Feel Good Diet Club 2015 - The Results!
Posted on 3 February 2015
2015 marks the third year of our Oh My Goodness, I get to eat normally, Ryan Gosling-approved*, unscientifically tested, January diet plan. In year one, Jemima lost 8lb by eating delicious COOK food for the month of January. Yay! In year two, Hannah lost a stone by eating delicious COOK food for the month of January. Woohoo!
This year we had a whole posse of people at the Kitchen planning to eat delicious COOK food for the month of January in a bid to lose a few pounds (not because they need to, just because they want to).
*In year one, Jemima kept a picture of “The Goz” on her desk with the message: “If you eat bread, Ryan is sad.” She didn’t. Ryan was happy. Rather, his picture was.
*We think this counts as approval. At least, we do until Ryan’s expensive LA lawyer tells us otherwise.
So the below was our Feel Good Diet Club Chart that I made to help us all see how we were all doing (it's beautiful, I know, you're all jealous). And yes, that's me, over on the left. A measley 1 3/4 lbs. I thought I'd start and lower your expectations, so that when you read about Ed's 12lb weight loss below you'll feel super excited.
In all honesty I don't quite know what went wrong given that in year one I lost what I thought was a wonderful 8lbs. I was diet guinea pig extraordinaire, until Hannah beat my attempt by a whopping 6lbs. Needless to say - expectations were high.
This year I have no excuses... except for the following excuses:
- Since my first COOK diet I have also been on the dukan diet (high protein, low carbs) and I wonder whether my body's a little suspicious of carbs generally. This makes me worried a little about my love of Domino's pizza...
- I've been 'running'. (I'm doing the NHS app called Couch to 5k - which means so far I've only run for 9 minutes in total interspersed with varying amounts of walking, their premise being they can get anyone to run 5k within 9 weeks...we shall see). One theory of mine is that perhaps, through this addition of excercise (there was zero 'running' before 2015), my body has suddenly gained lots of muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat you know. She keeps telling herself... Either way - I can thoroughly recommend the app. The first day I was 'running' (read: hobbling / gasping) for 60 seconds at a time I genuinely thought my lungs might explode and now I'm actually running for 3 minutes and my lungs feel relatively safe. The woman's who guides you through the run is called Laura. She's very nice and encouraging, though perhaps makes me look a little crazy running through the park shouting 'Come ON LAURA - it must be over already.'
- Ditto the above - I've also been doing the plank challenge. Massively muscley... surely?
- I quit drinking beer but I convinced myself that gin and slimline tonic was okay..... possibly an error on reflection.
- I had to do a day of filming our valentine's videos which involved a completely scrumptious chocolate pudding slathered in Salted caramel sauce (right). Which obviously I had to eat. (3 day set back).
However, the good news is that despite my general lack of impressive weight loss I have felt better: less bloated, more toned and with more time on my hands despite the introduction of excercise into my week. Having quick, microwaveable meals to hand when getting in late from a long commute and a 'run' has been great - I've been genuinely grateful for a stash of healthy, filling solutions that were ready in 8 minutes. All I needed to do was add bowls full of rocket on the side and the occasional half pitta bread - happy days.
This year I've LOVED: OMG Smoothies (Broccolli and the Beast with Copella apple juice - complete win), Chicken Burrito wraps (amazing), Friday curry night with Prawn Karahi (genuinely my most favourite curry and just over 200 calories) and Lamb Hot Pot (seriously, how is that delicious hug of a meal 328 calories?)
And onto the people who lost loads of weight....
My feel good diet experience has been good! I have lost 4llbs which although not loads, I have managed to do that in a month when I have helped to celebrate 4 birthdays! I have loved the variety of meals, given that I avoid gluten, and have also followed the motto “move more, eat less”! It has also helped me break some bad snacking habits.
I eat in the evening with my husband so the new two portion meals helped me stay on track as when accompanied by some vegetables have made a really filling supper. My absolute favourite is the 2 portion burrito bowl which is lovely when put into wraps with a sprinkle of cheese on the top and baked in the oven. The frozen desserts are delicious too and very healthy! I am hoping to stay on this eating plan now as if I follow it in the week it allows for extra indulgence at the weekend!
Alison's favourite in action:
Working at COOK is a foodie's dream, but also a challenge if (like me) you're lacking in the willpower department. So, after an indulgent festive season, the OMG Feel Good Diet came along at just the right time..
I've done diets in the past, but never kept a food diary before - I think that was key to keeping me honest! The ready made COOK grid was a really handy framework. There was also a great camaraderie in the office, and the prospect of the weekly weigh-in did a good job of keeping me on the rails.
I enjoyed picking out my pot each meal time. I did think I might get tired of them, but in fact there’s a wide range, and there’s one to satisfy most cravings. My favourite dish is probably the Japanese salmon (pictured). I was afraid there’d be a few weedy flakes of fish, but no - it has really satisfying big chunks and the soy-based sauce is deliciously savoury.
My biggest fail was when Rosie in the NPD kitchen baked the most amazing brownie and raspberry cream birthday cake (for Ashleigh, who I sit with in the People Team). If you check out the photo you’ll see why I couldn’t resist it! There were also other days when I fell off the wagon, but coming home to Chicken Pho or the Thai Chicken Patties (both under 150 calories) meant that I could generally save the day but still have what felt like a proper dinner.
I’m really pleased to have lost over 12lbs, and I’m hoping that keeping a few OMG pots in the freezer and having a lighter dinner now and again will prove a good way to keep them off. All I need now is a beach holiday as the ultimate incentive to look forward to!
Pad Thai work lunch - so easy, so delicious....
(Katie's pictured right on our 'Yay' inspiration board)
Continuous meat sweats, overwhelming food babies and reenacting the chocolate fountain scene from the Vicar of Dibley is an accurate reflection of how I spent the festive period, starting in November…ahem. Living in the moment and using the excuse ‘it’s Christmas’ increased my appetite and my waistline, so I decided to get it under control when the opportunity came along. I didn’t want to deprive myself, obviously, as I’ve now shared with the internet my over indulgent Christmas, so for me this 'diet' was more about management and portion control to get me back on track to my healthy(ish) lifestyle I used to live.
It was great to be part of a team encouraging each other on, and being able to share the woes of free cake going around the office. But I found helped most was the app My Fitness Pal to track my calories and all the COOK meals were already within the options to chose from, it was a quick and easy way to log a food diary.
Not just a two portion....?
I really enjoyed the options that were available, there were plenty to chose from with different style of food to try as well as enjoy repeatedly. Also, I found a way to cheat the system when there were meals only available in a 2 portion, for example the Sea Bass with Asparagus Tips & Linguine and the Chicken Burrito Bowl. I left the portion in the fridge to defrost, divided the two portion into two, had one for dinner that day and the other for lunch the following day. (I usually did this over the weekends when I had more time.)
Other than losing a few pounds, eating in a more structured way for a month gave me a sense of relief for meal planning as I didn’t have to worry what to get for dinner as it was in my freezer ready to go as a full meal with the option of adding a small portion of veg or rice in some cases. Other than that it’s changed my outlook of how to utilise my freezer more. Not to fully rely on it all day ever day but it takes the stress out of trying to watch your weight without reaching for a pizza because it’s quick and easy. I’m not going to lie, it’s really tough but anything that keeps me away from chocolate for a few weeks is a bonus.
For years I’ve wanted to shed some weight to get back to my pre 4th child weight of 10st. I’ve steadfastedly refused to get rid of tight fitting items in my wardrobe because one day I WILL WEAR THEM AGAIN! When I’ve previously tried to shift some bulges it’s all been a bit half hearted and not long before I’m back to munching and drinking my way through all my favourite indulgences, and therefore losing very little in the way of pounds.
So in tandem with starting Dry January, eating the COOK OMG way seemed to present an ideal start to 2015, albeit rather a challenging one! Doing it as a group with COOK colleagues has definitely made it much more enjoyable and there has been quite a bit of diet anecdote swapping and banter along the way. We've all found that doing a low calorie COOK diet is really easy - no difficult calorie calculations, no tricky preparation or ‘faffing’ around trying to shop and plan lots of healthy low calorie meals. It was just a case of consulting my freezer or the ready made COOK meal planner to make my selection – and what a choice! I really hadn’t appreciated how extensive the range of OMG pots and low calorie meals were.
Admittedly there have been a few occasions where I couldn’t use a COOK meal without seeming a bit peculiar/a social pariah/faddy including our daughter’s 21st birthday meal (and Chinese food photography…arranging plates of great new recipes - just couldn’t help myself there I’m afraid). However when eating out I made sure the portions were small and then ‘atoned’ myself the next day by eating the lower calorie OMG pots and having little else.
Week One - Starting Weight 10st 9 3/4 lb
Having never ever counted calories or scrutinized the labels on drinks/accompaniments to go with my COOK meals, the first few days were all a bit alien in territory and experience. I also seemed to be all consumed by thinking about food non-stop, grumbling tummies and what I now couldn’t eat. That aside, it was so easy to tot up the calorie intake each day that fairly quickly I dropped a bit of weight.
It was a revelation when I started tipping my OMG pots into proper bowls with a handful of coriander. Already tasty this just seemed to give them a whole new fresh appeal – a bit more pizzazz - transforming them from a handy ‘pot -on- the- go’ to a pretty special meal (can’t get enough of the thai ones).
Week Two - Weight 10st 8 5/8 lb
I got more used to the low calorie routine and my family got used to me eating alongside them and enthusing on about how good and easy it all was…
Week Three - Weight 10st 7 3/8 lb
Slightly dispirited by the fact that my scales at home seemed out of kilter with the work ones –and sometimes vice versa! Decided to ignore them both for a while.
I’m still really enjoying the OMG pots – so many to choose from and the lamb hot-pot was hearty and comforting on a cold miserable Monday evening. On the pud front I particularly like the frozen fruit pots – fresh tingling flavours and as they take so long to eat are really fulfilling!
Week Four - 10st 5 3/8 lb
Encouraging but more than I wanted to be at this point – must try harder! I’m determined to get to as near as 10st as possible – possibly a bit optimistic! My final push therefore means trying to keep to around a daily intake of 1200cal or less, going for a ‘constitutional’ walk most lunchtimes, squeezing in some short runs at the weekend and keep my fingers crossed…
Thursday 29th Jan Weigh in - weight 10st 3lb
Hurrah! I haven’t been this weight since just before I joined COOK – nearly 7 years ago (difficult maintaining ones weight with an abundance of delicious food on offer).
After a fulfilled Christmas and New Year I felt a deep guilt surrounding my recent indulgence. Taking part in the COOK diet seemed to be the resolution!
Naively I thought this would be a simple and easy change to make..but it’s really amazing how food / your diet impacts on your lifestyle and mood. The first week was the hardest, adjusting from oversized portions and numerous snacks to what seemed tiny portions and two choice snacks. Although I have to say towards the end of the first week I could notice a clear difference in my appetite; I was full from the COOK meals and had lost *some not all* urges to over indulge or to eat late at night.
The weekends was also especially hard, making conscious decisions to take one pots with me when visiting friends or family or avoiding lunchtime shopping. Situation I found especially hard where visits to McDonalds with my son. Having the willpower to fight the urge from eating a large meal myself was harder than I had anticipated. Whilst my partner and Harley ate their meals I was thinking about the long term goal of losing weight and feeling better.
Final weight loss - 6lbs!
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