For the last 9 weeks or so I have been on a diet, it wasn't really a choice, my wife discovered DietChef and make the decision for me (I guess she thinks I am too fat), which is probably a good thing as I doubt I would have done it for myself , but I have to say that I was actually pleasantly surprised, so I decided to write a review.
DietChef is basically calorie controlled dieting for dummies. If you are too too busy, too lazy, too stupid or just lack the motivation and self discipline to control your calorie intake yourself then DietChef is probably just the ticket for you. You get a monthly supply of calorie controlled ready meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) delivered to your door which you eat every day instead of your usual meals, which you can supplement with things like rice, pasta and vegetables.
I have always fallen into the too busy/lazy category, I like cooking, but I really cannot be bothered with calculating how many calories in everything I eat, weighing out exact portions, yada yada, this always seems like too much hassle when I get home from work and just takes the pleasure out of cooking.
Anyone who knows me well is probably already aghast, Russ eating ready meals, surely not?
This would be a valid reaction being as I am pretty good cook myself and lover of good food, I generally despise ready meals, with the odd exception, I think they are generally hideous foul tasting trays of slop. And (low fat) diet meals are usually even worse, I have tried weight watchers before and their food really is quite unpalatable.
DietChef is different, in that the meals are not really low fat diet meals, but rather they are simply calorie controlled portions so that you do not exceed 1200 or 1500 calories per day. They are normal every day food such as cottage pie, sausages and onion, meatballs, lasagne, chilli, curry and a lot more, the selection is actually quite massive and the majority of the meals are actually pretty good, certainly better than your supermarket ready meals, depending on your taste of course.
What you get
You get a choice of Granola or Porridge in various flavours, as well as diet shakes,
I hated the porridge, it is the chunky old fashioned kind which I have never liked, I only like the smooth ready brek style. I also can't do shakes as they leave me hungry, so I am stuck with Granola every day.
The portions are very small though, literally a handful of breakfast, so if you are used to a big breakfast this may take some getting used to.
Soup, soup and more soup, but a lot of flavours to choose from, so if you like soup then lunch is a piece of cake, you get about a mugs worth.
I am not a huge soup fan, I prefer more solid food like sandwiches for lunch, so after 9 weeks it is starting to grate, However I am rather fond of the Spicy beef and tomato which is exceptionally nice.
they have recently introduced a couple of new salads too which I tried and they were absolutely hideous. One is a cous cous salad, which just doesn't work as a long life meal, the cous cous just turns into a soggy pile of slop and doesn't taste nice at all.
The dinners are by far the best, with the wide number of choices, you will be having a much more varied weekly menu than you were when you were not on a diet. You then just add a handful of veggies, pasta or rice to go with your meal if you feel so inclines.
Again the hardship is getting used to the small portions, but once you get past that, it doesn't really feel like a diet at all.
If you are really lazy then they also do pouches of rice. But frankly I think you would need to be uber lazy to do this, measuring out 40g of rice is really no effort at all and would only take you an extra minute, and once you have done it a few times you know how much it is, basically it's a handful of rice.
You get popcorn in various flavours (I like the salt and vinegar), oat biscuits, fruit bars and crispy oat bakes.
Most of the snacks are quite pleasant, except the oat bakes which are very dry and not very tasty.
What I have also found is that the snacks are not very low in calories at all, and you can buy better, lower calorie snacks from the super market.
for instance I compared the oat bakes and the fruit bars to a packet of walkers French fries (multi bag) and found that the french fries had less calories, less fat, less carbs and more protein and not to mention they taste better and you get more in a pack.
I also rather like snack-a-jacks (flavoured rice cakes), which are also lower in calories and fat than the DietChef snacks.
Giving up the things you like
My biggest problem has always been snacking, I like to munch on crisps and nuts and things that are not good for you between meals, especially in the evenings while watching TV, and this has been really hard to give up and I do have slips.
So I decided to supplement my diet with some fat binders to help with my slipups and also speed things up in general. I have been using Lipobind, which you can get on amazon considerably cheaper in multi packs. don;t buy it from the supermarket though as it costs a fortune.
Lipobind basically binds up to 25% of the fat in your food so that your body cannot absorb it and instead it just passes right through you. So I have one of these after my main meal and more if I do stuff some crisps or take my kids out for Pizza or something.
In general it has good reviews and seems to work with no side effects. If you have a healthy diet anyway and snacking is your only problem, then maybe LipoBind by itself may be your solution.
This will be a tough one for the guys, what do you drink when you go out with the guys? drinking Pepsi all night sucks and costs more than beer.
I am not really much of a beer drinker, I only like very specific beers (Desperados, Aimee, pear cider), but I discovered Becks Blue, it is an alcohol free beer but it still tastes like beer and personally I think it tastes pretty good and would be happy to drink it anytime regardless of it I was on a diet as I am not bothered about the existence of Alcohol only the taste. And best of all it is only 19 calories per bottle.
As I mentioned before, the DietChef snacks are not very diet, so look for snacks which are under 100 calories with low carbs and fat instead.
Snack-a-jacks, walkers french fries and go ahead bars are some of my favourites. Nuts unfortunately are like the worst thing you can eat, so you have to stay away from them completely.
The bad news
DietChef only supply complete meal hampers, so If like me you don't want the breakfast or lunches then your stuffed. I did enquire about making custom orders and buying only the dinners and was told that I needed to complete a full 3 months hampers subscription first and then I would be able to order whatever I like.
However DietChef do not publicise this and are very secretive about it and do not like anyone else to mention it. I tried to discuss the subject on their forums and my posts were instantly deleted.
I also posted a question on their forums regarding the calorie count on their snacks being higher than regular snacks, and these posts also got instantly deleted along with my account without any explanation, so it seems dietchef have a few secrets they are trying to sweep under the carpet, which is a shame.
So far I have lost just over 10 Llbs, so that's about 1Llb per week, which is pretty good considering I also put some weight back on over xmas and have had a few off days with Pizza, curry and kebabs too