If you’re busy and you love carbs, then we may have found — or make that rediscovered — the perfect weight-loss approach for you. A team of international researchers recently tested a version of the Special K diet to see if the classic cereal-based plan might be a worthwhile alternative to today’s many complicated diets. Boy, is it ever! Over the course of two weeks, cereal dieters shed about 100 percent more weight and 275 percent more belly fat than dieters allotted the same calories but asked to prepare meals from scratch. And according to tests performed at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, women who stick with a cereal diet a bit longer lose six times more weight than other dieters.
Why does cereal work so well? “It’s faster than fast food, more satisfying than shakes, and packs a surprising number of fat-fighting nutrients,” notes Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, author of 60 Seconds To Slim ($5.97, Amazon) and The Cultured Cook ($10.97, Amazon). Choose one of the many healthy new cereals now available, she adds, “and you can increase results dramatically.”
A team of Woman’s World readers took Schoffro Cook’s advice enjoying two bowls of healthy cereal a day plus a sensible dinner and snacks. In seven days, they burned off six, seven, and even eight pounds! How much could you lose? Scroll down to find out.
- Getting Started: How to Pick a Healthy Cereal for Weight Loss
- Why the Special K Cereal Diet Is So Effective
- Cinnamon and weight loss go hand in hand.
- Your Cinnamon Cereal Diet Meal Plan
- How to Create Your Own Cereal Diet Menus
- Taking Cinnamon Supplements for Weight Loss and Bonus Benefits
- Real Women’s Cereal Diet Results
- More From Woman’s World
- Whatever Happened to the Special K Diet Plan?
- My Special K Diet Experiment and The Surprising Results
- There are two fellas in our office on the `cereal diet’, a bizarre concept which sees participants eating cereal for two meals a day in a bid to lose weight fast. But does it really work? I found out.
- Healthy 5-Day Cereal Diet Plan
- Day 1 ~ Monday
- Muesli with Yoghurt and Honey (and an apple)
- Fresh Raspberries and Plain Peanuts
- Protein Weetabix with Milk and Banana
- Pasta with Pesto and Parmesan
- Day 2 – Tuesday
- Special K Nourish with Yoghurt and Raspberries
- Banana and Pretzels
- Apple and Cinnamon Porridge
- Honey and Soy Prawn Noodle Stir-fry
- Day 3 – Wednesday
- Shreddies Max Oat Granola with Raspberries
- Shredded Wheat Bitesize with Blueberries
- Apple with Peanut Butter
- Beef Enchilladas with Balsamic Drizzled Baby Spinach
- Day 4 – Thursday
- Weetabix with Warm Milk and Honey
- Overnight Oats with Mango
- McDonalds Crispy Chicken Wrap Meal
- Just an Apple
- Day 5 – Friday
- Shreddies Max Oat Granola with Yoghurt and Blueberries
- Special K Nourish with Milk and Banana
- Mini Danish Pastry: Vanilla Crown
- Chicken Tikka Masala with Rice
- Day 6 & 7 – The weekend
- My Weight Loss (just for interest)
- My Cereal Diet Observations
- Start a Free Trial Today
- 61 Pounds Lost: Lauren’s Crash Diet Becomes a Lifestyle Change
- What is the Special K diet plan?
- What are the results like on the Special K diet plan?
Getting Started: How to Pick a Healthy Cereal for Weight Loss
Schoffro Cook and other cereal experts we spoke to — including University of Scranton’s Joe Vinson, PhD — are all fans of options made with 100 percent whole grain and very little added sugar. Choosing a protein-rich cereal can also help boost results, notes Schoffro Cook. And both she and Vinson agree that new research on cinnamon’s ability to stimulate weight loss is so promising, it’s an amazing ingredient to maximize a cereal diet’s results. Schoffro Cook’s picks for best weight-loss cereals are:
Pour yourself a bowl of cereal at any two meals a day, adding milk and fruit. Enjoy a third healthy meal of your choosing (up to 450 calories) and two healthy 100-calorie snacks. That’s all there is to it.
Why the Special K Cereal Diet Is So Effective
A cereal diet is a lot like a shake diet, but with one key difference: It’s more satisfying. The reason? Research shows liquid calories lack the ability to make us feel full. By contrast, brands like Kashi GoLean and Special K Protein are loaded with hunger-killing fiber, protein, and antioxidants. And since cereal is typically fortified with bonus doses of vitamins and minerals, studies show cereal eaters have much higher levels of vitamin A, calcium, folate, vitamin B-6, magnesium, and zinc — nutrients that are linked to increased energy, faster metabolism, better fat-burning, and more.
Fact: Almost everyone eats cereal with milk — a food rich in calcium and other nutrients that, according to University of Tennessee researchers, prompt our bodies to stop storing fat and start burning it!
Cinnamon and weight loss go hand in hand.
When Vinson tested dozens of cereals, he found all whole-grain cereal is high in polyphenol antioxidants — but those with added cinnamon “are about six times higher than the rest.” Turns out, polyphenols interfere with carb digestion in a way that “prevents some calories from being absorbed by the body — so they don’t count!” A preliminary Japanese study also found that polyphenols cause a short-term burst of faster calorie-burning. Schoffro Cook adds that there’s evidence that polyphenols lower excessively high blood sugar and reduce a type of inflammation that stalls our thyroids. “In general, polyphenols help us burn fat faster,” she notes.
There’s more: Recent University of Michigan tests on human fat cells found that a different compound in cinnamon — called cinnamaldehyde — increases metabolism in so many ways, scientists hope they’ve found a new way to treat obesity.
Your Cinnamon Cereal Diet Meal Plan
Inspired by recent research and tips from top experts, our nutrition team created this no-fuss plan for you to try. While using this plan, you’ll average about 1,300 calories a day — but it should feel like a lot more. Make water your main beverage. Add other low-calorie beverages and extras (such as coffee, tea, spices, vinegar, zero-cal sweetener) as desired. As always, get a doctor’s OK before trying any new plan.
Your Cereal Meals
(Enjoy twice daily)
- 1 cup whole-grain, protein-rich cinnamon cereal, such as Kashi GoLean Cinnamon Crisp, Cheerios Protein with Cinnamon & Almonds, or Special K Cinnamon Brown Sugar Crunch Protein
- 1/2 cup milk (2 percent, fat-free or unsweetened almond or coconut milk)
- 1 small serving of fruit, such as a small apple
Your Sensible Suppers
(Choose one daily)
- 4 oz. lean pork chop or chicken breast, 2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
- 1/2 cup boiled red potatoes, 1 tsp. olive oil
- Unlimited salad veggies, 1 Tbsp. dressing
- 4 oz. lean grilled steak or lean bun-less burger with 2 Tbsp. steak sauce
- 1/2 baked potato, 1 Tbsp. sour cream, chives
- Unlimited steamed vegetables, 2 tsp. olive oil, and seasoning to taste
- 3 oz. cooked ground turkey or beef and 1/2 cup corn sautéed in 2 tsp. olive oil with low-sodium taco seasoning; serve over large mixed salad with 1 oz. shredded cheese, 1 Tbsp. vinaigrette, and 1 Tbsp. sour cream
- 4 oz. chicken breast, sliced, tossed with 1/2 cup cooked whole-wheat pasta, unlimited zucchini noodles and/or steamed spaghetti squash
- 1/2 cup no-sugar-added marinara sauce, and 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
- Unlimited spinach sautéed in 2 tsp. olive oil, spritz lemon juice
Your Satisfying Snacks
(Choose up to two daily)
- Option 1: 8 large shrimp, 2 Tbsp. cocktail sauce; celery sticks
- Option 2: 2 Tbsp. shredded cheese melted on 1 corn tortilla; 1 Tbsp. salsa
- Option 3: 3 cups all-natural popcorn
- Option 4: 1/3 cup shelled edamame, 1 tsp. soy sauce
- Option 5: Any 100-calorie pack nuts
How to Create Your Own Cereal Diet Menus
To customize this plan, build two meals per day around 100 percent whole-grain cereal with up to 240 calories and at least 11 grams of protein per serving. To maximize results, opt for cereals that are lower in sugar and contain cinnamon. Enjoy cereal with 1/2 cup milk (2 percent, fat-free, or a no-sugar-added plant-based option) and a small serving of fruit. At your third sitting, allow yourself about 450 calories and include protein, healthy fat, and lots of veggies. Plan for 200 calories of healthy snacks to control between-meal hunger.
Fact: Women who eat cereal at least four times a week weigh, on average, nine pounds less than women who don’t.
Taking Cinnamon Supplements for Weight Loss and Bonus Benefits
Though you can get up to 500 mg. of cinnamon a day from the cereal on this plan, taking a cinnamon supplement (like Trunature’s CinSulin ($44.95, Amazon) or Nature’s Bounty Cinnamon 1,000 mg. ($7.21, Amazon)) makes it easy to increase your intake even more and get even more health benefits. Important note: Always get a doctor’s OK before taking any new supplement.
Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar.
Taking 1,000 mg. of cinnamon daily helped folks with poorly managed Type 2 diabetes lower their fasting blood glucose by 17 percent! Cinnamon improves the way we use insulin, making it easier for cells to turn sugar into energy.
Cinnamon helps lower cholesterol.
A USDA team found that compounds in 6,000 mg. of cinnamon daily have such a powerful impact on the body, they slash “bad cholesterol” by up to 27 percent.
Cinnamon helps improve memory.
Preliminary tests suggest cinnamon may protect and stimulate our neurons in a way that prevents age-related memory problems. While more studies are needed, one brain researcher says he has begun taking 3,500 mg. of cinnamon nightly.
Real Women’s Cereal Diet Results
“This diet is so easy and it works so well,” marvels Ohio retiree Jeannie Herman, 65, who dropped eight pounds and 10.5 inches in one week. “I liked cereal before, now I love it!” Texas grandmother Christa Rutelonis, 67, agrees. After dropping six pounds in seven days with zero hunger, she has only one complaint, “my family keeps stealing my Cheerios!”
Karen Ann Mitchell is also hooked. “On a low-carb diet, I’m cranky and only lose about two pounds a week,” reveals the Pennsylvania mom, 51. “Cinnamon cereal took away my sugar cravings and made me happy and energized. Plus, I lost eight pounds in a week. That’s quadruple my usual results. I’m thrilled!”
“Normally, I eat fruit and yogurt for breakfast, so I was excited to see if this cereal diet would work,” says Illinois mom Maggie Beers, 40. “The cereals were tasty and full of cinnamon flavor, and I enjoyed eating the carbs that I normally don’t have.” In a week, Maggie lost about a pound a day — and saw a full inch of belly fat disappear. “I was really surprised by the results. Stick to it, and it will work for you, too!” Maggie’s best tip? Stick to a schedule! “The consistency of eating at the same time each day helped me stay on track!”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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Whatever Happened to the Special K Diet Plan?
I remember seeing a girl eating cereal in a plastic bag in around eighth grade, and thinking “that’s not lunch, that’s just sad.” But soon, I too, was eating bagged cereal. These depressing lunches were part of a new plan: If we did this for two weeks, we’d be two sizes (or six pounds) thinner, according to a box of Special K. This was not some strange cereal cult practice, but the Special K Challenge, a diet introduced and popularized in the early aughts thanks to the cereal brand’s marketing. It was relatively simple: Special K with skim milk for breakfast and lunch (or a snack bar for the latter), 2 snacks that were either fruit, vegetables, or a Special K product, followed by dinner, according to the annals of WebMD (the diet is no longer on Special K’s website). Notably, the diet—or “Challenge,” sorry—promised thinness, fast. Years later, you don’t hear of many people subsisting off of cereal to trim their waistlines—so, where’d that diet go?
Given the absence of the diet from the company’s website, Kellogg’s ostensibly doesn’t promote it anymore. If it did, you can imagine the uproar the company would face. For one, nutritionists reject its merits as a healthy program. “This short term diet plan with no changes made to overall lifestyle diet habits is not a sustainable way to live a healthier lifestyle or to meet your weight loss goals long term,” says Keri Glassman, R.D. “Diets like this one is often what leads people into yo-yo dieting,” a dangerous pattern with detrimental effects, including a possible greater risk of heart disease.
Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, dietitian and author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies, stresses how “dramatically cutting calories can lead to increased hunger, cravings, and even possibly nutrient deficiencies or a slight decline in resting metabolism,” and how restrictive crash diets can lead to binge eating, often delineating any losses you initially made. Even Kellogg’s CEO John Bryant conceded the company was “basically asking people to deprive themselves where they have less calories,” as he put it on an earnings conference call in 2015. He realized, in reality, “people want to have weight wellness.”
These sorts of diets are now largely rebuked by consumers. Even if crash diets have some inherent appeal, a September 2016 report from research firm Mintel revealed that the majority of dieters surveyed were not looking for quick fixes, but for long-term programs that encouraged eating in moderation. Additionally, people are beginning to recognize that there isn’t necessarily a “one size fits all” approach to weight loss; a New York Times story from last fall demonstrated this in detail, proving that there’s not one direct way (or diet) to offset obesity, and that some diets don’t even work for some people. With sound research highlighting how not all bodies are physiologically the same and people prioritizing balance and healthiness over quickly shrinking themselves, it shouldn’t be a surprise that society (save for the trolls) has begun to embrace all shapes and sizes…and seek foods that offer sustenance and wellness, versus low calories and shortcuts to weight loss.
Image via Kellogg’s
Nowhere is that ideal more obvious than at breakfast. Consider how the egg has gone from a shunned, cholesterol-laden oval to something that’s generally acknowledged as healthy. Low-fat and low-calorie cereals were compatible with how consumers vilified fat, but now, Palinski-Wade points to how unsaturated fats and lean protein are recognized as parts of a healthy diet. (Think about the avocado, the ambassador of this generation.)
Additionally, people’s eating habits are changing. “I think there is a focus on eating real, whole, unprocessed foods and that people are much more aware of this,” Glassman, who recommends a protein-and-fiber packed breakfast like a smoothie, says. All of that has had an effect on the cereal industry: A May 2017 report from IBISWorld highlighted the cereal industry’s slowdown, as people focus on low-carb or grain-free diets, or as those with more disposable income get breakfast on the go. (Yogurt and snack bars, not always healthy but certainly easy and quick, have also been blamed for the industry’s decline in the past.) IBISWorld also noted a rise in pricier, healthier cereals, like what you’d find at Whole Foods.
Where does that leave Special K? The brand is evidently trying to appeal to today’s dieter’s conscience by sharing ways to make its cereal more friendly to wellness culture. Kellogg’s promotes a list of “recipes” incorporating Special K into some favorite foods: eggs, burritos, bananas — suggesting Special K is trying to fit into a world where diets and breakfasts are legitimately balanced, not feigning balance. Kellogg’s also introduced Special K Nourish, which has more calories than its namesake cereal, and is made with quinoa, amongst other ingredients. Christine Crouch, Director of Special K Marketing, acknowledges women approach dieting differently than they did in the past, which has prompted the brand to launch a campaign called #OWNIT, encouraging women to own what they eat and do. The ad debuted last Monday, but a previous Canadian iteration of the campaign encouraged women to embrace their bodies.
So maybe Special K, if not its antiquated diet, could have a place in the contemporary diet. Palinski-Wade suggests cereal fanatics consume whole grain cereals, but with “a good source of protein to promote stable blood sugar levels and fight against hunger and cravings. It all comes down to balance.” Which probably means having something else for lunch.
My Special K Diet Experiment and The Surprising Results
When it comes to losing weight, I am the queen of trying anything once! I have been bombarded with the thought of taking the Special K Challenge courtesy of Kellog’s marketing ploy for many years.
Three weeks ago, I wanted to see if it worked because I needed to lose 10 pounds anyway and it seemed like the perfect time to to do it since I needed to drop just a dress size to fit nicely into a lovely spring wedding dress I hadn’t worn in years. it was either lose the weight or buy a new dress and I didn’t want to spend another $200 on a new dress so I certainly had the desire to make the Special K diet work.
I always conduct research on a diet before I try it and I recommend you do the same. I am not in the habit of merely taking anyone’s word for something that directly affects my health.
The whole premise of this diet is to cut down drastically on your caloric intake by eating a bowl of cereal with skim milk and a fruit at breakfast and lunch, and to top the day off with a sensible dinner; voila, you lose weight! You can also mix in 2 Kellog’s snack bars as snacks. The problem with this diet in its pure form is that it doesn’t provide much protein or fiber. For this reason, I had the choice of switching to a better and more balanced cereal such as the Kashi Go Lean cereal but I decided I could do that at a later date. I stuck with Special K!
However, I made a few changes that can probably help make this diet a little healthier and more balanced. It starts with taking a multivitamin supplement every day to ensure you are getting adequate amounts of nutrients. In a moment, I’ll tell you whether it worked or not as well as how I felt through the whole two weeks.
Here’s my Special K diet plan:
1 1/2 cups measured Special K cereal with a cup of skim milk
4 nice size strawberries
Sugar-Free Muscle Milk, Chocolate Flavor (8.25 ounces) (100 calories)
1 1/2 cups measured Special K cereal with a cup of skim milk
1/2 of a banana cut into thin slices
Sugar-Free Muscle Milk, Vanilla Flavor(8.25 ounces) (100 calories)
8 ounces of chicken or fish
2 cups of green beans or asparagus
To make this diet effective while at work, I had to take a little cooler with plastic ice gel bottles and place my skim milk and my measured cereal in a plastic Ziplock bag. I also carried a plastic cereal bowl.
Here are the results:
Weight before starting this diet: 142
Weight lost during the diet: 5 1/2 lbs.
Final weigh-in: 136 1/2
Now, I’m certain there must have been some water weight involved because I lost it so fast but the good news is I was able to squeeze into my dress for at least one afternoon and night! One thing I found is that I don’t believe this is a sustainable diet. It’s more for those crunch times when you need to lose weight for the short term and quickly!
I weighed myself two days later and the scale read 138 1/4. Maybe I drank one too many rum and diet cokes during the wedding!
Oh well, I guess it’s back to round two of my Special K Diet!
There are two fellas in our office on the `cereal diet’, a bizarre concept which sees participants eating cereal for two meals a day in a bid to lose weight fast. But does it really work? I found out.
There’s only one way to evaluate a diet, and that’s to try it yourself. So, in the name of journalism, and because I had to fit into a hugging dress for my brother’s wedding, I decided to give the so-called cereal diet a go. It couldn’t be harder than the vegan challenge, after all…
So, what is the cereal diet?
Special K used to promote the ‘two week challenge’ diet which, if followed correctly, would have you fitting into a little red swimming costume within a fortnight. All you had to do is eat a 45g bowl of Special K (or other relatively low-sugar Kellogg’s cereal) with low fat milk for both breakfast and lunch or dinner. Your third ‘normal’ meal had to be pretty healthy too (ie, low on carbs and high on protein and veg) and no alcohol was allowed.
So you don’t have to calorie count, it’s easy to follow, you’re likely to spend less on food, and it’s apparently effective for 75% of people. Sounds great, right?
But curiously, Special K no longer advocates the ‘two week challenge’. Perhaps they realised that the lack of variation to the diet could compromise nutrient intake, or that Special K is not based on whole grains and isn’t a particularly good source of fibre. And maybe people began to realise that it was just a money-making scheme for Kellogg’s, albeit a genius one.
This was the reply when I approached Kellogg’s to ask them why the ‘two week challenge’ was axed a couple of years ago: “Women told us they didn’t want a quick fix anymore and would like Special K to support them in their long term/ maintenance weight goals. So we launched our new myspecialk website instead, which is based on calorie controlled meal plans including Special K snacks and cereal.”
…Interesting that they assumed it was women who did the cereal diet, when in fact I’ve only ever known men to try it.
Seeing as I wasn’t going to get any guidance from Kellogg’s, I had to make my own cereal diet rules up.
I would stick to the following for four weeks, to coincide with my brother’s wedding and the little purple dress I had to wear:
Eat a 45g bowl of cereal for two meals of the day with soya or rice milk (cow’s milk makes my stomach churn). I chose golden syrup Weetabix cereal, because two biscuits works out to be just shy of 45g – I didn’t want to embarrass myself by standing in the office, weighing out Special K flakes every day.
No alcohol! It would compromise the diet.
Only snack on fruit, vegetables, or other healthy things.
Weigh myself at the same time of day every week, to monitor progress. For reference, I have a healthy BMI of 22 and weigh 126lbs.
How it went…
The first day was absolute hell, to be frank. The rumbles began at 11:36am, and they were so bad by midday that I had to eat my second bowl of cereal much earlier than anticipated. By 5pm, I was literally seeing white spots, and had to wobble to the newsagents downstairs to recover with a Nutri-Grain bar (a Snickers would have worked far better).
Dinner was tuna steak with ample veg and a little pasta, and it was wolfed down with impressive speed. I went to bed still a little hungry.
The whole of the first week was miserable, tough, and boring. I’m big into my food, and eating the same thing twice a day is enough to drive even the most conservative eater mad. Plus it’s just plain bad for you. I spoke to dietician and nutritionist Azmina Govindji (pictured here) about the cereal diet, and she told me that although she would recommend cereal as a healthy breakfast option, “it is fundamentally wrong to eat the same thing all the time. Your body needs a range of vitamins and minerals on a daily basis – eating cereal twice a day could mean that you’re missing out on zinc, iron, omega 3 etc…”
“Plus it puts a lot of pressure on that third meal, which would have to be very rich in nutrients, oily fish, and high fibre vegetables.”
What I failed at: there might have been a couple of teeny tiny glasses of wine consumed at the weekend.
Weight loss: after the first seven days, I had lost five pounds.
I’m getting used to the misery now. At least it’s far cheaper to feed myself, and I do quite like this golden syrup Weetabix. Plus its mushiness made it perfect for recovering from a sore throat during the week.
I had hallucinations about giant falafel wraps on Wednesday, when the smell of Whitecross Street food market came wafting through our office windows. I usually go for a walk along it every other day to soak up the atmosphere, but alas I can no longer take the temptation.
By Thursday, eating only four Weetabix biscuits before dinner no longer leaves me feeling hungry. This worries me slightly. My stomach feels like it’s the size of a peanut.
What I failed at: I had to deal with a bank holiday weekend cinema visit, and it would have been rude not to get popcorn. And coke.
Weight loss: I’ve now lost six pounds in total. Only one pound this week! This does not seem fair.
I feel ill. Well, I have more headaches than usual. Time to consult Azmina: “I’m not surprised, to be honest. You are more prone to headaches, lapses of concentration, tiredness and a general loss of interest when you’re on such a restrictive diet. There shouldn’t be any dangerous or long-term illnesses, though – just short-term symptoms.”
Plus I have to train for a sponsored 10K run this weekend, which is proving oh-so-difficult when you have no energy to burn. I manage to run up and down the stairs 20 times each day, but that’s as far as it can go (I managed it though, as you can see from the photo!)
The highlight of my diet this week was finding a lump of sugar in one of my Weetabix biscuits on Friday; the lowlight was trying chocolate Weetabix for the first time. I strongly advise you against it, readers.
What I failed at: I celebrated completing my sponsored run with a great big slice of cake. But surely I deserved that?
Weight loss: remains at six pounds. It seems to be stabilising at 120lbs. Perhaps my body just won’t let me lose anymore?
…and the last week, hurrah! I cannot say that I’ve enjoyed the experience, mainly because cereal – or ‘the devil’s dandruff’, as my editor Andrew affectionately calls it – is so mundane. Especially when you’re eating so much of it. I did try swopping to Minibix, or other slightly more exciting cereals, but I found them far too sweet to handle twice a day.
I spent the week baking my brother’s wedding cake, which obviously called for sampling bits of the cake and eating icing offcuts. But I still stayed true to the diet, and even on the eve of his happy day I dined on Weetabix and went teetotal. The same can’t be said for the actual wedding day, mind…
What I failed at: eating a lot of buttercream, but that was for scientific purposes.
Final weight loss: six pounds. Sheesh. Personally, I don’t think it was worth four weeks of culinary boredom.
Yes, the cereal diet works. But I lost nearly 85% of my weight in the first week alone – weeks two, three and four just maintained what I had achieved in those first seven days.
I felt more tired than usual, and had headaches at least twice a week. But, all in all, my health didn’t suffer that much – although it did affect my ability to train for a run.
If you’re going on a beach holiday in a week, or perhaps a wedding, then I’d say that eating cereal all day is a pretty good ‘blitz it’ diet to try. Not that I’d ever actively encourage it – as Azmina says, “if you’re already a healthy BMI, the best thing you can do is to try and maintain it.”
Plus I am fully expecting to put those six pounds back on pretty quickly, even though I’m a healthy eater. “The body becomes efficient at storing fat when you diet,” says Azmina, “so you’re bound to put on weight as soon as you go back to eating normally”. Great. What a waste of Weetabix.
Have you ever tried the cereal diet? What do you think of crash dieting? Talk to us in the comments box below.
More diet stuff
The vegan challenge
The Paleo diet: My month of eating in the Stone Age
The 7-day detox: did it work?
Does the 5:2 diet work?
Healthy 5-Day Cereal Diet Plan
When I heard talk in the office of the Cereal Diet being a popular choice, I was curious. So curious, in fact, I decided to try it myself!
I can see there’s much appeal… Eating a bowl of cereals for breakfast, another for lunch and a “real meal” in the evening sounds like a pretty easy dieting option.
However, as tempting as the now-officially-extinct Special K diet sounds, I was concerned that just eating Special K with milk twice a day and a “real” meal in the evening wouldn’t work well for me in real life.
Mainly, I was worried that I would be hungry. I honestly didn’t think I could survive on just 2 bowls of Special K through to my evening meal. At just 175 calories a bowl, by the time 5 o’clock arrived, I’d have only consumed a miserly total of 350 calories (yikes) would most certainly be ravenous, grumpy and downright miserable. Not appealing.
On a regular day, I’ve consumed more than the 350 calories before 10am!
Plus it doesn’t really sound like a balanced diet, does it?
So I decided to devise myself a protein-packed, fibre-filled, cereal diet plan which would keep me feeling fuller for longer, incorporated a healthy, family-friendly 500 calorie evening meal and hit my 5-a-day target.
Here’s how I got on…
NOTE: For the purposes of this “experiment” I tried a LOT of cereals – in reality, I would buy 2 boxes – one for breakfast, one for lunch – and repeat them EVERY day!
Day 1 ~ Monday
1243 calories • 61.5g protein • 5.3 servings fruit & veg
Day one and I was pretty eager to get started.
~ Breakfast ~ 298 cals ~
Muesli with Yoghurt and Honey (and an apple)
45g Alpen no added sugar muesli with 125g Fage 0% yoghurt and 1 tsp honey
In my quest to stay feeling fuller for longer, I swapped milk for Greek Yoghurt.
Have to admit, I was reluctant to switch to a 0% fat yoghurt (I’ve been raised on blue-top milk; it’s a habit that’s hard to break). Yet, having discovered that Fage 0% Total not only has 0% FAT but also less than HALF the calories and TWICE the protein of my usual choice, I thought I’d give it a go…
I was concerned that it might be a tad tart so I topped it with a teaspoon of honey, and it was delicious. I just wish I’d chopped my apple and tossed it on top too!
Take a look at my yoghurt discovery:
*Yeo Valley, Organic, Natural Greek Style Yoghurt
~ Snacks ~ 138 cals ~
Fresh Raspberries and Plain Peanuts
80g fresh raspberries + 20 plain peanuts
I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel eating cereals for lunch at work and didn’t want to draw attention to myself. So I decided to incorporate a couple of healthy snacks to (hopefully) keep hunger at bay until I got home.
Usually, I wouldn’t buy raspberries out of season as they’re so expensive – £3 for a punnet in my local supermarket… I almost didn’t, but I’d happily splurge £3 on a slice of cake or coffee without a moment’s thought – why not treat myself to one of my favourite fruits instead… Plus raspberries are fibre-filled, hopefully to keep me feeling fuller for longer!
You could swap the raspberries for a pear (or other seasonal fruit if you’d prefer)
I’m not a fan of salted peanuts – but like them plain, like this. They are a perfect high protein snack – be sure to measure them out at home though! The nuts definitely helped keep the hunger at bay.
Although… by the time I got home at 3pm I was hungry. Proper hungry!
~ Lunch ~ 295 cals ~
Protein Weetabix with Milk and Banana
2 Weetabix Protein with 125ml semi skimmed milk and 1 small sliced banana
I was really looking forward to trying Weetabix Protein – with 3.1g extra protein compared to Weetabix Original:
See how they compare:
A bit of a Weetabix lover, I was concerned they might taste different… and relieved to discover they didn’t – Just like Weetabix but with added protein to keep you fuller for longer – win win!
I switched my whole milk for semi skimmed (couldn’t face skimmed folks!) AND swapped my usual sprinkling of sugar and for a small sliced banana to satisfy my sweet tooth and boost my 5-a-day quota. Yep, this is good… real good (bye bye sugar!)
~ Dinner ~ 511 cals
Pasta with Pesto and Parmesan
90g pasta mixed with 1 tbsp pesto, 100g steamed broccoli, 40g petit pois and sprinkled with 1 tbsp Parmesan
Pasta with pesto is a quick, weekday dinner – it’s one of my go-to dishes for when DS1 has football training and needs to eat earlier than the rest of the family. I’m not a big fan of us eating separately – and refuse to cook different meals for anyone – so I try to find something super quick and easy to make that I “don’t mind” cooking twice in one day – and pasta is perfect for this.
Usually, for “speed” (read: laziness!) I’d simply stir through the pesto and sprinkle with Parmesan (plus a little drizzle of olive oil – sshh!). Tonight I tossed in some steamed broccoli and peas… Wow! Such little extra effort and it was so much tastier and interesting to eat… (and even DS1 loved the extra veg – bonus!)
Pasta with pesto comparison
Day 2 – Tuesday
1237calories • 61.1g protein • 6.1 servings fruit & veg
After a successful start to the week, I was really looking forward to experimenting with my cereal options today…
~ Breakfast ~ 263 cals
Special K Nourish with Yoghurt and Raspberries
40g Special K Nourish with 125g Fage 0%, 80g raspberries and 1
Another “new” (to me) cereal on the market – Special K Nourish Dark Berries is described as “a delicious combination of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries & redcurrants mixed with multigrain and wheat flakes & clusters of oat, rye and seeds. Each bowl contains 7 vitamins & iron as well as fibre and wholegrain.” – sounds good, hey?
I like Special K original, but don’t find they keep me full for very long… With this in mind, I paired the Special K Nourish with some Fage 0% for a protein fix and some high-fibre (super expensive) raspberries. The cereal / yoghurt / fruit combination was divine!
I was curious to see how it compared to regular Special K:
|Special K Nourish||150||5.6||3.8|
|Special K Original||152||4.0||1.0|
I was surprised by the figures. Per serving Special K Nourish has nearly 4 x the fibre than Special K Original… plus the taste was quite “delicious” (in my opinion). I think I’m a convert!
~ Snacks ~ 206 cals ~
Banana and Pretzels
1 small banana • 30g salted pretzels
Day two and I’m still not brave enough to pull out a bowl of cereals for lunch at work. Yet, despite packing some pretzels and a banana, I struggle to get through my SHORT working day. By the time I arrive home at 3pm ish, I’m really a little grouchy (thankfully the house is empty).
~ Lunch~ 314 cals ~
Apple and Cinnamon Porridge
Porridge made with 40g oats, 125ml semi skimmed milk, ½ tsp cinnamon and 1 grated apple
Still I resist the urge grab anything in sight and quickly rustle up my pre-planned porridge. Oh boy, am I pleased I did! Honestly, this bowl of warm, freshly cooked porridge is EXACTLY what I’m craving – some proper comfort-style food. I was tempted to just make it plain for speed – but the added apple and cinnamon didn’t add any time and was so worth the little extra effort. I don’t think the photo does it justice, blame the hunger!
~ Dinner ~ 454 cals ~
Honey and Soy Prawn Noodle Stir-fry
Another quick family dinner – prawn noodle stir-fry… In my eagerness to eat it though, I totally forgot to take a photo.
Day 3 – Wednesday
1254 calories • 67.5g protein • 6.6 servings fruit & veg
Day 3 and I’m still enjoying my cereals – was worried that eating so many may put me off, but I think both the variety and healthy extras are helping me to continue enjoying them.
~ Breakfast ~ 261 cals ~
Shreddies Max Oat Granola with Raspberries
45g Shreddies Max Oat Granola with 125ml semi skimmed milk and 80g raspberries
Shreddies are a family favourite in our household – popular with both adults and children alike… When, I spied the new Shreddies Max – I was curious. It wasn’t until I got them home, I discovered they were not Shreddies as such: Shreddies Max “is a delicious granola that combines the great malty taste of Shreddies with crunchy oats”. Hmmm…
Poured into a bowl, they looked pretty tempting. I topped them simply with some milk and a the rest of my luxury raspberries. I loved the oaty granola / Shreddies combo (Note: the kids were not so impressed…)
Did a quick Shreddies comparison:
|per 45g serving:||Cals||Prot||Fat|
|Shreddies Max Oat Granola||186||5.8||3.4|
… and I’d stick with Shreddies Original in the future.
~ Lunch ~ 260 cals ~
Shredded Wheat Bitesize with Blueberries
40g Shredded Wheat bitesize with 40g blueberries and 125ml semi skimmed milk
Finally, I’ve finally plucked up the courage to take my cereals to work! After all my worry early in the week, it turns out that no-one battered an eyelid. For me this was a massive turning point – suddenly this cereal diet was actually working with my usual daily routine 🙂
Having carefully measured out the items at home, my lunch took seconds to prepare in the office – bonus! I didn’t realise quite how much I’d been missing a real meal* at lunchtime, until I ate this. The blueberries gave a sweet kick. Simple but satisfying.
*I’m not sure when cereals for lunch became a “real meal”
~ Snack ~ 109 cals ~
Apple with Peanut Butter
1 small sliced apple with 15g peanut butter (to dip)
Having eaten my lunch at work, I was ready for a snack by the time the kids got home from school. I was pretty pleased with my healthy apple slices with peanut butter dip (the kids were not!) Nevertheless, I enjoyed the sweet / savoury combination and it helped bridge the gap between lunch and dinner.
~ Dinner ~ 578 cals ~
Beef Enchilladas with Balsamic Drizzled Baby Spinach
Enchilladas with Spinach Salad
Enchilladas (from a box) are another family favourite in house – usually, I’d make them per the box instructions. This week, I cut back on the cheese and threw some extra sweetcorn in too. Served with some baby spinach, drizzled in balsamic dressing – ooh they were lovely. Even the kids enjoyed them immensely too!
Day 4 – Thursday
1231 calories • 57.5g protein • 6.3 servings fruit & veg
Having left my overnight oats in the fridge, I was more than a little looking forward to eating them today. With a concerted effort, I resisted eating them first thing (just!)
~ Breakfast ~ 230 cals ~
Weetabix with Warm Milk and Honey
2 Weetabix Protein with 125 ml warm milk and 1 tsp honey
Weetabix with warm milk is a real winter treat for me. Through the summer months, I forget it’s even an option – but, as soon as the colder weather sets in – comfort springs to mind. I decided to keep it simple this morning and drizzled it with a little honey – it was divine!
~ Lunch ~ 336 cals ~
Overnight Oats with Mango
Overnight oats made with 40g porridge oats, 125g Fage 0%, 125ml apple juice and 100g chopped mango
Lunchtime simply couldn’t come quickly enough today. Not because I was hungry though (the Weetabix did a good job of seeing me through (almost too good a job!) I just couldn’t wait to enjoy my overnight oats… I left them on my desk to bring them up to room temperature, and they were so wonderful – the apple infused oats with the sweet mango. I shall be making this again… and again…
After the oats though, things got a little manic – some event at the school, then DH’s train was delayed. In the midst there simply wasn’t time to cook what I’d planned and knew that takeaway was pretty certain.
I did a quick calorie count of my usual: Quarter Pounder, medium fries and an orange juice. Wow – 963 calories, that’s ridiculous!
Using the wlr database I discovered I could swap to a wrap with side salad and HALVE the calories!
See how my McDonald’s meals compare:
|Usual||Quarter Pounder, Medium Fries, Orange Juice||963|
|Swap||Grilled Garlic Mayo Chicken Wrap, Side Salad, Orange Juice||471|
|Amazing Calorie Saving – MORE THAN HALF!||492|
~ Dinner ~ 628 cals ~
McDonalds Crispy Chicken Wrap Meal
McDonalds Meal: Crispy Garlic Chicken Wrap, Side Salad and Orange Juice
However, things went a little awry when I got there – and I somehow ordered a Crispy Garlic Mayo wrap instead of the Grilled one. I’m blaming the pictures on the self serve screen – the Crispy one just LOOKED so much more appealing than the grilled one.
I was feeling pretty smug though, having stuck to my resolve to swap my fries for salad (in reality I was secretly craving the kids’ chips…) I don’t think matters were helped all that much with the sheer difficulty that eating a salad out of a plastic cup entails. Nor the fact that I’d doused mine in balsamic dressing, which made the whole ordeal rather messy. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole treat (and break from food prep) – I’d just be more careful with my choices in future.
See how my McDonald’s meals compare:
|Actual||Crispy Garlic Chicken Wrap, Side Salad + Dressing, Orange Juice||628|
~ Snack ~ 37 cals ~
Just an Apple
Later in the day I was strict and snacked only on a apple – effectively keeping myself within my calorie quota… Ooh, was I chuffed with myself!
Day 5 – Friday
1243 calories • 66.5g protein • 5.5 servings fruit & veg
With rather a lot of boxes of new cereals in the cupboard at this point I thought I’d best start eating some up! Knowing what I enjoyed and what kept me feeling full meant putting together today’s food was a breeze!
~ Breakfast ~ 295 cals ~
Shreddies Max Oat Granola with Yoghurt and Blueberries
45g Shreddies Max Oat Granola with 125g Fage 0% yoghurt and 80g blueberries
Back with the Shreddies Max Oat Granola – this time topped with 0% fat yoghurt and blueberries. Not one for soggy cereals, I’m really enjoying the crunchiness of the granola with the the creaminess of the yoghurt and the little sugar hit of the berries. Yum!
~ Lunch ~ 301 cals ~
Special K Nourish with Milk and Banana
Special K Nourish with 125ml semi skimmed milk and 1 small sliced banana
To round my working week off, I kept lunch simple. Pre-measured at home, this was quick to make in the office – and I was no longer feeling paranoid thinking everyone was watching me. They weren’t!
1 small apple
~ Oops ~ 147 cals ~
Mini Danish Pastry: Vanilla Crown
1 mini vanilla crown (and some others, I didn’t eat – honest!)
Oops, indeed. I think my resolve may have faltered a little when the mini danish pastries arrived – courtesy of a colleague. Never normally one to refuse office treats, I felt the pressure was on… Fortunately working for wlr means the goodies tend to be mini where possible, so I succumbed. I mean – what damage can one tiny little mini vanilla crown do? 147 calories it seems!
All wasn’t lost though – I simply saved my planned peanuts for another day (and gained back 118 cals). To be totally honest, I wish I’d refused the sweet sugar dip inducing pastry and enjoyed my protein-packed peanuts – It’s a learning curve, I guess…
~ Dinner ~ 463 cals ~
Chicken Tikka Masala with Rice
Chicken Tikka Masala – from Delish Diet Plan Recipe Book – it was “Delish” too!
If it wasn’t for the fact I had already defrosted the chicken (and had all the other ingredients) I wouldn’t have made dinner tonight! The post danish pastry sugar rush soon had me feeling pretty hangry… I wasn’t at all in the mood for making something new, from scratch.
I was proper pleased I did.
Once I’d chopped the vegetables and browned the chicken off in my crockpot – I just popped in everything else and picked DH up from the station whilst it cooked itself. Got home and 10 minutes later (having quickly cooked the rice) we were sitting down with the most delicious homemade curry EVER (and all for under 500 calories!) Even DH commented on how super tasty it was.
Try the recipe here – you won’t be disappointed.
Day 6 & 7 – The weekend
And I quit…
The thought of sitting eating cereals at lunch whilst the rest of the family devoured fresh baguette, cheese and salami most certainly did not appeal!
Plus we had guests visiting – and I didn’t want to feel like the odd one out, or have to try to explain myself. Cereals for lunch is still pretty odd, right?
In hindsight, on Saturday I could have stuck to my reduced calories allowance easily. On Sunday I could have enjoyed cereals for breakfast / real Roast Sunday lunch / cereals for supper and not felt deprived at all
However, for me, this was just an experiment to see I could create a more realistic, healthier Cereal Diet. I feel that I did
My Weight Loss (just for interest)
- Weight Monday: 60.3kg (9 st and 7 lb)
- Weight Friday: 59.6kg (9 st and 5½ lb)
Weight lost in 5 days: 0.7kg (1.6lb)
My Cereal Diet Observations
- I thoroughly enjoy cereals with 0% fat yoghurt and fruit – it takes them from the mundane to the magnificent
- Nobody takes half as much notice in what you eat as you would think they do, in fact even now some people in the office are surprised I did a week on cereals without them noticing (and this is wlr headquarters too!)
- Snacks were essential for me to survive – and switching out my chocolate / cakes / biscuits for fruit and nuts really worked for me
- Simple swaps to my regular recipes really improved both the calorie count and the taste too! It’s so easy to stick to the usual because it requires no thought – but using the wlr database in the day (when I wasn’t hungry) made it easier to stick to the planned changes in the evening.
- It’s really easy to accidentally consume hundreds of extra calories. If I hadn’t been counting the calories I’d have eaten almost 1000 calories at McDonalds; plus 150 calories on a mini danish pastry I didn’t overly enjoy (in reality, it would have been 300 calories cos I’d have had two!)
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61 Pounds Lost: Lauren’s Crash Diet Becomes a Lifestyle Change
Name: Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN
Location: Green Brook, New Jersey
Before: 180 lbs.
After: 119 lbs.
What was the “turning point” that prompted you to lose weight?
I had been overweight my entire childhood, as early as preschool. After a decade of diets and weight loss attempts, my senior year in high school was my “turning point”. I promised myself that I would not begin college as an obese teen. After years of teasing, the opportunity to start over where nobody knew me was incredibly motivating. The appeal of a fresh start fueled my determination to finally lose weight and keep it off.
When did you start trying to lose weight?
I remember attending Weight Watchers meetings as early as age 7 or 8 where I sat in group meetings with adults. I tried dozens of diets over the years! From organized meetings, to fad diet books, to Slim Fast and many more, nothing worked for a sustained period of time. I even attended “fat camp” twice! Spending two summers at sleep away weight loss camps, I lost weight, but shortly after I returned to my home environment and routine, the scale started creeping up.
How did you get started?
My mom and I researched the “diets” available at the time and discovered one that offered packaged food. I do not recall the name, but the plan was drastic. Most days I consumed somewhere between 600 and 800 calories. Knowing what I know now, that was not the safest or most ideal way to lose weight. The meals definitely lacked appeal and I quickly substituted my own foods into the meal plan. Breakfast consisted of 2 Tablespoons of a granola type cereal with black coffee, lunch included lettuce, a Tablespoon of dressing and 6 crackers with a diet soda. My afternoon snack was a pudding mix, dinner allowed 3 ounces of protein and a vegetable, and after dinner I had a “diet” cookie. I religiously drank 2 quarts of water per day. Clearly, this was not well balanced and while I lost weight quickly, my metabolism definitely suffered.
What was your biggest challenge?
I was 17 years old at the time, going out with my friends was a huge challenge. I remember many rides through the drive thru where I sat in the back seat eating lettuce and crackers while the aroma of fries filled the car. The truth is I was SO focused on my goal that it was easy to pass on tempting foods. The bigger challenge was heading off to college at my new weight and trying to maintain it.
Were there any times when you wanted to quit or give up? How did you stay motivated?
I recall going out to dinner with my family for a birthday celebration. I stared at the menu and actually started to cry because I had a moment of feeling sorry for myself. Plain grilled chicken and lettuce did not suffice that day. I excused myself, took a walk for a few minutes and refocused. One of my goals was to wear a strapless dress to my senior prom. As soon as I thought about that, it became easy to sit through the meal. Fast forward 25 years, it’s still an everyday struggle to stay on track. As a busy working mom, it’s tough to take care of everyone and myself simultaneously. As a Registered Dietitian, my greatest motivators are my clients. Inspiring others to achieve their weight and health goals fulfills me more than food ever could. Exercising and eating well gives me the energy I need and keeps my weight in check.
If you reached a weight loss plateau, how did you break out of the rut?
Unfortunately at the time, I was not exercising due to injuries I sustained in a car accident. That made losing weight more difficult. It also slowed my metabolism as my weight decreased making the maintenance phase more challenging. We all hit plateaus and just need to be patient while our bodies work through them. After arriving at college, I began walking several miles per day around campus as well as beginning an exercise routine with my friends. I joined a gym and started enjoying different classes. I slowly built up my endurance and made workouts a mandatory part of most days.
What’s your current exercise routine?:
Currently, I switch up my exercise routine regularly. Once per week, I work out with my awesome trainer. I try to attend one spin class, and I have a treadmill and bike in my home. I also love Jillian Michaels DVD’s! Some days I choose to do a full body HIIT workout just using my body weight. I include exercises my trainer has shown me as well as some complete workouts I find on the internet. Over the years, I’ve suffered a few injuries that limit certain activities. They trick is to know your body and learn what works for you and what doesn’t.
What’s your daily diet look like?
If I really add it up, I generally consume around 1200-1400 calories per day. That seems low, but I have always been “metabolically challenged”. My 2 basic rules are to always balance meals and snacks with a mix of protein, carbohydrate and fat, and to avoid drinking calories whenever possible. I LOVE breakfast! There are several recipes on my website Nutrition Babes that I love including Overnight Oats and Oat and Chia Breakfast Pudding. They both include plain Greek yogurt and old fashioned oats, two items that are very filling. Lunch is usually some kind of salad with protein such as chicken, turkey, tuna or beans. I add fruit and a crunch factor like lentil chips or whole grain crackers. I may roll up turkey breast with a little hummus and tomatoes, and add some whole grain crackers and veggies/fruit. I dip mid-afternoon and have a skinny latte or a homemade smoothie. Sometimes I choose an apple with almond butter, celery with peanut butter, or some pistachios. Cottage cheese with berries is one of my favorite snacks! Dinner is often some type of entrée salad (you can toss almost anything on a salad) whether it’s a piece of fish, grilled chicken strips and roasted veggies, even turkey taco meat. I love whole wheat pasta, and it works well as long as I measure the portion. My favorite way to serve it is with a seafood medley and low sodium Fra Diavolo sauce. Healthy fats are a must, such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, or seeds. I try to minimize processed foods and stick with whole foods as much as possible. Bottom line-portion control is the key!
What’s your favorite healthy snack/meal?
Unsweetened vanilla almond milk is sent from heaven. At 30 calories per cup, I use it in smoothies, cereal, and to make overnight oats and chia pudding. It’s amazing to cook oatmeal, breakfast quinoa and freekeh, and much more. Plain Greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, and egg whites are absolute staples to provide meatless sources of protein. One of my favorite “best bang for your calorie buck” meals is an egg white veggie omelet with whole grain toast and a side of fruit. That works for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Do you have specific suggestions for avoiding temptations?
Planning is your key to success. NEVER get caught hungry without a plan. I always carry a snack in my purse just in case I am delayed somewhere when it’s time for a meal. Making food decisions when hungry almost always leads to poor choices. Have a protein filled snack like a hard-boiled egg before going to a party or a big dinner. It will take the edge off of your hunger and allow you to choose wisely. Gum is also a lifesaver! When you are finished eating, pop a piece into your mouth. You will see that mint flavor and food do not mix well. If you must have something decadent, stick to the 3 bite rule.
What’s your life like after weight loss?
The first year following the weight loss proved the most difficult. I began college with a brand new body and a “fat girl” living in my head. I definitely missed out on many typical collegiate experiences. I often ate frozen meals in my room instead of the dining hall to more easily control the calories. I very rarely took part in ordering pizzas, and spent many nights as the sober friend because I did not want to consume the calories in alcohol. Ultimately, I avoided the “freshman fifteen” and I chose to study to become a Registered Dietitian in order to learn the most I possibly could about food and nutrition. I love what I do and it keeps me honest every day. People think that losing the weight is the hard part, but keeping it off is the lifelong challenge. I have been blessed with two children, ages 13 and 10. Navigating pregnancy was tricky for me. Gaining weight on purpose definitely challenged my rational side. Even though I gained only 28 pounds with each pregnancy, it took approximately two years to lose the last few pounds after each child. Every now and then I have one of those moments as I browse for clothes in a department store. If someone could have told that heavy teenage girl who wore a size 16-18, that one day she would wear a size 4, it would have spared many tears.
If you have any suggestions to others what would they be?
I have hundreds of suggestions but this is the basic idea… there will ALWAYS be a reason to eat. Always an opportunity to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, holiday, night out with friends, vacation, etc, etc, etc… I look at food as medicine for my body. Eating healthy, whole foods on a daily basis is what allows me to keep my weight down and feel great. Do I go out and enjoy myself? ABSOLUTELY! By spending 80-90 percent of my days eating well and exercising, it allows me to indulge on the occasions that matter to me. Also, don’t give up on yourself, nobody is perfect! If you slip up, regroup for your next meal. A healthy lifestyle is what you seek, and it comes one day at a time. Think Healthy…not Skinny!
MANY of us are currently trying to shift a few Christmas pounds after indulging over the festive season.
Amongst the diet chat, you may have heard of the Special K diet. But what is it and does it work – here’s the lowdown.
2 The Special K ‘challenge’ claims that those who follow is may be able to drop a jeans size in two weeksCredit: Alamy
What is the Special K diet plan?
The Special K “challenge” claims that those who follow is may be able to “drop a jeans size in two weeks” – and you’ve likely seen adverts for the regime on your TV, in the past.
The diet itself launched back in 2004, Kelloggs previously said: “Just have a bowl of Special K for breakfast, then again for lunch or dinner, plus a third well-balanced meal of your choice.
“Throw in a little exercise and slip into new jeans with ease!”
According to WebMD, the plan “promotes quick weight loss through portion control” and is a “simple, economical diet plan”.
2 Many women have reportedly had noticeable results in weight loss while following the planCredit: Alamy
However, it is quick to emphasise that the plan is not a healthy long term option and that it is “designed to be a quick fix, not a long-term program”, adding: “It includes little education and no health care experts or exercise recommendations to help dieters go the distance.”
Given the absence of the diet from the company’s website, Kellogg’s seemingly do not promote the challenge anymore.
What are the results like on the Special K diet plan?
Many women have reportedly had noticeable results in weight loss while following the plan – but others have knocked plan and said they were left feeling “hungry”.
According to comments left in regard to plan, on dietsinreview.com, the challenge did boost weight loss in many who tried it.
One user said: “It works! I have lost 70 lbs so far and losing more.”
Another added: “I’m doing the Special K challenge in conjunction with daily exercise and the results have been very good…
Another added: “Well I tried this for the two weeks and lost 2 pounds of the 6 I want to loose.
“I was down 4 pounds at one point, but it didn’t last more than a day.
“I swung around a lot on this diet. I did NOT loose any inches anywhere.
“I followed everything to the letter save for a single day that I went over 1500 calories.
“Most days I didn’t hit 1100. All that sacrifice for little reward.”
It is advisable to speak with your GP if you are looking to embark on a new diet and fitness regime.
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2 Weeks ago, I told you that I was starting the Special K Challenge! Well, I’m finished, and I can say that the results were surprising!
First of all, for the first 5 days, I followed the diet precisely. As a nursing mom of an older child (18 months), however, I felt like I was losing weight too quickly. I decided to add an additional 200 calories in healthy snacks to my diet, and that seemed to balance things out. After one week, I was down 4 pounds — a little more than I had hoped for. I then changed over to another version of the plan (the goal weight plan), where I had Special K just for breakfast, and then a healthy lunch and dinner. This had me just lose one pound that second week, but it was less aggressive than the “challenge” plan, and fit my lifestyle a bit better.
Was I hungry? During the first few days, I was. I think it was because I snack late at night, and with the new plan, I was done with my food options by 7pm. If I were to do it over, I wouldn’t eat all of the fruits and veggies allowed during the day, and I would save them for my TV watching after 10 pm. A good example is the 12 baby carrots allowed for one meal — that’s a lot of carrots! I could divide them up and have half with the meal, and half for a snack. It’s all about balance, after all!
What about the food? First of all, I LOVED the shakes. They weren’t as sweet as other brands, but were very filling. I kept them very cold and made sure I had many flavors on hand. I absolutely adored the Fruit Crisps, as well. They reminded me of a certain big-brand toaster pastry, but with less than 100 calories. My favorite treat was the Sea Salt Cracker Chips; they were a potato chip that was light like a cracker. You get two huge handfuls with each serving!
I would recommend these plans for anyone wanting to lose a few pounds before a big event. I’m personally going to go back on a mix of the Challenge (one meal and two special K options) and one of the less aggressive plans. I like switching it up from week to week, and the weight is still coming off!
You can find out more about these plans at the . Good luck!
Claim Language: Consult your physician before starting any diet or exercise program. Average weight loss when replacing meals with two cereal meals is 4.8 pounds. Weight loss may vary. Average waist circumference reduction when replacing meals with two cereal meals is 1.3 inches. Weight loss may vary.
Disclosure: I participated in this program through a partnership with TheMotherhood on behalf of Special K. I received product and supplies to complete the plan. All opinions and statements are based on my own opinion and experience.