Here’s one male writer’s frank assessment of what he was buying when he signed up for pre-made meals to help him lose 30 of his 230 pounds:
After online searches and conversations with friends, I decided to compare the offerings of four companies: Zone Manhattan, Chefs Diet, Nu-Kitchen and eDiets. All four would deliver the meals to my door in Brooklyn. Three deliver daily, while the fourth, eDiets, sends a large package once a week. None of the companies knew I was a reporter.
There were dozens of companies I could have chosen, though it is hard to say how many are in the business at any one time. Research from Mintel International, which studies consumer behavior, suggests that the recession has made all-in-one diet programs less appealing.
“Consumers are trading down to do-it-yourself diets with foods or supplements from the supermarket,” said Marcia Mogelonsky, a global food and drink analyst for Mintel, a Chicago company.
Nu-Kitchen bills itself as the “ultimate personal chef and meal delivery company.” I ordered the five-day plan ($230.53) and was told that I would be sent 1,800 calories a day.
$230! That’s a really good pair of shoes, maybe three on sale.That’s what two of us spend on two weeks‘ groceries, and I eat 2-3 meals at home every day out of that.
What he’s getting for all that cash are three things, all of them helpful although each of them is actually a crutch. He will have to learn to walk differently. And alone. That’s the hardest part:
1) Portion control. My, that’s no food! Look at all that….empty plate. Eating out will never, ever look the same to you again.
2) They build in their idea of variety. Not what you like.
3) They free you from the tedious torture of grocery shopping for only healthy foods, let alone the endless measuring spoons/weigh scale/measuring cup drama that makes you start to feel like every meal should simply be served in an IV tube or maybe a beaker with graduated white lines so you know exactly when to stop.
I’ve been on what I like to call my doctor-ordered LD — Loathed Diet — for almost a month. I can’t tell you how much weight I’ve lost because (yup) I don’t own a scale and don’t want to. I know my own body quite well, thanks, having inhabited it for a few decades and — having been an athlete and dancer for as long — know intimately how it looks and feels. Yes, I look in a full-length mirror every day in very bright light. My body is noticeably smaller, all over, mostly on top. (I’m OK with that).
Once I start cycling and swimming, I hope to shave off even more, faster.
But, you know, when even the doctor who sent me to the dietitian says: “Most people never lose the weight”, honey, where’s my motivation? A little back-patting goes a long, long way to keeping your shaking, quivering hand away from the chips/candies/Scotch/whatever filthy bad thing you love most.
I wish Fred lots of luck but he quickly learned what any miserable fatty learns — 1700 or even 1800 calories a day is nothing! No sweets, very, very few carbs. That does not include — hmmm — doughuts or cookies or cake or pancakes or a margarita. (I get 1 oz. of dark chocolate starting Friday [woo hoo] but only if I sacrifice one of my two daily servings of fruit (1 cup, 8 ounces) or starch (4 ounces, 1/2 cup) in its stead.
Welcome to the nursery!
The sheer boredom of eating the same damn legitimate foods over and over and over and over — plain yogurt, a small handful of nuts, a small serving of popcorn (but you better make it because it’s drenched in oil) will kill you.
I am only able, I know, to hang in this far because I work about a 2-second walk away from my kitchen and a fridge filled with so much lettuce it now looks like a rabbit’s hutch. The issue with weight loss isn’t just self-control, it’s control in general — over what, where, when and how you put food and drink in your mouth.
Very few of us have $1,000+ a month to spare for someone else feeding us pre-made small portions.
And, yes I can hear all your potato chip bags rustling! Sigh.