All I wanted to lose was a few pounds – but between the demands of work and kids and life, I was struggling to find the time to prep healthy meals and the motivation to stay on track.
That’s why I decided to try the Jane Plan, an eating plan where every meal is delivered to your door, removing at least some of the effort and temptation to stray.
I followed it for six weeks and this is how it went…
What is the Jane Plan?
After an initial phone consultation with a nutritionist, a calorie-controlled diet is worked out for you, based on how much weight you’d like to lose, your current weight, height, BMI and what you do for a living (i.e. if you’re a stay-at-home mum running around after three little ones, you’ll be burning more calories than a 9-5 office worker).
You can head to the website to order all your food, so you only pick out the dishes you think you’ll like, or you can sign up to a package.
Because my job involves a lot of sitting at a desk, I am only 5ft 2 and I don’t have masses to lose, my eating plan is going to be quite tough, with a fairly low-calorie count.
For me, this might be OK, and every person on the plan converses with their own nutritionist – but it’s always worth speaking to a doctor before embarking on a diet change.
I quickly realise this is going to be tough. Breakfast is granola, berries and yogurt, which is what I often eat in the morning, but there’s about half the amount I would ordinarily scoff.
I scrape every last bit and still want more, but manage to hold off for a couple of hours until my mid-morning fruit snack.
For lunch, I’ve chosen a couscous salad. I learn the hard way that it’s best to prepare your lunch at home, rather than grabbing one of the ready-made packages and shoving it in your bag. You’re allowed to add veg to it, which helps fill you up, and seasoning – which you’ll need. It also means you can give it a good stir about and make it look more inviting than the sometimes congealed offering that awaits once you peel back the lid.
Once again, it didn’t feel like it was enough, and I end up eating my very delicious oat bar snack come 2 pm. But even though that looks a good size, I was hankering after dinner for hours.
I later find out that this ‘snack’ is actually breakfast. Oops. My bad for not reading the information thoroughly…
I don’t get home from work until late, and often end up eating around 8.30 pm, which makes this healthy eating plan really difficult. But I scoff my lasagne with a side of veggies and manage to decline the G&T my other half is enjoying.
What’s the food like?
The dishes are OK. There isn’t a single meal I’ve raved about, but this is healthy food for the masses, so you’re unlikely to be overexcited by them.
As a vegetarian, my favourite is a lunch of chilli with beans and rice. It’s small but tasty, and nicely beefed out with broccoli, peas and sweetcorn.
What’s good about it?
The big plus is that everything is done for you. Prepping is needed but it is minimal.
They have also thought of lots of extras. You can order ‘partner meals’ (which are the same size!), so it’s less antisocial, which I think is a really good idea.
Although in practice, my other half refused more often than not. And you can also do ‘weekends off’.
This is something that sort of naturally ended up happening to me anyway, but it still absolutely works, which is hugely encouraging.
It’s safe to say I fell at many hurdles during my six weeks on the Jane Plan.
The day I did a 35-minute weighted Joe Wicks workout, I felt so light-headed, I had to grab extra snacks.
On week one, I snuck chocolates, went gin tasting, had the entire weekend off-plan and generally did pretty badly.
However, I still tried to do a decent amount of exercise to balance things out and managed to lose 3/4 of a pound, which I’m actually very happy with.
My level of cheating and result on the scales was the same in week two and in the weeks after, which just goes to show it is possible to have fun and gradually lose a little bit of weight at the same time.
In total, I lost around 5 lbs in six weeks, which met my personal goal and I’m really happy with it.
This eating plan isn’t easy. The Jane Plan website says most of their diets average 1,200 calories a day, which can be tough to stick to, though it could be more depending on the person.
It isn’t cheap, either. You can choose a one, three or four-month plan, starting at £199 per month (though lookout for deals online at janeplan.com). It does include all your food except add-ins, like milk, fruit and veggies, so your shopping bill will obviously be considerably less.
On the other hand, with my modifications, it worked for me. The option to have the weekend off was a life-saver – and would have made it more of a long-term option had I wanted it.
There are weekly check-in phone calls with your consultant, so you can ask questions, query anything you’re not sure about or get some encouragement.
For anyone who’s time-poor and needs a helping hand motivation-wise, this could be worth a try.
A doctor’s verdict
GP for MedExpress, Dr Clare Morrison, says: “Cutting calories will generally lead to weight loss, at least in the short term, so it’s not surprising that this sort of weight-loss plan can be successful.
Limiting calories through portion control, whilst eating the same food as the rest of the family, will also achieve weight loss.
“In the longer term, good health requires a consistently well-balanced diet, with plenty of fibre, vitamins, and the right amount of protein, fat, and unrefined carbohydrate.
Refined carbs such as sugar and white flour, should be kept to a minimum. It’s also important to keep active, ideally doing 30 minutes of exercise (such as a brisk walk) every day.
“If you have any doubt about a weight loss plan, do check with your GP first, particularly if you have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes, or a food intolerance.”