food, review, The New You Plan, video blog, VLCD, weigh-in, weight loss

[Product Review] The New You Plan – Part Two

8th October 2014

As I said last week, I was recently, and kindly, invited to trial one week of The New You Plan, a Total Meal Replacement diet, or a VLCD.

I started the diet last Wednesday, unintentionally coinciding with the start of October.

In case you’re unaware of what a VLCD diet is, and what a Total Meal Replacement diet entails… it’s all in the name. A Very Low Calorie Diet is a diet where you eat Total Meal Replacement Foods in order to achieve a caloric intake of usually below 1000 kcal per day. This is (usually) also done in an attempt to get your body into ketosis, by consuming <60mg carbohydrates per day.

Please note, before we go any further, that my experience(s) on The New You Plan are individual, and should not be expected of every individual who decides to start using The New You Plan‘s products. You should consult your doctor before starting any diet or exercise plan, in case of any contraindications.

The New You Plan: The Before

Photos

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a “before” shot, so please don’t hate me for using one of my older 2014 ones for comparison.

FATGIRLslim | April 10 2014 Progress #1 FATGIRLslim | April 10 2014 Progress #2

Measurements

  • Neck: 15.75″
  • Upper Arm (R): 20″
  • Upper Arm (L): 19.5″
  • Lower Arm (R): 13″
  • Lower Arm (L): 13″
  • Bust: 60″
  • Under Bust: 49″
  • Waist: 56.5″
  • Hips: 69.5″
  • Thigh (R): 34.5″
  • Thigh (L): 34.5″
  • Calf (R): 20″
  • Calf (L): 21.5″
  • Ankle (R): 11″
  • Ankle (L): 13″
  • Wrist (R): 7.5″
  • Wrist (L): 7.75″

The New You Plan: My Week

The Food

What I received for my week on The New You Plan is as follows:

2 x Beautiful Banana Shakes
2 x Very Nice Vanilla Shakes
2 x Creamy Chocolate Shakes
2 x Sensational Strawberry Shakes
2 x Heavenly Hazelnut Shakes

2 x Vegetable Soups

4 x Chicken Noodle Curry (constantly incorrectly referred to throughout the videos below as “spicy noodle curry”; I’m extremely sorry about this!)

4 x Pasta Carbonara

4 x Chocolate Cream Cookie Bars
4 x Chocolate Hazelnut Bars

I also received 3 x Cool Mint Breath Strips and 1 x Pink Lemonade New You Flavoured Water, and a water bottle/mixing jug (pink) with wire shaker, in addition to the actual meal replacement products.

Unlike some other meal replacement programs I’ve tried (*cough*TheBiggestLoser*cough*) I had no problem with powdery foods here. The foods on The New You Plan (that weren’t bars; obviously the bars weren’t powdery!) mixed well, even in the case of the Chicken Noodle Curry and Pasta Carbonara meals, which I mixed with a fork or spoon instead of with the mixing jug. The only one I had a problem with was the vegetable soup, on the last day, where I obviously hadn’t mixed it properly, and it was still very lumpy.

That said, that was probably my fault, as the first vegetable soup I made came out fine.

Rather than boring y’all with how the food all tasted and giving it stars as is my usual, etc, I went ahead and did a YouTube vlog all week at the end of the day, talking about the foods, how they tasted, and how I felt during the days. Hopefully these’ll work better than hundreds of words of my babbling. :)

The New You Plan: The Vlog

The New You Plan: The After

Measurements

  • Neck: 15.75″
  • Upper Arm (R): 20″
  • Upper Arm (L): 19″ (-0.5″)
  • Lower Arm (R): 12.5″ (-0.5″)
  • Lower Arm (L): 12.5″ (-0.5″)
  • Bust: 59″ (-1″)
  • Under Bust: 49″
  • Waist: 55″ (-1.5″)
  • Hips: 69″ (-0.5″)
  • Thigh (R): 34″ (-0.5″)
  • Thigh (L): 34.5″
  • Calf (R): 19.5″ (-0.5″)
  • Calf (L): 21″ (-0.5″)
  • Ankle (R): 11″
  • Ankle (L): 12″ (-1″)
  • Wrist (R): 7.5″
  • Wrist (L): 7.5″ (-0.25″)

Now, if I’ve calculated that correctly (and there’s a good chance I haven’t! :P), then that’s a total of 7.25″ I’ve lost in total, all over my body. There’s places I don’t usually measure, and, as I warned at the start, these kind of results aren’t typical. I’m really prone to water retention, especially on my left-hand side, so a lot of the inch-losses here could be down to that, or something as simple as moving the tape a half-inch in the wrong direction, although I did strive to keep it in the same place as last week.

Photos

FATGIRLslim | October 8 2014 Progress #1 FATGIRLslim | October 8 2014 Progress #2

I’m not sure if you can really tell a difference – especially as the other photos are from earlier this year. I wish I’d thought to get a “before” shot last week, but at least I’ve got these ones, now. But I bet y’all want to know how I got on with the weigh-in, then, don’t you?

Fine. Lay on, MacDuff!

Weigh-In

ozeri
-11.3lbs
Weighed 388.6lbs at October 1st 2014 Weigh-in
377.3lbs

Again: these results are not typical. Especially if you don’t weigh as much as I do. If you only weigh 18st and you start a VLCD, don’t go expecting to lose this amount of weight in your first week. Be extremely surprised and happy if you do, but don’t expect it.

Hell, I didn’t. That’s almost as much weight as I lost on the first two weeks of The South Beach Diet. TWO WEEKS. It is, officially, the most week I’ve ever lost in a week.

A lot of it’s probably water-retention weight, but you need to get rid of that, just as much as you need to get rid of the extra fat. It’s why you lose so much in your first week. And usually only your first week.

But I was beyond thrilled when I saw the number pop up on the scale.

The New You Plan: The Results

So, what do I think of The New You Plan?

Well, it definitely works. Looking at the numbers above, I think we can’t argue about that. But it only works if you don’t cheat. Amazingly, I wasn’t tempted to cheat, even once. My hunger ebbed and flowed, but the food sated me, despite being a portion size about a third of what I usually eat for breakfast. And I know that doesn’t sound at all appetising or intriguing, but portion sizes are also a huge problem, never mind our intake of carbohydrates.

The plan is nutritionally complete. When you’ve eaten your four – yes, four – meals for the day, you’ll not only no longer be hungry until the morning, but you’ll have taken in your full range of vitamins and minerals for the day, without having overeaten. Most of us can’t do that even while overeating. I know I certainly can’t.

The range of foods, I’ll admit, could be greater. There’s only one hot breakfast option available, but I don’t know if it’s possible to use not-quite-boiling water in your shakes instead of cold water, to have a hot hazelnut, hot chocolate, or hot vanilla shake. There are plenty more foods available on the website than I received, as I was only given a week’s supply, but that was my one worry when thinking about if I was to do the plan on a more permanent basis.

Foods

Overall, the foods tasted lovely. The weakest of the bundle that I received, in texture and taste, was the vegetable soup, but as I’m not a huge vegetable/vegetable soup fan, this may have simply been a case of me being biased. The shakes, despite being water-made, mixed up quite thick and creamy, and didn’t leave a horrible after-taste in the back of your mouth. The bars were chewy, filling, and, in the case of the Chocolate Cream Cookie bar, also delightfully crunchy where it counted. The Pasta Carbonara, I could have happily eaten every night.

I finally managed to get the Pink Lemonade Water Flavour correct on the final day. :) When made correctly, it really tastes wonderful, and doesn’t leave any white lumps at all!

Verdict | Flavour: ★★★★☆
Verdict | Selection: ★★★☆☆

Ease of Use

Ease of use honestly couldn’t be easier. After receiving your physician’s approval, you order your items, and when they arrive, you eat them to the exclusion of all other foods. You’re allowed up to 250ml of milk per day for tea/coffee, but it’s not recommended, as getting your body into ketosis is a finicky thing in itself, and milk can throw it out. Meals and shakes etc mix with water; bars and snacks etc are eaten as they are.

It really doesn’t get any easier than that.

Please note that I’m not saying that it’s easy to suddenly eat less than 1,000 kcal per day. I’m just saying that it’s an easy program in terms of convenience. It’s actually a serious test of willpower. :) One that I know you can beat.

Verdict | Ease of Use: ★★★★★

Outcome of Diet

I do believe that the After measurements and weigh-in speak for themselves: if you stick to the plan, you will get the desired outcome. Find foods that you enjoy on the plan, and it makes it easier to stick to, too. I found myself looking forward to Pasta Carbonara night, after all, despite the fact it was a smaller portion than Chicken Noodle Curry night, and you’d think that I’d prefer the bigger portion. Nope!

I have to issue the words of caution re: ketosis, again, though: The New You Plan is all about putting your body into ketosis, which is a natural and safe way to lose weight. If you cheat, at all, then you run the risk of throwing it out of ketosis, or just never getting into ketosis, which means that all of the VLCD foods are a waste of your time. Stick at it. Don’t cheat. Drink your 500-750ml of water (dependant on body size) between each of your four meals. Eat your four meals.

And you will see the results you want.

Verdict | Diet Outcome: ★★★★★

Disclaimer

In the interests of full disclosure: I received no monetary compensation for this review. I received a box of one week’s worth of products from The New You Plan via my contact, Barry, in return for an honest and unbiased review on FATGIRLslim. As of the date of publication, there are no outgoing affiliate links to The New Plan in this post.

food, review, The New You Plan, video blog, VLCD

[Product Review] The New You Plan – Part One

1st October 2014

I was contacted last week by a gentleman at The New You Plan, to see if I wanted to try out their Total Food Replacement Plan.

Given that I’ve never tried out a Total Food Replacement Plan, I obviously gave the answer: hell yes, please put me into ketosis. (Only more polite, and with better words and sentences.)

The New You Plan is a Very Low Calorie Diet, which relies on Total Food Replacement packets, including soups, shakes, bars, porridges, etc, to replace your daily food intake with nutritionally complete food, which has calories as low as 800kcal. For a normal person looking to start on The New You Plan, they would continue to eat these meal replacements until such time as they hit their goal weight, and then they’d carefully go into what’s called “refeeding” or maintenance mode, where food is slowly reintroduced into the diet so you can maintain your weight.

The idea of The New You Plan is to put your body into ketosis, which is the metabolic state where your body burns ketone bodies in the blood as a source of energy, instead of carbohydrates from carb-rich foods, meaning that your body will basically be eating itself instead of sourcing energy from your food. It’s not as scary as it sounds, and it’s actually one of the more/most perfect and perfectly healthy ways of losing weight. (It’s just an absolute bugger for me, because I love sugar, carbs, salt, donuts, soda, crisps, etc…)

FATGIRLslim | The New You Plan - Part One
Contents of the week’s box – including a wee surprise of a mixing bottle, some water flavouring, and some breath strips, as well as the week’s food.

Disclaimer

I received a week’s worth of products from The New You Plan, in return for an unbiased, honest review. I received no payment, nor will I receive any. As of date of publication (October 1 2014) none of the links in this post are affiliate links (except any green in-text links).

babble, body talk, exercise, story of my life, swimming

In Which Tracy Understands The Christina Briggs Thing

26th September 2014

You might or might not have seen or heard about Christina Briggs in the past week or two. She spoke to Closer Magazine, as a 25-stone woman, saying that she needs more help to eat healthily, from the UK taxpayer.

Now, it probably sounds bad, me just saying it like that, so let’s have a little more background.

She’s a single mother, she weighs 25 stone (about 350lbs), and she’s unemployed, which means she’s paid benefits from the Government. The article states that she receives “over £20,000″ in benefits, but when I was Googling, I saw a Daily Mail article, which put the figure at £15,000.

Thing is, that figure includes rent, council tax reduction, child benefit, and other things I don’t know about, because I’m not a single mother.

What I do know is that what she’ll get for herself, for food and other personal effects, is (assuming she’s on the same amount of benefits as I am!) £240~ a month.

Yes. A month.

That’s what unemployed people in this country have to survive on, for food, gym memberships, internet costs, mobile phone bills, going out for a night, transport, etc. Clothes. If something breaks down.

And if we look at the cost of food, I can completely understand where she’s coming from: healthy living and healthy eating is expensive. When you can buy microwave meals from Iceland for £1, that’s £7 for a week’s worth of dinners, and a couple of quid for a box or two of cereal, and something for lunch (lunch meat is REALLY expensive – the stuff from the counter is RIDICULOUSLY expensive, and a packet of 16 frankenslices of meat is about £3; £2 for two loaves; margarine, milk, etc.)

I had managed to get my food bill down to under £30 for two weeks out of necessity, because my other bills had gotten out of control. I was forced to live on junk food. I could notliterally could not – afford to buy fresh, unfrankenprocessed, meat. Fruit had become a treat, and when I went out and bought fruit (even when I bought it in Aldi), my bill shot from under £30 to over £40.

Living a healthy life is expensive.

I’m not sure about Christina, because I haven’t read the whole story yet (the joy of having paid for my web hosting this week is that I haven’t the money to buy the magazine, hah. The irony.), but I do know that she mentions taking the kids to McDonalds, and “having a takeaway at the weekends”. She doesn’t live on takeaways, because that’s not cheaper. That’s not sustainable.

The price of food, though? Is ludicrously high. We’re talking about an obesity epidemic, and, as she rightly says, “A bag of apples costs the same as a multipack of crisps.” I know which one SHOULD be cheaper.

The other thing is that she feels personally demonised, when she heads out to exercise. I don’t think I even need to really talk about that in-depth, because I’ve gone through it. I’ve been dehumanised. On plenty of occasions.

It’s ridiculous. The woman wants to get out and exercise, and she feels like people are laughing at her? How about no. How about she should be free to do whatever she wants without being ridiculed for it. How about, even if people aren’t laughing at her, she should never have to think that people are laughing at her? That’s the kind of society we’ve created, through the endless stream of media and the generations we’ve brought up to believe that being fat is worse than anything else in the world.

The kind of place where a fat person steps out and automatically thinks that all eyes are on them.

I know, because it’s how I feel, too.

But let me tell you, Christina: I understand exactly what you’re going through. It’s fucking tough, but I just know that you’re tougher. You can do it; get through it. The Daily Mail article says you enjoy swimming, so put the idea of running to the back of the closet for the minute, invest in a good waterproof MP3 player, put on your sassiest cozzie, and go get your water wings back on. Get in the water. Tune everything else out, and swim. Nobody will be looking at you in the pool, because they’ll all be doing their thing, too.

I know, because I’ve been there, done that, at 27 stone. In a bikini, no less.

I Totally Rock This Bikini

I Totally Rock This Bikini

Best of luck, Christina Briggs, however this all turns out. Please ignore the trolls. Don’t pay them any heed!

website updates

In Which FATGIRLslim Has Been Updated

25th September 2014

And by updated, I don’t mean FATGIRLslim finally has a new entry.

I mean, “come and look at the pretty new layout!” FATGIRLslim has its first layout update since 2013!

Also, it appears that a number of my subscribers have gone missing – at least a hundred. If you subscribe via BlogLovin’, Email or RSS, can you double-check that your subscription’s still A-OK?

¡Muchas gracias!

babble, exercise, photos, story of my life, walking

In Which Tracy is Wasting Away

17th September 2014

I could write an epic tome about what I hate about being unemployed. I certainly have the time. I don’t have the inclination, however. Be thankful. It would be longer than Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady (arguably the longest English-language novel in the history of human knowledge), and shockingly frank.

Related:

Last night, I went to the cinema. I ended up going to see Before I Go To Sleep, the new Nicole Kidman/Colin Firth movie about an amnesiac who forgets the past 20-odd years of her life every night, and wakes up thinking she’s 20 again, after suffering severe head wounds. And she’s the only one who knows who did it to her… but she can’t remember who did it to her. It was pretty good. There was a heck of a twist to it that I didn’t see coming. And I still hate Nicole Kidman’s “English” accent, ever since “The Others” (one of my top 5 scary movies – also with a twist that I didn’t see coming!).

FATGIRLslim | In Which Tracy Is Wasting Away

I needed approximately four arms to do this correctly. I was trying to replace the ridiculous girl in the standee with the ridiculous girl in the flowery coat in the photo. Oh. Wait. That’s me. (P.S. I can’t wait until “Horns” comes out!)

Anyway, so: I went to the cinema, and after that, I nipped into ASDA to pick up the stuff that I needed: toothpaste, deodorant, Fage 0% etc.

A walk around the supermarket’s nothing, right?

So why, when I woke up this morning, did I feel like I’d walked a marathon? Or a 10k, at least.

I know exactly why, of course.

I’ve gone from being slightly active, with my wee walks around the block every other day, or at least walking over to the Co-op to get bread and milk, to doing not much more walking than up and down the stairs, or, if it’s good weather, up into the garden to hang the laundry out.

It’s not me that’s wasting away. It’s my muscles that are wasting away. All right, I no longer have to climb three flights of stairs every time I come home, so I’m not almost passing out when I get home, but I’m also rarely going out.

I’ve also been neglecting Zombies, Run!, since last December or so. I know that this (the muscle ache) isn’t about weight loss/gain, although it can obviously help a lot when I lose weight, but seriously. I walked around a supermarket. Slowly. It’s not like I raced around. I took my time about it, because I was looking at the hats and stuff for inspiration on this season’s trends. (Hey, I need to know what’s hot!)

I know that it hurts when I’ve been for a walk, but not like that. Not the way it felt this morning when I woke up. :( That was horrible in a way I can’t even explain. And my hips, when I started doing my physio exercises? All of the pain. Every single bit of it. It went to my hips.

So there’s another thing on my list of to dos: I need to get out and start walking again. The woods are just down the road. Mum and I are talking about going back swimming, which would be excellent for us both. I’m expecting to absolutely die from the agony of the first swim, but I’m also looking forward to getting more use from my polka-dot suit, and my twice-or-thrice used bikini.

What I’m not looking forward to is more mornings where I go, “Oh crap, my muscles are on fire because I went shopping and I’m usually just sitting around the house playing video games or crocheting or making cards and stuff.”

That’s not where I wanna do. That’s not where I wanna end up. I’m better than that. I’m worth more than that.