Save money: Lose weight (review)

Did you watch it last week? ITV launched their new series on how to save money with a focus on diets,  coincidentally just as many of us launch into the New Me phase and hit a new diet.

The programme followed 6 overweight men and women as they followed 6 off the shelf diets for 28 days. The experts calculated how much each diet cost for every pound of weight lost – pound for pound for Lean in 15, the Paleo diet, 5:2, Diet Chef, Lighter life and Super Juice Me. As far as I’m concerned  there are some flaws in their approach so this is my take on the programme.


If you’ve recorded it but haven’t got round to watching it, don’t read any further 😉

So this is what they found – ranked in order of cheapest first:

1. LighterLife 

  • Nick, 37, starting weight 18st 2lbs, end weight 16st 7lbs
  • Total lost: 23lbs
  • Cost over four weeks: £336
  • Cost per lbs: £14

2. Jason Vale’s Super Juice Me! 28-Day Diet plan 

  • Amber, 39, starting weight 18st 18lbs end weight 17st 5lbs and loss of 6.5 inches
  • Total lost: 17lbs
  • Cost over four weeks: £299
  • Cost per lbs: £17

3. 5:2 Diet

  • Steve, 61, starting weight 17st 9lbs, end weight is 16st 6lbs
  • Total lost: 17lbs
  • Cost over four weeks: £468
  • Cost per lbs: £27

4. Diet Chef plan 

  • Claudine, 41, starting weight 15st 1lb, end weight is 14st 2lbs
  • Total lost: 13lbs
  • Cost over four weeks: £364
  • Cost per lbs: £ 28

5. The Paleo Diet 

  • Faith, 53, starting weight 13st 8lbs, end weight 12st 9lbs
  • Total lost:  13lbs
  • Cost over four weeks: £435
  • Cost per lbs: £33

6. The Bodycoach Joe Wicks’ Lean in 15 

  • Gemma, 36, starting weight 15st 7lbs, end weight 14st 6lbs
  • Total lost: 15lbs
  • Cost over four weeks: £647
  • Cost per lbs: £43

The key point I want to make is these diets have been costed by purchasing all the foods and ingredients from scratch. So many of the store cupboard items needed for certain recipes will clearly last more than the meal or even the month they were used for.

My next thought was ‘well what are these costs being compare to? Compared to eating nothing?’ I bet the £647 spent on Jo Wicks is over-estimated. I also didn’t see any proportional reductions as they bought whole cauliflowers or broccoli heads for example – did they use / re-use every scrap of product so there was no waste? I’m thinking not!

Now fresh foods are often more pricey than processed, convenience foods so the ‘no junk’ approach can hit your wallet hard. I’m still waiting for the BOGOF offers on salmon and broccoli in my local TESCO so I’ m prepared to go on a bargain hunt until they do. I’ll be providing a few tips tomorrow on eating more healthily whilst not having to donate a kidney.

These diets have many similarities in that they all aim to cut out the crap. This sounds ideal on the face of it, but there are preferable ways to do this . Some of these diets had quite different approaches so let’s take a closer look at them (Why we have to give them a special name like paleo or clean eating is beyond me but there you go, that’s marketing for you!)

The juice me diet does not sit easy with me because it talks about detoxing the body (I’m holding my head in my hands) and you don’t actually EAT as in bite or chew) so coming off this diet , going back to eating ‘normal’ food whilst maintaining any weight loss is going to be very challenging.

Joe Wicks the body coach was the hottest thing in town last year and will probably carry on with that title through 2017. There are numerous books published by him but his signature product is his 90 day Shift, Shape and Sustain Plan (£147). He has definitely hit the convenience niche, providing online tools, videos and support combined with loads of social media marketing where you can see the 1000’s of transformations made. And people pay for transformation! His diet plan is solid but could be demanding for some. The 15min exercise plans are doable; I think we should all be able to manage 15 minutes but could end up like Jamie Oliver’s meals in minutes that end up taking hours!

Diet Chef would be best suited to the single professional, with a decent salary. Great for the no hassle, no need to think approach but it can be incredibly difficult to stick to a diet on your own, whilst everyone else in the household is tormenting your taste buds. If are making changes to your diet, you need a strong support system – people around you that get what you are doing but group support whereby you are all doing the same thing works the best. Having to find the time and energy to cook separate meals for the rest of the family means you are more likely to give up for an easier life.

The 5:2 has worked for many but many people can’t cope with the fasting days. With just 500 Calories to keep you going whilst you get all the kids up, do the school run, go to work and feed the 5000, it’s a big ask. For me I’d have to wear a sign on my forehead to keep away as I suffer from extreme hangryness!

Lighter life offer a range of diets, from low and very low calorie  options to a ‘man plan’ and one that follows the above 5:2 plan. You get ‘food packs’ and meal replacement bars. On the lite plan you have 3 food packs a day (that provide 100% of your RDAs for key vitamins and minerals, but resemble something provided by NASA) plus a small healthy meal. For me, there is a lack of ‘real’ food and I am not keen on the idea of following this for a prolonged period of time. But if this gets you on your way, then fair enough

Like other low calorie diets, it would be reasonable to expect you would lose weight quickly. Mentally, this can be a great kick start and increase your motivation to carry on. The downside is that moving on from a plan can be challenging and without the right support and advice you could quickly return to your old ways.

So there isn’t a one size fits all diet, what works for others may not work for you. It’s about FINDING what works for YOU but my advice is don’t go for quick fixes. If you are serious about change then it has to be for the long term . To achieve that you need to ask yourself what you really want and why that is important to you. What are you willing and not willing to do to get it? If you need help with this, then here’s what you can do:

I offer a FREE 30 minute, no obligation assessment call where you can tell me what you’d like to achieve and find out if I can help you. You will also come away with a clear action point so you can start to make changes today.  Simply click here to book yours now!