You may have noticed that I’m not one to shy away from trying out different diets and food plans (read about my previous experiences with SlimFast and a 3 day juice cleanse). So when I was contacted by LighterLife Fast*, who have created a selection of products to help people successfully and easily manage a 5:2 lifestyle, I was really interested to see how I got on.
I have heard so many positive stories about the 5:2 diet (my mum for one loves it, not to mention (other) A-Listers Jennifer Lopez and Miranda Kerr!) The idea is that you eat normally for 5 days a week and then fast, having just 600 calories on the other two days of the week. It is thought that intermittent fasting can provide additional health benefits, including weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. You can choose your fast days how ever you like, as long as they are not consecutive, and can change it up week to week. You can also eat your 600 calories whenever you like throughout the day, perhaps in one meal at dinner time or spaced out throughout the day, whatever suits your lifestyle (and hunger pangs!) best. The LighterLife Fast products however serve more for people who want to eke their calorie allowance out across the day, with a range of nutritional snack bars, shakes and powdered meals all clearly labelled with their calorific value. People following the LighterLife Fast plan should eat any four products in one day to stay within the 600 calorie 5:2 limit. LighterLife Fast also offers meal replacement products for you to eat on your non-fasting days too, to help ensure you’re eating a healthy balance of nutrients and calories on these days too.
I was really looking forward to trying out the LighterLife Fast diet as it seemed quite flexible. You can choose when to have your fast days which would allow me to keep and make plans to go out for dinner etc on my non-fast days. Whilst on SlimFast I could still go out for dinner, but only went to Pizza Express (which I’m not usually a fan of) as they have a specific 500 calorie menu and I could be sure that it would fit in with the plan. There are also a wide range of LighterLife Fast products to choose from, including savoury options (hurrah! I got a bit sick of eating too many sweet things during SlimFast) and eat-on-the-go shakes and bars so you can tailor the plan to your tastes and requirements.
I was kindly sent the following products to help me on my way:
♥4 x Nutritious Curry flavour meals (155 kcal)
♥4 x Nutritious Spaghetti Bolognaise flavour meals (150 kcal)
♥4 x Nutritious Chocolate flavour powder shakes (152 kcal)
♥4 x Nutritious Crispy Peanut flavour bars (176 kcal)
♥4 x Nutritious Nut Fudge flavour bars (175 kcal)
♥Chocolate Peanut Meal Replacement Bar (214 kcal)
♥Chocolate Raisin Meal Replacement Bar (226 kcal)
♥Chocolate Decadence flavour pre made shake (205 kcal)
How did the LighterLife Fast products taste?
Overall the products themselves are quite nice, but certainly not the nicest “diet foods” I’ve ever tried. The Nut Fudge bars and Crispy Peanut bars give you a sweet treat without being too saccharine and the Crispy Peanut bars remind me of Tracker bars which I LOVE!
The Chocolate and Peanut and Chocolate and Raisin Meal Replacement Bars are also really tasty, especially the peanut ones. Again they’re not too sweet either which is good, as I actually had the shakes after eating one of the SlimFast chocolate peanut meal bars, as it was so sweet!
The pre made bottled Chocolate Decadence shake was yummy too and nice and rich. They are far nicer than the Chocolate Flavour powder shakes as these are to be made up with water not milk to stay within the calorie restraints and taste very thin and powdery. I actually found the powder shakes quite hard to drink and only managed a couple of them!
Whilst it was nice to see some savoury options included in the LighterLife Fast range, I have to say I was a little wary when first trying out the Curry and Spaghetti Bolognaise flavour sachets! Sadly the Curry flavoured powder didn’t really do it for me – it produced a very thin broth with some rice and other textured bits in, which tasted like it had be made from a powder and I didn’t find particularly filling (when made up it filled half a regular mug). The Spaghetti Bolognaise however was much nicer and far more satisfying. Whilst still only filling half a mug, it had a much thicker consistency and much more resembled the spaghetti Bolognaise it was supposed to! It tastes nice and reminds me of chicken flavoured Super Noodles (though is obviously far more nutritious!)
So how have I been getting on with the LighterLife Fast?
I have to admit I have struggled (and mostly failed) with the fast days. My body needs fooooodddd!!! I like to eat and usually have three smallish, healthy meals a day and a couple of low fat snacks to keep me going in between. I really struggled to restrict myself to just 600 calories. Despite telling myself “It’s ok you can eat normally tomorrow!” I still struggled, and more times than not had to eat more than is allowed on the plan. The LighterLife Fast products were good though as it meant I could have four (very small) meals / snacks throughout the day and by having them pre packaged I knew that they had the nutrients my body needed for the day. It also meant I didn’t have to think about what to eat too much, or prepare anything and calculate calories myself which was really good. It did make it very simple to follow. I live with my boyfriend so one thing which is always key for me and the way I eat / diet is that it fits with both of our schedules. One thing I liked on the SlimFast diet was that we could sit and eat the same evening meal together (which also meant it was more economical as shopping for one is a lot harder and expensive than shopping for two) I missed this on the LighterLife Fast as I was eating my LLF products while he ate a regular meal. Oh the food envy was very real! I also find that exercise is key for me in losing weight and I have been really enjoying swimming and walking / jogging recently. However, I’ve not liked to exercise on my fast days as I have felt so lethargic, and I’ve definitely missed working out on these days, and worry this isn’t massively helpful to my weight loss quest.
I liked that each box comes with a meal plan included too which gives ideas of what to eat on your non-fasting days, including recipe cards. This shows that LighterLife Fast is definitely part of a lifestyle update rather than a diet as they aim to help you along all days of your journey, not just the ones where you use their products. This guidance will help people be more successful on the plan so they’re feeding their body well on the 5 days as well as their low calorie 2 days.
Unfortunately however I don’t think LighterLife Fast is the plan for me, which is a shame as I know so many people who the 5:2 lifestyle really has done wonders for. My body just seems to prefer a regular, steady low calorie diet rather than an intervalled very restricted one.
If you are thinking of trying 5:2 then I would definitely check out the LighterLife Fast products, particularly if you’re trying it for the first time, as it takes out all the thinking and does the hard work calorie calculations for you (though I’d probably avoid the Curry flavoured powder and Chocolate flavoured shake powder!) The LLF range is clearly labelled with nutritional value so you can be sure that even whilst you drastically restrict your food intake you’re still getting the nourishment that you need.
Have you tried the 5:2 diet? How did you get on?
*Thanks so much to LighterLife Fast for inviting me to try out their products. All thoughts are honest and my own. For more information please see my Disclaimer Page.