Body Chef is a diet delivery service that provides you with all your meals and snacks so that you can’t eat ‘off box’.
You pick the meals you like from a pre-planned list, can input any dietary requirements and choose how many calories you want to eat a day.
Each meal plan is portion-controlled and nutritionally balanced so you should lose weight healthily, ideally without feeling starving half the time. And it takes all the planning, counting and organising away – the body chefs will take care of that.
Signing up was pretty painless. I picked my plan and then glanced through the meals that are pre-selected. Mostly I left them as chosen by the system but couldn’t resist changing some of the options for ones that looked particularly tasty.
I also decided to go for the middle calorie level of 1600, rather than 1200, which is the lowest you can go. As a cyclist and generally active person I felt that was too low to keep me on two wheels. If you’ve no clue, your profile will recommend you a level, depending on how much activity you say you do.
Then I just had to wait for my box to arrive.
The insulated box is waiting on my doorstep when I get home from work a few days later, containing three days’ worth of meals. It feels a bit funny to see single slices of bread diligently wrapped in plastic sandwich bags (the toast part of Tuesday’s breakfast) and a small bunch of spaghetti wrapped in cling film.
But there are also ready-made meals in plastic containers that look a bit more impressive, and pre-chopped and washed salads with separate pots containing the proteins – tuna, slices of chicken etc.
It might have been the novelty but I had fun sorting the packets and containers into their individual days and felt positive for the couple of weeks ahead. There seemed to be plenty of food, nothing I didn’t like (although later it turned out I don’t like dates) and regular snacking was encouraged.
There were even puddings (from flapjacks to mousses).
Sticking to it
I spent two weeks eating ‘on box’, spending a few days on each diet plan. I was looking to lose weight and de-bloat and my profile recommended I try the premier diet so I did that for a few days, then tried the Low GI, the Detox, the Superfood and the Flat Belly plans.
If I’m honest they all felt quite similar. Superfoods contained a few more exotic options, but on the whole the plans all ran together in my mind. So when you’re choosing which one, don’t get too hung up on the options. The best thing to do is pick the plan that best fits the outcome you want and just stick to it. They’re all calorie controlled to the same level so you should see similar benefits.
For people who hate the idea of diets and messing around, this works really well.
But as with any diet delivery service, or diet for that matter, the key is fitting it into your life. My partner was a bit miffed he couldn’t eat with me for two weeks but actually this didn’t pose too much of a problem as we could still sit down together even if he had to cobble together something for himself.
Socially it’s a double-edged sword. Half the time I used the fact that I’m ‘on box’ as an excuse to avoid eating out and a reason I couldn’t accept that biscuitty snack going around the office or head out for a drink after work.
But it also meant then when I did want to socialise, I was pretty limited. No one wants to be the loser sitting in a restaurant eating out of Tupperware do they?
The only way to get round this is to remember that it’s for a limited time, and you have your goals to think about.
If eating out isn’t a problem and you have more trouble at home picking at the fridge, I found this to be willpower in a box. If it’s not from the plan, it’s not allowed. It’s amazing how a simple, arbitrary rule can really help you stick to your guns.
The only thing that matters – did I lose weight? Well, yes, I did. Woo hoo!
I lost three pounds in the two weeks. And it’s clear that if you genuinely stick to the box, you will lose weight. It helps that there’s no alcohol in the box (hence, none allowed), which is key to ditching the pounds, and even the puddings are pretty saintly (if you choose to eat them). I fell off the wagon on one or two days but still reaped the benefits.
For people who hate the idea of dieting, Body Chef manages to nail being low calorie without ever really feeling like a diet. There’s white pasta, creamy sauces and sweet treats.
But as a food and nutrition obsessive I often felt it was too close to normal food, rather than ultra-healthy diet food so if you’re an obsessive serial dieter, you may not be satisfied.
As well as weight loss, I learned some pretty major things about myself and my diet from the two-week plan. Firstly, my portion sizes were ridiculous. Initially my Body Chef portions seemed tiny but looking back I realised before I was eating way too much in a single sitting, even of healthy foods, and therefore not losing any weight. Since finishing I’ve really thought about portion size and seeing what the boxed portions were for breakfast, lunch and dinner have really helped me rebalance.
I also realised that eating healthily doesn’t have to feel like a struggle. I didn’t feel hungry on the plans, but I did have to think about what I was doing and get used to avoiding midnight treats and the added extras that usually litter my day.
The Bodychef diet plans start from £17.98 per day, For more information visit www.bodychef.com.