Category Archives: Reviews

(First off: sorry for the lateness of the second review. Life dropped something in my lap over the weekend when I was supposed to be writing this up, and I couldn’t get on the computer for more than 5 minutes. I’ll explain in another post!)

Phentaslim

Phentaslim Bottle - FATGIRLslim Phentaslim Review

The Outcome

Before I get started on the nitty-gritty of the actual details (weigh-in and measurements, etc) of the month, I’d obviously like to talk about how the month felt.

When I was taking Optimum Nutra’s other supplement, Superfruit Slim, there was a noticeable increase in my energy; I mentioned that in the review at the time.

However, while taking Phentaslim, not only was there an increase in my energy, but there was an increase in my alertness. I wasn’t just able to feel energised during the month, but I felt awake during the month, and it wasn’t the same kind of energy you get from a cup of coffee. It was the kind of energy you get from a really good night’s sleep. I’m not just saying that, either! During the last month, my sleep pattern has completely changed. I’ve gone from sleeping until 3 in the afternoon, to going to sleep close to midnight and waking before noon, looking forward to the day.

There’ve been days when I think the only reason I’ve been able to stay awake, has been because of the energy Phentaslim‘s given me. I had a day where I had 4 hours’ sleep, and I managed to stay awake until midnight without napping, where normally I’d sleep for a few hours during the day and then go to sleep really, REALLY late and regret the whole thing and… ugh, yes.

I also feel as though my appetite’s been lessened, which is quite amazing, considering how much it’s already been lessened by my use of Slimpods, but there’ve been days when I’ve literally been happy just eating my three meals. The last time that happened to me, I must have been a kid. But it happened more than once, this month. And I’m pretty sure hell hasn’t frozen over.

All right, though. Time to get down to the nitty-gritty, huh?

Weigh-in time.

Mid-Month Phentaslim Weigh-in

ozeri
-3.3lbs
-8.5lbs since Phentaslim Part One
362.3lbs

If we go by my March weigh-in, I’ve lost 8.5lbs since I started taking Phentaslim… but that’s not including the weight I gained and lost during the month. I mentioned in the April weigh-in that I almost hit 380lbs at one point in March, due to a seriously low ebb in my mood and the accompanying binge-eating, which means it’s actually more like 15lbs. (Plus a couple more, probably, since I’ve also just gotten over That Time Of The Month…)

I’m more than thrilled with that weigh-in. I can actually feel the difference in my body – my knees don’t hurt as bad as they do when I’m creeping up to the 380s; I’m not gasping for air as much when I’m climbing the stairs to my flat; and while my back still hurts, I can walk that wee bit further before it starts hurting.

It’s all good!

Mid-Month Phentaslim Measurements

March, 2014

  • Left wrist: 7″
  • Upper left arm: 18″
  • Left thigh: 33″
  • Left calf: 20″
  • Left ankle: 11.75″
  •  

  • Right wrist: 7″
  • Upper right arm: 19″
  • Right thigh: 33″
  • Right calf: 19″
  • Right ankle: 10.25″
  •  

  • Neck: 16″
  • Bust: 57″
  • Band size: 48.75″
  • Waist: 54″
  • Hips: 66″
April, 2014

  • Left wrist: 7″
  • Upper left arm: 18″
  • Left thigh: 32″ (-1″)
  • Left calf: 20″
  • Left ankle: 12″ (+0.25″)
  •  

  • Right wrist: 7″
  • Upper right arm: 19″
  • Right thigh: 33″
  • Right calf: 19″
  • Right ankle: 10.25″
  •  

  • Neck: 15.5″ (-0.5″)
  • Bust: 57″
  • Band size: 50″ (+1.25″)
  • Waist: 54″
  • Hips: 68.25″ (-2.5″)

Phentaslim Pros

Well, I talked above about the best pros above: the amazing energy and awareness that you get while taking Phentaslim. I’m not even kidding! I wish I had more than a month’s worth. :) If I was a student, I’d kill for the energy and alertness these things give you – so long as you use them WISELY, and as PART OF A VARIED AND BALANCED DIET, and don’t use Phentaslim as a substitute for food or as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet. >:( Pills ≠ food.

But they really are quite amazing when it comes to increasing energy and alertness. I can’t talk science re: their claims for supercharged metabolism and thermogenic fat burning, but my weigh-in’s pretty effing decent, considering I didn’t do any actual exercise this month. I walked home once or twice (two miles at most) and did the grocery shopping. Usual stuff.

I didn’t do any intentional exercise this month!

And I do like the fact that they smell like raspberries when you’re taking the pill out of the bottle. But that’s a personal thing. :)

Phentaslim Cons

The cons list is really, really small, because there have only been two side effects that I’ve noticed.

One:

It may just be me, but I’ve noticed quite a big increase in my need to urinate this month. That includes going to the bathroom during the night. I usually go once a night anyway, but while taking Phentaslim, I’ve been going twice a night; once, I went three times a night. It’s not a huge inconvenience, and not a terrible thing. It just means that I’ve had to remember to “go” before I go out, more than I usually do, and that I’ve been going more than usual.

(And my pee is kind of pink sometimes!)

Two:

Probably connected to the above, I’ve needed to drink a heck of a lot more this month than usual, which I fully expected, given that caffeine is a diuretic. It’s not unusual, and, as I said, I totally expected it, and it’s probably completely different for everybody, but just something you should look out for!

Phentaslim: Overall

Overall, I was absolutely thrilled with my month on Phentaslim. I had masses of energy, I felt alert, and I was able to pay attention to what I was doing without my bipolar disorder taking over and having me run away to do seventy thousand things an hour. Being able to pay attention was a wonderful thing, and meant that I was able to sit and knit and crochet and watch TV for a good long while, and I got a good chunk of a project for my Granny done, when I’d have gotten bored easily and moved onto something else if I hadn’t been taking it.

I love the fact that my appetite was suppressed without me even realising it – and isn’t even a claim made by the pill! – and that I’ve seen a really good weight-loss, even if the measurements don’t quite match up, although that could be down to using a new 120″ measuring tape this month, where I was using a different measuring tape last month.

Overall: ★★★★★

Recommendation, Phentaslim Availability & Pricing

I’d definitely recommend Phentaslim to anyone who needs more energy for looking after kids or trying to exercise or trying to study while losing weight; the caffeine and guarana should work wonders for you!

As for everyone else?

Well, if you’re interested, why not give it a try?! Phentaslim is 100% natural, and even comes with a 30-Day Guarantee, so if you’re not 100% happy, you can get a refund (subject to terms and conditions, of course).

I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough.

It’s available exclusively at Phentaslim.com, and is priced like so:

Starter Pack – 1 Month’s Supply (30 Pills): £34.95 (a saving of £25!)

2 Months’ Supply – 60 Pills: £59.95 + free shipping (a saving of £59.95!)

3 Months’ Supply + 1 MONTH FREE! – 120 Pills: £89.95 + free shipping (a WHOPPING saving of £149.95)

And I’d be really, really thrilled if you’d share this review far and wide, using the “sharing is caring!” links below. :)

Disclaimer

I have not been monetarily compensated for this review. I received 1 (one) month’s supply of Phentaslim.com to try and review, and was not required to, nor asked to, write a positive review. My opinions are my own. As stated in my disclosure page, any links in this page are affiliate links, which means that, should you buy a product linked from this page, I’ll receive an affiliate’s payment for it.

You might remember that I tested out Superfruit Slim last summer. The same company offered me the opportunity to test out their other dietary supplement, Phentaslim, and of course I said yes, as I’d had a very positive experience with Superfruit Slim.

Phentaslim – Packaging

As with the Superfruit Slim shipping packaging, it’s completely discreet, with no hint that it’s any kind of weight loss or herbal product; if any of you are embarrassed about that sort of thing, you can lay your mind to rest!

Phentaslim Shipping/Packaging
Completely discreet packaging!

The Bottle And Contents

Phentaslim Bottle
The bottle definitely looks like a health supplement, doesn’t it?! (The asterisk leads to the following on the back: * These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.)

Phentaslim "For Your Protection"
While Phentaslim has the ubiquitous Sealed For Your Protection sticker – which is surprisingly difficult to remove, which is a good thing! – it doesn’t have the cotton ball pad that Superfruit Slim had. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Does anyone know what the point of those things are, anyway? :)

Phentaslim pill/bottle size comparison
The size of the pill, as compared to the size of the bottle; it’s an average-sized pill. And they smell vaguely of raspberries!

Ingredients List and Claims

The claims made by Phentaslim are that the supplement will help you to supercharge your metabolism, will give you extreme energy and mood support, and provide thermogenic fat burning. It’s the specific ingredients included, such as guarana seed, green tea, capsicum and raspberry ketones that provide these effects.

It also includes Vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12, which, at the correct levels, are clinically proven to support and increase the rate of metabolism, maintain healthy skin, hair and muscle tone, enhance immune and nervous system function and promote cell growth and division. (Some text taken directly from Phentaslim.com.)

This is the full ingredients list:

Phentaslim ingredients

Impressions Of Phentaslim So Far

I’ve been taking Phentaslim for a week already, and the main difference I’ve noticed is, of course, my energy levels. I’ve had at least one day where I’ve been surviving on minimum sleep (4 hours!) but I’ve lasted because I had the energy from Phentaslim – I don’t think I’d have managed without.

As for other effects, I can’t say; my weigh-in will come at the end of the month, as will my measurements. For now, however, I’m relishing the ability to stay awake for a full day, even when I’ve not a full night’s sleep.

I’m looking forward to the next three weeks, to see how the increased energy will help, and to see how true the claims are. My metabolism can do with some boosting!

Availability and Pricing

Phentaslim is available exclusively at Phentaslim.com. One month’s supply (60 capsules) is £34.95; two months’ supply (120 capsules) is £59.95; if you buy 3 months’ supply, you get three months plus one month free, at £89.95.

And every purchase comes with a no-quibble money-back guarantee. :)

Phentaslim.com

Check out the website, Phentaslim.com, for further details on everything I’ve mentioned above and more. There’s complete information, testimonials, FAQs and pricing information available for your perusal, as well as a contact form if you need any further information before making a purchase.

Disclaimer

I have received no monetary compensation for this review; I received one month’s supply (60 capsules) of the Phentaslim Dietary Supplement in return for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All words, except where stated, are entirely my own. All opinions are, and will remain, my own.

Ozeri CardioTech Pro Series Digital Blood Pressure Monitor

Ozeri CardioTech Pro Series Digital Blood Pressure Monitor

Note: I swear, I was good in Physics at school. mmHg is millimetres of mercury, and kPa is a kiloPascal; both are measurements of pressure (hence blood pressure). The third number at the bottom is your pulse, measured in BPM, beats per minute.

Introduction

The Ozeri CardioTech Pro Series Digital Blood Pressure Monitor is a portable blood pressure wrist cuff with MWI (Measure While Inflate) technology that allows you to keep track of your blood pressure while at home or on the go.

It has enough memory for 180 readings – 90 readings for two separate people – and has a velcro wrist strap that is suitable for wrists of all sizes.

Overall Impression

The digital blood pressure monitor from Ozeri is exceptionally easy to use, once it’s been set up. Put it on your wrist, strap it on tight, and press the Start/Stop button before waiting for it to take your blood pressure reading.

It gives a reading which is accurate enough to the readings I’ve seen in my Doctor’s office, and which are quick and painless. The wrist strap doesn’t inflate to the point of pain, which is definitely a plus, as I know I’ve had some experiences in my GP or Nurse’s hands in which I’ve felt my lower arm was about to burst open when the arm cuff inflated, haha!

It’s a really small and easily-transported unit, too; it takes up very little room. Right now, mine has a happy home in the corner of my desk in a nook beside the plug extension unit that nothing much else could fit into; it means it’s non-intrusive, but easily within reach. It also doesn’t take up a lot of space in my bag when I take it with me, slotting into a corner that’s otherwise normally filled with receipts.

Pros and Cons

Pros are the easy part: there’s nothing wrong with the unit itself, nor the case. You’re supplied with the twoxAAA batteries required to power it. The strap has a small piece of velcro at the back so it folds over on itself and isn’t left flapping about. The screen is easy to read, with large numbers and a good contrast between text and background (although there can be a teeny bit of a problem in direct light). There are no sharp edges or jagged parts; none of the velcro seems to ever come in contact with my skin.

The only con really seems to be with the instructions manual, which seems to be fine; perfect except for the fact that it lacks details on how to reset the date and time in the event that you make a mistake and press “set” instead of “mem” during the setup, which I did the first time. I accidentally set the year to 2024 instead of 2014, and while it wouldn’t really have made a difference to the unit, I knew it was there and it would have bothered me.

You can reset the date and time – that is, get it to come up on screen to have it be changed – and that’s by taking off the battery cover. I’m not sure if this is the recommended course of action, as there’s nothing explained or suggested in the instructions booklet, which is otherwise fantastic. Luckily, removing the battery cover does not destroy the saved blood pressure readings in the memory.

If you would like to remove the saved blood pressure readings that are in the memory (if, for example, they’re causing your blood pressure to increase ;) ), the instructions for that, are in the otherwise brilliant wee booklet.

Rating

★★★★☆ – The unit itself is a solid 5-star product, as I couldn’t find fault with it. The lost star is for the instruction manual, which seemed to be missing one or two wee things which would have made this item otherwise perfect as a whole.

Availability

I’m not sure about the Ozeri CardioTech Pro Series Digital Blood Pressure Monitor’s availability elsewhere, so I’ll just say what I know for sure: it’s available on Amazon.co.uk.

You can also find the link to my review of the unit on Amazon in the Disclaimer section below.

Disclaimer

I was provided with 1 (one) Ozeri CardioTech Pro Series Digital Blood Pressure Monitor Unit, free of charge, in return for a review on my blog, and on Amazon.co.uk; I was not required nor expected to write a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are and remain my own.

Introduction

Saints & Slimmers
Saints & Slimmers is the UK’s fastest growing diet brand1, offering a range of diets to suit every taste, goal and budget, with prices starting from just £2.14/day. Founded by Oliver Cookson, the UK’s best known industry expert in the field of protein and nutrition, who founded the sports nutrition brands Myprotein® and GoNutrition™. Oliver has used his knowledge of the benefits of protein in dieting to help devise the products sold on Saints & Slimmers, which is one of the things that makes them so effective.

The Products

I was sent two different products to test out – I left it up to Hayley from S&S to decide which I was sent, but she mentioned muffins and pretzels and whey protein and mousse and what-have-you! I said I’d have loved to have tried the muffins and whey protein, but she was kind enough to not send me too many chocolate-y things, and sent me the pretzels and the TRIPLE(!!!) chocolate whey protein powder.

The pretzels are portioned individually, which is awesome, because if you have trouble with portion control, take one pack, and get the others out of sight, because you will want more. They taste just like regular pretzels, but the salt is lighter. No humungous salt crystals here! (But that’s a good thing, where your body’s concerned!) There is, however, a nice wee shock of salt right at the bottom of the pack, if you toss the crumbs back, if you’re a crumb-chaser. *grin* I even gave my Mum a few pretzels to try, and she said that she really, really liked them, didn’t know what the difference was between these pretzels and “regular” pretzels.

Only difference? These are portioned at 100kcal per bag, and contain less salt than regular pretzels.

Verdict: Pretzels

A definite ★★★★★ from me!

The Triple-Chocolate Whey Protein Powder is a 100% whey shake, also coming in at just 100kcal per serving (when made with water; 150kcal when made with skimmed milk), choc-full (ha, see what I did there?) of good protein to keep you fuller longer to stop you binge-ing and snacking on high-calorie foods in-between meals.

I made it in two different ways. I made it with 200ml of 1% milk, which I mixed (in another brand’s shake mixer) and poured into a glass. It wasn’t as thick as I’m used to Slim•Fast and other shakes, etc, being, but I’ve never had a pure whey shake/drink before, so I can’t compare! It was just a little thicker than the milk itself.

The flavour on the other hand… woooh boy. Triple chocolate alarm bells, ding-dong, etc! I am not usually one to ring the bells of chocolate-flavoured things, too, because I am definitely more of a savoury or vanilla-flavoured (or cherry; give me cherry any day!) things, but this wasn’t your ordinary, every-day, milk chocolate, boring, bog-standard chocolate-flavour.

This was really dang-good chocolate-flavoured-flavour.

Even when I made it with the 150ml of water (making it 100kcal; even when made with up to 200ml of water, it’s still 100kcal, but please note, if you were to increase the amount of milk, it would increase the amount of calories), I could still really taste the chocolate. It was a lot thinner, so I think a lot of the thickness of it came from the milk’s texture, etc, but the flavour was still all there, which is pretty impressive.

★★★★☆ for the whey protein, only because I’d be making it with milk the entire time and killing an entire extra – GASP – 50kcal.

Additional Photos


100% Whey Triple Chocolate Shake made with 200ml of 1% milk (please note, this is a 1/2 pint glass!)


100% Whey Triple Chocolate Shake made with 150ml of water (please note, this glass is much bigger than 1/2 pint!)

Also, notice how the colour’s much darker when it’s made with water. :D I just think that’s cool. Silly milk, being all white like that.

Outcome

Overall, I’m really impressed with these two snacks. I hate to sound like I’m always impressed with everything, but considering I’m not the hugest fan of chocolate, the Triple Chocolate Whey Shake really is nice, and the pretzels are the best pretzels I’ve had in ages (that haven’t been Cream Cheese and Chive flavour!).

I will admit, I was more than able to eat 2 packs of pretzels at once, one time I had a seriously snack-craving, but rather 200kcals than, say, an entire pack of biscuits, right?

The Whey shake, on the other hand, does a damn fine job of keeping hunger at bay for at least two or three hours, so it’d be a fine thing to use if you were using a VLCD (which S&S offer) and were feeling hunger pangs, but were allowed extra calories in-between. It’d tide you over without screwing up your carb & calorie allowance completely.

Availability

Saints & Slimmers products are, as far I know(!) only available directly through http://www.saintsandslimmers.com, where they offer a variety of diets, VLCDs, snacks, meals, meal replacements and accessories to help you lose weight. They also have a vibrant community, comprising blogs and forums, and offers, discount vouchers and codes in order to boost your efforts.

Disclosure

In the interests of full disclosure, I was provided 7 (seven) packets of 100kcal pretzels, and one 500g pouch of 100% Whey Protein Triple Chocolate Shake to review for Saints & Slimmers. I was not required to write a positive review; all opinions are, as always, my own. None of the links to Saints & Slimmers are affiliate links. 1 copy has been altered from Saints & Slimmers’ About Us page.

[Disclaimer]: I bought this item from my own money for the purposes of this review. I was not expected to provide a positive review. I was not compensated for this review.

Although MySupermarket.com is telling my that it’s been on sale somewhere for at least seven months, I’ve never seen it before last night. I’d nipped down to ASDA to get some actual food for my fridge, since all I had left was some milk, some Branston pickle, and about three different kinds of cheese. (Hey, at least I could have Ploughman’s sandwiches?)

It was a choice between Philly Light with Cucumber, or with Salmon and Dill, and it was tough to choose, because I quite like salmon, but I don’t like dill, and I don’t really like cucumber, but I like cucumber and Philadelphia sandwiches or crackers, assuming the rind has been taken off. (I secretly think that I’m an old English gentleman. I need a tweed hunting jacket and a stately hound and I’m all set.)

So I went for the Cucumber.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

Taste

I honestly thought that the cucumber flavour would be entirely overpowering; that, perhaps, they’d use some weird kind of fake cucumber flavour to overcompensate for the fact that cucumber doesn’t really have an overpowering flavour.

But they didn’t. It’s extremely strange to try and explain the flavour, because you can taste the cucumber, and you can taste the secondary flavour of feta cheese (sorry, veggie people, it’s not suitable for you because of the feta cheese :( ) and you can taste a wee hint of onion and garlic and it kind of melds into this really lovely flavour that’s still mostly cucumber, which means that I shouldn’t like it…

But I really, really did.

I had it, as you can see, on a slice of ASDA’s own wholemeal (or wholegrain? Can’t remember.) brown tin bread. The two flavours together were really lovely. I don’t have any white bread in the house at the moment, so I can’t comment on that, but I think it’d maybe taste really nice as a spread underneath maybe some chicken tikka slices or some home-made spicy shredded chicken or something like that?

Of course, you could always make a really lovely dip from it, if you know how. :D

Overall

Overall, I was really impressed with it. The flavour was surprisingly subtle and delightful. It wasn’t overwhelming, and I highly doubt it would overpower anything it was paired with; I could see it being paired with chicken and fish dishes wonderfully.

The actual cheese seems to be a lot thicker, and less gloopy, than some other Philadelphia Lights, too (Philly Light with Cadbury’s, I’m looking at you here!), almost like the Original Philadelphia in consistency. I think it would make a really nice, thick sauce in the right hands.

Rating

★★★★☆ – loses 1 star because at £1.87 for 200g, it’s a wee bit on the expensive side, but taste-wise and consistency-wise, I can’t fault it. I’m also pretty sure it’d be awesome on crackers with a topping or something!

Nutritional Information

You can find the official nutritional information at the Philadelphia website here.


Screenshot from Philadelphia website. It wouldn’t let me change to male GDA… :(

The Ozeri Epicurean Digital Kitchen Scale is a beautiful, stylish and functional set of Digital Kitchen Scales. With a non-removable weighing platform made from shatter-resistant glass and a stylish, curved design, this set of scales would look at home in any modern kitchen.

First Impressions

To be honest, my first impression was something along the line of, “Wow, these things look damn good.” The curved top is made with reflective glass, making the whole unit easy to keep clean.

They also take AAA batteries (provided), instead of the oversized watch batteries that every other set of digital scales I’ve had take. No more worries about “where the hell do I get batteries for this thing?!”

The Ozeri Epicurean Digital Kitchen Scale Specifications

  • Has a max capacity of 5000g / 176oz (5kg / 11lbs)
  • Touch button operation
  • Tare function (an allowance made for the weight of the packaging in order to determine the net weight of goods From Mac OS Dictionary)
  • Unit conversion function for US and Metric units
  • Automatically resets to zero on removal of goods
  • Overload and low battery indicators
  • Powered by 4xAAA batteries (included)
  • Turns off automatically after 2 minutes of inactivity

Pros and Cons

There are definitely more pros for this scale than cons!

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Stylish and smart; will look at home in any modern kitchen
  • Extremely accurate – I checked several products in my kitchen that were marked with their weight, and other than the discrepancy for packaging weight, they weighed the products correctly
  • They’re powered by 4xAAA batteries, instead of the short-lifed watch batteries that most other digital kitchen scales take
  • Because the weighing platform is non-removable, there’s no chance of dropping it or losing it!
  • Extremely hygienic and easy to keep clean due to the stylish glass finish

Con(s)

  • Takes up a bit more surface space than other scales, digital or manual

Overall

As you can see from the video at the top, the Ozeri Epicurean Digital Kitchen Scale is easy to use, stunning to look at, and suitable for both Imperial and Metric measurements.

With its four corners firmly on the worktop/counter, it’s steady and unlikely to give you an inaccurate measurement. While it takes up a little more surface area than most other scales, it’s by centimetres only, and entirely worth it.

The instant-response buttons are a joy, and unlikely to break.

The glass top and weighing platform mean it’s easy to keep clean, and extremely hygienic.

I’m thrilled to be able to use these, even if it’s a small thing. Rather than trying to settle a bowl on my other scales, or fiddling with the manual dial to zero it out, these scales are fast, responsive, and wonderful to look at.

I’m giving them a rating of ★★★★1/2 out of five; 1/2 star lost simply because of the larger-than-I’m-used-to surface area.

(It’ll be fine once I get rid of my other scales!)

Availability

The Epicurean Digital Kitchen Scale by Ozeri is available through Ozeri at Amazon.co.uk, currently for sale at £19.95 (price correct at time of publishing).

 
 
 

I have received no monetary compensation for this review. I was provided with 1 (one) set of Epicurean Digital Kitchen Scales in order to provide an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own.


Photo © The Exante Diet; used without permission

Introduction

I was kindly invited to try out a week of The Exante Diet recently, and, as it’s been one of the suggestions from my doctor that I haven’t tried, was all too willing to give it a go.

If you haven’t heard of a VLCD before, it’s what’s known as a Very Low Calorie Diet. Most, if not all, require the dieter to reduce their calorie intake significantly, usually to around 600kcal a day. In order to do this, it’s usually achieved by following a total meal replacement plan.

The Exante Diet offers a few different options for those looking to lose weight: there’s a VLCD (The Total Solution), and two LCD (Low Calorie Diet) options (The Working Solution and The Simple Solution), as the VLCD option isn’t suitable for everyone.

Although I’m taking medication and therefore am NOT suitable for the VLCD/total meal replacement option, I decided to go with this option anyway, although I did take my medication with 100ml of milk. (This is probably really important in what I’ll say later! Bear it in mind.)

Hannah, the lovely lady I was in contact with, sent me out a selection of products. There’s a good selection on the website, from bars, shakes, soups, ready meals and extras such as mousse mix, drink mixes and flavoured coffees!

In my box, I was given chocolate shakes, strawberry shakes, two different bars, vegetable soup, tomato & basil soup, spaghetti bolognese, porridge oats, thai chicken soup and mushroom soup. I’m absolutely convinced that I had a pasta carbonara, too, but I can’t find any packaging (and I kept it all!) nor can I actually remember eating it… but I can remember thinking, “I’ll have the pasta carbonara at Mum and Dad’s on Saturday!”

Hmm.

The Products

The Shakes

I was actually really impressed with the shakes; the chocolate in particular was really good. I made it in two ways: I made it with my shaker (Tony Ferguson brand but I doubt that matters. So long as it’s meant for shaking up protein shakes/meal replacement shakes, it’s fine) and I made it with my blender. Making it with my shaker meant there were lumps left in the mixture, while making it with my blender meant that the shake was smooooooooooth and kinda frothy.

It also didn’t taste like I expected. I expected chalky and gritty and overly-sweet. Instead, what I got was very cocoa-y and almost dark-chocolate-y, I think? Like a cold hot-chocolate drink. It was really pleasant.

★★★★★ for the chocolate shake, so long as it’s been blended and not hand-shaken. (I was going to go for a James Bond joke, but couldn’t quite get it to work.)

The strawberry wasn’t quite as good – the flavour wasn’t as strong. You could taste the strawberry flavour, but I’d have liked it to have been stronger, personally.

★★★★☆ for the strawberry shake, because it still mixes up really well in the blender.

Spaghetti Bolognese

The spaghetti bolognese had a really nice flavour. It tasted like a slightly spicy spaghetti bolognese, with one awesome difference: it wasn’t. I’m not a fan of spaghetti bolognese. I will eat the spaghetti out from underneath the mince, and my Mum will tut at me and complain about it, but it’s just… ick.

That said, I don’t know what it was about the two ready-meals (this and the porridge oats). The texture around the noodles (spaghetti-bits) just didn’t settle properly. Maybe that’s what I liked about it. It wasn’t like soy mince texture. It didn’t quite do what it was supposed to.

Maybe I measured my water incorrectly or something, but I don’t care. The flavour was lovely.

★★★★☆ for the spaghetti bolognese for not-settling-into-its-texture-properly.

Porridge Oats

If you’ve ever eaten Ready Brek, you’ll get straight away what the flavour of the Porridge Oats is like.

The really unfortunate thing about that is I think I might be allergic to the flavour of Ready Brek. The last few times I’ve eaten it, I’ve had a violent vomiting incident not long after breakfast.

I won’t bore you with the details of what happened after I ate the Porridge Oats, but suffice it to say I highly doubt that I’ll ever, ever be eating Ready Brek again.

Re: the texture? This is supposed to get really thick, I think? It stayed mostly thin, with some little lumps in it. I don’t think that really helped with the violently upset tum.

★☆☆☆☆ for the Porridge Oats. Definitely not. No. Other people might like it, and be able to get it to work correctly, but this was absolutely not for me.

The Soups

The soups were… difficult.

The first one I tried was the Tomato & Basil, which I made by following the instructions: water, powder, blender. Microwave for a minute with some stirring in between. Microwave for another minute, stir, let sit.

First of all: I’m not a fan of tomato & basil as a soup flavour at all. Tomato & Chilli, or just plain Tomato, and I’d have probably been fine with this.

The soup came out in a weird… almost mousse-y texture. And it wasn’t just because I’d used my blender. When I made another pack in my shaker another night, it turned out the same way.

★☆☆☆☆ Tomato & Basil gets a big NO NO NOPE from me.

Vegetable: the flavour’s actually not all that great. Texture’s not QUITE as bad as the Tomato & Basil soup; the better flavour makes it slightly more bearable. It’s got a kind of overbearing flavour of peas, which I wouldn’t usually like, but for some reason, this soup makes it work.

★★☆☆☆ for the Vegetable Soup.

Mushroom: by far my favourite soup. Almost creamy, very mushroom-y. The texture was still the same kind of mousse-y, but again the flavour made it more bearable.

★★★★☆ for the Mushroom Soup.

Thai Chicken Soup: okay, I have to admit something. This one smelled a lot better than it tasted, and it really disappointed me. :( It smelled really curry-ish and tasty, and the flavour’s actually kind of weak and I made a pretty sad face when I was eating it. But it also kind of reminded me of something and I can’t remember what! Which is a stupid thing to write in a review, haha. I wanted to say curry flavour Pot Noodles, but that’s not it. It’s something down that… OH. Super Noodles! It tasted SORT OF like curry Super Noodles. Texture, still the same, alas.

★★★★☆ for the Thai Chicken Soup.

The Bars

There are only two types of bar available: Chocolate Orange and Toffee, Nut & Raisin.

I’m actually going to give them both the same score, because they both have the same pros and cons.

Both have excellent flavours (actual chocolate chips on a very low calorie diet?! Nuts and raisins?! Get out of town!) but they could do with being a little softer and a little less… almost powdery, I want to say. When you first bite into one, it’s weird, trying to describe it. But that aside, I’d rather the bars over the soups. They’re far more filling and tasty. But you’re only allowed one per day, as they have more carbohydrates and calories than the sachets provide.

★★★★☆ for both the Chocolate Orange and the Toffee, Nut and Raisin bars.

My Week On Exante

My first admission is that I didn’t complete an entire week. Because of my intense dislike for the Tomato & Basil Soup and the Vegetable Soup, I didn’t have enough meals to complete a week – even given that I went to my parents’ place on Saturday, and forgot to put the meals I’d placed aside into my bag (because I’m actually a village idiot, reincarnated, didn’t’cha know?).

Other than my first night when I was absolutely ravenous and ate an entire pack of biscuits I’d found stashed in the top of my cupboard “for emergencies” (doesn’t everybody have one of those?), I actually found that I adapted to it easily. I’m pretty sure that all Exante products contain Chromium, which helps to balance blood sugar levels, which, in turn, helps to stop cravings. I’ve talked about this in previous reviews, and how Chromium’s the one thing that’s really, really helped me overcome physical cravings.

(I’m working on mental cravings, slowly but surely. My Psychologist is working on a game plan this week!)

But I really was shocked by how little I was hungry after day one. I didn’t want to eat between my meals (although I really wanted fruit! That’s no shockarooney, though.) and even when I had to go to the shop to do things like top up my electricity and gas meters and buy little cartons of milk to take my medication, I was never tempted to buy junk.

However, and here’s where what I was saying about the milk comes in, I never went into ketosis. On a VLCD like this, your body should go into the state of ketosis, where it doesn’t get enough carbohydrates from its food and it starts using the body’s stored adipose (fatty) tissue for glucose energy instead.

(It’s a wee bit more complicated than that, but I did a short course on Human Nutrition this year and I’d probably start babbling about enzymes, so I’ll just shut up there.)

It never happened for me. I bought ketone strips for when I was planning to do Atkins (still a choice but ugh no fruit :() so it was good to have them on hand. I tested myself on Tuesday morning when I weighed in, and I tested myself on Friday night, and there was no change. Absolutely none. The strip was exactly the same colour.

Obviously, after Saturday, it would have taken days again to get my body into ketosis, and with all the setbacks, I finished on Sunday night instead of Monday night.

Outcome

Although my official weigh-in this week was on Tuesday, I did weigh-in on Monday morning.

If you didn’t see Tuesday’s weigh-in, that’s actually 2.4lbs less than on Tuesday. (How does one gain 2.4lbs in a day?!)

That would put weight loss at 8.4lbs in (LESS THAN) a week.

Physical Outcome

September 17 2013
Right upper arm: 18″
Bust: 56″
Under bust: 49.5″
Waist: 54″
Hips: 67.5″
Upper Right Thigh: 32.5″
Upper Right Calf: 20″
Upper Left Calf (mutant/left leg): 21″
September 24 2013
Right upper arm: 18″
Bust: 56″
Under bust: 49″ (-0.5″)
Waist: 54″
Hips: 67″ (-0.5″)
Upper Right Thigh: 32.5″
Upper Right Calf: 19.5″ (-0.5″)
Upper Left Calf (mutant/left leg): 21″
Total Loss: -1.5″

September 04 2013

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September 24 2013

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Overall

Well, despite my personal snags and my own weird tastes interrupting the process, I was actually strangely happy with the trial. It certainly worked as advertised: that is to say, I lost a lot of weight.

If I was to choose, personally, to continue with Exante, I’d probably forgo the soups altogether, and go for the bars and shakes. There’s a vanilla shake available, and I’m a sucker for vanilla shakes – add a spoonful of coffee, and you have a vanilla latte shake in the morning.

But that’s my personal opinion, and others may choose differently. Maybe the strength of my microwave was to blame. Maybe I overheated things without realising it?

Whatever happened, it’s definitely something that I’d be more than happy to revisit in future, so long as I was free to make my own choices.

★★★☆☆ For the selection sent to me.
★★★★★ For the effectiveness and ease of use of the programme (and lack of dishes!).
★★★★☆ For the selection available.
★★★☆☆ For value-for-money.
★★★1/2 Overall.

Availability

You can view all of the Exante products over at http://www.exantediet.com/.

There are really good deals on bulk buys, such as boxes of 50 sachets or 50 bars, or 4-week bumper packs. While I personally think it’s quite expensive (but then, I am an unemployed bum with roughly £15-20 to spend on food every week), people with actual jobs might find it an affordable and easy way to lose weight.

 
 
 

In the interests of full disclosure: I have received no monetary compensation for this review. I was provided with enough product to last me one week, picked for me. I did not get to choose. I was not asked, nor expected, to give a positive review, but an honest and unbiased one. As of July 2014, this page now contains outbound affiliate links to the Exante Diet website.

Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom Scale (440LB Edition) with Widescreen Blue Backlit Xbright LCD and InstaOn Technology

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First Impressions

I was recently sent a set of Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom Scales to review, and I have to say that my first impressions were, “Wow, this feels like a really good set of scales.”

How can they feel like a good set of scales? Well, let me tell you: they’re solid, well-built, and it doesn’t feel like, if I stand on them too suddenly, that they’ll crack under me. It’s happened with a set of scales I had before, that every time I stepped on them, they creaked ominously, despite being tempered glass.

The Ozeri Precision II scales are made with tempered, impact-resistant glass, and has a max weight limit of 440lbs/200kgs/31st 6lbs. (Shocking fact: they wouldn’t have weighed me at my highest weight. I’d had to have dropped 9lbs in order to use them!) And they look smart; sleek and almost futuristic-y. They’re also very close to the floor.

Pros/Cons

Pros:

  • The Insta-On Technology! You don’t have to tap-and-wait with these scales. Step on, and they’ll start weighing you immediately, and settle down once all your weight’s on.

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  • The scales have a wider-than-average standing platform, which means that people who have thicker thighs might find it easier to stand and balance. From personal experience, I know that I have difficulty standing still on scales without wobbling, and it means that my scales wobble, too, and the weight fluctuates up and down due to that. These ones are wider so my feet can be a little farther apart, affording me greater balance.
  • It also means that the scales weigh you pretty quickly. I’m talking seconds, if not fractions of seconds!
  • They’re consistent. My Dad was curious when he was up helping me drag my shopping up the stairs, and he must have stepped on and off about four or five times, and with the exception of the first time, it weighed him at the exact same weight every time. (I can’t remember what it was; low 220s? I’m trying to shame you into losing weight here, Dad! :P)
  • It’s easy to carry them. The front and back sit directly on the floor all across the way, but the sides are slightly raised, and it’s like this perfect little grip to take the scales from room-to-room one-handed.
  • It comes with its own batteries!

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  • The screen is really bright, and, on this model, all that’s on screen is your weight, so the display is clear and bright…

Cons:

  • …unless you’re in bad light/too tall! I’m 5’10″ and I need to step off before I can read my weight. But the good news is that your recorded weight stays onscreen for ages. I should probably have counted how long, but I’d say about 20 seconds or 30 seconds? Long enough for you to get off and see what it is, and take a photo, anyway!

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  • You really need to pay attention and don’t use it on a thick carpeted floor. I tried it on all of the floors in my house, and the difference between my flat, non-carpeted floor, and my thick carpeted floor in my bedroom, was 200lbs. It does weigh you on a carpet, but does so completely inaccurately.

Overall

Overall, I think that the Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom Scales are a really decent piece of bathroom equipment. They feel solid, and the tempered, impact-resistant glass means that I feel secure enough in stepping onto them without doing it “delicately”. They’re not super-heavy-duty; they don’t weigh a tonne, but they weigh enough to know that they’re going to last and last and last.

They also look good; the design is smart and sleek, and the LCD screen is bright and clear.

The CONS are really minor when you consider the PROS. Assuming that everyone has at least one tiled/non-carpeted floor in their house, I don’t see why there’d be a problem with buying these scales, to be honest. (And, in a pinch, they work on cord carpet fairly accurately, too.)

They come well-packed with the batteries tucked into a little hollowed-out niche in the styrofoam protection ends and a little user manual. There’s a button on the back to switch between pounds, kilograms and stones/lbs. And, as I mentioned in the PROS list, they’re consistent.

Rating: ★★★★☆ (Star lost because I wish I could read my weight while still standing on the scale, but alas…)

Availability

If you’re interested in buying the Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom Scale, it’s available at Amazon.co.uk, or you can check out the rest of Ozeri’s products on Amazon.co.uk.

 

 

 

In the interests of full disclosure: I was given no monetary compensation for the publication of this review. I was provided with a unit of the Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom Scales in return for a review both on FATGIRLslim.org and on the corresponding Amazon.co.uk page. I was not required to write a positive review; all opinions are, and remain, my own.

Okay, so two months ago, taking Activ8x Diet Drops and following the AVX Diet, and last month, I updated with my one-month review. So it’s time for my third and (not exactly final) part of my review.

The Diet Drops

The last time, I talked about the flavour of the Drops, and how to take them, etc. This month, I’ve really come to realise how important they are. I know that diet and exercise are really the things that are going to make sure that you lose the weight and inches, etc, but doing the AVX Diet without the Activ8 X Diet Drops? I know I’d have gone mad. Others might find it easier, but my cravings were pretty intense in the first week of that first month, and the more I’ve been taking the Activ8 X drops, the more I’ve been realising just how much they’ve been helping me. Yes, they don’t don’t quite perk me up as much as I was expecting, but if I take them too late at night, they still keep me awake, so it’s obviously more than I realise! But, again, it’s the Chromium that’s really the hook here: Chromium is a micromineral that’s found in all tissues, and is thought to be involved in blood glucose regulation. Every time I’ve taken it in a supplement, I’ve found that my only desire for sweet things has been in my stupid brain – it’s never been my body going, “must have sugar. MUST. HAVE. SUGAR.” Sometimes, I beat my brain and don’t go for the sugar fix, and I’m managing it more and more often lately, but thankfully, without my body also having a sugar craving, it means that I’m eating a lot less junk. I’m also a week soda-free. (I’m only counting from Sept 1, though, but I was a few days free before that.)

The AVX Diet

Once you’re used to the diet, it’s really not difficult to live it. It really is just a matter of making sure that you plan everything in advance, and making sure that you stay within your Credits for the day.

I will admit, up-front, however, that I took liberties, and I took at least 4 “X” days in August. That’s 2 more than you’re allowed. (Sorry about that, guys. I know that’s seriously cheating.) And I know there isn’t anything in the book that says, “You can do this and that if you exercise,” but I figured, with how much I was walking, that I could afford it, in terms of caloric expenditure, etc. Hope I’ve not let y’all down completely! Please don’t follow my example. :| Follow the plan to a T, or contact the help team, and they’ll be more than happy to help you! (I know they’d have helped me with a solution, but I was already halfway through the day when I just decided that it was going to be an X Day, despite having already had my quota…)

Speaking of the help team: if you’re ever going to do the AVX Diet, and you’re going to eat something that’s not in the book, or you make something that you’re not sure of the credits, give them a call or an email, and they’ll be all-too happy to help you with it. It gives them more data for their books, too!

Effects

I’ve already talked about my sugar cravings; I talked about them last month, too. But it’s true. They are really diminished; maybe about 33% of what they were. It’s amazing.

And while I don’t feel like I’m as “peppy” as I expected, I definitely have more energy than I had before I started. Maybe that’s down to the weightloss, or the better diet, I don’t know. All I know is that I’m feeling better (except for the caffeine withdrawal headaches these past few days, due to giving up soda. Those aren’t better.) than I have in a while.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I’ve also spent almost every day in August going for a long walk, and I plan to spend every day in September going for a long walk. My #GoTheDist goal was to walk every day, and I’ve managed that to this point, just going for tiny wee walks around Burnbank, but now I’m going for quite long walks, and I’m amazed that I have the energy and stamina for it.

Physical Outcome

When I started taking Activ8 X, I weighed 377lbs. Last month, I weighed 369.9lbs. On Tuesday, I weighed 360.4lbs. That’s a weight loss of 16.6lbs in 2 months, which I’m very proud of, considering how crappy the rest of my year’s been!

Even better’s my inch loss; I’m once again going to stress that these could be down to measuring in a different place or holding the tape tighter or something, but nonetheless:

August 2013

Right upper arm: 18″
Bust: 58″
Under bust: 51″
Waist: 55″
Hips: 68″
Upper Right Thigh: 33″
Upper Right Calf: 20″
Upper Left Calf (mutant/left leg): 21″

And here are my measurements on Tuesday:

September 2013

Right upper arm: 18″
Bust: 56″ (-2″)
Under bust: 49.5″ (-1.5″)
Waist: 54″ (-1″)
Hips: 67.5″ (-0.5″)
Upper Right Thigh: 32.5″ (-0.5″)
Upper Right Calf: 20″
Upper Left Calf (mutant/left leg): 21″

Total inches lost: -5.5″

To lose almost 6″ in a month is, I think, fantastic.

August 2013

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September 2013

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Overall

Overall, I’ve been fairly impressed with both the Activ8 X Diet Drops, which have done a great job of dealing with my insane cravings, and with the AVX Diet, which seems harsh at first when you’re an overeater like I am, but is easy to get used to and doesn’t deny you any of your foods, as long as you eat within the guidelines of your credits every day.

I think that, as long as you keep the two combined to maximise weight and inch loss, you’ll be fine. If you add in an exercise program, you’ll be boosting your chances of success even further, but to do one without the other is pointless. You can’t take the Activ8 X Drops and eat a normal diet and expect to lose weight. You can do the AVX Diet on its own, but it may be a struggle if you have a problem with sugar cravings that can’t be sated with fruit. You can take the Activ8 X Drops alongside any other weight-loss program, however, to help boost its effects, but it’s recommended for use with the AVX Diet, and I think that I’d suggest that you do the two together, as recommended.

Rating: ★★★★1/2 [out of 5] (1/2 star lost due to the original seemingly-complicated nature of the diet, but trust me: it’s not.)

Availability

If you’re interested in what I’ve written here and want to try out Activ8 X and the AVX Diet for yourself, you can find it on the web over at http://activ8x.co.uk/. You can buy a 1-month, 2-month, 3-month or – if you can get a hold of it – a super-saving 6-months’ supply!

 

 

 
In the interests of full disclosure: I have received a free three month’s supply of Activ8 X Diet Drops and a copy of the Activ8 X Diet Plan to review. I will also receive a monetary compensation upon publication of my one-month and two-month reviews. None of this has in any way influenced my opinions, which remain my own, as ever, and everything I’ve said is true.

It’s been one month since I started on the Activ8 X Diet Drops and AVX Diet, so it’s time for my one-month update and review.

The Diet Drops

The Diet Drops have a flavour that’s difficult to describe. It doesn’t taste like most diet supplements: it doesn’t taste like herbs. It tastes kind of sweet. And when you’re resting it under your tongue, it kind of tingles. The only difficulty I’ve had is in getting the dose right. Don’t try and do it without a mirror! A mirror makes it much easier to make sure you’re not letting more than one drop in at a time in.

The AVX Diet

It took me a couple of days to get used to the diet. It was pretty restrictive when compared with how I was eating before (and I thought I had been eating pretty well! Apparently not, haha.) but once the drops kicked in and I got used to the smaller portions, it wasn’t that bad at all. There are recipes in the back of the Diet Plan book that are pretty delicious – especially the smoothie and the overnight oats! – so there’s something for everyone’s taste buds.

The hardest part was in trying to decide whether I wanted to do a Protein Day or a Carb day – the basis of the diet is switching between the two. You’re also allowed an EVERYTHING day twice a month. Carb Day is an A Day, protein day is a V Day, and an everything day (for birthdays or weddings or when you just really want a take-away) is an X Day. See where the name comes in? Foods are given certain amounts of credits – on different days, they cost different things. On A and V days, you have 100 credits for foods that aren’t free on those days, and on X Days, you have 300 points to use as you wish for foods that aren’t on the Zero Credits list.

Now, I’ve used the Weight Watchers Core Plan, so that’s what I immediately thought of. It did help me adjust to it, but as I said, it took me a few days to get used to it. Once I did get used to it, though, it was easy. I even got into the habit of putting the hard copy of my Diet Plan into my backpack when I was taking it with me, but you can also download a PDF copy from the members’ website that you can then put onto your smartphone!

The only drawback I found was in trying to point/credit something that wasn’t on the plan or in the book, for example if I was making one of my own recipes. In those cases, I just tried to count up the individual ingredients as best as I could.

And there were plenty of recipes on the website, anyway, so it’s not like I was ever without meal ideas. (The 15-minute, 15-credit section is awesome, but you have to be a member to see any of the content!)

Effects

The biggest thing I noticed while taking the Activ8 X Diet Drops is that my sugar cravings have severely diminished. I was hoping it would happen, as I’ve taken Chromium before and know that it worked very well for me, and this time, there’s no difference. I’ve felt no need to rush to the shops every other day to buy a bar of something sweet or a pastry. Something sweet once a week has kept me happy.

I’ve also been happy with the smaller portions that the AVX Diet requires. If I’m at Mum and Dad’s and I’m given too big a portion, I just can’t eat anywhere near what I used to be able to eat.

With regards my energy, I haven’t really felt the effects of the stimulants as much as I expected. But I was recently told that my folic acid is really low, so that’s like fighting a losing battle. It’s entirely possible that it would affect someone else greater. Maybe in the next month, now that I’m taking folic acid tablets, I may feel the effects of the stimulants in the Activ8 X Diet Drops, too. I’ll let you know next month.

I haven’t had any weird side-effects, either. No gut problems or headaches or nausea; nothing like that.

Physical Outcome

Since the weigh-in when I started taking Activ8 X, I’ve lost 8lbs – which might not seem huge to anyone else, but my year has been really, really bad, and to have lost 8lbs in one month is pretty damn impressive to me.

My starting physical measurements were the same as the last time, but for those who weren’t aware, here they are again:

July 2013

Right upper arm: 18″
Bust: 59″
Under bust: 52″
Waist: 55″
Hips: 69″
Upper Right Thigh: 34″
Upper Right Calf: 19.5″
Upper Left Calf (mutant/left leg): 21″

And here are my measurements on Tuesday:

August 2013

Right upper arm: 18″
Bust: 58″ (-1″)
Under bust: 51″ (-1″)
Waist: 55″
Hips: 68″ (-1″)
Upper Right Thigh: 33″ (-1″)
Upper Right Calf: 20″ (+0.5″)
Upper Left Calf (mutant/left leg): 21″

Total inches lost: -3.5″

Now, as always, these losses could be down to fluctuations in where I’ve placed the measuring tape, or in the case of my mutant leg how swollen it is that particular day, but I’m fairly confident that at least some of them are correct. :)

Anyway: so far, so good. Expect the third and final part of my review in a month’s time, where I’ll hopefully have lost another few inches and a good wee bit more weight.

[Update]: The 2-month review has now been posted here, showing some really good inch-and-weight loss.

Availability

If you’re interested in what I’ve written here and want to try out Activ8 X and the AVX Diet for yourself, you can find it on the web over at http://activ8x.co.uk/. You can buy a 1-month, 2-month, 3-month or – if you can get a hold of it – a super-saving 6-months’ supply.

 

 

 
In the interests of full disclosure: I have received a free three month’s supply of Activ8 X Diet Drops and a copy of the Activ8 X Diet Plan to review. I will also receive a monetary compensation upon publication of my one-month and two-month reviews. None of this has in any way influenced my opinions, which remain my own, as ever, and everything I’ve said is true.