I'm not actually a stranger to Exante, a tonne of the ladies at work all proudly shake their little orange flasks like a town crier whilst selling the benefits and telling me how many lbs they've lost that week.
So for anyone that hasn't heard of this new concept of diet management/weightloss, I give you the Exante Diet. Basically if you want to go hardcore it's a meal replacement plan, but if you just want to kick your eating habits into shape its an "exchange one meal for ours" plan.
Even though there are loads of meals and snacks to chose from, there are only two calorie groups so the easiest way to categorise them are the 200 calorie eats and the 150 calorie eats. There are five different plans ranging from 3 lots of 200 Kcal meals each day (the hardcore Total Solution Plan) to the Simple Solution plan which is the same concept but allows you to eat your own "actual" food as well.
Obviously I'm not championing the former for anyone who just wants to lose a few pounds, and neither are Exante, they have a snazzy health check calculator here which will tell you if it's safe to even try their most relaxed diet. If you have a healthy BMI then the advice is just to carry on eating healthy.
In my case I'm pretty much an average height and an average weight. I have insecurities about the parts I want to change (my belly is expanding thanks to cream eggs, and an old boss once told me I had bingo wings which has given me a complex) but these issues can be tackled with exercise, so I didn't feel like any of the structured plans were for me.
Instead I've been eating/drinking the Exante products for breakfast or lunch, then just snaffling whatever I want for dinner. It's stopped me snacking throughout the day but I still don't go hungry at night. Wins.
Rather than go into every product I've tried, here's a quick rundown of my thoughts:
The shakes are ok. I'm not going to pretend it's like drinking a Mcdonalds milkshake because it's not. They're water based so can be quite thin if you use the full amount of water, and you can really taste the protein. I got round this by adding a bit of milk to thicken them up, but that defeats the whole object really. The vanilla and toffee caramel were the best of the bunch, the banana wasn't the best. One of the town criers at work told me that adding coffee to the chocolate shake is a win but alas, I don't drink coffee.
The porridge and the pancakes were actually quite nice and didn't taste overly processed at all. They're packed with proteins and minerals but still taste pleasant and the raspberry flavour overpowered anything else in the porridge. I wasn't that keen on the eggs but wouldn't turn them down if I was hungry. There's also plain porridge available, and blueberry & raspberry pancakes.
These are deffs the best "packs". The majority are 200 calories but the spaghetti bolognese is only 150, which is odd as it was my favourite. There's no rules to which packs you eat and when, so if you were doing one of the plans you could have a shepherds pie for breakfast if you wanted to. The shepherds pie was also quite tasty, although they all seemed to have a slow cooker esque smell to them which is fine with me as I do love a slow cooked meal.
Exante also do their own sausages and burgers, and pizza mix so you can feel like you're cheating even when you're not.
The snack bars and the chocolate balls were my least favourite, again in my opinion you could really taste the protein. However the ladies at work swear by the chocolate orange bar (picture above) so the majority vote is yes on these.
So did it work? Well I've been using the Exante products mainly for lunch in the office, they're convenient and easy to make and they've helped curb my cravings for sweets. Scales wise I've lost around 2lbs but I wasn't really aiming for a drop in weight and I just wanted to force ma bod into better eating habits. For anyone interested in weight loss then I'd recommend having a peek at the reviews here, there's also a tonne of voucher codes if you are planning to buy in bulk!
Have you ever tried anything like Exante? What were your experiences?