Recently I was invited to test out a different kind of dieting challenge by So Shape. So Shape pride themselves on providing low calorie, low cost, high in protein, easy to prepare meals. Their program consists of three different challenges, each tailored towards kick starting healthier eating habits and losing weight.
Before I begin, I just want to let you know what kind of person I am when it comes to dieting.
I am not a dieter.
I don’t do diets. I tried Weight Watchers once, back in my early 20s but I have no idea why because back then I was a size 10 and looked bloody fabulous. I was just too young and too dumb to realise it.
Isn’t it ridiculous how you just didn’t get how amazing you looked in your 20s? I had no clue whatsover.
Anyway, in truth I’ve never been worried too much about small weight gains, I don’t worry about pounds I don’t even weigh myself on a regular basis. That’s not to say, by any stretch of the imagination that I’m skinny – my collar bone has been MIA since 2011… And over the last ten years I’ve fluctuated between a size 12 – 16 and have been fine with that. Each to their own as they say but in truth a bit of chub has never bothered me.
So Why Am I Testing Out A Weight Loss Diet Plan?
Last year I struggled through a difficult pregnancy, my “morning” sickness was horrendous for months and I lost nearly two stone because of it. This weight loss was quick and dramatic and although it put me at what was my apparent ‘ideal’ weight for my height – it stripped my body of all its nutrients. Along with the demands of pregnancy, I was left pale and ill looking. It made me weak and my immune system vulnerable. Even now, at five months post partum I believe that my body is still recovering.
Then throughout my second and third trimester I was severely anemic but un-diagnosed, combined with lack of sleep I was eating sugary food like a mad woman just to keep my energy up. I was dizzy, breathless and constantly felt weak and exhausted. By the time my anemia was diagnosed and I was prescribed iron supplements, I was well on my way into my third trimester.
Following that, came a C-section which in itself was fine – it was planned and it was a repeat so I knew what to expect but the demands put on my body to recover were strenuous. A Cesarean is a major abdominal surgery and it takes a lot out of you, for certainly weeks if not months afterwards. Then came breastfeeding, combined with lack of sleep and adjusting to being a family of four. I was grabbing food – snacks not meals whenever I could. A custard cream here and bag of crisps there. An apple for lunch, a cold cup of tea for breakfast. So to say I’ve been putting my body through the wringer these last past twelve months, is probably a bit of an understatement. My body is well and truly fed up with me by this point!
Our breast feeding journey came to an end when Niamh was three months old and I had decided that I would enjoy Christmas, eating, drinking and being merry! Well as merry as one can be with a reflux baby and averaging four hours sleep a night… but I wanted to relax for a while and not worry about what I was eating.
However since January, I have noticed again that my body is still quite weak and depleted. I have caught more coughs and colds and sick bugs than usual. The baby’s sleep has improved and yet I am still permanently exhausted. I put weight on over Christmas (as to be expected) and I needed something to kick start me into eating better and planning out meals that encouraged me to be more healthy. I needed to get control of my eating habits and start replenishing the nutrients I had lost from my body over the last year.
This Is Where So Shape Comes In
With So Shape there are three challenges to choose from 5 days Reboot / 14 days Remove / 28 days Reborn . I felt the middle ground, 14 days was best for me as 5 days doesn’t seem long enough to make a big change and 28 days might have been a bit risky if I didn’t get on with it!
The 14 Day Remove Challenge promised that I would drop a dress size, losing pounds whilst still eating a healthy and perfectly balanced diet. I was sent 30 Smart Meals, a Smart Shaker and several booklets about how to prepare and carry out my challenge.
The idea is that you have 2 Smart Meals each day and 1 Open Meal. Your Open Meal is recommended as lunch and can be whatever you like. I took this to mean, a full and filling but healthy lunch. So most days I ate a sandwich or had a pasta with salad. I had whatever I fancied in these – chicken with FULL FAT mayo/ FULL FAT cheese / my normal butter etc but what I didn’t do was have any cheeky extras. I didn’t eat crisps or biscuits or anything else on the side.
Of my 30 Smart Meals, I could chose 6 different flavours. I figured half savoury, half sweet were a good bet. There are 22 different sachets to choose from and my favourites turned out to be the French Garden Soup and Speculoos Shake. For breakfast I always had a sweet shake and because I’m not really a big breakfast person anyway I can’t say that I really struggled. It’s always so mad here in the mornings, I don’t have time to sit down to an actual plated up breakfast. So slurping a shake in between dressing the baby and hunting down errant school shoes was easy. Then I’d have lunch around midday and be fine for a few hours until late afternoon and that’s when I really started to struggle..
The trouble is I really like dinner. I didn’t realise this so much until – I stopped having it. I like eating a full, hot dinner and I also quite like cooking one. It’s just part of our evening routine, children in bed (god willing), TV on, dinner in the oven, full belly – lush. So knowing that all I had to look forward to for tea was a bowl of soup or small serving of pasta was difficult. Although the savoury meals themselves tasted fine, they didn’t fill me up. They just didn’t and after a few nights of this I started to get fed up.
My Saving Grace – Open Foods
So I re-examined my booklet – hoping I’d missed a whole page about a cheat day or something hehe! I wasn’t that lucky but I did discover the part about Open Foods. Yes! Foods I could eat after my Smart Meal if I was still hungry! It suggested you might want to use these “especially during the first 3 days which can be sometimes a bit difficult“. I’m not going to lie to you, I didn’t use these foods for three days I used them throughout the whole 14 day challenge. I would eat a portion of prawns or tuna (in brine) after my evening Smart Meal or I would have a yoghurt (0% fat) for pudding. Mostly I snacked on cut up cucumber, celery and red pepper, I felt these filled me up and cherry tomatoes I could just grab a few from the fridge when passing.
I suppose if you were hell bent on losing the maximum amount of weight possible during the challenge, you would avoid the Open Foods but for me it was more about kick starting a better eating plan and mind set. I was looking for it to motivate me into thinking more about my daily food intake as a whole, not just about calories so I didn’t feel guilty about eating the extra open foods at all.
Ok But Does It Work?
I can without a doubt state that So Shape works as a weight loss program. I certainly lost weight over the two week period. First and foremost, it just forces you to cut out all the crap from your diet. My sugar intake dramatically decreased and even when I did snack – it was only on those healthy open foods. It got me thinking about what I’m eating more and consider more healthier options.
I would definitely recommend So Shape as a kickstarter diet towards healthier eating and I would say that the 14 day challenge is a great place to start. As with any diet program, it’s not something I would recommend doing on a regular basis – it’s not a lifestyle diet. It is however, a great place to start!
You can check out other people’s results on their Instagram account here.
If you fancy taking the So Shape challenge, you can visit their site here and take advantage of a 10% discount!
WORKINGMOTHER10 get 10% off your 14 or 28-day Challenge!
*This is a collaborative post with So Shape. All thoughts and experiences expressed are honest and my own. I DO NOT receive any commission or benefits from the use of the discount code*