I wanted to lose weight.
A full time job, a part time wife, twin five-year-old boys, a chocolate Labrador, a car that’s about one week away from dying on me completely… and you’re telling me I need to also lose the weight? When? How?
‘Well, it’s easy. You go grocery shopping, make the time, and prepare healthy nutritious meals!’
Yeah. Easier said than done. I wasn’t terribly overweight by any means, but I wanted to lose some of it. In all honesty – I had no motivation to kick start this project myself. None whatsoever. I had my routine. I already knew the aisles in the local supermarket. I had my favorite foods. I didn’t want to start changing too much of my life for 20 lbs. If I had to start making a new shopping list, one that is specific to me? Well, let’s just say it won’t fly.
Because it isn’t just the shopping. It’s learning how to cook new dishes. It’s getting used to all of the new ingredients and what not, and – lest we forget – it means trying to stay away from the food and snacks which the wife and kids eat. Like I said, easier said than done.
Thankfully, I walk with the dog in the evenings, so I get a solid 20 or 30 minutes of walking, every day. At least I didn’t have to worry about staying in motion. What was getting at me – what I was sure was the cause of my recent weight gain – is that I haven’t had the time to prepare food in advance. I just didn’t do it. It came down to this.
Einstein said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results”. I knew something was off with the way I was eating recently. I needed a change. Something, anything reasonable, to get me moving.
I figured that if I had a way to get the food – without having to resort to constantly consulting takeout menus, or going grocery shopping and preparing it myself – I could easily manage to stay away from household temptations. Combined with daily walks and the occasional romp in the sack (hey, it’s a calorie burning activity!), I should have no problem shedding the pounds and stopping the beer gut from catching up with me.
Discovering Bistro MD
I never dug Dr. Phil, not even when he was on Oprah. I am not a huge fan of his show, but when a friend at work heard I wanted to lose a bit of weight without changing anything in my day-to-day, her face lit up like Christmas lights. Apparently, she had caught a Dr. Phil segment on YouTube, and it featured some company that delivers healthy food.
I asked her why she lit up like that. She said she saw the Dr. Phil clip pretty recently, and it was one of those things where she was thinking to herself: “Why on earth did I just watch this? What good could possibly come of my watching this? This is shameful, mindless YouTube surfing, is what it is.” And now she knew why she had seen it. It was in order to tell me about it.
I looked it up, and found BistroMD. I read through their website. Obviously, they are trying to push their stuff, and the site is nicely built. I knew it may have its disadvantages. I knew this going in, and for me this has made all the difference. It seemed like a great option, and it was. I had viable options now. I wouldn’t have to interrupt my day-to-day in order to eat right. I needed to try it, and I am very glad I did. I figured that even if BistroMD doesn’t work, I could try a different food delivery system. I had no set deadline in mind, but I knew it was going to be temporary.
Before I placed an order, I went online and read some reviews. I don’t believe everything I read online, especially at the business’s website, but they did have some impressive references there. At different review websites, some disgruntled people cautioned to read the fine print, in case the desire to cancel presents itself. Apparently, some of them had issues with the cancelation process. Others actually raved about the great customer service. I will get to my personal take on BistroMD’s customer service later on. Luckily, once I got my first order, I didn’t feel any need to immediately cancel.
I was on the BistroMD for 11 weeks, and I managed to reach my goal. I was committed. BistroMD isn’t what made it all possible, but it did serve its purpose, and it made it considerably easier to take off the weight. Now, it is on me to maintain it. Who knows, maybe I will decide to return to BistroMD at some point down the line.
As far as the food itself is concerned, I read a few reviews that said it can get boring after a while. Some called it downright inedible. Again, not my experience. Food rotation seemed to be a problem for some people.
Here is the thing about my taste buds: they are not too sophisticated. I admit this freely and willingly. I am able to eat a lot of the same things over and over, as long as some shape or form of rotation is kept, without getting bored or resentful towards it. This is something I discovered when I was in the military, eating combat rations and mess hall cuisine. Good times.
At any rate, the food was good. It was a little more chicken than I am used to, but the portions were normal-sized and they always arrived in perfect condition. I was expecting at least some kind of screw-up with the deliveries, but for 11 straight weeks, FedEx didn’t disappoint. I was impressed with their service. For a very long time now, UPS has been my “go to” delivery company, but the BistroMD experience has earned FedEx some points with me. But I digress…
Yes, the food. With some of the dishes I added a few basic spices (seasoned salt and sometimes olive oil) since they were lacking flavor, but I was very satisfied with it, altogether. The breakfast crêpes were frequent, but actually quite good. It was a nice way to start the day. Other food favorites of mine were cheese tortellini, Moroccan Beef, four cheese ravioli, and grilled salmon with lemon Dijon dressing.
Now, my customer service experience. I called them twice. First, there was one week where I knew I was going to be away for several days. I let the company know in advance, and they agreed to freeze my plan for a week. The customer service rep was very nice, and I had no problems whatsoever. There were no billing issues or mistaken shipments. Some people were upset about a billing issue they had encountered, but I didn’t see anything wrong on my end.
The second time I called was to cancel, after I had reached my goal. The service rep asked me why I am interested in canceling, and I told her I had reached my goal and didn’t see a need to continue. She asked if I was interested in an altered plan, in order to maintain the weight I have reached. I told her that I want to manage on my own, now that I have achieved my objective. She asked one or two more questions, and I took in stride. Retaining customers is her job, after all. I was able to cancel with relative ease. NOTE: make sure to read the deadline policy. Wednesdays are the cut off for the following week. Remember this, as it will save you heartache and possible loss of money.
One thing which may be a disadvantage for some is the price. I knew my journey would be temporary, and I was willing to cope with it financially. Like I said, I was committed. I do not do things half-assed. I knew it was going to cost some money to achieve my weight goal, and I was willing to invest that money in myself. I am a simple man, with simple needs. I don’t splurge on myself too often. Never, in fact. The last time I did something expensive was go see Cirque de Soleil with the family. By the way, also highly recommended. When you reach your weight goal – and if you get the chance and are interested – I urge you to treat yourself and check them out. The human body in motion is a powerful thing to witness. Those guys have a wonderful way of making you feel great on the one hand, because you are watching something amazing – and simultaneously making you feel like your own body is but a bag of three-day-old garbage, just sitting on a street corner, waiting to be collected by the sanitation department.
A Bit of History
BistroMD was founded by Caroline J. Cedarquist, MD, a certified bariatric (weight treatment doctor) with 20 years of experience. She noticed that many of her patients wanted to lose weight, but didn’t really know how to plan and cook healthy meals. They were in a culinary rut. She then concocted the idea of creating a healthy daily menu that would eliminate the need for guesswork. No need to learn new recipes, calculate calories, shop, cook, clean, etc. It would be a quick and easy way of providing the body with the macronutrients it requires, without all of the extra hassle.
This plan is good, but it does have some flaws. First of all – even with a wide range of entrées to choose from, customization options can be limited. This is a good plan for an adult or two, but I feel this won’t be a good fit for entire families, nutritionally or economically. Perhaps I am wrong.
I also don’t know if I could do it, say, seven months in a row. I was fine after nearly three months. Like I said, the food was good and it kept me full. The essential and tasty snacks (EATS) option is also very nice. But, after a few more months, who can say? Whatever the case, BistroMD can provide dieters with a great first step in their journey, even if only to get them out of the culinary and nutritional rut they’re in. A jump-start nutrition plan.
The meals are made by chefs, and the BistroMD staff also includes dieticians and fitness trainers who are available for consultation. That way, even though the company doesn’t provide any strict exercise regimen per se, there is a way to get into that as well. I didn’t find that I needed it, but it was good to know the option was there. There are no trans-fatty acids, no added MSG, and no freeze-dried foods on the menu. That is a big plus, as far as I am concerned.
Some of the other watch-worthy ingredients, like sodium, might be a little high in certain dishes. This could be deal-breaker for a few people, but that wasn’t the case with me. I felt I could manage, and I was right. However, I am not a dietician. If you specifically need a plan which is very low in sodium, try consulting with the staff. Maybe they could accommodate you.
As for the different plans, they have a variety of them:
For men – Standard men’s program, Gluten free program, and Diabetic program
For women – Standard women’s program, Gluten free program, Diabetic program, and Menopause program
Customers can choose between the five- or seven-day weekly plans. The seven-day program includes one night off, “My Night”, in which dieters can indulge in whatever they wish, and take a structured break from the program. I always took advantage of this night with great relish. Hey, if you are going to reward yourself with something, then go for it, right?
During one of the weeks I was dieting, maybe the sixth or seventh one, wifey was out of town, visiting her mother. I walked the dog, put the kids to sleep, and then ordered Chinese food.
I got into my sweatpants and t-shirt, sat down on the couch, ate mouth-watering Peking duck right out of the box while watching The Matrix (still one of my all-time faves). For desert, I had two glasses of red wine, along with a medium-sized bar of 64% dark Belgian chocolate. It was a great night, and I had earned it. I felt no shame, guilt, or negativity. During other ‘Nights’ I didn’t do anything close to that. That was one for the books, for sure.
BistroMD is great in the sense that it relieves you of some of the responsibility, and provides you with a part of the solution which is pre-packaged. You don’t have to do anything but heat and eat. And no, that statement doesn’t make you a lazy person, it makes you a smart one. A responsible one. Once you understand that, everything becomes easier. This diet is not for everyone. But, if you are committed, you may find that BistroMD is just the ticket.
I won’t go into the whole “doctor-designed” thing. I have had my experience with doctors. Enough to know that just because someone has an M.D., it does not necessarily make them knowledgeable in everything related to health and medicine. However, it was nice knowing that this plan was conceived by a physician who had dealt with overweight individuals for years. It certainly made it more appealing. I don’t trust buzz words, and I don’t go for fads or crazes. The last culture craze I was heavily into was Pogs, so that should give you an idea of how old I am.
Convenience is key. With BistroMD, I was able to go throughout my day, confident in the knowledge that I won’t be staring at the refrigerator at 18:17, wondering what to eat for supper (after having eaten a small snack). No more. There is one meal. That is it. It is a matter of discipline.
So, 11 weeks went by. I enjoyed this diet. It was well-rounded and it did its job. I will definitely be cutting back my poultry intake for the next few weeks. I am very happy with the experience I had with BistroMD, and I’d definitely do it again.
Think potatoes are unhealthy for you? Think again! Potatoes are a great source of potassium and vitamin B6, and so long as they aren’t slathered in butter or other fatty toppings, are actually an important staple of many diets!