Before Sainsbury's will allow you to sign up for anything you have to complete a pre-screening questionnaire which is very good, it asks about medical conditions, eating disorders, pregnancy and then declines to allow you to join. If you say you are breastfeeding it advises that you must speak to your GP before you join up and that you should not diet while exclusively breastfeeding. I was pleased to see that a sensible approach is being taken here and that people with special needs or those who should not be dieting are not being encouraged to do so.
|Click on the image to enlarge the meal plan image|
Had I of chosen to follow a meal plan my preferred option would have been the Health and Vitality plan, as this includes foods from all the food groups on the Eatwell Plate to ensure that you receive a good balance of nutrients. Sainsbury's suggests that this plan will help you set healthy eating habits for life and that sounds perfect to me.
I route I actually chose to go down was to use the Sainsbury's Diets site to use as a food diary. You have to register by giving some personal details such as your age, activity level, sex and then it asks you to choose a goal weight. It gives some very sensible advice around goal setting and suggests you aim for 10% weight loss initially and it does not even allow you to choose a goal that is more than 20%, it makes you do it incrementally.
I got set a daily calorie intake of 1400 calories and a target of burning 200 calories per day. Apparently by consuming 1000 calories less than I do currently (it worked out I eat 2400 calories per day to maintain my hefty weight at the moment) I will lose 2lb per week and should be at my first goal on 5 May 2011. That feels pretty real and very achievable - here's hoping!
How much is it and what do I get for my money?
Currently there are special membership offers running until 1 March 2011. 12 weeks membership costs £28.80, 6 months membership costs £52.00 and 12 months cost £78.00. Included in the cost are the following -
- A personalised Meal Plan AND food diary - switch between either option when it suits!
- A tailored Body Shape plan to help you tone up
- Use of the Recipe Club
- Access via Mobile Phone
- Chat with others in the Diet Forums
- Help and guidance in 'News & View'
|Click on the image to enlarge the lamb recipe ideas image|
How did I find it?
I found it was generally easy to adds foods to my online food diary but as with anything like this there was a limit on the items available to me, under Museli there was only Co-op own brand available and under McDonalds (I know, I know that should not form part of a healthy eating diet!) the sweet chili chicken deli roll was not listed. You can add items to the diary and I think if you are going to eat them regularly this would be worth it. Also to speed things up there is the option to copy items from one day to another and to put regular meals/ food items into your favourites.
Features I liked:
- There is a running total each day of how many calories you have left, how many alcohol units you have consumed, how you have done on the 5 a day and how much water you have drunk - all very useful reminders.
- You can also add diary notes and track your exercise/ activity level for each day.
- There are good statistics for trends and information relating to what you have eaten and a nice visual graph tracking your weight loss.
- Some of the recipes look super and will give you an extra bit of inspiration
- And if you are the type who likes people around you to spur you on and motivate you then head over to the forums where everything under the sun food, diet and weight loss related is discussed.
- It is also very useful that I can access the Sainsbury's Diets site from my mobile, thus making it much more likely that I would carry on with this.
- In the first few days I also received quick email reminders of things to think about and some of the features on the site that I might not have used yet.