The Special K Challenge promises that you could lose up to six pounds in a week. If you've been following me so far, you know that this isn't safe. You also know that it's hardly maintainable. I filled out the information on the first page, and it gave me a nice little meal plan. Here it is in a few screen shots (yes, I have Facebook open. Don't we all?)
First things first, what do you consider yourself? I chose foodie, because I love to cook:
So, after filling out when I wanted to get started and what type of meals I wanted, it gave me my customized meal plan. Let's look at what it's telling me to eat. Breakfast is Special K Fruit and Yogurt Cereal for 272 calories.
Ok, not too bad I guess. Kinda boring in my opinion, but to each his/her own. Next up, the morning snack (good, because after cold cereal for breakfast I'd be ready to eat my shoe by 10am.)
Huh. A Special K Blueberry Cereal Bar for 90 calories. Another cereal related meal. It looks tasty, albeit a bit sugary. I'm sure lunch will be nice and filling since this will keep me satiated for about five seconds.
Oh, another meal bar. Fun. Oh, but LOOK! In the tiniest letters it says, "and vegetables!" Well, that's cool. I'll have a glorified granola bar and steamed vegetables for lunch. Oh, man. I'll be ready to fight anything after this!
Ugh -- why am I so hungry!? Thank the gods my snack is on the horizon! Let's see what wonderful, delectable snack Kellogg's has planned for me! After all, I did say I was a foodie and this is a personalized meal plan.
Woooow. Crackers. Seriously? Special K brand crackers. At least they tried to appeal to my foodie nature by giving me the "Savory Herb" ones. Dinner better be good.
Oh, dear god! My first real meal of the day! This is the most exciting moment of my life (almost as exciting as the fact that I have a Facebook notification!) This seems like a nicely balanced, well rounded dinner. Too bad I didn't taste it as I was scarfing it down out of pure, ravenous hunger.
Ok, so joking aside, this is the most boring meal plan I have ever seen. Sugary cereal for breakfast. A sugary cereal bar for snack, a sugary meal bar for lunch, crackers, and then an honest meal for dinner. I'm sure you will lose weight after the first week, but it doesn't tell you that you'll also lose your lust for life. Also note, that every meal up until dinner is a Kellogg's related product. I'm sure their motives were incredibly pure when drawing up this personalized meal plan, don't you?
Let's tally up the calorie total, shall we?
Breakfast - 272
Snack #1 - 90
Lunch - 267
Snack #2 - 100
Dinner - 493
Calorie total: 1,222
Yikes. This is more than 100 calories below my BMR and I'm a healthy weight. For an overweight person, this is most definitely below their BMR. This is dangerous and unmanageable for any length of time.
Note: The website does say you can eat as much fruit and vegetables as you want throughout the day however, it's hard to find. I actually went back to try to find where it says that again and I can't find it for the life of me. I'm almost positive that a lot of people will follow the recommended meal plan to the "T" in order to take advantage of it's effectiveness which will only bring you up to the 1,222 calories.
Is it effective? Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes when you aren't eating enough, you won't lose weight. Your body interprets it as starving and holds onto those calories consumed more tightly. This is one reason people might hit a plateau. If it does work, and you do lose weight, how long must you stick to the eating plan? Well, forever if you haven't taught yourself how to just eat normally and healthfully. I would want to strangle somebody if I had to subsist on different forms of cereal forever. I'd much rather eat a wide variety of satisfying, healthy foods throughout the day. Maybe an egg white and veggie omelet with toast and fruit? Or a whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter and some cantelope and greek yogurt, etc.
Maybe even those sound scary and unsatisfying giving the way you are eating now, but you have to admit, they sound an awful lot more satisfying than cereal for most of the day.