I’ll be honest, in January I convinced myself I was going to do all kinds of health and fitness goals…..and failed within about a week! My yoga membership didn’t see nearly enough hours despite telling myself I’d go 3 times a week, my morning run was given up on in favour of extra sleep most days, and then there was the day I decided I’d try going Vegan, lasted half the day, and then freaked out trying to buy veggie chilli ingredients in Asda and ended up buying a pepparami (insert laughing crying face here). The funniest thing about all of this is that up until recently I’ve had no problem being healthy or staying in shape! The Rosie of a year ago was probably the fittest and healthiest I’ve been in my (twenties) life, so looking back now I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed in myself for letting it all slide.
If you read my last post, you’ll know that my January was pretty messy, so I figure it’s okay to cut myself a bit of slack! Isn’t it funny though that when things get hard, or we feel bad, the things that are always the first to go, or that we convince ourselves we don’t have enough time for, always seem to be the things that will make us feel better the most?! It’s so illogical but we all seem to do it. For example, I know that doing a yoga session will absolutely always make me feel better if I’m having a bad day, but if I’m feeling stressed and busy it’s the first thing to get scrapped from my schedule due to “not having enough time”. I’ve got to work on that one for sure!
It’s the same thing when it comes to eating healthy – unless you’re already in the routine it can seem like too much effort shopping for all the right ingredients, learning new recipes to cook, making time after work to try them out….it’s all too easy to slip back into bad habits! Luckily I discovered the perfect solution to all of this when So Shape invited me to try out one of their meal challenges!
I’m going to be honest, I have always been quite healthy but I always favour more ‘natural’ ways of exercising or staying in shape and I have never been the kind of gym-going health obsessive, weight pumper who glugs protein shakes or tries meal replacements! So I was a little bit wary at first, but there was something different about So Shape that just seemed so much more up my street and I thought it would be worth giving it a go!
So Shape is a meal replacement diet, but it definitely seems to have a different take on things than any I’ve seen before! As much as it is intended for weightloss, it’s way more focused on nutrition. Each meal contains all the nutrients your body needs in one handy package, essentially just making healthy eating super easy! Perfect if like me, you’re wanting to change your eating habits but you’re short on time, willpower or even money (the cost per meal works out at under £3 so better than your lunch time meal deal or evening Sainsbury’s shop!) The meals are all low calorie, low in fat and sugar but high in protein. They’re also gluten free (apart from the pasta options) and vegetarian. What more could you want?! You literally tip the sachet into your shaker (which comes with the pack), mix with cold water and you’re good to go!
So Shape have 3 different challenges to choose from, depending on how long you want to do the diet for and I guess how much change you want to see – 5 days, 14 days or 28 days. I like that you can just do a short course a bit like having a detox and giving your health a quick boost, 14 days seems like a manageable length if you want to lose a bit of weight and get back into healthy eating, and 24 is for the more hardcore ‘transformation’ lovers – basically people who have far more willpower than me!! I chose the 14 days so that I could try out a variety of flavours and really test out if it made a difference! How it works is you swap out two of your normal meals each day for So Shape meals. They suggest breakfast and dinner, but I mixed it up with having them at breakfast and lunch sometimes too, as that seemed easier to fit with my lifestyle (plus I love to cook a proper dinner in the evening!) To be honest, with a busy lifestyle like mine having something so easy that you don’t have to worry about for meals is actually a bit of a blessing. A lot of the time I find I don’t have time for breakfast in the morning or would end up buying something on the go (which is a waste of money and not usually very healthy!) so having something as easy as a shake to mix up in a minute on your way out is ideal! The same goes for lunch or dinner, whenever you’re busiest! I love that each meal comes in a little sacht, so it’s super easy to shove one in your bag to take to work and make at lunchtime, or alternatively if you’re home late and don’t want to spend your evening cooking, you can just mix up one of the pasta options in the microwave! I would always be worried about something like this that I’d find it difficult to get used to in my life, but if anything this integrated so well with my routine that it actually made things a lot easier in some ways!
As a massive foodie, the biggest issue for me with any sort of diet is the feeling that I’m cheating myself out of enjoying my food. That’s always been my biggest ‘no-go’ about meal replacement diets. I mean, like, why would I want to eat the same thing or drink something the same flavour for every meal?! Maybe I just love food too much, but that just seems too depressing for words. This is where So Shape was different and intrigued me enough to try it in the first place! They’ve got a whopping 22 different flavours to choose from, and when you build your pack you get to choose up to 12 different flavours (depending how many days you go for) So there’s no issue with getting bored of your meal replacements, if anything it kind of excites you to try a new one each day and makes the healthy eating soooo much more bearable! What I also love is that they’re not all shakes. There are also pasta dishes and soups to eat hot and mix things up, as well as making you feel more like you’re actually eating a meal rather than drinking a fake shake! They’ve got a huge variety – sweet, savoury, frappes…I honestly had a hard time choosing! They’ve actually even added more new flavours now since I did my challenge, so there’s even more to choose from (and some of them sound seriously yummy – chocolate coconut and salted caramel, hello!) My favourites were the Speculoos shake (it literally tasted exactly like those cinnamon biscuits you can get!), the spaghetti bolognaise pasta dish and the Cappuccino shake (you can even warm it up so it’s like drinking a healthy version of your morning Starbucks!) but everything I tried was yummy and I ended up testing about 12 different flavours. I was honestly so pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to switch over to them and not get too depressed about not eating ‘real food’!
I was really impressed with the results I saw and felt after doing my So Shape challenge. I’m not going to lie, at first I was pretty hungry and I did end up sometimes having snacks at lunch time when I had a meal replacement for breakfast and lunch, and I also struggled to be consistent for the full 14 days (in the week it was fine, but not when you want to eat out at the weekend or are out and about and can’t take your shake with you!) However, even without being super strict about it, I really did notice the difference. Coupled with regular-isa exercise, I really could see change starting after only a few days. I felt less bloated, more toned and much healthier – that feeling of heaviness that sometimes comes with eating or drinking too much and feeling a bit unhealthy disappeared pretty quickly! I do wonder if this might be partly because of the gluten free element, as it’s something I’ve often wondered about with my body, but again, that’s something that So Shape makes much easier – going gluten free seems way harder in normal life, but with these meals it’s all ready-made for you! I think the biggest (and best) difference was in how I felt rather than how I looked. Although I probably did look different (I am never that good at telling and I refuse to weigh myself), I felt sooo much better! Lighter, more energised, healthier. It really does make a huge difference! And the way I felt after inspired me to carry on eating healthily when I went back to regular meals, which is a massive win!
Although I wouldn’t want to have to do the longer challenges too often (I’d miss cooking and eating too much!) I can definitely see that doing the 5 day detox every once in a while when you felt you needed it would be a great kick start to your health. I ended up with extra shakes left over so I still integrate them into my life for breakfast when I want to have a healthy day, which I do feel still helps! I was quite pleasantly surprised I actually ended up enjoying the challenge (and the meals) so much more than I expected and it didn’t have to feel nearly as much like you were depriving yourself as I had worried! I would honestly recommend So Shape if you’re looking for a meal replacement diet, especially if you’ve never tried it like me – it’s a really easy way to get a health overhaul and it really works!
Have you tried any meal replacement diets like this before? Would you try So Shape? Let me know in the comment! If you fancy trying the So Shape challenge you can use my discount code CUSTOMROSIE to get twice as many flavours in your challenge pack for free!
Thank you to So Shape for sponsoring this post and supplying their 14 Day Challenge for me to try. As always, all words and opinions are my own. So Shape challenges come in 5 day (£35), 14 Day (£89) or 24 day (£159) packages and are available at www.uk.soshape.com