*AD – gifted for review
I’ve been planning to get back to my healthier eating and lifestyle ways for a couple of years now. Each time I’ve started and managed to lose a mere fraction of what I need to lose, to just put it back on again and more. I’ve tried calorie counting, just healthy eating, slim fast and none of which have really kept me motivated to keep going.
My swimming this summer didn’t really happen thanks to meetings and moving offices so having less time to get there and swim to make it worthwhile. I’ve started bits of strength exercises for a bit which then got out of the habit of doing. And I’m just too tired to get up every day early and exercise (not helped by N waking at 5.30 meaning I’d struggle to use my dvds while he wanted to watch his stuff or was mucking around downstairs).
It’s definitely harder since having had N, the one time I lost weight before I found it easy being able to plan my meals, not having to cook for others who don’t need to watch their weight, and dancing 3-4 times a week as well as doing a 30 minutes dvd most mornings.
My aim is to lose the weight I need to in the next year, before my 40th birthday. My best friend and I are planning to go away for a weekend leaving the boys with their dads while we live it up in luxury. So I’m not doing that at the weight I am now. I’ve got 5 stone to lose which should be manageable if I can get motivated.
Then The New You Plan got in contact and asked if I’d like to review their plan. While I prefer to count calories, I am attracted to a plan which means I don’t have to work out the calories of every meal myself. Although not having freshly cooked food isn’t something I’d usually be keen on. But to try and kick start my diet and see whether I could retrain myself into smaller portions and no snacking I decided to give it a go.
Because the New You Plan is extremely low calories, and I’m on medication, I had to check with my doctor/nurse first. They said as long as I was monitored and if I felt bad to give up, then I was ok to try it for a short period although they’d not recommend for me longer term (the New You plan is recommended for a 12 week burst, with re-feed and normal healthy eating before starting another burst).
The New You Plan is designed to be total meal replacement, nutritionally complete, and it leads to fast weight loss without the need for additional exercise. So you choose 4 (or 5 if over 17 stone) meals a day, plus you can have a snack twice a week. Black coffee and tea/green tea are allowed, and you need to drink a lot of water (between 3-4 litres a day) is recommended. The calories are low, and the meals are developed to encourage the body to go into ketosis, which is the fat burning stage, hence the fast weight loss.
Yes it sounds hard core, and it is. I drink a good amount of water anyway (around 2.5L a day) but even I was struggling to get up to 4L without feeling water logged, and permanently back and forth for a pee. With food, I’m usually a total grazer at work, so cutting out all snacking was going to be really hard for me, as well as the lack of fresh fruit and veg.
Here are my thoughts on my week of the New You Plan.
The way I did it:
I chose porridge for breakfast because that’s the most like my normal breakfast, a meal for lunch, and then a bar or shake mid afternoon, and then for dinner another shake or meal. I timed my meals through the day, so I started with breakfast at 8.30-9, lunch at 12.30-1, afternoon meal at 3-4 and dinner around 6.
What’s great about New You meals:
- Portion controlled means there’s no weighing or error. It’s a pack (or 2 if you’re doubling up for dinner) and apart from measuring out the water required to make up the pack it’s easy.
- There’s no worrying about what you’re going to cook and whether it works with your diet.
- There’s a variety so it’s not all shakes. You can have bars, soups, meals or pudding as well
- All you need is a microwave, container to cook it in and a decent whisk or spoon, so easy for taking into work. Some of the meals say they’re better on the hob or oven, but I stuck with the microwave.
- The meals are tastier than I expected – they use lots of spices and herbs, so they’re not bland tasting. I really liked the chicken noodle curry and the spicy noodles, the omelette and pancakes.
- The shakes are nice too, as are the bars – it’s nice to be able to have a sweet meal as part of the plan.
- If you time it well, and drink the water needed, I found I didn’t feel hungry until it was coming up to my next meal time.
The reality of very low calorie meals:
- You need to really blend the porridge and shakes well to avoid lumps. I used a whisk, spoon and fork, and still found lumps. A hand blender would do the job better.
- The meals are not pretty. They all look the same.
- I missed fresh fruit and veg and homemade food. Desperately
- Eating out and eating with family would not happen for me on this diet. Yes the porridge would be fine because I could eat it alongside N. But eating one of these meals alongside the family in the evening, just would not happen. The OH would comment about the look and fact it was out of a pack, and I wouldn’t want to cook for them while eating New You meals. If you’re doing this plan longer term, you need a really supportive family, and not to plan food outings for the time you’re doing it.
- Because of the low calorie nature, you’re probably not going to want to exercise. I missed my dance class on the first day I started, because I wanted to get an early night, and thought I’d be too weak to do energetic exercise. I did go out for my normal walks round town at lunchtimes which were fine. You can eat an extra meal to help provide the energy, but because you lose weight from the low calories, you don’t need to exercise with the plan like other diets suggest.
When you look at the price it seems like a big outlay, but if you break it down you’re paying less than a fiver for a day’s food. It does start feeling pricier if you’re buying that alongside the family meals. They always have bundle deals on -the bigger bundle the more the discount, and other discount codes for single items. And you get points on buying, which you convert back to discounts of future spend.
If you’re someone who stashes away extra food, and buys a lot of treats, or when out and about, then if you’re cutting out that spending, you’d have the money to spend on New You.
In the past I’ve done calorie counting via a paid for website, and got support via forums. And I’ve got a fitness/calorie counting app which is fine if you’re motivated, and have friends on their you can motivate and get support from as well. I also get emails and support from other online exercise, juicing and exercise classes – unfortunately emails tend to get read and filed or deleted.
But New You takes support to a new level. As well as the introduction emails, there’s support emails, offers and blogs sent daily. And there’s a Facebook group for those on the plan which is full of daily prompts, reminders, cheers and just generally supporting each other on the plan. If you can’t get motivated from that, then you’ll not get motivated with anything.
I have to admit that I thought the day to day of this diet would be harder than I found it. I usually get a sugar down and headache after I start a healthy eating plan, but apart from a dull ‘might be a headache coming’ feeling late afternoon on the first day, I didn’t feel bad. I also didn’t have any of the side effects with going to the toilet thankfully – some people get constipated so fibre solutions are recommended as a back up.
I didn’t spend my whole day hungry, or craving food I shouldn’t. I didn’t veer off track, and stuck to the plan. And I didn’t get too many odd comments or looks at work. In fact, I mentioned what I was doing to my colleague and we had a discussion about it, so she’s supporting me in my week trial.
Hearing about others first week results always amazes me, and I have to remember that a lot of a first week is usually fluid loss. I also know that the last couple of times I’ve tried to lose weight, I’ve not lost more than a lb in the first week. But the results from this week were phenomenal. 11 lb lost which took me into the next stone down.
New Plan do say that when you start the re-feed back to normal healthy eating, you will put on a few lbs at first, but continuing with my healthy diet, even putting half of that on is still a good boost and motivator to continue.
So, a New You Plan for a new me?
There are some great benefits to this plan if you want to lose weight fast, and have the lifestyle, and money to do it.
Pros of the New You Plan:
- It produces results. It’s low cal, you’re putting in less than you take out, so you’ll lose weight fast.
- It removes the planning element for meals
- You get a lot of motivating support online including from the founder, the New You team and other people using the diet
- The price isn’t as prohibitive as some diets, especially with the bundle deals that are always going on.
- It helps get you out of the snacking habit and readjusting to smaller portions.
Downsides of the plan
- Potential side effects, headaches (should be solved with drinking enough water and not going all out in the early stages before ketosis kicks in), constipation and/diarrhoea
- An extremely low calorie diet isn’t healthy long term, and there are a lot of types of people who shouldn’t do the diet – you need to see a medical professional before starting it.
- There’s no fresh food. It feels quite like student days and going back to packet noodles or pasta and sauce.
- You can’t really do heavy exercise with it, you need to ask advice on what else you need to eat to be able to do so safely
- You need to re-feed and gradually work back into eating normal meals again
I think it’s been a good way to start off my diet get me into the habit of stopping snacking, grazing and focusing on more appropriate portion sizes.
I’m not sure it’s a diet I would choose to do long term unless I had a particular goal I needed to reach and the doctors had recommended something like it. It just doesn’t fit with my lifestyle. For me I prefer to be able to eat fresh, eat with my family, and maybe have the occasional shake or bar to hit a calorie need. And I need to get toned as well, which I can’t see this doing without being able to do a good amount of exercise. I have ordered some more shakes and bars. I’m planning to use 1 or 2 a day alongside fresh healthy calorie counted food which just feels a lot more real to me
Have you ever tried a meal replacement diet? How did you find it?
Update: Because I did so well in my first week and found the diet fairly easy to do, I’ve continued using the New You Plan. I’m not sticking to it 100% because I eat with the family (relatively healthy) as weekends, and I didn’t do it over Christmas. But in the period from early November to end of February I’ve lost 3 1/2 stone. That’s over halfway towards my target.
Update Nov 2021: Now New You have Switch which is a method of mixing up packs to have slightly higher calories, and the potential to mix those with normal food. When you refeed every 12 weeks after total total food replacement, you basically do Switch. But I use this because it means I have have shakes for breakfast and lunch when I’m not eating with family, but can have a keto dinner and sit down and have a family meal. It’s more flexible, and you still lose weight, albeit a little slower. From June to November I lost 2 1/2 stone. So a pretty good loss given I’m getting close to my goal.
I think switch is a great way to maintain weight, or get back on track if you’ve put on a bit of weight.
If you want to try it out (do check with a doctor first if you come under any of the check categories on the New You website), then you can use my referral code UihQr71i on your order at New You.
Disclosure: I was sent 7 days worth of New You Plan meals for the purpose of review. All words and opinions are my own. For any referrals using my code, I earn points off my orders.
If you’re more interested in doing a diet with fresh food and more flexibility, you can read about my progress made doing a keto diet.