My Alternative Plan

OK, so what is “My Alternative Plan”?  What is it that I do that I can save $$$ instead of shelling out tons of it for Ideal Protein?  Well here it is, broken down, including the price of items roughly and my total cost per day, and per week, and per month (My food cost including dinner is roughly $300/month).  I will advise that IF I do the snack items I have listed, those run about $11 for a box of 7, so that’d be an exchange from the cost of the shake to the cost of the snack on occasion.  Just putting it out there.

Breakfast Shake – GNC Amp 60 Wheybolic Protein powder, one scoop (a serving is 3 scoops and is 60g of protein, so I cut it into 1/3)

Lunch Shake - GNC Amp 60 Wheybolic Protein powder – I recommend chocolate, as the strawberry tastes like Pepto Bismol…yech, and 2 cups veggies, which I usually end up slicing up a cucumber to munch on the rest of the day at work.

Dinner – 6-8 ounces of meat, preferably lean, 2 cups of vegetables

Snack – Wonderslim product, either pudding, oatmeal, or a meal replacement bar, but more likely Proti-Diet chocolate dream bar, which is lower in carbs, higher in protein, and tastes better.

My “Daily cost” is as follows:

Shakes ($0.86/shake, so total $1.92 in shakes)

Lunch veggies:  Cucumbers usually run about $0.75 or so

Dinner Meat: OK this varies, obviously.  Canned tuna is like $1, and steaks are obviously more, so I won’t try to break THAT down.

Dinner Veggie: Most commonly a mix of green and red bell peppers, red or yellow onion, or asparagus.  Typical cost is AROUND $3 total for the veggies (for me and hubby)

Total cost per day for me?  $1.92+$0.75+_______+$3.00= roughly $5.67 before meat, ends up being probably about $10/day on a given day if I do steak, and closer to about $8/day for chicken or fish…ball park on that gets me to about $10/day=$70/week=$280/monthish+supplements ($9/month)=$290/month total

I also take supplements, including One-A-Day, Calcium Magnesium, & Potassium Gluconate. These run me about $15 for the three bottles, and those bottles last me 50 days, as they contain 100 pills and I take 2 pills per item, per day.

I would now like to point out that one PACKET on Ideal Protein (keep in mind you’re supposed to have THREE of these / day) is $4.00, so you’re looking at $12 before you add in the 4 cups of vegetables and 6-8 ounces of meat…just saying…

Wow I can’t believe I wasn’t going to do the math for this, $12+$0.75 (cucumber)+MEAT+$3(dinner veggies)=$15.75/day pre meat, we figured about $4 for a steak and $2.50 for chicken etc. (I rounded up I think)so say $20/day, just about double my cost.  Their supplements are also more expensive, sold in 30 day supplies.  I rant about this in another post, but suffice it to say the cost is like, $50/month or so, an additional $40/month compared to what I pay, roughly.  So IP cost is…20*7=$140/week+$10/week=$150/week total cost*4(weeks)=$600/month total

So I can say “neener neener I save $310 on food every month”.  Also unless I’m mistaken, folks have to go pay to weigh in on a special scale that’s like $15/week or something, but that could be specific to the clinic.

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54 comments on “My Alternative Plan

  1. Do you really take 2 multi-vitamins a day? I didn’t know that anyone should take more than one/day. Does it matter which multi-vitamin brand? Looking forward to launching a new me!

    • Yeah you need to take two. Check under the vitamins section to see what the IP Vitamins consist of and you will why so many multi vitamins. It’s because you lose tons of vitamins by not eating bread etc

  2. I love Wonderslim’s Meal Replacement bars, specifically the Cinnamon or Fudge Graham. For a good chocolate fix, ProtiDiet makes the “Chocolate Dream Bar” which is epic!

    • To a certain extent I look at sugar alcohols, but I’m aware of the fact that nothing is going to have artificially sweet flavor without having some sort of sugar alcohol in it, if that makes sense. If I look at something and it has we’ll say, 12g of sugar alcohol, I’m not going to write it off as “sugar free” because the sugar alcohol has to break down SOMEWHERE. Most products I use have a mix of sugar and sugar alcohol in them if I’m not sticking with natural options (fruits etc. rather than bars)

  3. Thanks for the help. I”ve been on IP for 4.5 months. I’ve lost 51.5 lbs. I never did the 3 items a day. I’ve always had an IP for breakfast and IP snack. Lunch – Always salad with some protein and dinner small protein and some veggies. I drink about a gallon of water a day. I’m now looking for alternatives for long term maint. I would like to lose about 18.5 more lbs.

  4. Congrats on your continued success! If I remember correctly, Ideal Protein starts with 3-4 packets/day and works it down until you’re completely on normal food, with a phase-out period before maintenance begins. If you’re looking for a breakfast and snack, then Wonderslim would work great for you, although I caution against the veggie omelet. Don’t do it, trust me on that one!

      • Yeah, I use Wonderslim Mocha Cream, Hazelnut Cream and their Hot Chocolate drinks. I also love the Bariwise fruit drinks during the summer, I can only have chocolate with so many meals before it starts feeling like a chore to drink chocolatey drinks! Haha!

  5. Hi Kara,
    Thanks for sharing your experiences on your blog. I did IP a year and a half ago and lost weight, but quit because it was so costly. It’s great to know that there are alternatives that aren’t so costly.
    I’m going to Mexico in 3 weeks (a sudden trip) and I would like to follow your suggestions. Did you loose as much with the alternate products as you did with IP? Do I have to order Wonderslim and Pro Diet products online? Sorry if you answered this in your blog, I haven’t read the whole thing yet.
    Any suggestions on a quick start? haha I had been following another eating plan, but I gain back everything I loose when I deviate even just a little bit from it.
    Thanks for any suggestions!
    Kelly

    • Kelly:

      Yes unfortunately you have to order from DietDirect or Netrition. On the bright side, the shipping is usually only 2-3 days, so if you ordered tonight, theoretically, you’d still be getting product by Friday. On my Alternative Vendors list I have a $10 discount to Dietdirect for your first registration and order.

      I lost probably 80-85% as fast on my alternatives compared to Ideal Protein people, but I didn’t restrict myself as much on milk or oils like the protocol called for. I lost about 5 lbs week 1, then averaged like 2-3 lbs each week after for a month, then down to 1-2 lbs/week after that until I hit goal. I deviated. A lot. Like, a lot a lot. But I always made sure I was careful about how I was deviating, if I needed chocolate, I’d get a bar.

      Oh! A “quick start” you CAN do is the EAS shakes you get at Walmart, or Atkins Meal Replacement bars and shakes. Low enough in carb to throw you towards ketosis while you wait to get your Wonderslim stuff.

      Let me know if you have any other questions! :D

  6. Hi Kara. Love your blog. Quick question. WHEN specifically do you take each supplement and how much at each serving? Thanks so much

      • Awesome!!! Thank you so much!!! Do you take 2 pills each after each meal? Or is it 1 pill each time? Just want to make sure in doing it right. Also biotine? I don’t remember reading about that. Should I be taking omega 3′s too?

      • I was taking a total of 2 multivitamins, 2 cal/mag, 1 biotin (because it’s not in any of the multivitamins but it is in ideal protein’s multi-vita) and 2-3 potassium gluconate. I’d take 1 of each pill, twice a day. Omega 3′s are recommended by Ideal Protein, but I’ve honestly never taken them. I hear they help move fat and some other great properties. If you do decide to take Omega 3′s, refer to the Ideal Protein PDF on supplements prior to purchasing, just to save yourself the headache of returns etc.

        > Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2013 11:20:12 +0000 > To: pandoraeternity@hotmail.com >

  7. Hi Kara -
    Do you count lettuce as part of your 2 cups of veggies? I know IP doesn’t but would like to use my salad as part of my daily intake.
    Thank you for putting this site together – I was spending so much on IP…money I really didn’t have to spend!
    Thanks!

    • Linda:

      Even if you are no longer on Ideal Protein you really need more than salad for your daily intake. Lettuce has almost no nutritional value, and that’s something we’re already super lacking in when it comes to this diet, so every veggie is important. You can sure use your salad as a snack, but don’t stick with it solely as your 2-cup.

  8. Hi Kara. I am trying to put together an alternative plan for IP and saw your site!! It’s great – thanks for all the research that you’ve done. One question i have (which I’m sure I’ll have plenty…) is what do you mix your shakes with? Do you use water, milk, almond milk???

    Kristie

    • Kristie:

      I use water when mixing my shakes, or a blend of 1/2 water, 1/2 skim milk if I want a lightly more milky consistency. I’ve never actually tried almond milk (I have a half gallon glaring at me from my fridge door right now) but that could be a viable option as well.

  9. Hey Kara – just found your blog/site…and am starting it TOMORROW – going to get the items to get started tonight :)
    What did you eat for veggies for your 2 cups? What do you recommend?
    Thanks – Monica

    • I love anything roasted, it’s how I managed to finally eat cauliflower, which before had been a “AAAAAAAAAAAAHH NOOOOOOO!” second only to brussel sprouts in my desire to avoid it. I love asparagus, I’ll eat that whenever I can, tri color peppers (red, yellow, orange, green) and onions. I’ll also eat green beans and peas (a big no no for the hardcore ideal protein folks) and an easy way to get a cup of veggies is cucumber, a single cucumber gets you about a cup and a half, slice it up and just munch on it throughout the afternoon if you get “snacky”.

  10. Good morning! Tomorrow will be day 7 of this Alternative Plan…and is it normal for weight to go down…and then jump back up 1.5 lbs? I was so psyched that I lost 6 lbs and then yesterday I was up .5 lb and today up a whole 1 lb!!! I am an active person. I probably should tell you that I’m 49 and going thru menopause. The weight gain part of it really, really sucks. I’ve tried everything…I work out almost every day….but the weight just doesn’t want to move. weight ju

    • Monica: Thank you so much for your question. Firstly, don’t weigh yourself daily, it’ll drive you absolutely batty! We can fluctuate up to 5 pounds in a SINGLE day, that’s why it’s recommended you only weigh yourself once a week. Things that can jack up your weight on a given day include water intake, salt, stress, excessive exercise (or strength training etc.) endurance exercise (biking for 2 hours), hormones (obviously) and a myriad of other factors. Throw out those last 2 numbers and focus on next week. Check in with me next week on Tuesday and let me know how it went :). Also, with you weighing on the weekend, that’s usually the worst time because we lose our “scheduled eating times” like we have during the week, and things tend to shift a bit.

      > Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2013 12:48:56 +0000 > To: pandoraeternity@hotmail.com >

  11. Ok – thanks Kara – I’m determined :) I’d like to do a quick check with you on what I’m eating: Protein vanilla shake for breakfast (mixed with water) around 6:30am…Protein (choc) shake for lunch (mixed with water) around 12:30 with 2 cups of veggies that I spread out in the afternoon – cukes, or green/red peppers/snow peas – I commute, so on the way home, I have my Atkins snack bar (150 cals) – dinner at 6:30 6-8 oz of protein (chicken,hamsteaks,hamburger,tilapia) & 2 cups of veggies & lots of water. Any comments/suggestions?
    Thanks so much 

    • It’s sounding like you’re doing well with your food, make sure you’re getting the recommended 1500mg-2000mg of sodium a day, as the “real” protein (i.e. chicken) does not have much sodium in it. Your meals look like they are pretty well balanced. Technically, Ideal Protein does not allow red peppers or peas, but I advocate any kind of vegetable as long as it is not a starch (potatoes).

  12. Morning –
    Do you limit your exercise on this plan? I went back to low carb after IP but would kind of fell off the veggie wagon so I want to go back to this plan. I am not sure if I should hold off on working out (30 mins/5 miles on an elliptical) or maybe reduce what I do.
    Thanks!

    • Hi Linda, the first couple of days I didn’t do anything! Of course, today is only one week that I’ve been on it, but I walk for 50 mins during lunch and last night I did only 30 minutes of cardio (step aerobics). My energy is better now, so I’ll be back on my bike as soon as it stops raining!

    • Linda:

      Hello! I can’t say good morning, as it’s afternoon here now, but ya know :) Limit exercise for the first few weeks of going with Ideal Protein, and once you start back up, consider adding a bar or protein before your exercise so your body does not fall into starvation mode.

  13. Great – I think IP recommends no exercise the first 2 weeks – I will follow that as I follow your alternative plan. Thanks for getting back to me :)

  14. So, I’m know for my inpatience…especially with diets! How long did you / are you staying on the 2 protein shakes, veggies, protein snack, dinner for? I added up the calories and it’s not very much…like 760! Am I eating enough to prevent my body from going into starvation mode?

    • Monica:
      You should be getting between 750 and 1000 calories per day, and this is actually past your starvation point. It’s important to not think of this like a standard “Calorie deficit” diet, because it’s not coming down to simply calories, it’s coming down to glycogen stores and fat stores. Phase 1 (3-4 packets/day, 1 “real” protein, 4 cups of veggies) is to be followed until you are at 90% of your weight loss goal. Once you’re at 90%-100% you can switch to phase 2, in which you replace your lunch shake/protein bar with a “real” protein. Your body will learn to start breaking down the real proteins more efficiently at that point, and once you are at your 100% mark you can move into phase 3, which incporporates REAL breakfasts, protein, fruit, even dairy! Most importantly, you’ll also be able to get back into having whole grain carbohydrates at that point.

      Keep with it, remember to not weigh yourself daily, even fast diets don’t necessarily show us the results as fast as we’d like, just remember to be patient!

  15. Hi Kara,
    I’m about to start but im freaking out cause i cant find the proper vitamins/supplements – So far I’ve found everything except for the cal/mag – What brand of cal mag do you use and is the absence of vitD ok?

  16. Hello Kara! First off I would really like to thank you for this wonderful blog. I came across it when researching IP and your alternative plan looks fantastic, so fantastic that I started it today lol. One or two questions for you – I purchased the GNC protein shake you recommend and I had it at breakfast alone (1/3 c. mixed with water) and then at lunch with my 2 cups veggies. Supper was 5 oz. chicken and 2 cups veggies. I would prefer not to buy any other products i.e. bars…. would another serving of the shake in the evening fit the bill, do you think?

    One more question – what do you use as salad dressing? Naked veggies are not much fun. :)

    Thanks again!!

    • Alanna:

      Walden Farms makes tons of dressings you can use, look up reviews on them carefully though as some are VERY hit or miss with flavor. If you wanted to use one more serving of shake in the evening time instead of getting more bars, that’d be alright, just be careful you don’t get burned out on it.

      • i love your blog. I get on it daily to see any new info.I’ve been doing the alternative plan for almost 4wks now.Have lost17lbs. thanks so much for all your advice and helpful info.It’s nice of you to share your knowledge with us.thank you

  17. Hi Kara,
    I have done ideal a few years ago and wanting to try your alternate plan, should I stick with the GNC protein shakes or how does muscle milk lite compare? Thanks!

  18. Hi Kara!
    I am researching IP diet and I bumped into your blog. SO glad I did! I love EAS Advantedge shakes… my husband had a gastric sleeving surgery and drinks them the whole time; it never occurred to me that I could drink those in replacement of IP shakes! I think I could do an alternative IP diet, and all thanks to you! (because I’m a mom and I’m really money-conscious, and I don’t want to spend money I barely have if I can find a less expensive alternative to it, amirite? hehe!). Thank you so much for your candid blog! I love it! I’ll keep coming back. :)

    • Awe thanks so much! I’m glad you found me, and congrats on your family in general :) I’ll try to keep updating my site, I no longer do IP as I found out that I am too much of a free spirit and am in need of serious “learnin’ ” for the long haul, but do still get stuff from Diet Direct/Wonderslim on occasion so can keep posting reviews :)

  19. Hi Kara,
    I just learned of the IP program from a couple of friends and they are both still in Phase 1 and look amazing. I do not have the $$ to dedicate to that so plan on going it on my own. I have the EAS Chocolate shake mix and I also have Isagenix Shake mixes. How much protein are you supposed to get from each shake, I want to make sure that I do it correctly. I’m not sure what I’m going to do for my snack as I’m gluten intollerant. I’m so GLAD I cam across your blog. I’ve been looking at multiple sites today and I’ve found yours to be the most helpful.

    • Angela:
      You should be averaging 15-20g of protein each shake. If you’re gluten intolerant, obviously most of the bars/mixes are going to be a no-go. You may be able to take a look at Wonderslim’s soup (it’s a veggie cream soup) that might not have gluten in it. I’m not sure off the top of my head. And I’m glad you found my blog helpful :) I need to start updating it again obviously, I feel like such a slacker!

  20. Mine is sob story. A total hysterectomy has turned by body into a complete mess. Two years forward….I am now 20 pounds heavier and having a plethora of problems. My doc says I keep going in and out of metabolic syndrome. I can not get this weight off for the life of me! So, I read about Ideal Protein diet, got really excited about and then got depressed when I realized the cost of it would bankrupt me. So…I am now looking for protein shake replacements. I have a dumb question. When shopping online, I see protein shake mixes and meal replacement shakes. Aren’t these the same? Also, have you ever heard of BioTrust protein mix? Is it one of your recommended proteins? Thanks for your blog. You give me hope!

    • Berry:
      Thanks for your question! I’ve never heard of BioTrust protein mix, but I can tell you the difference between a Protein Shake Mix and a Meal Replacement Shake usually boils down to the nutritional value of it. Protein shakes often have disproportionately higher quantities of protein compared to say, fat or fiber etc. whereas meal replacements often have a more balanced approach. When on IP, you’re wanting as much protein with as little fat or carbohydrate as you can get by with (except for vegetables which have carbohydrates but that’s different). I’d recommend if you’re wanting a “can I do this?” mentality to take a look at the premixed shakes by EAS (Carb Control), you can get them in a 4-pack from Walmart for $5 or so, and you can also check out Diet Direct’s Wonderslim line of products, which are super similar to Ideal Protein. Just make sure you’re getting something around .5g-2g of fat for 15g of protein, and preferably less than 8g of carbs in each shake/mix. There’s a link on my sidebar that takes you to Diet Direct’s registration page, and gets you $10 off your first order if you go that route. Keep me posted with your progress!

  21. Could Atkins advantage bars be a good replacement for a restricted snack? one I had recently was about 180 cal, 1 gram of sugar and 6 grams of fat. and 15 grams of protein. Also looking for a good protein powder mix that doesn’t need milk to be mixed with it. Any suggestions?

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