve had no headaches which I always get when I diet.
I’m going out with friends for a couple of drinks tonight; in other words, I’m committing dietary sin.
Main concern is drinking on an empty stomach so I treat myself to a pre-drink banana on top of breakfast (Banana Shake which is possibly my favourite; it tastes just like a smooth and creamy banana milkshake even though it’s made with water), lunch (Strawberry Jam and Yogurt Crunch Bar which I find a little sickly but my daughter loved) and dinner (Honeycomb Shake which, as a Crunchie bar lover, I thought was delicious).
I head out for a few drinks feeling pretty good about myself. I feel less bloated than usual and full of energy.
I confess, I had toast for breakfast. Despite my three drink limit last night I feel the definite urge for something savoury this morning. I have no doubt that if I also had the range of Exante diet meals to try, they would have been a welcome substitute.
I’m back on the plan for lunch and dinner with a Tropical Shake which was fruity but had a slightly strange after-taste, and a Raspberry and White Chocolate diet bar which, as with all the other bars was very filling and tasted good.
It’s my last day of the diet and the dreaded final weigh-in. I have a little toast guilt from yesterday but am generally rather proud of myself.
I complete the week with my favourites; Banana Shake, Toffee Caramel shake and a Double Chocolate Bar. Doesn’t sound like ‘the stuff of diets’ does it!
It’s finally the moment of truth. Has the diet worked? Drum-roll please…I’ve lost another 2lb!!!
So that’s a total weight loss of 5lb in one week.
And that’s all without experiencing headaches, tiredness, hunger pangs or mood swings that you’d normally associate with a strict diet like this.
The Exante Diet clearly works and has enabled me to lose weight without feeling hungry or missing out on any vital nutrients.
I’d recommend following the Exante Diet intensely (as I have) if you’re looking to lose weight fast, or using the products as a partial meal substitute for weight control.
All Exante Diet soups, shakes, bars and meals are enriched with over 22 vitamins and minerals and are high in protein and fibre. Eating three Exante Diet products a day will provide you with 100% of your EU Recommended Intake (RI) for vitamins and minerals.
VLCD Total Solution is recommended for 4 weeks to achieve dramatic weight loss.
Check out the range of Exante Diet Discount Codes to get money off your next order.