Well, where to start?
I have now completed one week on the Exante meal replacement diet.
It’s been bloody hard. And joyless.
- I’ve lost 9 pounds. Although bearing in mind I lost 7 lbs on my first week of Weight Watchers when I lost weight seven years ago, the extra 2 lbs doesn’t seem worth the extreme deprivation to me.
- I’ve learnt an awful lot about hunger and my ability to deal with it.
- Apart from one tiny blip involving quarter of a glass of wine, and two tiny crackers with a sliver of cheese, I’ve stuck absolutely rigidly to the plan. I’m very proud of myself, because no word of a lie, it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
- I’ve slept really well.
- The mood swings. Not fun – for me or those around me.
- The ‘food’ is vile. And the more I eat of it, the less I can stomach it. I can’t tell you how much I want to eat a crunchy salad or some lightly steamed vegetables, or JUST ABOUT ANYTHING other than a ‘meal’ made out of bloody powder in a sachet.
- My skin doesn’t look great – I have dark circles round my eyes which I didn’t have before I started this, and I think I look a bit sallow.
- Feeling like I’m missing out on family time – sometimes I can manage to stay in the room while Ashley and William eat, other times it’s too hard. Today we’re going to my parents’ for Sunday lunch. Only I won’t be eating lunch, obviously. Can’t wait. Not.
- It’s very life limiting. I can’t meet a friend for lunch or go out for a spontaneous drink to the pub of an evening (unless it’s a glass of water).
- Having nothing to look forward to at the end of the day. No glass of wine, no dinner.
Where Do I Go From Here?
- My plan is to continue this regime for one more week. Well, until next Saturday evening, when we have friends coming over for dinner, and I’m bloody well not going to be sitting there with a glass of water and a sachet of reconstituted sh*t.
- After that, I plan to continue with two sachets of sh*t a day for breakfast and lunch, and a healthy meal of real food in the evening. With plenty of flexibility built in for having a life.
I’ve met several people over the years who have used these meal replacement diets, some for several months, most of whom have lost considerable amounts of weight. Without exception they have put it back on.
I’m glad that I have tried it myself, if only to discover it’s a joyless way of losing weight (at my lowest point this week I weighed myself, discovered I’d lost 8lbs and didn’t even feel happy about it, just felt depressed that I was having to undergo this awful regime in order to achieve it). And that’s not how I want to live my life.
It’s certainly made me think about what I put into my body, and reminded me what it is to feel genuine hunger. I know that I don’t want to continue solely on a diet of packet sludge that looks like sick and tastes similar, but I also recognize that a limited amount of it going forward is going to help me to shed more pounds.
Above all, I feel a bit more confident in my own ability to control my eating and make better choices about what I eat. So overall, I’d say it’s been a success. A brutal one, but a success nevertheless.
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Finally, would I recommend it? Absolutely not, if I’m honest – if you think you can possibly achieve weightloss while still eating real food, please don’t try this – it doesn’t feel healthy, it’s not only the hardest, but also one of the most depressing things I’ve ever done, and the food tastes disgusting.
Why am I continuing it for another week, then, I hear you ask? Because I don’t want to feel like a failure, and it’s a goal I’ve set myself and want to achieve.