Juggling a demanding job and two children, food became the only instant gratification I had time for. I gained 3 stone in 3 years but it felt impossible to try to lose weight simply because I didn’t have the time to look up recipes, write shopping lists, and check packets to count calories. My husband does the shopping and cooking at home, making it harder to change the meals we eat as a family. The change had to come entirely from me.
I tried signing up for a diet and exercise app but resented paying for an app that was telling me to record my weight and go for a run when the only thing stopping me was not having the time to go for a run! I felt like I had no time to change and had reached a point of acceptance that I was now just going to be larger because of my limited capacity, time, and energy to think about everything I needed to do in order to be ‘successful’ on a diet. I knew I needed to get off the path that would make me a long-term NHS patient—I just wanted to be and feel myself again.
Enter, Habitual! I pay for meals that are delivered to my door, they take just a handful of minutes to prepare and even less time to wash up! It just takes all the stress, time, and thinking out of weight loss. I couldn’t ever see myself on Slim Fast long-term but right now, I feel like I’ve been ‘Habitualised’ for life!
Before joining the programme, I’ll admit I thought total diet replacement was an unsustainable fad but now, I feel like it's a springboard back to a good place that you want to maintain. It’s easy to do, cost-effective, low effort… safe to say, total diet replacement has been a lifeline.
The meals themselves are easy to prepare both at home and at work and while I miss the evening meal with my husband, we’ve learned to adapt—while he’s eating, I go and do something different. It also isn’t long until food reintroduction, so we’ll be able to enjoy meals together again in just a few weeks.
When I told my friends about my Habitual journey they were fully supportive but a bit sceptical that I would actually stick to it. I did start slipping up during one week in particular, which I think was associated with external pressures. I was keeping to the daily 800kcal but started swapping a shake for something different… and not always healthy. As a result, my weight loss slowed. Suddenly, out of the blue, Erin from the Patient Care team got in touch to congratulate me on how well I’d done—I hadn’t realised how much that would help me! The impact was huge. I instantly got back to the programme, I was so motivated to get my weight loss back on track. When my motivation drops, I remember that message and it never fails to spur me on.
That being said, the programme has also helped me deal with slip-ups. It’s one of the weekly content themes and it really resonated with me, especially the message that a slip-up is not the same as giving up. During that week, I learned how making an active decision to enjoy something doesn’t necessarily lead to a spiral of negative eating behaviour. Usually, when I ‘crack’ I feel like I‘ve failed and so throw the towel in immediately. With Habitual, it’s not about cracking, it’s about making a controlled decision to perhaps swap a sachet for 200kcals of something else before returning to the programme the next day.
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During the 3 months of total diet replacement I had a few meals out due to family celebrations but I chose food that I knew wouldn’t make me feel grotty. Before, I’d have only felt satisfied by big, sweet, salty choices. Now, my taste has returned and I’m enjoying fresh food much more—a tomato tastes amazing!
I’m due to start food reintroduction soon and admit, I’m a bit nervous because of my fear that preparing food takes a long time. The recipes in the app will definitely make my life so much easier and I’ve also found some delicious prepared salads for under 400kcals for the days when I am really busy.
I’ve been so surprised at just how much I love Habitual—I really believe I’ve found something that will be part of future. I like the food, I like the way the boxes look nice in my house, I like that the app has real humans behind it and feels genuinely supportive, and I love the improvement I am making in myself. I now feel energised, motivated, attractive, revived, desired, and my physical health has also changed very quickly! Before Habitual, I had abdominal pain, low energy, swollen legs, aching knees—I couldn’t keep up with my kids.
Now, I no longer take pain killers for my knee pain, I no longer have swollen legs, my abdominal pain has significantly reduced, and my energy has hugely increased—it lasts all day! I used to lump along and I accelerate now, so much so that my son said, “I think your shakes are working, I don’t have to drag you anymore Mummy!”
Habitual’s quick-fire round:
🥤 What’s your favourite Habitual meal?
I can’t choose just the one! The Chocolate Shake, Caramel Shake and Green Vegetable Soup are all delicious. I’d recommend chilling the shakes after you mix them up!
😖 What do you do to deal with stress?
Honestly, I deal with stress badly but since being on Habitual, I’ve noticed I’m dealing with it better.
Best tip for overcoming a slip-up?
Don’t think of it as a slip-up but as a decision that allows you to continue doing well in the long-term.
🌭 What's your favourite food?
Probably chip shop chips!
🏃 Favourite way to exercise?
Walking! I used to run or cycle 13 miles a day to work but an exercise goal for me now is to return to super sprint triathlons, which I used to do before kids.
*Name changed to protect member anonymity.