As anyone who’s ever taken a casual glance at my Instagram feed will tell you, I like food. A LOT. And as anyone who’s ever taken a casual glance at my bottom will tell you, I do not have the same love for exercise.
It has taken me more than three decades and a tummy control swimsuit to find a healthy pursuit I enjoy, but the pounds don’t seem to be shifting. Not that I’d know, I haven’t weighed myself since I was a teen, but for reasons of health and vanity, I’d like to look a little less…round.
Enter NUPO, a nutritionally balanced meal replacement system developed by Danish doctors 30 years ago, and just launched in Ireland. (Perhaps they read this post?) Tested in over 50 clinical trials and studies, it’s proven safe and effective for anyone who is overweight, be they ‘morbidly obese or with just a few kilos to lose’.
The system consists of meal replacement shakes, soups, ready to drink shakes or bars, which can be substituted for some or all of your meals. Here’s how I got on:
Day 1: I start with a strawberry shake, which doesn't taste of much but has a lovely texture – I’ve blended some ice-cubes with it, as advised. In work, my mid-morning café au lait shake is delicious. I’m delighted – till I try the vegetable soup. I find it a little bland, and I don’t like the caramel bar that afternoon, either. At home I have café au lait again and, before bed, a cocoa. It’s pleasant.
Day 2: I head straight into a 3 hour work meeting so I miss my mid-morning shake: I feel dizzy and develop a headache. If I’d been prepared, I’d have brought a bar into the meeting. I chuck a few into my handbag for next time.
Day 4: My willpower is tested and found wanting. It’s the 4th of July and I end up at a party serving pizza and beer. Despite a bag full of Nupo bars and a day of good behaviour, I chow down.
Day 5: Back to being good. I notice I’ve had no hunger pains and no light headedness, except for the day I skipped a shake. No mad food cravings, either – this is looking very doable, even for a glutton like me. Also, the hazelnut bar? Yum!
Day 6: Uh oh, I spoke too soon. It’s the weekend and somehow, my flat is full of crisps and wine and Maltesers. I ignore them all day but go to a BBQ that night and dig in. Although I sip gin and slimline instead of beer – alcohol really is the biggest culprit.
Day 7: A model day: shake for breakfast and mid morning, soup for lunch, a bar mid afternoon, two shakes throughout the evening. Feeling positively saintly (if a little bored).
What I learned:
- Sip slowly – the products are best when they’re savoured. There are tasty little pieces of dried fruit and herbs which you miss out on when you’re gulping them down.
- Be prepared - plan ahead, have the right products with you and don’t have any temptations idly lying round.
- Clear the diary – Nupo is not party friendly, and unless you’ve steely willpower and resolve, you’ll cave. That said, falling off the wagon’s no big deal – just pick yourself up and get back on again.
- READ THE PACKET! On Day 3 I put in the water first, then the powder - it's much easier to blend this way. Why don't they tell you this? I check the packet and oops! They totally do!
And here’s what you all want to know – does it work? Well my jeans are looser and colleagues have said I’ve lost weight, so I have the motivation to carry on another week.
What do you think, have you tried anything like this yourself? Or would you like to?
A day’s worth of Nupo products works out at roughly a tenner; a box of 12 shakes is €19.99 and the shaker comes with. You’ll find it in chemists. Check out the website for more!