Back at the end of January I was given the opportunity to try out a meal delivery plan from Body Chef, and I jumped at the chance. I’ve been intrigued by these no stress easy diet plans for a while, it’s the sort of thing you see celebrities doing to keep slim and you think “well, that’s all very well for them with all their money” so given the chance to try one out for a week, well, I couldn’t say no!
The first thing I had to do was create an account and choose my diet. Body Chef has multiple options, ranging from a simple calorie controlled diet, through options like Dukan diet, 5:2 diets, Clean and Lean and Vegetarian hampers. I chose the Health Boost plan with approximately 1600 calories a day. You can go as low as 1200 (unless you live confined to a chair, that is TOO LOW PEOPLE!) and as high as 2500. You are then given the opportunity to review each days created menus and create substitutions and exclude foods as you want. Tomatos? Ugh, no thanks! It also meant I could tweak the average macro nutrient composition and add in some higher protein options on some of my days.
I really enjoyed the process of tweaking my daily meals and there was lots of choice, certainly much more than my limited imagination would have been able to come up with!
If you sign up for the plan full time then boxes are delivered on a Tuesday and a Friday, in a surprisingly small box for 4 days food, with a bottom section with a chiller pack and dry goods in the top.
Each box comes with a printed version of your diet plan so that you can stick it on the fridge, and all of your daily meal options are carefully labelled and packaged into individual plastic containers and bags.
I quite enjoyed sorting out my containers and putting them in the fridge in little organised piles for each day, but I’m just weird like that. My first instinct was that some of the portions were very small, which is probably why I need to go on a diet in the first place, but actually by the time they’d been heated up and put on a plate most of them were perfectly decent sized meals. There were a few that I added an extra portion of green beans to, or a touch more salad to fill up my plate, but mostly I felt perfectly full after my meal, and knowing I had dessert too was a real treat!
One thing I did rapidly discover is that the meal plans are designed with the average person in mind and if you are undertaking particularly long or intense training sessions you might need to occasionally sneak some of your own food in! I tried to time my food very carefully, eating dinner shortly before a practice and saving my snacks to eat during, but this is a low calorie diet, and on a couple of days I had to add extra bits to keep me going. On the Thursday night I coached the early Roller Derby session for 1 1/2 hours, before a 2 hour scrim. After warm up I started to feel a bit faint, so I took one of the emergency gels I had stashed in my kit bag. Likewise on the Sunday I did an hour of weights at the gym followed by another scrim and tucked into a sneaky banana and carton of coconut water to keep me going during the day! Mostly, though, the 1600 calorie version was fine and didn’t leave me feeling hungry or faint at any time.
I particularly enjoyed the lunches. I’m not very good at planning lunches and I have to buy from shops a lot, but these were all cold, easy to assemble and tasty. A particular favourite being a chicken wrap with guacamole and roasted peppers which I’m going to have to have a try at recreating! I should definitely make wraps more often!
It has to be said I can identify 2 main downsides to the Bodychef plan. The first, and unavoidable one, is the cost. Having someone else prepare you 3 tasty and varied meals a day and deliver them to your door costs a lot more than planning, shopping for and preparing them yourself. There is a reason it’s mostly celebrities you hear about using these plans, and a full week costs around £140 for the plan I was on. That works out as a lot of money over a month. It’s not that I don’t feel it’s worth it though, if you’re a busy person your time can be pretty valuable and having some one else plan your meals so all you have to do is eat it is a huge organisational chunk out of a week if you are trying to lose weight. I also compared it to if you ate out every day for 3 meals, you’d probably expect to spend at least £20 a day, so roughly the same cost as a week on this plan. Never the less, this isn’t a budget option, and I really see it as a regular option only for time poor people in very well paid and busy jobs, or an emergency option you might try for a week or two coming up to a special event to drop a few pounds.
It’s other downside was that it does create a lot of waste from packaging. It arrived in a cardboard box with a polystyrene liner and a large cool pack, and inside that was at least 1, sometimes 2 plastic takeaway containers for each meal, or around 21 containers each week. It would be nice to see Bodychef perhaps offering a return service where you could return the previous weeks packaging for recycling when your next box was delivered.
Over the week I was on the Bodychef diet plan I found it incredibly easy to stick to. Knowing there was food waiting for me at home and that I’d end up having to chuck it away made it much easier not to “cheat” and buy food while I was out, or order a takeaway because I was too tired to cook. I also really enjoyed the sheer feeling of organisation, of not getting to lunch time and having to think about it! I’ve actually started trying to incorporate some of those elements into my meal planning since I finished, preparing an entire weeks lunches in advance and keeping them in the fridge has made me feel super organised!
So, did I lose any weight? That’s what the plan is about after all! I was actually surprised to have lost 3lb at the end of the week. I ate 3 meals plus a snack and dessert every day, plus I cheated a bit on the Friday night and drank rather a lot of wine and still managed to lose a very decent amount of weight.
Would I recommend Body Chef? If you can afford it, without hesitation.
If you fancy giving it a go I’ve got a 15% discount code off your first order, to make it a little more affordable for you! The code is LLL15 and will be valid for the next 30 days!