I’ll be honest: I’m one of those people who’s kind of always on a diet. In the words of Regina George, “I really want to lose three pounds” (times four); but my problem is that I bloody LOVE food and going out for dinner and drinks is pretty much my main hobby in life. I wish it could be spinning, but alas.
Ahoy there pals! So we have something a little different for you today, as I’m going to blabbering on about the recent diet that I’ve been on in preparation for my holiday. I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (or hot water and lemon if we’re being really healthy), but I’ve been using a few products that I for one was really interested in prior to my diet so I thought I’d share my experiences of them in case others are curious too.
I have a few disclaimers as I know this can be a bit of a controversial subject, but in the interest of not boring you to death in the first few minutes, I have popped these at the bottom of the entry for y’all. Now that I feel comfortable enough that nobody is going to sue me, here is a breakdown of what I’ve been eating on a typical day:
Breakfast: Protein Shake
Okay, if you’re anything like me then you’re probably sick to death of hearing the word ‘protein’, as every single gym bore on your Twitter probably harps on about it at least 8 times a day (as a side note, people, STOP UPLOADING PHOTOS OF YOUR SHAKERS. Nobody – I repeat, nobody – cares). With that being said though, protein shakes are something I’ve been enjoying for around 18 months now. I initially started off having them after the gym as they’re most commonly used, but I then moved to having them for breakfast occasionally too. Some protein shakes can be crazily high in calories for those who are trying to bulk, but if you get a diet option then these can be around 100-250 calories per serving.
I’ve previously used one by a brand called PhD, but GoNutrition recently sent me their Go Diet Whey* to try out so that’s what I’ve been having lately. I have the Triple Chocolate flavour which is honestly delicious – very smooth and creamy when mixed with water. You can use milk if you want your shake to be a bit thicker, or add oats to really bulk it up. I find it just fine with water though.
GoNutrition also sent me a host of other goodies as you can see in that picture too – they stock everything from protein mousse and protein cookies to protein balls (ooer)(they’re actually crunchy snacks, minds out of the gutter people). I also wolfed these down over a couple of days, which wasn’t strictly great for my low calorie plan as they’re not diet products – but who can resist protein balls?!
I’ve been wanting to try the Eat Water range for AGES. For those who haven’t heard of it before, the range – that includes noodles, pasta and rice – is made from none of those things really, but actually from “Juroat, a secret recipe made from a blend of Konjac flour and special oat fibre”. They’re essentially fake noodles/pasta/rice that have a teeny tiny amount of the calories of the real stuff.
As I said, I’d always been intrigued but had been put off by the price tag (one packet can cost you over £2 at Holland and Barrett and you only get 1-2 servings out of that). Eventually though, I decided I just needed it in my life and so I placed an order from Amazon which worked out slightly cheaper – they do mixed packs like this one that contains a variety for you to try.
Personally I am a FULL convert to Eat Water. The pasta is probably the one I like least – there’s nothing unpleasant about the taste, but the texture is a bit rubbery so you know you’re not eating pasta. However, if you always have it on your fork along with the tuna or quorn or whatever you’re eating it with, as well as a healthy dose of your chosen sauce, then it’s absolutely fine. The rice and noodles I both liked a LOT. The rice just basically tastes of nothing, which I also find true of real rice, but helps to bulk up a boring bit of chicken substantially. And the noodles are also absolutely fine in stir fries. All three felt just like regular carbs to me and kept me as full. WIN.
Snacks: Fruit & Nakd bars
I’m a snacker and need to eat at least every 3 hours before I start gnawing at my own hand. Between meals I’ve been munching on fruit (bananas, strawberries and blueberries if you’re super curious) and my new obsession, Nakd bars. These are gluten free bars just made up of mushed up fruits and nuts. One of my friends tried them and said they tasted like cardboard, but I disagree – maybe I just like cardboard, who knows?
And thus concludes the overview of my recent holiday diet. I have to be completely useless now and say that I don’t own any scales so have no idea if I’ve actually lost any weight, but lowering my carb intake before my holiday has definitely got me feeling a bit happier about braving the bikini!
Have any of you tried any of these products? What are your holiday diet tips? Let me know in the comments below!
(Now onto those boring disclaimers…)
- Firstly, I’ve purposely used the word ‘diet’ here as opposed to dressing it up as ‘healthy eating’ or anything like that – this is because my main focus the last few weeks has been cutting my calories down and limiting my carb intake in preparation for my holiday. I’m therefore aware it’s a little extreme for long-term use and it’s not what a lot of people would deem ‘healthy’ or would want to promote.
- Secondly, this is simply what works for me and I’m not able to say whether it would work for others.
- It’s also worth noting that I’m smaller than your average homosapian, being only round 5’2, plus lead a pretty sedentary lifestyle (read: I sit on my butt a lot) so generally I need fewer calories than the average person anyway.
- Don’t sue me, fanks!
Detoxing has always been pretty big news in the health world, and it seems that recently the popularity of ‘tea detoxes’ has rocketed. This version of detoxing involves cleansing your system simply through drinking some specially blended herbal teas. There are quite a few companies around at the moment offering these products, and one of these is Slendertoxtea, who were superbly kind people and sent me 14 days’ worth of products to try.
Slendertoxtea state that their tea detox will help to:
- beat the bloat
- aid weightloss
- increase your energy
- increase your metabolism
I was really intrigued to try one of these detoxes for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I’ve been healthy eating and gymming for months now but still find that bloating is an issue, particularly as the day goes on. Secondly, I’ve always quite liked the idea of ridding my body of toxins but haven’t quite fancied only eating apples for three days like some other detoxes advise. And thirdly, I just love a little experiment.
How Does Slendertoxtea Work?
I actually agreed to review the products before I had any idea how they worked. I know, how wise of me(!) I assumed it would be a ‘skip breakfast and have this cuppa’ instead situation, but I was incorrect. Once I actually scoped the website out I was pleased to see that the tea detox involves no cutting out of food whatsoever. The process is simple: you have one tea each morning as soon as you wake up, and then crack on with all of your daily meals as usual. Then, every other night you also have an evening tea.
Obviously for the tea detox to be 100% effective, you should be eating healthily too. The website has a pretty handy Eating Plan you can download if you would like some guidance on what to eat, and it has some additional information on foods to avoid too.
Now, I will be very straight with you all. The nub and gist of the matter is that this tea detox works due to having a laxative effect. There, I said it. Those of a sensitive disposition should look away now, as this review is henceforth me talking about pooing.
Slendertoxtea is a colon cleansing tea that, to put it simply, flushes you out. This is due to the herbs in the tea, which have apparently been used by South East Asians for many years. The tea needs to be brewed for around 15 minutes in either warm or cold water and then… the magic begins.
My Slendertoxtea Experience
I was a little wary once I realised how the detox was going to work, and even more so when I read the packet that instructs you to begin your detox on a weekend when you’re not at work. ‘Oh gosh,’ I thought, ‘poo explosions imminent!’
However, I’m pleased to report – and I’m sure you’re all pleased to read – that this wasn’t the case. My effects didn’t kick in until the second day and for me, it was not remotely a bad experience. While the website does warn of slight nausea, headaches and hunger pangs, I actually felt fine during my teatox. My loo breaks were increased, yes – especially on the days following the morning tea and the evening tea – but they were, er, shall we say quick ‘trips’ so it didn’t massively disrupt me.
I’m lucky enough to work in an office though, where nobody really cares how often I leave the room – I will say that if you work somewhere like a shop, bar or bank where you’re not allowed to just run off when the mood strikes, then this might not be too practical for you. There was one day where I had a client meeting to go to in Wales – knowing this involved a long journey and long meeting, I decided to skip the tea on this day. Other than that, I found that the effects of the teas didn’t really bother me too much. On top of this, I did genuinely start to feel much lighter and healthier as the days went by, so my feelings towards the tea were very positive.
I hadn’t weighed myself prior to the detox so I can’t tell you whether it worked in shifting any pounds, but I do think my bloating was reduced and I felt overall much better about myself. I can hand on heart say that I will definitely consider purchasing another set of these teabags in the future. I think they would be a great way to keep me feeling energised and cleansed every other month or so, and especially before a holiday or after a heavy and regret-filled weekend.
The Slendertoxtea teabags are available in 14 day, 28 day or 3 month packs and prices range from just £9.99 to £89.99.
If I haven’t put you off with my somewhat crude review (just being honest, ladies and gents…) then Slendertoxtea have been generous enough to offer a free 14 day teatox to one of our readers. Just enter in the standard way below that we all know and love, and we’ll reveal the winner in 2 weeks!
There’s also currently a discount available on the Slendertoxtea website, which gives you 20% off your tea detox. Just enter ’20twitter’ for your discount!
Would any of you try a tea detox, or have you? Good luck with our giveaway!
Today I’ve got to sidestep away from our usual waffling about fake tan and leggings and write about something that affected me quite a lot last night. I was having my usual browse through Instagram and came across a hashtag that caught my eye – #anorexia.
Out of intrigue I clicked on the link, thinking that surely there wouldn’t be that many posts associated with this mental illness? I was unfortunately really, really wrong with this assumption. What I found as I explored the topic deeper genuinely disturbed me, and eventually compelled me to write this post so that we’re all much more aware of what exactly is being portrayed on the photo sharing site that many of us use every day – and just how easily accessible this damaging content is for people of all ages.
There are over one and a half million posts dedicated to anorexia on Instagram. What the vast majority of these photos represent is a massive online community of those who are either suffering with, or are very interested in, anorexia. This community of users are regularly sharing genuinely disturbing content including ‘inspirational’ photos of emaciated girls, encouraging quotes related to not eating and weight loss, and frankly horrific images such as these below:
Users are actually interacting with these photos, actively encouraging each other to give up certain food or go without eating at all. Whether or not the people behind these accounts are genuinely following through with the promises is unknown, but the photos reveal the extent to which this community of impressionable young girls is thriving on the site.
Arguably, you’re always going to have this sort of content somewhere on the internet. But what I found most interesting is the part that Instagram itself actually plays in this pro-ana community.
When you click on the link, the above warning pops up. To me, this is actually really disturbing – it shows that Instagram are monitoring the hashtag, have recognised its connection to those suffering from a mental illness, and yet continue to give them the option to view it anyway. Is this really their idea of safeguarding? You could argue that it’s not Instagram’s responsibility to control what is shared on the site; but then when you consider what happens when you try to search for sexually explicit content:
The more I looked into the pro-anorexia content, I also came across the disturbing crossover into the world of self-harm and teenage depression. ‘#Cutting’ brings up the same warning as the anorexia tag, this time seeking to advise users on suicide and self harm. Once again though, they’re welcome to click through the warning and access over a million images focused around self-loathing and physical harm.
I’ve chosen not to screenshot any of the actual images themselves, but some of them are incredibly graphic shots of deep cuts and arms covered in blood. All bear captions claiming that the person behind the account has just made those cuts, and immediately uploaded the photos to Instagram. Here’s a snippet of just some of the hashtags used alongside these images, which again, Instagram are clearly making no effort to monitor or censor:
I won’t pretend that I understand what the people behind these accounts are thinking or feeling. Whether they’re all genuine sufferers, are crying out for attention or are just caught up in the subculture isn’t something you can assume from looking at any of the accounts. All you can really tell is how potentially damaging this all is. Most of the users are incredibly young, some describing themselves as being as young as 12 on their profiles. And if all you have to do to access images of sliced up wrists and starvation is to have access to a smartphone and click through one ‘warning’ from Instagram, then you can imagine just how many impressionable young people these warped images and ideas can be reaching. I have four nieces and to think that any of them could view content like this and be drawn into these communities is genuinely distressing.
The argument will always be there that responsibility for this lies with parents, who should be monitoring what sites their kids are accessing. In theory this is obviously true; in reality kids and teenagers will always find a way around it. There’s also the argument that this conversation, if removed from Instagram, would continue on other platforms – whether that’s Tumblr (where I know this is also a big problem), forums or chatrooms. However, surely Instagram – as one of the most popular and most accessed applications in the smartphone industry – have a responsibility to remove this sort of content from their site? No, it won’t solve the wider problem at hand – but that’s no reason to permit these communities to exist.
What do you all think of this topic? Should Instagram be doing more to prevent this kind of content?
Hey there you sexpots! In our borderline obsessive mission to ‘branch out a bit’, I’ve got something quite different for y’all today. I was recently given the chance to trial a week’s worth of Exante diet products, and having read a blogger review not long ago I was intrigued to give it a go.
I’ll start by saying that I’m pretty sure I’m not Exante’s target audience. I’ve got a BMI of around 21 so don’t really need to lose any weight, but I’m in the midst of a health kick and have been dedicating my life to the gym and spinach (exciting stuff, let me tell you), so I was still keen to see is a diet like this could give me an extra boost. I’ve also got to admit that I’ve always been pretty cynical about these sort of systems, so was mainly interested to see whether the diet’s claims – that you stay feeling full and receive all the vitamins and minerals you need – were true or not.
How Exante Works
Exante is a low calorie meal replacement system that consists of shakes, soups, snacks and ready meals that you eat in place of your normal meals. There are three options that you can choose from depending on how much weight you want to lose:
- Total Solution: this is the VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet) option, where you completely replace your food intake with Exante products. You have three products per day, which amount to 600 calories. This is obviously an extreme diet, and is only recommended for people with a BMI of only 25.
- Working Solution: on this version of the diet – which is known as an LCD (Low Calorie Diet) plan – you have three Exante products each day, plus one low-carb, high-proten meal that you make yourself. This should be no more than 400 calories, bringing your daily intake to 1000 calories.
- Simple Solution: this is I suppose the ‘easiest’ of the diet plans – again, you have three meal replacement products a day, but you’re also allowed a meal of up to 600 calories.
I decided to go for the Working Solution option; I think as I don’t have much weight to lose I would have been advised to go for the Simple Solution, but my evening meals recently have only been around the 400 calorie mark anyway so I figured I’d chance it.
The science behind the system revolves around a state that your body supposedly enters into once a LCD or VLCD is undertaken called ketosis.The calorie deficit that’s created once you’re having less calories than you need causes you to enter ketosis, which, according to the Extante website, is “a normal metabolic state… where your body will use its fat stores to produce energy”. So rather than relying on carbs for energy, you’ll be running off your own fat (there’s a pleasant image) and thus the fat will go.
I received 21 meal replacement products to last me 7 days. These consisted of 5 shakes, 2 bars and 14 soups. I definitely would have preferred to have more shakes and bars rather than quite so much soup – it was also unfortunate that about 45of the soups were mushroom flavoured, which would definitely have made me throw up into my own lap if I’d had to eat them.
My first few days on the diet actually went brilliantly. I had a shake for breakfast, soup for lunch, a bar for a snack and then my usual evening meal (which is never too exciting anyway – omelettes and chicken salads abound).
The shakes are honestly really, really nice. They’re creamy and thick, and I liked all of the flavours I tried (strawberry, chocolate, vanilla and banana). The soups are nice enough – as exciting as what are essentially cuppa soups can be anyway – though I don’t recommend blending them as suggested, as I found this made it go weirdly frothy. The bars were also really nice; quite stodgy so you felt like you were eating quite a big portion, which is much better than your standard cereal bars that can disappear in two bites.
Unfortunately with only 2 bars and 5 shakes, this dream combination didn’t last for the full week. On 2 days I had to resort back to my trusty breakfast friend porridge for breakfast, then have a soup or 2 throughout the rest of the day. It was on these days that I got a little bored of the diet and I’ve got to say, if it wasn’t for the fact that I knew I had my evening meal to look forward to then I might have given up earlier. I think the Total Solution would be fine if you had the ready meals though, as this would add some variety.
But what about my main concern, whether I’d feel full and healthy? I have to say that despite my reservations about diets like this, I was actually full and satisfied all day. I was also going to the gym most nights, and never felt at all weak or tired like I expected I might. I also didn’t find myself having any cravings, though this might have been down to the fact that I’d already cleaned my eating up a lot in the weeks before.
Considering I started out quite cynical about the diet’s claims, I have to say that the products did pleasantly surprise me in the way that they kept me full and energised. While I still think that there’s no substitute for healthy, clean eating (and that this is actually pretty easy to do once you get into the habit of it), I can see why these sort of plans could be a good option for certain people who want to kick start a new eating regime.
The Exante diet plans start from £3.87 per day, making them one of the cheapest meal replacement services on the market today. If you don’t want to commit to the full plan, then you can also buy the products separately via their shop.
Have any of you tried Exante? What do you think of Very Low Calorie or Low Calorie diet plans?