September 21, 2018
I get asked to review a lot of Health & Fitness products and services, AND a lot of “Diet” related products.
I say “Thanks but no thanks” a lot!!!
I shift between frustration and boredom when I receive emails from PR companies that start with “We think this would be a great fit for www.toofattorun.co.uk” and yet I know they haven’t even read my blog…otherwise they would know its pretty much a diet free zone.
But here’s the thing?
When is a diet not a diet?
What about when it doesn’t make you feel like shit?
So having recently just done a TEDx about giving up dieting (you can watch it here if you haven’t seen it already), the irony was not lost on me that a company that provides a healthy food service then approached me to do a review.
But here’s the thing.
Unlike some addictions, when you have a food addiction or disordered eating, which come on let’s face it lots of us women who have a track record of yo-yo dieting do, we can’t just simply abstain from food.
We have to eat something.
And for many of us we are just at a total loss as to what that should be.
So here’s the disclaimer.
I DO NOT DIET!!!!
But of course I think about nutrition and fuelling my body mindfully….I am an athlete don’t you know???
I simply couldn’t function on a diet of poor quality food, or not paying attention to the foods that help fuel my busy lifestyle….not only in terms of my training, but the amount of travel I do, and generally just being a Mum…if I eat crap, I feel like crap simple…and that is by no means a moral judgement, its just how my body feels when I don’t feed it what it needs.
So I present Muscle Foods Unthinkable.
Now, I have been a customer of Muscle Foods in the past. They are a brilliant company for sourcing low cost, but high-quality meats. I used to get a meat hamper style delivery service a few years back, probably before my daughter was born.
I have been eating less and less meat in recent years, so I was skeptical about giving Muscle Foods new food and exercise system “Unthinkable” a try. BUT…I am marathon training and had been struggling to fuel right on just a plant food diet, so I was willing to give it a go for two weeks to see how I got on.
Please note. I was not getting paid to do this review, but I did receive two weeks supply of food and the exercise DVD for FREE, worth £158
Now I am going to be upfront with you…I had an ulterior motive and secondary reason for wanting to trial this service.
I AM SUPER BUSY RIGHT NOW!!!
Like seriously. I haven’t bloody stopped the last few weeks. And I know when I am busy, my ability to cook and eat the way I want to suffers.
I am training for a marathon, writing a book (which you can order here), launching a new round of my life coaching programme, preparing for a range of important speaking gigs, and settling my 5 year old back into school for the year.
So not having to think about what to eat, then shop for food, or mess around with lots of food prep was an absolute godsend, and plays a massive part in my positive review.
The box arrived and it was all a bit overwhelming at first…there was soooooo much stuff.
And a DVD and wall planner.
You get to make your selection online before hand so I knew what was coming and there were lots of choices.
Now I won’t give you a blow by blow account of what I ate every day as that would just be boring to read, but what I would say is my breakfasts tended to be porridge pots or cereal bars of some sort (this felt a little weird having something sweet for breakfast) but it was fast, tasty and filling.
I chopped and changed between the lunches and dinners according to when I was training within the day, and sometimes my snacks became an after dinner treat as I wasn’t hungry between meals. Most of my lunches and dinners tended to be meat with veg and some kind of seasoning, which was fine. I started adding some extra salad, simply because I was missing my greens. Ohhh and there was Pizza!!!!
I would say despite the snacks all being “healthy snacks” this was a bit more problematic for me, just because I do tend to binge if I have loads of foods like this in the house. In the end, I let my daughter have some of the popcorn and crisps, and I had my normal snacks of nuts or fruit instead. I looooovvveeeed the olive packs. Great non sweet snack!!! In fact this was a great way of testing lots of different snacking options…particularly the kind of stuff you can grab for on the go.
I think with anything like this you really need to know yourself and make it work for you….and watch out for triggers that put you back into a diet mindset.
Week one was very straight forward as I was at my desk all week writing. It made my life so much easier that week, knowing that meals would be quick to prepare, healthy and filling, and I could focus on getting my book finished.
The second week was slightly different as I had a lot of travel for speaking gigs oh and a big race…16 miles. But I cooked some meals and put them in containers and took them with me, and the others I froze and am still enjoying this week.
I think for me, this is where I could see me using muscle foods moving forward. Having ready portioned out, quick to defrost and cook well-balanced meals for when life is hectic, and when I am only cooking for one.
Now a word about the exercise stuff.
I was preparing myself for loads of marketing copy on the website, and the exercise videos being narrated with phrases like “burn those calories” and “let’s sweat away the fat” but I was pleasantly surprised.
There was none of that.
Now remember I am marathon training, and I do CrossFit, so I knew right from the start I wouldn’t be doing the exercise element of “Unthinkable”, but I wanted to check it out. So I pinned the wall chart to my door and I put the DVD on and did the fitness assessment.
It was OK.
I loved that the wall chart focussed on inches and improved fitness rather than weighing yourself, and in fact, the phrase “Transform Your Body” is OK with me too.
If I wasn’t doing the training I am already doing I might consider following the DVD, and charting my progress.
The thing is I might be anti-dieting, because of how it messes up womens self esteem, but I am not against looking for ways to improve your health and fitness and by default your body….and this can be achieved with food and exercise no doubt.
It’s a delicate balance.
For me, it’s about starting from a position of love.
Now if I had been eating those meals feeling like it was some kind of diet and that I couldn’t eat anything else or I would have failed the programme, this wouldn’t have worked for me at all. But I approached it as a flexible way of eating with foods I actually enjoyed eating, in portion sizes that were satisfying me…even after training.
Now I can’t tell you if I lost weight, toned up, got smaller as a result of this food. But what I can say is I feel stronger, feel less stressed, and know I have had 2 weeks of really fuelling my body well alongside my training.
When you are training for something as important as a marathon…fuelling matters.
So in summary, the positives of this include
- Good Value for Money
- Quality food
- Good variety
- Decent portions
And the negatives
- Snacks can be a bit over processed
- Need to keep an eye on dates, or freeze
- Probably need to add more veg
My final thoughts are this a perfect solution for when you can’t be arsed to meal prep, or are at a complete and utter loss for how to eat well….just be careful of the snacking and try to listen to your bodies signals about hunger.
Its 100% worth giving it a go.
I would like to thank Muscle Foods for giving me the chance to test this in exchange for an honest review.
They have offered readers of Too Fat to Run a £5 off discount using code TFTR5 if you click on this link and enter the code.
This is an affiliate link so I might get a small kick back if you do decide to buy.
I’d love to know what you think if you do give it a go.