**UPDATE: This post was written in February 2017. Since then, the Designed to Fit Nutrition founders have added one-on-one coaching to all plans, added four Registered Dietitians to their staff, and improved their software system. My experience is likely different from what current program participants will experience.**
Hi friends! As you know, right after Christmas I signed up for Designed to Fit Nutrition because I a) was looking for something to help me get my eating habits in gear before my upcoming bachelorette party and b) really wanted to know more about macros and learn how to count them/target them. I knew it was expensive, but I asked for the program for Christmas and my family was nice enough to gift it to me. It’s now been four weeks – which is how long the meal plan lasts – so I wanted to share my thoughts in case there’s anyone else out there who’s considering signing up.
If you’re a reader of Carrots ‘N Cake (which I would assume many of you are) then you’ve probably heard all about the program already. In a nut shell, it’s a four-week meal plan customized to your body type, eating/workout habits, and goals. The most attractive part for me was that the meal plan includes customized macro targets – i.e., the amount of carbs, fat, and protein you should be eating every day – which was definitely something I wanted to learn more about. The plan also comes with one-on-one coaching to help keep you on track.
So, what did I think?
To sum it up in a sentence: I learned what I wanted to learn, but ultimately I didn’t find it to be worth the cost.
To start off with, there were a couple of minor software bugs right from the get-go. My schedule was off when I received my first week’s worth of recipes (meaning I received recipes from Thursday – Thursday instead of Monday – Monday) and one time when I tried to access my account I got locked out because the developers were working on something (right around dinner time when I needed a recipe – grumble grumble). Luckily, both issues were resolved quickly and easily via email. I know DTFN is a new program with all new software, so these bugs are definitely to be expected. I think the DTFN staff did a great job at resolving the issues, and I’m sure they will continue to improve over time.
The biggest issue for me was the food. I guess I was expecting that the recipes given to me through DTFN would be unique since I was paying so much for the plan, but many of them were recipes that can already be found on Carrots N Cake’s blog. I liked all of these recipes – and some of them I hadn’t made before – but having been a reader of that blog for almost seven years (phew – that’s a long time!) I had seen a lot of the recipes before and was hoping for something a little more unique (especially given the price tag of this program).
I also was disappointed with some of the meals that weren’t recipes. For example, lunch some days included sandwiches made from Sara Lee bread, deli meat, American cheese, and pickles. I try to steer clear of overly processed foods, so having a meal plan that required me to buy these foods wasn’t ideal for me (in fact, I didn’t buy the American cheese at all, and used cheddar instead). I know Tina from Carrots N Cake has raved about Dave’s Killer Bread – an organic, non-GMO bread brand that does focus on wholesome ingredients – so why did this meal plan recommend Sara Lee? This is probably just a preference thing, but I feel like a heavier focus on wholesome ingredients wouldn’t be bad for anyone. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate shortcut meals – I definitely do! – but I also don’t want to be eating a lot of crap.
Lastly, the plan was just too much food for me. Again, this is probably just preference because a lot of people seemed to do well on their plans and lose weight, but I found myself eating much more than usual and didn’t feel comfortable with my progress. In fact, for this last week of the program I decided to ditch the meal plan altogether and follow my own instead. For $200, you don’t really want to be skipping 1/4 of your program, you know?
I also didn’t get any one-on-one coaching, but to be fair I think that might be a new add-on to the program (the price has gone up since then, which is what makes me think that feature might be new).
One caveat that is definitely important to mention here: There was an area to provide feedback and “check-in” with the DTFN planners, and I did not leave any of these comments there. Therefore, I didn’t really give DTFN a chance to course-correct these issues and I’m aware that is MY fault. I understand I shouldn’t complain if I didn’t even try to leave the feedback. BUT, I did leave some feedback about meals that I’d like to see repeated (which is one of the questions they ask you in the feedback section) and I never saw those meals actually repeated, so I didn’t know how much the DTFN planners were looking at those responses.
Anyway, I don’t want to be a downer or say anything bad about this program – after all it seems to work well for a lot of people and ultimately I did learn more about my target macros and how to track them after following this plan (which was my main goal). I wasn’t even going to write this post at all because I’m a big believer that if you don’t have something positive to say, then you shouldn’t say it. BUT, this program was a lot of money and I feel like I was very gung-ho about it in my first couple of posts about it, so I thought it would be important for me to share an update with my experience so you can make an informed decision about if this is something you want to try out yourself.
Alright, I think that’s all for now. Phew! That was a lot of words, and no pictures at all. Sorry about that. Tomorrow I’ll be back with my regular positive attitude. 🙂
Question of the day: Have you ever bought a meal plan like this one? What was your experience like?