‘Remember a few years ago when Congress declared that the sauce on a slice of pizza should count as a vegetable in school lunches? You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that this doesn’t make much sense’ – Michelle Obama
*I received a free personalised meal plan in return for an honest review*
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m probably quite liberal with my usage of the phrase ‘life changing’. I did, after all, refer to a pair of denim shorts I bought in Tesco last summer as life changing. In this case though, it’s actually very accurate.
I was contacted by Melissa at the Delicious Nutritionist who asked whether I would be up for working with her on a bespoke nutrition and lifestyle plan in return for some honest feedback and a blog review. I written quite a lot in the past about my relationship with food, my weight watchers ‘journey’ and my never ending struggle with trying to keep fit and healthy whilst drinking like a high functioning alcoholic and eating like I’m never getting fed again.
Melissa is a Registered Associate Nutritionist with a first class degree in Food and Human Nutrition which is endorsed by the Association for Nutrition, so she’s held in the highest standard of evidence based practice. Simply put, I was in safe hands, because if science can’t help me lose weight what can?!
My unhealthy lifestyle
I was really excited to work with Melissa as since changing jobs almost 2 years ago my lifestyle has pretty much fallen out of any of the routine I used to know and love. I travel a lot more now meaning I have to rely on whatever is marked down in Marks & Spencer’s at the train station and because I’m away from home a lot more, Dave and I tend to ‘celebrate’ me coming home. And like every other good over eater, a celebration for me always means food! A such I’ve piled the weight on. Almost a stone in the last year to be exact.
So Melissa to the rescue! After a 30 minute consultation call, she knew a little more about me and was able to construct a plan based around what I like to eat, and my lifestyle. We also had a good chat about my past relationship with food and how important the right food is for your mental health.
The 10st 6lb theory
I was open with Melissa in our chat and confessed to her that I had this target weight of 10st 6lbs in my head, as that was the target weight I was given from my Weight Watchers class almost 14 years ago. That was always ‘the goal’. I could almost hear her shaking her head down the phone. I know that slimming clubs work for a lot of people so i’m not taking anything away from them, but she was right in saying that they can also instil some bad habits as well. This 10st 6lbs was only worked out based on the very simple BMI charts that are always hanging in your doctor’s office. My height. That’s it. That’s as scientific as it got. My fitness, or my bone density or my genetics never played a factor into that target. And they certainly didn’t care about my mental health. It was a very black and white process. Lose weight – good. Gain weight – bad. And in hindsight, for me, that’s not a very supportive or positive environment to be in.
I was given the first 2 weeks of my new meal plan and had another call to talk about how I was finding it, what worked and what didn’t. We had a talk about what foods I might be missing, and Melissa created a further two weeks. I think the fact that Melissa is so easy to talk to is half the battle to be honest, and never at any point did I feel like I was having anything I didn’t want to eat thrust upon me. The meal plans were extremely professionally presented with easy to follow instructions and professional photography of what everything should look like.
The alcohol clause
Melissa and I also had a good chat about alcohol. She’s a nutritionist, obviously she’s not going to recommend I drink any alcohol in terms of health. But I was honest about what I drink and how much I would miss my white wine on a Friday and Saturday night. She factored all this into account, suggested that I stick to my 14 units a week (which I try as hard as possible to do anyway) and planned my food around the fact that I would probably have a few glasses of grape juice on a weekend, so there was some wiggle room for that incorporated. Guilt free wine? Where’s this woman been my whole life?!
So, what did I like most about the plan?
- The recipes were easy to follow and Melissa really listened to my needs and what suits my lifestyle. I’m not a good cook nor do I enjoy it so the fact that most fall around the 20 minute mark to create was a big plus for me
- There is little to no processed food. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much fresh stuff in my life and apart from a drunken night when we had prawn curry smothered over oven chips, I can’t remember the last time we ate something out of a jar or a packet.
- As Melissa has worked out the calorific and nutritional value of everything, you don’t need to. Nothing needs to be logged and no macros need to be calculated because she’s done all that for you. All you need to do is prepare the food and know that you’re getting everything you need
- The recipes 90% of the time do you for 4 portions so whatever you have for tea, you can have for lunch the next day, so it’s saved us loads of time in the morning before work
- There’s plenty of treats and snacks for if you’re feeling a little peckish or need something to help you through the afternoon. I’m now addicted to walnuts and dark chocolate as an after-dinner snack – who dis?!
- The first time we went shopping it must have taken us almost 3 hours because it was foods we weren’t used to buying and weren’t sure where to find them in the supermarket. I mean who knows where flax seeds live?! To be fair though, because you get everything you need for the week set out as a shopping list, we just shop online now. So much easier!
- The first week of the plan contained a lot of smoothies and, for whatever reason I just can’t get on board with them. They don’t fill me up and are faffy to make. This was the beauty of having regular contact though, I fed that back to Melissa and not another smoothie darkened my door again
- When you go from over eating as much as I used to, the portion sizes are quite small, so the first week at least was a struggle. The snacks helped, but I did find myself feeling peckish quite often in the early days. But if you don’t throw yourself into these things and give them a chance how are you ever going to know if they work or not?
- It takes a bit more organisation, particularly on weekends. The beauty of the convenience of jars and packets is everything’s sliced and diced for you, so there’s more prep time required – and because you’re using everything fresh – more washing up!
The food and the future
So, going forward what’s changed? Well, quite frankly, everything. We’ve taken our favourite recipes from the last 4 weeks and are adapting them and incorporating them into our weekly shops and daily routine. I’ve absolutely fallen in love with Tabbouleh for lunch; chickpeas, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber and red onion. It’s so easy to make a huge batch on Sunday and that’s us set for lunch for the whole week. I’m also having much more for breakfast than I ever used to (which was always a cup of coffee and a brunch bar at best). Now chocolate pancakes and flapjacks are a regular occurrence.
Here are some of my favourite things I’ve had on the plan:
So most importantly, how did I find it? Well despite having a week off in between my four-week plan where I was away twice and must have eaten my body weight in cheesy puffs, I still managed to lose exactly 5lbs in total. Which is an incredible result for me. The food is so colourful and well-seasoned, I’ve found myself looking forward to meals much more. I’d say over all I’ve been happier, slept better and have more energy. The biggest factor for me though I think is that before this plan, I was quite simply trying to run off a bad diet. I would eat badly, then try and exercise it off to try and offset some of the damage. Because I’m eating so much better now, if I’m tired after work or want to go and meet someone for tea, I don’t feel guilty for not going to the gym, because I’m eating all the right things anyway. The exercise is just a bonus as and when I can fit it in.
Find out more
Melissa’s services start from £130 for a fully personalised 4 week plan including full support. You can have a free 10 minute no obligation consultation call, and 10% off all services if you mention yours truly!