Update: Exante have since rebranded twice so you can find a newer review at Exante Diet Rebrand!
I have recently become more interested in diet plans and weight control as I have now been a mummy for just over 2 years and I’m (like many other mummy’s) not particularly happy with the way I look and need a bit of a boost in confidence. I have written previously about my love of food but I was lucky enough to review some diet plans previously so when I was asked if I would like to review a diet plan offered by Exante, I was really excited to take on the challenge and see if I could actually do it! I’m not someone who is interested in dieting particularly as I love food and love cooking so I feel I can make ‘good’ choices in terms of what’s good for me or not but I was still interested in how I would get on!
Exante are a meal replacement diet company who offer a range of different diet plans to suit your goals and current ‘status’. The website has lots of information about each diet plan but I will just talk about the plan I followed as it was a nice starter and, I feel, a good place for someone who hasn’t dieted before, to start. Once you input your details into the system, the website calculates which plans will suit your weight, height, and Bmi and weight goals. As I was sent the products to review, I felt completely on my own as I didn’t get the personalisation that I would have as a regular customer. I had to go through the online system without purchasing to get the information I needed and once I had done that it was ok. There are a lot of diets to choose from which on one hand gives you the choice and flexibility to do it your way, however on the other hand it’s quite confusing until you have read through all of the information given.
The plan that best suited me was the Simple Solution (LCD) plan as I was being sent one of Exante’s Starter Packs (more about that later) and so I could eat 3 x 200 calorie Exante packs a day and add a 600 calorie low-carb dinner or 600 calorie low-carb snacks from the snacks list, adding up to 1200 calories a day. This plan didn’t seem as scary for me as not adding any other food because I ate about 2000 calories a day before! Exante advertise the plan as a good way to lose a stone or more while enjoying real food too.
The 3 x 200 calorie packs and extra 600 calorie meal/snacks are supposed to give you 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin and minerals. As well as this, Exante advise drinking 2-4 litres of water a day something which I do anyway as I’m weird and only drink water! But they also advise to exercise as well as following the diet plan, I managed to exercise most days as well as run around after a 2-year-old so it was quite easy to make a few small changes to my everyday life.
When the Exante box arrived and I opened it up, after not knowing what to expect, I must say I was a little disappointed as I was faced with lots of silver sachet’s that looked a little scary! (I know I should have been expecting sachet’s but I honestly don’t think I had realised what I was actually doing!) It was suddenly a scary prospect that this was my food for the next 2 weeks! However I soon got over this initial panic and looked at it more as a challenge for myself and I was genuinely intrigued as to what this diet could do for me in terms of weight-loss and general feeling.
The good thing about the plan is that it takes away any thoughts about meal planning and the longest I had to wait for my meals was 15 minutes so they are great for someone working and needing to grab-and-go!
Now about the actual products I tested. Getting over the fact the food is all powdered and you only need to add water to them, I woke up the first morning feeling quite positive and ready to see just how breakfast would go! As I poured water into my bowl of powder (Vanilla Flavour Crispy Cereal) I was impressed with how the cereal actually looked like cereal and was even swimming in ‘milk’. It tasted too sweet for me although I’m not great with breakfast anyway so I could only eat about half of it. Lunch was Vegetable Soup which looked and smelt like any ‘normal’ vegetable soup.
It tasted ok but I would season it myself next time as it was slightly bland. Dinner was Beef and Black Bean which was spicy; it smelt ok but looked a bit like slop which put me off slightly as I definitely eat with my eyes! I only managed half of it as it was a bit too spicy towards the end for me. That first night I was feeling a bit deflated, I have never dieted before so I was finding it quite tough. It may be that going from one extreme to another is too much too quickly for me. The seasoning and sweetness became a big issue for me over the next 2 weeks as practically every single meal I had was either far too salty (breakfast eggs) or far too sweet (maple syrup pancakes) which I presume is the main way to get the powder to taste ‘nice’.
One of the best meals I had was the Indian curry as despite the over saltiness, it actually looked like a ‘normal’ curry and tasted nice. One of the worst I had was the cheese and bacon savoury scone, it was revolting and really disheartening after a massive walk and being so hungry to come back to that. By the mid-way point, I still hadn’t really found anything I liked very much and as the box contained more than 1 sachet of each food I felt like I was already losing meals and I would have found this frustrating if I had paid for the box myself. I think my main problem is that I’m a confident and competent cook who enjoys creating and making homemade food so I just found myself thinking about cooking my own dishes but within the 1200 calorie a day restraints.
Over the 2 week trial I lost 4lbs and a couple of inches off my waist. I’m impressed with how much my stomach looks flatter and I’m not as bloated as I was before. I hadn’t realised how bloated I was before I did this! I’m really happy to have lost 4lbs as it has taken me 8 months to lose 11lbs by myself.
All in all, the texture of the foods is quite strange as most of the meals create a paste-like substance. The appearances are not great but once you get over that it’s not too bad. I also found that I was very tired all the time, with no energy which is bad with a toddler around. It may be a good diet plan for someone at work with things to keep them busy and not thinking about food all of the time. I thought about food a lot, probably more than I normally would!
The Exante Diet 2 week breakfast, lunch and dinner diet pack I was sent to review normally retails at £74.50 with free next day delivery so it is a bit cheaper than other diet companies I have seen advertised before, however if, like me, you still have to feed a partner and child/children, the cost can mean you are spending a lot more than you usually would on a supermarket shop. There are some good deals available on the website like ‘84 products for £80’ and ‘50 shakes for £50’ so you can follow a diet plan for a bit cheaper.
This has been a good introduction to diets for me in that it has shown me that by cutting my calories down (not as difficult as I first imagined!) I can actually lose some weight, however I will not be trying a meal replacement plan again as it just isn’t for me. I will be taking forward the fact I can eat 1200 calories most days and it still be satisfying and I will be restructuring some of my recipes to lower the calories in them, so if I have learnt anything it is that. If you want a ‘quick fix’ in the short-term, this is a great way to lose a few pounds before a summer holiday or a big event and it easily fits into a busy lifestyle. But now I’m off to scoff some well-deserved cake!
I have also done 2 video reviews which you can view here: